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FPL: Five lessons learnt in GW8

The conclusion of GW8 in FPL arrives this evening (Monday), after Leicester City host West Bromwich Albion in Monday Night Football. GW8 to date has produced a comparatively low average (37 pts) for FPL managers – the lowest weekly average in 2017/18. 

Though in spite of the big-hitters; Kane, Lukaku et al, not producing returns representative of their hefty price-tags, what lessons can certainly be learnt from GW8?

  1. Manchester City mean business – their midfielders are a necessity.

A 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City on Saturday took Manchester City to the summit of the Premier League table, becoming the first side since Everton in 1893 to score 29 goals in their first eight league games. Are representatives from Manchester City’s attacking options an FPL necessity in your team? Simply, yes.

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Whilst Manchester City’s squad possesses players players defined as high-cost; Aguero (£11.5m), Jesus (£10.7m) and De Bruyne (£10.0m), in extracting value from your Manchester City selections, one must perhaps look slightly further back beyond the premium options in Guardiola’s simply superb squad.

Raheem Sterling (£8.1m) is currently the most transferred player in ahead of GW9 (115k in), after his 15 point haul in the Stoke City mauling took the Englishman’s FPL tally to 50 points for the season (6 goals, 2 assists). At £8.1m, Sterling represents tremendous value, and with 10.3% ownership (at time of writing), could this be the man to propel you up the rankings in your FPL mini-leagues?

Yes. He really could. Though there also an abundance of other options for consideration. David Silva (£8.5m) has started every Premier League game for Pep Guardiola this season, accumulating 6 assists and 1 goal in the process. In selecting Manchester City players, you are faced with the prospect of Pep’s rotation dilemma, though Silva is seemingly nailed on – and at £8.5m with Burnley at home to come in GW9, Manchester City representation in your midfield is a borderline necessity. 

Kevin De Bruyne (£10m) is arguably the most in-form player in the Premier League at present; a masterclass performance vs Stoke City on Saturday attests to this, and whilst KDB will return FPL points for your team (5 assists, 1 goal), the likes of Sterling and Silva represent stronger value – regardless of who you opt for, there is one certainty. Manchester City midfielders are a necessity – the only question is who will you be picking?

2. Anthony Knockaert reminds us of his FPL potential. 

Anthony Knockaert bagged his first Premier League goal of 2017/18 in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday.

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Knockaert; recipient of the Championship Player of the Year award in 2016/17, accrued 15 goals and eight assists in Brighton’s promotion season last year, and it was only a matter of time before Chris Hughton’s talisman got off the mark in their debut Premier League campaign.

Knockaert; priced at £5.7m, could accurately be described as Brighton’s most naturally talented player, and coupled with his 0.8% ownership and fixtures against West Ham (A), Southampton (H), Swansea (A) and Stoke (H) in Brighton’s next four PL fixtures, could it be the right time to bring in Knockaert as an FPL differential potentially about to hit a purple patch of form?

Alongside the likes of Solly March (£5.0m) and Pascal Gross (£5.7m), there is creative potential in the Brighton midfield, and Knockaert’s clinical finishing could allow him to capitalise on this. Certainly worth of consideration for GW9 and beyond.

3. Tammy Abraham’s in form. Though is he in your FPL team?

Tammy Abraham bagged himself a brace vs Huddersfield Town on Saturday, taking the Chelsea loanees league tally to 4 goals for the 2017/18 season.

Abraham; priced at £5.7m and with 8.1% ownership, is certainly worth of consideration for your selection, with home fixtures vs Leicester City, Brighton and Bournemouth in the next five GW’s.

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Abraham developed a reputation as a clinical poacher both in his time coming through Chelsea’s youth academy as well as during his time at Bristol City; 23 league goals in 2016/17, and with the departure of Fernando Llorente to Tottenham alongside Paul Clement being yet to truly thrust Wilfried Bony into the midst, Abraham at 10%< ownership could be worthy of selection in your FPL team.

Though act fast, 73,000 managers have already done so ahead of GW9.

4. Watford under Marco Silva will fight to the death, as will their star-man Richarlison.

Watford’s 2-1 victory vs Arsenal on Saturday was a stunning result for the Hornets. Silva’s side have now scored three consecutive 90+ minute goals, with victories against Bournemouth and Arsenal coupled with a last-minute draw vs West Bromwich Albion meaning Watford now sit fourth in the Premier League table.

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Central to their success has been summer signing Richarlison; £6.2m & 8.9% ownership, who has scored three goals and registered three assists as Watford have made their best start to a top-flight campaign since 1982/83.

Richarlison’s involvement in winning the penalty vs Arsenal was contentious, but FPL points bear no influence on subjectivity, and the facts speak for themselves. Richarlison is in stunning form and represents excellent value at £6.2m

Watford have lost only once in 2017/18; a 6-0 mauling by Manchester City, and with games against Chelsea, Stoke and Everton in their next three, could Richarlison be the man to make a difference in your FPL team?

5. Mkhitaryan’s stunning start begins to fade.

Henrik Mkhitaryan’s start to the 2017/18 Premier League campaign was simply stunning; as were his FPL returns, with the Armenian international registering 5 assists in his first 3 PL games of the season. 

In spite of this quality start from Manchester United’s midfielder, he really has begun to tail off, registering just one goal in his last 5 GW’s, and 0 assists in that time. With fixtures against Spurs (H) and Chelsea (A) in Utd’s next three games, FPL managers are beginning to lose faith in ‘Mikhi’ with 72k transfers out; at time of writing, ahead of GW9. 

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A £0.5m price rise since the start of the season means profit is now available on Mkhitaryian, and with Manchester City’s midfielders in simply stunning form, is it time to ditch the man himself in favour of other more promising options?

Written by Tom Newman.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 2 2 0 0 6
2 Arsenal 2 2 0 0 6
3 Manchester City 2 1 1 0 4
4 Manchester United 2 1 1 0 4
5 Brighton & Hov… 2 1 1 0 4
6 Tottenham Hotspur 2 1 1 0 4
7 AFC Bournemouth 2 1 1 0 4
8 Sheffield United 2 1 1 0 4
9 Everton 3 1 1 1 4
10 Burnley 2 1 0 1 3
11 Aston Villa 3 1 0 2 3
12 Norwich City 2 1 0 1 3
13 Leicester City 2 0 2 0 2
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 0 2 0 2
15 Crystal Palace 2 0 1 1 1
16 Chelsea 2 0 1 1 1
17 West Ham United 2 0 1 1 1
18 Newcastle United 2 0 0 2 0
19 Southampton 2 0 0 2 0
20 Watford 2 0 0 2 0

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