FPL Gameweek 8 – Projections

The big news following Gameweek 8 is the potential injury to top-scoring FPL player (and all round good guy) Kevin De Bruyne (£10.0m). The midfielder missed City’s Champions League match with a groin strain and is now a doubt for the weekend.

The loss of De Bruyne could impact City’s latest bandwagon Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m), who has been in exceptional form in recent weeks. His partnership down City’s right-hand side has been on another level recently and it remains to be seen how the Belgian's potential absence will impact not only the team but Mahrez’ form.

In non-Guardiola related news, Leicester showed off their top four credentials with a 5-0 mauling of Newcastle. Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) took his tally to 13 goals in 17 matches since Brendan Rodgers took over, while Ricardo Pereira (£6.1m) demonstrated the value of premium defenders with his second goal in as many matches.

In a sentence that has now been written three weeks running, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (£11.0m) and Callum Wilson (£7.8m) again scored to keep pace with Aguero as the only three players to record attacking returns every gameweek this season.

With the second international break of the season right around the corner, the algorithm makes its selection for Gameweeks 8's projected XI.

OPTIMUM SQUAD

Gameweek 7 saw a mixed back from the optimum squad’s XI. For every successful pick – De Bruyne, John McGinn (£5.7m), Mason Mount (£6.7m) – there was an equally disappointing pick – Nicolas Otamendi (£5.5m), Bjorn Engels (£4.5m), Tammy Abraham (£7.6m). The team essentially struggled with not having that one big point scorer and like so many other FPL managers, got stung by the rotation bug as captain Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) was left on the bench by Pep in his latest edition of how to upset the PFL community. In the end, the side registered a forgettable 47 points, four less than the weekly average.

Following its disappointment last week, the algorithm has decided more defensive solidity is required at the back and has gone for a 4-3-3 formation. With clean sheets at a premium this season, it does seem a strange decision but there is method to the madness as the inclusion of a cheap forth defender has allowed enough funds to be freed up to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m).

Aubameyang’s goal on Monday night took his tally to seven for the season. Arsenal face Bournemouth this week, a side Aubameyang scored against home and away last year. The Gabonese striker joins the duo of Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) and Teemu Pukki (£7.2m), while Tammy Abraham (£7.6m) has paid the price for his four big chances missed last weekend.

Aguero is included despite the fear if him being rested – as the robot knows no fear, or any emotion for that matter. Pukki is given one more week to prove he’s more Michu than Mitrovic, where a home match against Aston Villa could be just the tonic for his away day blues.

A midfield triumvirate of Heung-Min Son (£9.7m), Sadio Mane (£11.6m) and John McGinn (£5.7m) makes for fairly cheerful viewing. McGinn showed his value again last week by scoring yet another goal and having a further one disallowed through VAR. Aston Villa play Norwich this week.

Mane is once again the Liverpool asset of choice for GW8, with the Reds facing Leicester at Anfield this weekend. Mane has generally enjoyed matches against the Foxes, scoring home and away against the side last season. Son, meanwhile, now has a goal and three assists in his last four Premier League matches and scored midweek against Bayern Munich. Spurs’ defensive troubles may play into their attacking assets' hands, as they know that one or even two goals probably isn’t enough for victory on a weekly basis.

At the back are the top two point-scoring defenders, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.1m) and Ricardo Pereira. Liverpool and Leicester currently have the best defensive record in the league as both have conceded just five goals this season. The pair also highlights the importance of defenders who can return attacking points. Pereira has two goals this season, while Alexander-Arnold has a goal and three assists. With sides struggling to keep clean sheets, this additional avenue to point collection is vital.

The final two defensive spots belong to fantasy darling John Lundstram (£4.4m) and West Ham right-back Ryan Fredericks (£4.5m). Sheffield Utd play bottom-of-the-table Watford, while West Ham host a Crystal Palace side who have failed to score in two of their three away matches this season.

The algorithm’s last line of defence is once again a West Ham goalkeeper but this week it’s budget option Roberto (£4.4m) as opposed to the now injured Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m). Back at home following a trip to Bournemouth in Gameweek 7, West Ham haven’t conceded in their last two home matches after letting five in against Man City in the opening match of the season.

BEST OF THE REST - GOALKEEPERS

BEST OF THE REST - DEFENDERS

BEST OF THE REST - MIDFIELDERS

BEST OF THE REST - FORWARDS

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