Gameweek 8: #FPL Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
Top tip from this week:
If you’re ever late for anything, be it a date, a job interview or a funeral, blame the local police force for not giving you an escort.
If it’s good enough for Jose, it’s good enough for the rest of us. Now, down to work.
Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United
In normal circumstances I wouldn’t touch a United player right now while wearing a hazmat suit, but this weekend they are at home to a Newcastle United attack that’s as razor sharp as Donald Trump’s intellect. Rafa is going to see this match as a perfect opportunity to roll out vintage mid 2000’s ‘Rafaball’. Expect a back four guarded by a back five with the striker dropping deep to help in midfield. So, you’re common or garden 4-6-0 formation to you and me. This reduces the risk of a United clean sheet wipe-out to below 0.000003%, and will also place a strong emphasis on the Old Trafford outfit to attack with a bit more gusto than in previous weeks, which wouldn’t be hard. Luke Shaw has a goal and two assists to his name already this season as an ‘attacking’ fullback, with three bonus points added in for good measure.
If you’re going to be a (red) devil’s advocate this week, Shaw is the smart play.
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Midfielder: Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
Four factors influencing this decision:
- Arsenal are away to a Fulham defence with more holes in it than a Brett Kavanaugh testimony (14 conceded in 7 games)
- Ozil has two 10-point hauls in his last three GW’s and Arsenal have scored 14 goals in their last 6 premier league fixtures
- Ozil is no longer the ‘wantaway / contract rebel’ de jour at The Emirates, as Aaron Ramsey has kindly taken that spotlight all for himself.
- Ozil has retired from international football (to save @FantasyYIRMA time on the editing process I’m not going to comment on that), so he’s going to get nice long rests during the interminable upcoming international breaks.
Putting all those factors into my supercomputer leads to the conclusion that it’s now time to back the bug-eyed mercurial midfield maestro.
Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
It’s been somewhat of a stop/start season so far for the Foxes flyer thanks to a red card in GW2 that stunted a promising start. However, since his return from suspension, it’s been like old times for Vardy with two goals and an assist in his last two GW’s.
A home game to an Everton defence that hasn’t exactly been water-tight this season is enticing but perhaps more enticing is his upcoming fixtures against the likes of West Ham, Cardiff, Burnley, Brighton, Watford and Fulham. Add into this mix his price tag of under £9.0m and his ownership of under 5% and you have yourself a historically reliable differential. Do you know how rare that is?
Captain: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
Time for this week’s Mr. Obvious calculation (see the GW7 Preview for an explanation):
With Manchester City and Liverpool clashing, that rules out the likes of Aguero and Salah. Arsenal are away to an inviting Fulham side but that game kicks off at noon on a Sunday, so Laca and Auba are out (you NEVER captain somebody playing before 3pm, trust me on this). United are a circus so that rules out Lukaku. Chelsea are away to Southampton after a midweek Europa League tie, which saw them held scoreless at West Ham after their last European foray, so that rules out Hazard.
So, we’re left with Kane at home to Cardiff, and even without all the above permutations, this one screams out as being the obvious pick. Harry has 22 points in his last two GW’s which featured three goals and six bonus points. He’s also started shooting about 300% more often. I’ve asked Rachel Riley to confirm my workings but the restraining order is making it difficult, but I’m confident I’m right.
Outsider: Johann Berg Gudmondsson, Burnley
After I tipped a player with 22 league minutes in this slot last week (and he scored), this week I’m tipping somebody appearing with far more regularity, but in a side that looks to be coming back into form. A goal and three assists in his last two GW’s has caught my eye, and although his fixtures in GW’s 9 and 10 look testing, he has a home fixture against a pretty terrible Huddersfield Town side looming large this weekend. He’s under £6.0m and has an ownership of under 2%. Thank me later.
Draft: Jonathan Castro Otto, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Way back in my GW6 preview I urged you to get a Wolves full back into your side if you could, namely Matt Doherty. I’m pretty sure that if you didn’t listen to my advice you’ll be unable to do so now as he would undoubtedly have been snapped up.
So, here’s a chance for you to get protected from draft humiliation. Get a Jonny. You should always have a Jonny to hand.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.