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02 Oct 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 8 – Captain Picks

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Harry Kane tops the armband bill this weekend with Eden Hazard a distant second favourite, while three lowly-owned players could make excellent captaincy material for Gameweek 8.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Harry Kane (£12.5m) vs CAR (H)

With Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) not fully recovered from a foot problem and Mohamed Salah (£12.9m) yet to start firing on all cylinders, Kane has become the immediate premium option of choice; particularly as the former two heavy-hitters face off at Anfield in GW8.

While Spurs have a mixed upcoming schedule, a home clash against Cardiff looks extremely profitable for the England striker. Early adopters have already reaped the benefits as Kane bagged a 13-point haul away to Huddersfield in GW7. There was an element of luck involved as Danny Rose (£5.9m) fell theatrically to win a penalty, converted by the Spurs striker, but fortune favours the brave.

Apart from that spot-kick, Kane registered two shots; both inside the box, both on target. One was the header for his opener from Kieran Trippier’s (£6.2m) cross, while the other was a one-on-one opportunity thwarted by Jonas Lossl (£4.4m).

Encouragingly for owners and investors, Kane’s minutes-per-chance ratio has dropped from 37.3 in the opening five gameweeks to 22.5 over GW6 and GW7. Upcoming opponents Cardiff allowed Burnley just three shots on Sunday, but another two goals conceded means the Bluebirds (16) are the league’s joint-leakiest defence alongside Fulham and Huddersfield.

Now in 28.5% of squads, Kane has risen in price once this week already. A pre-GW7 rest during the Carabao Cup schedule will not be repeated ahead of GW8 as Tottenham welcome Barcelona to Wembley on Wednesday. However, that game could provide further evidence of Kane’s return to form after a shaky start to the season.

The forward is top for shots on target over the last four gameweeks and second for shots in the box. A plum fixture at home to the Bluebirds makes Kane a no-brainer captain pick for owners, despite the confirmed absence of Dele Alli (£9.0m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) until after the international break at least.

Eden Hazard (£11.1m) vs SOU (a)

The consistent Belgian, now owned by 40.9% of managers, posted attacking returns for the sixth time in seven gameweeks with a goal against Liverpool in GW7.

Hazard spurned a second big chance in that clash as Alisson (£5.6m) did well to deny the midfielder from close range after a Chelsea break. Those two shots inside the box were the Belgium star’s only efforts against a frugal Reds defence.

On Sunday, the Blues take on a Southampton side allowing opponents an average of 13.6 shots per game so far this season. Mark Hughes’ men have shipped seven goals over the last three gameweeks. Chelsea scored at least twice in each of their first five fixtures before a 0-0 draw at West Ham in GW6 and the 1-1 stalemate with Liverpool on Saturday evening.

Hazard was omitted from Maurizio Sarri’s Europa League squad ahead of GW6 and it would be no surprise to see the attacker rested again this Thursday. While Kane is the stand-out armband option, most squads require significant surgery or wildcards to accommodate the striker. Hazard has the form and fixture to rival the Spurs man as GW8’s top scorer.

DIFFERENTIAL CHOICES

Three of our captain picks this week have ownership under 7.5% but are premium points scorers in differential clothing.

Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m) vs FUL (a)

The 7.1%-owned Arsenal striker almost got on the end of Alex Iwobi’s (£5.5m) cross for the Gunners’ first against Watford before providing an assist for Mesut Ozil (£8.3m).

Lacazette has now spearheaded Unai Emery’s attack in each of the last four gameweeks. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) played up front in Arsenal’s first Europa League group game; if the Gabon attacker is picked for the role again on Thursday, it would further confirm Lacazette’s league berth.

The Frenchman has posted attacking returns for five gameweeks on the spin, bagging 34 points over those fixtures. Up against a Fulham side that have conceded 16 times this season and are letting the opposition have an average of 17.4 shots per game, Lacazette will have the opportunity to further beef up his points tally.

However, the striker will need to better his shooting accuracy from GW7; all four of Lacazette’s shots (two inside the box) against the Hornets were off target.

Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) vs Everton (H)

The Leicester striker has scored 19 points since returning from a ban in GW6. A goal and an assist against Huddersfield was followed by a penalty in GW7 away to Newcastle, with Vardy bagging two bonus points in both fixtures.

Backed up by the creative talents of James Maddison (£6.9m), the 4.6%-owned Vardy could punish an Everton defence that has conceded 11 times so far.

The Toffees kept a first clean sheet of the season at home to Fulham in GW7. While Marco Silva’s men restricted the Cottagers to just six shots at Goodison Park, two of those represented big chances for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side.

Claude Puel’s Foxes have netted in every game so far, while Vardy has been involved in four of the six goals scored while he was on the pitch over the last seven gameweeks.

Vardy departed the action against the Magpies in the 74th minute after a heavy Jonjo Shelvey tackle but is expected to be fit for GW8.

Raheem Sterling (£11.0m) vs LIV (a)

Just 4.3% of FPL selections currently contain the Man City winger, who was amassed 38 points over the past four gameweeks. Sterling scored 14 of those during a 2-0 win at home to Brighton in GW7.

The winger tops the charts for touches in the box among midfielders since GW5 with 38. While a trip to Liverpool is not a good fixture for any attacker, Chelsea did find gaps in the Reds’ defence at Stamford Bridge.

Up against his former club, Sterling will undoubtedly have a point to prove to the Anfield boo-boys. The ex-Red has so far failed to perform at his old ground, logging four frustrating performances.

However, his current form in a Man City side that has scored 21 times already this season could see the winger return points on Merseyside.

Sterling’s Champions League minutes should be monitored but his low ownership and explosive potential make the attacker an exciting differential option in a gameweek with few obvious captain picks.

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