Game Week 8 Picks – Part One
Game Week 8 First Thoughts
In association with Premier Punt
We are only midway through the international break but Fantasy Premier League managers are already being made to sweat with a raft of yellow flags appearing next to players who have picked up various knocks whilst on duty for their respective countries. Some of the higher profile players that will be causing a sweat are Romelu Lukaku (who picked up a thigh injury during the 4-0 romp over Bosnia and Herzegovina), Hector Bellerin (ankle) and Raheem Sterling (calf) – and those managers who had transferred Adam Lallana in last week will still be sweating on his fitness too.
Still – it keeps things interesting I suppose!
As we head in to the final few days of the international window it is probably just about the right time to start thinking about game week 8 for FPL – so let’s have a butchers with our first thoughts.
Game Week 8 Tips
A couple of standout fixtures this weekend with Arsenal taking on Bob Bradley’s Swansea team at the Emirates and Chelsea tackling Leicester at home. The fierce rivalry between Man Utd and Liverpool will be renewed at Anfield under the floodlights for Monday night football and Stoke Vs. Sunderland should provide plenty of pointers as to how the rest of their seasons will pan out.
Arsenal Vs. Swansea
Hard to predict anything other than a home win for Arsenal in this game and the way they clinched all three points at the death last time out will have given them real belief that this could well be their season. Defeat for Man City last weekend means that just 2 points separate the top 4 clubs and Arsenal will be looking to inflict significant damage on Bradley’s South Wales side.
The danger men have to be Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez but the latter is often afforded a place on the bench when he has been on international duty. A 3-0 battering by Ecuador for Chile will mean that Sanchez is likely to play the full game against Peru on Wednesday and Wenger will not want to risk his star man. The fact that Arsenal play on Saturday is even more of a risk factor for their star man and so attentions will turn to Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla for this game.
Liverpool Vs. Man Utd
This is a tough game to call in terms of the result but from an FPL perspective it is potentially a game that good be quite rewarding for the attacking players. Liverpool will miss Lallana but have plenty of guile in midfield to make up for him if he is missing due to injury. Daniel Sturridge may well have return for Liverpool like he did from the bench when his fellow Englishman hobbled off injured last week against Swansea and an international goal will do him the world of good as he seeks to force his way in to this Liverpool side.
The potential in this game comes from the Liverpool midfield and the United forward line. Wayne Rooney looks set to miss out whilst Marcus Rashford looks set for a starting berth. Anthony Martial and Philippe Coutinho were the two scorers the last time these two sides met and they are also both worth a punt. Roberto Firmino was the star of the show at Swansea last weekend but is too inconsistent to back with any real certainty – but on his day he can cause some damage to United.
Ibrahimovic could wreak havoc if Liverpool defend the way they have for much of this season and whilst they are more than capable of outscoring United, they are also more than capable of conceding a hatful.
All of this being said, it is probably best to stick with the players you have from this fixture rather than transfer a player in specifically for this game.
Stoke City Vs. Sunderland
Both of these sides have had dismal starts to their Premier League season but both it is fair to say that Stoke have had the tougher start out of the two teams. They are about to embark on a much more enticing run of fixtures and this will be a good pointer as to how that run will go.
Wilfried Bony is surely just a game or two away from his first goal of the season and apart from Shaqiri (and Joe Allen when fit) he is probably the player in their team who is worth a punt if you were looking for some differential.
The way Stoke fought back to secure a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last weekend could be a turning point for them and they could well inflict some damage on David Moyes’ Sunderland side in game week 8.
Despite some horrific results this season, Jermaine Defoe has managed to get himself 4 goals and 8 bonus points to make him the fourth top best FPL striker with a very respectable 38 points. Stoke were much improved against United but it still took some heroic goalkeeping from Lee Grant (who himself looks a decent FPL pick at just £4m) to keep the goal tally low. If Defoe is afforded chances then he will more than likely take them so he could be a pretty shrewd pick for GW8. The visit of leaky West Ham awaits Sunderland in game week 9 so it could be a good little two-week strategy.