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Arsenal, Liverpool… and Stoke feature in the Gameweek Preview??

Man City’s Aguero and Southampton’s Tadic have increased the Magic Number!

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling And The 5 #FPL Players You MUST Pick This Week

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Gameweek 8

 

DEFENCE: Daryl Janmaat – £5.0m (Home v Leicester)

What’s this? A Newcastle defender? Newcastle?!

Correct, Newcastle. Summer signing Daryl Janmaat has looked okay since he arrived at St James’s Park from Dutch football, even managing a goal against Crystal Palace. As he faces a Leicester side who drew a blank at Crystal Palace last time out he’ll be looking to keep things tight from right-back whilst also getting forward, too. Could be worth a punt at a cheap price.

 

MIDFIELD: Raheem Sterling – £8.9m (Away v QPR)

Some things are just meant to be, and following the week he’s had (which included, let’s not forget, coming off the bench to win the free-kick from which England won the game in Estonia) then it seems likely that Raheem Sterling will have a huge say in proceedings back at his former club QPR on Sunday.

Liverpool’s well-rested teenager is likely to be teamed up with Daniel Sturridge again as his club and country teammate returns from injury, and that combination could help the Reds to a victory at a club who continue to struggle this season.

 

FORWARD: Saido Berahino – £5.6m (Home v Man Utd)

The prolific young Baggie Saido Berahino netted a penalty at Anfield before the international break, during which he impressed for the England under-21s.

The forward will fancy his chances against Manchester United’s dodgy defence on Monday night, when Louis van Gaal’s side will expect to win at The Hawthorns, but could do so whilst conceding goals at the other end to this lively youngster.

 

THE OUTSIDER: Gabriel Agbonlahor – £5.4m (Away v Everton)

The last time Aston Villa were on Merseyside they emerged from Anfield as 1-0 victors thanks to a winner from Gabriel Agbonlahor, and the Villa stalwart will be important again as they return to the area to take on an Everton side who have specialised in conceding goals this season.

Paul Lambert’s men sorely missed Agbonlahor during the 2-0 loss at home to Manchester City just before the internationals when he pulled out just before kick-off through illness, but now he’s back up and running he’ll be vital if the Villans are to take anything from Goodison Park. He could be worth a gamble.

 

THE CAPTAIN: Diego Costa – £11.1m (Away v Crystal Palace)

Yep, it’s him again.

As the evidence grows that Diego Costa’s ‘injury’ is just an elaborate wind-up from Jose Mourinho (as if he’d dream of doing such a thing!) then it really does make sense just to keep sticking with the Chelsea forward.

Costa finally managed his first Spain goal in seven appearances on Sunday, and now he’s got Palace in his sights.

 

@Mark_Jones86   

GW8 Preview: Everton’s Lukaku looking to give Hull the Blues

Romelu Lukaku

As international breaks go that one was pretty entertaining wasn’t it? But it’s time to get back to the real stuff now.

When we left the Premier League a fortnight ago, the division’s last remaining unbeaten record had been surrendered at Manchester City.

Everton were perhaps a touch unfortunate to lose 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium, particularly as they were on the end of some unfortunate refereeing decisions and had gone 1-0 up in the match. For the scorer of their goal though, this week offers up a chance at redemption.

Romelu Lukaku (£8.0m) is still the only Chelsea forward to have scored a Premier League goal this season. He’s scored four in fact, but they’ve all come for the Blues from Goodison Park and not those from Stamford Bridge.

The talented Belgian has netted those four goals in just 217 minutes of action for Roberto Martinez’s men, and as he returns to Goodison ahead of the weekend meeting with Hull he’ll be looking to rekindle memories of his only other league appearance for Everton there so far, when he scored twice against Newcastle.

Steve Bruce’s side have been impressive at the back so far this season though and so Lukaku can’t expect the kind of generous defending he got from the Geordies, but following an international break in which he scored the two goals against Croatia which fired Belgium to the World Cup, he shouldn’t be short on confidence.

Supported by the likes of Ross Barkley (£5.6m) and international teammate Kevin Mirallas (£7.2m), this could turn out to be an afternoon to remember for Lukaku, who scored four goals against promoted teams when he was wearing a West Brom shirt last season. Hull have been warned.

Elsewhere we are confronted with the sort of fixtures that you’d think were home bankers.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United will all be expecting to take maximum points as they welcome Norwich, Cardiff and Southampton respectively to their home grounds.

For United, a home slip up would be simply unthinkable so soon after the Old Trafford defeat against West Brom, but they’ll be coming up against a team who’ve kept clean sheets in each of their last four games – a run which includes their win at Anfield.

Such form might make it difficult to recommend Robin van Persie (£13.9m), who is interestingly losing support amongst Fantasy bosses.

Take away penalties, and the Dutchman has failed to score in 14 of his last 18 games, a run which is most unlike him and has seen many turn their attentions towards the more in-form and cheaper Wayne Rooney (£10.9m) instead.

No such issues exist at Arsenal though, and they welcome Norwich for a fixture which looks like it’ll guarantee goals.

The back of the next has been hit at least four times on each of the last four occasions that these two have met in North London, and with Norwich having conceded three to Chelsea last time out the likes of Olivier Giroud (£9.5m) and Aaron Ramsey (£6.7m) are sure to see support here. Mesut Ozil (£10.6m) is a slight doubt but should recover.

For Chelsea, the Brazilian Oscar (£8.8m) could again hold the key for them against Cardiff following goals in five of his last seven matches for club and country, whilst Newcastle won’t be relishing the visit of Liverpool to St James’s Park less than six months after the Reds won 6-0 there. Daniel Sturridge (£9.9m) grabbed two of those, and the Reds look likely to welcome most of their injured players back on Tyneside.

Gus Poyet’s Sunderland career starts with a visit to a Swansea side that he could see as a strong reference point for his new team’s future, particularly if he can nurture players as good as home full-back Ben Davies (£5.0m) who has scored two in his last five.

West Ham’s Ravel Morrison (£4.4m) is on a run of two in three, and the ex-Manchester United man will be fired up for the visit of Manchester City, who have already slipped up twice on the road this season and will be fearful of a third.

@Mark_Jones86

Bet McLean

Gameweek 8 preview: The case for the defence

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As Fantasy managers we’re all guilty of paying too much attention to the goalscorers and the Fancy Dans – or rather the Fancy Edens, Santis and Shinjis – but what about the case for the defence?

After a Gameweek 7 which saw goals for Leighton Baines (£7.5m), Aleksandar Kolarov (£5.7m), Branislav Ivanovic (£7.2m), Steven Caulker (£4.7m), Jonny Evans (£5.8m), Patrice Evra (£6.8m) and two from Jose Fonte (£4.0m) – not to mention the large amount of clean sheet and bonus points handed out to defenders – perhaps it’s about time to appreciate the men at the back as much as those further forward.

A solid back line can make or break Fantasy seasons in the same way that a Polish roof can determine whether a game goes ahead or not, and we start our celebration of the often underappreciated with the man at the top.

Baines is the most expensive defender in Fantasy Premier League, yet there aren’t many better ways of spending imaginary money outside a game of Monopoly.

With two goals and two assists so far this season, Baines might be behind Chelsea’s three-goal Ivanovic in terms of points at the moment, but the Everton man’s penalty taking prowess suggests that it won’t be long before he bypasses the Serb at the top of the defenders’ table.

He scored a penalty in Everton’s last match away at Wigan, but it is Baines’ frequent forward runs and regular chance creation which make him worth the admittedly expensive punt. Money doesn’t so much talk as shout in the case of Baines, but with the Blues no doubt confident of taking something from their trip to Loftus Road to face QPR on Sunday, he could be a man to bank on again and in the weeks and months to come.

Whilst Baines’s price indicates that most would have predicted him to be a defensive star throughout the campaign, there are cheaper options who have also muscled their way towards the top.

At the start of the season the odds of Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson (£5.1m) being a hit amongst Fantasy bosses would have been as high as Felix Baumgartner was at one point on Sunday evening, but a series of consistent displays have seen the Gunners full-back find himself in more than a fifth of teams.

Having played every minute of all seven of Arsenal’s league games this season – and seen his Fantasy price rise by almost £0.1m per game as a result – Jenkinson appears to have matured as a player from the Bambi roller-skating on ice tribute act he often resembled during his debut Arsenal campaign, and with a potential England call-up on the horizon he’ll be in a mood to impress when Arsenal go to Norwich on Saturday evening. A clean sheet looks on that horizon too.

Manchester United and Liverpool will also be confident of keeping their own sheets spotless as they host Stoke and Reading respectively, and whilst Rafael (£5.9m) and Glen Johnson (£6.4m) are perhaps the best long-term defensive options from both sides, Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom (£4.5m) presents an interesting choice after starting the Reds’ last two league games. The 19-year-old has slotted into the team at right-back, and picked up three bonus points in Liverpool’s last match against Stoke.

It is to a man who has long left Liverpool behind that we turn to for our third main defensive choice though, as John Arne Riise (£5.5m) looks to help build on Fulham’s reasonably optimistic start to the season.

The Norwegian – who has over 100 caps for his country – has yet to score for the west Londoners, but he has contributed three assists so far this season, and will be hoping to add to that total when Aston Villa head to Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon. Paul Lambert’s side haven’t exactly been prolific this season, and so the potential for clean sheet points cannot be ruled out.

They might not be as glamorous as the ones you get from your big name attackers but they all count the same in the end.

The Fancy Leightons, Carls and Johns deserve their moment in the spotlight.

@Mark_Jones86

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