Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 8

The end of that darn international break (seriously, do you know anyone who wants it?) means a welcome return to our beloved Barclays Premier League. I guess we can say that mid-season officially gets underway now, and this is the beginning of a crucial period in Fantasy Premier League too, it’s when the good FPL players (like the good EPL teams) begin to pull away to the top of the table, and patterns emerge. I’ll do my best to help you ensure that you’re up there!

To business now.

Gameweek 8 fixtures:

Tottenham v Chelsea
Norwich v Arsenal
Fulham v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Reading
Man Utd v Stoke
Swansea v Wigan
West Brom v Man City
West Ham v Southampton
Norwich v Arsenal
Sunderland v Newcastle
QPR v Everton

The Big Boys:

Santiago Cazorla, Arsenal midfielder

The plum tie of the gameweek is, without a doubt, Arsenal’s visit to Carrow Road. The coming two gameweeks for the Gunners are plum in fact, so it’s good time to get in Cazorla (and then put the armband on him). You won’t go wrong if you pick any of Gervinho, Podolski, or Giroud either. With Szczeszny (did I get that right?) and Fabianski both ruled out for at least a further month, Mannone is also a safe pick both in terms of playing time and points potential.

Juan Mata, Chelsea midfielder

The blockbuster fixture of the gameweek is Spurs welcoming the league leaders Chelsea. It’s not sensible to buy any of the players involved on retail now, but if you have any of Vertonghen, Bale, Defoe, Hazard, Mata or Torres already in your team, hold them in. This marks the beginning of a horrendous six-match run for Chelsea that sees them face Man United, Liverpool, Man City (all at home), Spurs away and West Brom away, with a trip to Swansea looking like the only one with any remote clean sheet potential. And it’s not just the fixtures - Chelsea will be without Terry for the next 3 league games, so it’s a very good idea to drop Cech and any Chelsea defender not named Ivanovic (whose attacking points see me still on his bandwagon)

Rafael da Silva, Manchester United defender

Stoke City tend to make matches low scoring ones (both in real life and in FPL terms) for themselves and the opposition. That isn’t to say you should get rid of any pricey Man United strikers you might have (although that wouldn’t be the worst idea with Stoke visiting and then Chelsea and Arsenal coming up), but the safest FPL bet, for this match at least, is United’s answer to Ivanovic – Rafael.

James Morrison, West Bromwich Albion midfielder

City kept their first clean sheet last week but it is little surprise that they were able to keep out defensive draw merchants Sunderland at the Etihad. West Brom’s home form coupled with City’s 8 goals conceded so far sees a target mark lock in nicely on James Morrison. If you already have Aguero or Tevez, hold them, but it’s not an ideal time to buy City players on retail given that they will be shorn of Silva (and therefore, that bit of creativity) for a short while.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool striker

Reading’s trip to Anfield has the makings of another plum tie. Having been frustrated by Stoke last gameweek, Liverpool should see their enterprising football pay dividends against the Royals. There’s a never a good time to buy Reds defenders, but having Luis Suarez (who, incidentally, is their only fit striker) will be good for you. Nuri Sahin is playing in a more advanced role than anticipated, and could be a smart FPL choice.

The Other Guys:

Fulham are a promising FPL prospect for the next couple of gameweeks, and people looking for cheap Cech replacements should take a look at Schwarzer. Sascha Riether is a good value-for-money choice, while in midfield, get a load of the revitalised Duff. Keep an eye on the strikers’ fitness as either Berbatov or Petric (or neither) could start. As of now, the only sure thing up front is Rodallega. This is all in anticipation of Villa being their usual dreadful selves.

Demba Ba, Newcastle striker

Steven Taylor and Coloccini will most likely miss the Wearside derby at the Stadium of Light, which is good news for owners of Steven Fletcher. The real FPL value are Newcastle though, and it’s wise to buy/hold Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye. If you have ben Arfa, hold him, but if he continues to play wide rather than central where he’s at his best, you might have to sell him.

Nikica Jelavic, Everton striker

Everton are among the worst opposition that bottom-team QPR could’ve hoped to face at this moment in time. This is an absolute delight, however for owners/potential buyers of Jelavic, Baines and Pienaar (the Merseyside derby next week is an anomaly in what is otherwise a delightful run of games for the Toffees). Sell Fellaini though. He’s injured.

Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, West Ham United

West Ham United’s strong early form should continue against Southampton who will be missing Gaston Ramirez due to injury. Southampton’s attack i.e. Rickie Lambert should pierce the Hammers’ defence, but the reunion of that Nolan-Carroll combination that was so deadly for Newcastle should see off the Saints and many other teams in the weeks to come.

Swansea ended their losing run at home last gameweek, but they haven’t stopped conceding, their ‘streak’ is now 10 goals conceded in the last 4. It’s hard to tell where a Wigan goal could come from though, but a shot in the dark lands on Arouna Kone. Going forwards, last gameweek’s goal and this week’s fixture has put me back on the Michu bandwagon for the moment.

The Blogger’s Team

Akilesh Radhakrishnan's FPL GW8 team
A good number of you have asked for me to put up my team for the gameweek on the blog, so I will oblige from this week onward with this new feature. That’s the blogger’s team for Gameweek 8. For those interested, my subs are Cech, Pogrebnyak, Zabaleta and Fabio.


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