This week’s fixtures offer a number of possible clean sheets and investment opportunities for our fantasy teams.
The Chelsea choice
Facing a Palace side who have lost 7 in a row, haven’t scored in any of the games, and are missing their two most likely goal scorers in Christian Benteke and Ruben Loftis-Cheek, the Champs must be the no1 option this week.
The Eagles must score at some point, and they have home advantage in a game that they are expected to lose, so it’s a no pressure game for them. Maybe they could do the old one shot on target = one goal that destroys a fantasy week, but equally they may just be looking to just get this game out of the way. The side may be looking ahead to Game week 9 when the season starts all over all for Roy’s men.
- FPL - Thibaut Courtois
Courtois may be tough for many to get in. His 5.5m price along with the likely lack of funds held in your bank may mean needing to take a hit/use 2 free transfers to add blues defensive coverage. Chelsea have 3 potential clean sheet chances in a row, so taking a hit may work out well over the period if it doesn’t make your squad unappealing elsewhere. The keeper is the cheapest way into a clean sheet in FPL, and with fixtures turning, you could consider swapping him in for David De Gea should you own the United man.
- Fantrax – Gary Cahill
I’m not taken with the player cost against reward in this format, but Cahill is the type who can reward at both ends of the pitch. If you are sure he starts, then perhaps consider him if you have the money.
- Togga – Marcos Alonso (all in)
If you don’t think Chelsea get caught with the first Palace goal of the season (and with the way Palace are playing that may well be an own goal), you could go all in on the blues. If you have just the one, then it’s got to be Alonso.
Southampton’s season has started safe but flat in performance. Luckily that concern has been with the attacking threat of the side, not with the defending. In the 7 games so far, the Saints have already provided 3 clean sheets. In game week 8, they face a Newcastle side that have failed to win 13 of their last 14 away league games. Looking ahead, it’s back to back home games for Southampton, so investment there need not be viewed as one week only.
- FPL – Ryan Bertrand
Bertrand’s form has seen him break into the England side in a World Cup season. With concerns raised on Danny Rose’s long term prospects, Bertrand will wish to ensure he keeps his spot by performing consistently for his club. Bertrand's flying attacks from deep mean that he can add assists, the occasional goal, and bonus points to his clean sheet chance.
- Fantrax – Virgil Van Dijk
Assuming he starts, VVD is a cheaper but not cheap way into the Saints’ backline. At times a top quality central defender, he is playing for a summer move, so he must impress.
- Togga – Bertrand/VVD
Bertrand has the edge for me over Cedric for the spot. If VVD starts, he seems sure to dominate a less physical Joselu, winning tackles and interceptions. Plus VVD poses an obvious danger at set pieces.
The Wembley wingers
Spurs’ attacking performances in the last 2 weeks had a rhythm to them. In both games, the two wing backs were heavily involved. Tottenham is due a first home win, and with Bournemouth’s setup exposing them when not in possession, that first home win may come in very convincing fashion.
- FPL – Ben Davies
After a monster score in week 7, it’s greedy of owners to hope for a duplication in game week 8, but that exactly what I hope for. Though Rose may be back soon, Davies starts this week as long as he is fit. At times Ben plays further forward than Harry Kane, and he’s even on some corners / free kicks. Based on potential score, Davies is the standout choice for game week 8 in the formats where he’s considered a defender.
- Fantrax - Tony Alderweireld
With Davies viewed as a midfield man I will call Tony as the choice. I wrote many times last season that he was overdue a set piece goal, and he is still overdue in 2017/18.
- Togga – Davies
Scraps for the Swans
Swansea have had a mixed-bag start to the season. Wonderful results like the draw at Wembley have been offset by home defeats from Newcastle and Watford. Huddersfield have also had an up and down start, so this looks a tight game to me. The side holding the greater energy levels and composure late in the 2nd half can win it should the game not finish 0-0.
- FPL – Kyle Naughton
Naughton has been unlucky not to return brilliant points for his cost a couple of times. He could prosper in a game where the home team may have more possession.
- Fantrax – Naughton
Priced just nice enough to justify a small risk.
- Togga – Naughton
A full house of Naughton picks.
At some point one of the bigger clubs is going to cotton to the job Sean Dyche is doing on his micro budget at Burnley. His sides are often tough to beat, and they give an honest performance, trying to score goals rather than just sitting deep. Throughout their time in the Premier League, they have returned decent chances of a clean sheet, and they have a shot at one once again this week.
- FPL – Pope/Ward
There is a long way to go before Pope can be the new Tom Heaton, but he has started well. Back to back clean sheets and with decent home fixtures to come, he is a bargain right now. Ward meanwhile has been a bonus man from the Burnley defence capable of offering attacking returns, and he is still attractively priced. I wouldn’t even argue against a double up.
- Fantrax – All are too expensive
- Togga – Stephen Ward
An assist and goal already this season and pretty good delivery into the box mean Ward is the choice here.
The Foxes were dealt a brutal set of opening fixtures, but things are easing, so the 2015/16 champions are looking upwards for the new few weeks. Visiting game-week 8 opponents WBA are dangerous on set pieces but surrender possession so much that Leicester won’t have to survive waves of pressure.
- FPL – Danny Simpson
Simpson likely won’t offer you attacking returns, but he’s cheap and safe to start.
- Fantrax – Kasper Schmeichel
The cheap way into the Leicester clean sheet chance.
- Togga – Christian Fuchs
Fuchs was a player who scored very well in Togga a couple of seasons back. While he may have peaked then, he still offers value, particularly in home games.
Pep’s blue tide
Seeing a Pep Guardiola side dominate possession, create a huge number of chances, and score more goals than expected isn’t anything unusual in his management career. His sides at Barcelona and Bayern Munch did this more weeks that not, and even though (in my opinion) this City side is not close to the level of those sides, they are doing a fantastic impression.
I thought this would be a tough season for Stoke, and they may yet struggle. Despite having a mini injury crisis, they have dealt with tough fixtures and proved me wrong. They have their manager’s fight in them, and I think they enjoy their games against the bigger teams. I still think they likely lose against a rampant City, but I actually like Stoke’s chances of scoring in week 8, and perhaps they’ll push Pep’s men close. Still, the stats are on City’s side.
- FPL – Nicolas Otamendi
Otamendi has more tackles, interceptions, clearances, passes and blocks than any other City defender. He also has a goal, and he averages over an effort on goal per game. He is the top FPL points scorer in the City side.
- Fantrax – Nobody
Kyle Walker is much better coming forward than going backwards and the beauty of the City system is that coming forward as often as possible is exactly what he is expected to do. Having sat out the second England game he will be fresh and therefore he should start. However, he doesn’t seem to be getting the clean sheet points.
- Togga - Walker
Walker’s attacking play combined with the clean sheet chances make him the play in a format where he can do well.
How do you see the choice in the week ahead? Dare you go all in Chelsea?