FPL Gameweek 8 – The Fixtures: UCL minutes for key assets, schedule shifts and the ‘Fantastic Four’ debate

Heavy-hitting attackers are the hottest topic of conversation among the FPL community this week ahead of Friday’s 7.00pm deadline. Champions League minutes for several of those assets are also on the agenda, while some budget-friendly options see a positive turn in the fixture list.

GW8 FIXTURES

Friday 5th October

Brighton vs West Ham (20:00)

Saturday 6th October

Burnley vs Huddersfield (15:00)

Crystal Palace vs Wolves (15:00)

Leicester vs Everton (15:00)

Spurs vs Cardiff (15:00)

Watford vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Man Utd vs Newcastle (17:30)

Sunday 7th October

Fulham vs Arsenal (12:00)

Southampton vs Chelsea (14:15)

Liverpool vs Man City (16:30)

MINUTES TAKE

Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) and David Silva (£8.5m) both scored for Man City in a 2-1 win away to Hoffenheim on Tuesday, with each player completing the full 90.

The Argentine striker played 65 minutes against Brighton in GW7 before a planned substitution due to an ongoing foot issue. Luckily for owners, Aguero managed to net a superb strike while the board with his number was being readied.

After the win over the Seagulls, Guardiola revealed that the forward was “struggling a bit with some problems in his foot” and “not 100 per cent”. Before the Champions League tie in Germany, the City boss further stated: “Aguero's here because the doctors say he is able. He is much better but he still has pain.”

There have been no further reports on the striker’s fitness but with a huge clash away to Liverpool in GW8 followed by a real international break – Aguero has not been selected for Argentina duty – the 52.2%-owned forward is expected to start at Anfield.

City have four home fixtures from GW9 with Burnley, Southampton, Manchester United and Bournemouth all due at the Etihad. Trips to Spurs and West Ham are dotted in between but City’s 21 goals scored so far mean confidence is high in Guardiola’s attack. While Aguero’s minutes could continue to be managed, his form and those fixtures should add up to FPL returns.

David Silva, similarly, is likely to start at Anfield but has the potential to be rotated, which owners found to their dismay as City battered Cardiff 5-0 in GW6. That benching led to rumours that the Spaniard would not start three successive games, only for that exact scenario to occur.

Silva has begun City’s last three fixtures against Oxford United, Brighton and Hoffenheim. Ilkay Gundogan (£5.6m) picked up a hamstring problem in that Champions League tie, all but assuring that ‘El Mago’ will start against Liverpool. However, with Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) back in training and eyeing a return as soon as GW9, the City midfield line-up is set to become even more difficult to predict.

Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) played 75 minutes on Tuesday, seeing an early one-on-one opportunity saved, while Leroy Sane (£9.2m) completed the entire game, assisting Aguero’s opener. Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) was introduced for Gundogan and put in the cross that led to David Silva’s winner. Aymeric Laporte (£5.7m) has now started every City game this season apart from that Carabao Cup tie against Oxford.

Back in Manchester, Jose Mourinho’s team put in another lethargic attacking display in a 0-0 draw with Valencia. Luke Shaw (£5.1m) impressed again, however, ahead of the visit of goal-shy Newcastle on Saturday evening. The Red Devils travel to take on Chelsea following the international break, the first of four away ties from GW9.

Tottenham are already without a host of first-teamers for GW8, including midfielders Dele Alli (£9.0m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.2m). Serge Aurier (£5.8m) is also sidelined for the Cardiff tie, with Kieran Trippier (£6.2m) set to benefit with a seventh successive league start. The right-back completed 90 minutes against Barcelona on Wednesday.

However, Harry Kane (£12.5m) did not seem to miss the creative midfield pair too much as he bagged a brace (one penalty) against Huddersfield in GW7. That trend will need to be assessed over the coming fixtures, however.

The striker played the full game against Messi & Co midweek, scoring once as Spurs lost 4-2 to Barcelona on a rough Wembley surface.

After playing Cardiff at the England stadium on Saturday, Spurs come up against West Ham (a), Man City (H), Wolves (a), Palace (a) and Chelsea (H).

That run of fixtures clouds the clamour for getting Kane in, though it’s clear that the striker is the stand-out captain option this weekend. Opponents Cardiff have conceded 16 goals so far, half of those over three away fixtures.

Following a trip to Arsenal in GW14, Spurs’ schedule looks extremely favourable for an extended period. However FPL bosses decide to solve the Kane conundrum this weekend, an investment strategy from December would probably be wise.

Mohamed Salah (£12.9m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5) and Sadio Mane (£9.9m) all started for Liverpool in Naples. The latter was withdrawn late in the tie as Jurgen Klopp’s side conceded a late goal in a 1-0 defeat to Napoli.

Mohamed Salah (£12.9m), Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) and Sadio Mane (£9.9m) all started for Liverpool in Naples. The latter was withdrawn in the final stages as Jurgen Klopp’s side conceded a late goal in a 1-0 defeat to Napoli, though none of the trio impressed in Italy.

The Reds come up against the league’s three leakiest defences (16 goals conceded) in Huddersfield (a), Cardiff (H) and Fulham (H) between GW9 and GW12, while a GW11 trip to Arsenal is unlikely to hold any fear for Liverpool attackers.

The Anfield side’s schedule continues to look profitable all the way to their next meeting with the Citizens on New Year’s Day (GW21), with a visit to Molineux in GW18 perhaps looking the most daunting at the current time.

FIXTURE UP, LOOK SHARP

Brighton, West Ham and Watford all begin favourable fixture runs from GW8 after recent testing schedules. The Hammers travel to face the Seagulls on Friday while taking on Leicester (a), Burnley (H) and Huddersfield (a) from GW10. Those games are sandwiched by London Stadium visits from Spurs (GW9) and Man City (GW13) before a profitable-looking run of ties that stretches into 2019.

Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) is the obvious Irons target, having returned from injury in GW7 to bag the third goal in West Ham’s 3-1 win at home to Man Utd. The striker revealed post-match that he must manage the knock that kept him out of GW6.

Club captain Mark Noble (£4.9m) stated this week that he still out-ranks Arnautovic for spot-kick duty. Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.8m), meanwhile, has racked up 21 points in three starts since GW5.

Listed as a defender, Declan Rice (£4.4m) has started in midfield in each of the previous three gameweeks. Issa Diop (£4.3m) offers an even cheaper route into a defence that has conceded just twice since GW6, though the Hammers’ fixtures are mixed from a defensive point-of-view. The value provided by defenders such as Wolves wing-backs Matt Doherty (£4.6m) and Jonny (£4.4m) could also see the West Ham backline overlooked.

Despite Brighton’s failure to keep a clean sheet so far this season, Shane Duffy (£4.5m) has racked up 27 points so far. The Ireland centre-back has two goals and two assists to his name and could provide further value if Chris Hughton’s men can tighten up in defence.

Further up the field, Anthony Knockaert (£5.5m) has amassed the same points total as Duffy. The 1.2%-owned midfielder has supplied three assists and scored once for the Seagulls. After the West Ham clash, Brighton take on Newcastle (a), Wolves (H), Everton (a), Cardiff (a), Leicester (H) and Huddersfield (a).

The Frenchman, showing signs of his Championship POTY performances after a difficult 2017-18 campaign, now has the fixtures to match his early-season form.

Watford take on Bournemouth (H), Wolves (a), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (a) and Southampton (a) over the next five gameweeks. Both Liverpool and Man City visit Vicarage Road between GW13 and GW15 as the Hornets' schedule then turns somewhat sour.

Jose Holebas (£4.9m) has started every league tie, supplying four assists and a goal in the Hornets’ opening four fixtures. The Greek – who has a monopoly on set-pieces – is part of a defence without a clean sheet since GW1, though a relatively low average shot concession of 9.6 per game is encouraging. Holebas is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension, however.

After four wins in a row from GW1, Javi Gracia’s side have lost twice and drawn once. The 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in GW7 was Watford’s first time being kept scoreless, though the Gunners were slightly fortunate not to concede. Troy Deeney (£6.1m) is the 90-minute man up front, while Roberto Pereyra (£6.3m) and Will Hughes (£5.0m) have the potential to provide points with Watford’s immediate fixtures.

FOUR SCORE AND 7 GAMEWEEKS IN

The big question for FPL managers this week revolves around the ‘Fantastic Four’ – Aguero, Kane, Salah and current top scorer Eden Hazard (£11.1m).

Fitting the quartet into squads, even with a wildcard, would stretch the highest of team values to breaking point. The Chelsea star appears to be the least expendable considering his consistency, importance to the Blues’ attack and less pressing European schedule. Hazard was introduced against MOL Vidi in the 54th minute on Thursday night as Chelsea recorded a 1-0 home win.

That means to wedge Kane in for the plum GW8 fixture against Cardiff, one of Aguero or Salah must become sacrificial FPL lambs. As already mentioned, the fixture schedule for both the Argentinean and the Egyptian from GW9 means bosses may need to play heavy-hitter ‘hokey-cokey’ in order to fit the Spurs striker in.

A lot will come down to whether points hits are required for this sacrifice and how you think the Liverpool vs Man City clash will pan out. Salah has scored in all three home games this season, while Aguero has posted attacking returns in each of the last four gameweeks despite limited minutes. However, that fixture does mean Kane and Hazard are more favoured as GW8 captain picks.

As with all of FPL’s burning questions, the individual manager must click that transfer button before the gameweek starts. Luckily for the community, some very informative podcasts have further dissected the issue ahead of the GW8 deadline at 7.00pm on Friday.