Game Week 8 was the ultimate payout that fantasy managers were seeking, with a Newcastle United collapse that helped Sergio Aguero equal the existing BPL record of five personal goals in a match. In a feat not seen since Dimitar Berbatov’s quintet against Blackburn in November 2010, Aguero’s destruction of Newcastle came as little surprise given the Magpies’ paucity of points.
Those fortunate enough to have appointed the Argentinean hotshot as captain are now firmly in the proverbial driving seat, leaving their opposition with much ground to cover. But with Aguero now sidelined by an injury sustained on international duty, Managers will need to look elsewhere to maintain their points momentum.
1/2. Kurt Zouma & Willian – vs Aston Villa (H)
Zouma played no part in the horror show that was Chelsea’s 1-3 home defeat to Southampton. Instead it was the age-old John Terry who partnered Gary Cahill at the back, putting in a sorry performance that surely stamps his transatlantic ticket to the MLS.
Though Villa striker Rudy Gestede is likely to be the difference between relegation and survival, it will be far from easy for him to breach the Chelsea defence if the service from the Villa midfield remains as telegraphed as ever. For that reason, Kurt Zouma is a relatively safe bet for a clean sheet bonus.
Willian is not a 90-minute player, but he evidently has the ability to make his mark from dead ball situations. Due to Villa’s increasing desperation for results under Tim Sherwood, a lot of Chelsea free kicks are to be expected, and Willian remains an affordable alternative to the likes of Pedro and Cesc Fabregas.
3. Nacho Monreal or Hector Bellerin – vs Watford (A)
There is no doubt that the Hornets will attack Arsenal with impressive gusto, making this game an intriguing specimen. Sadly for Watford, Arsene Wenger is the true master of the counter-attack, and the difference in top flight pedigree could make GW9 a torturous experience for the home side.
If Arsenal can display the same composure against Watford as they did against Manchester United, then at least one of the wingbacks could play a huge part in any counter-attacking manoeuvres, scoring assist points if not a clean sheet bonus.
4. Nathan Redmond – vs Newcastle (A)
Newcastle have already lost at home to newly promoted opposition this season, and a victory for Norwich would come as little surprise given the Magpies’ dreadful form. The visiting Canaries are under no pressure whatsoever, and showed admirable spirit in their previous game – a home defeat to a Leicester side that is playing incorrigible football under Claudio Ranieri.
Nathan Redmond is the man set to drive another nail into the proverbial coffin of Newcastle manager Steve McLaren. His drive and pace never fails to cause havoc and, with Newcastle’s midfield in a seemingly never-ending period of ‘transition’, the 21 year old will be one to watch under the Sky cameras on Sunday afternoon.
5. Bafbatemi Gomis – vs Stoke (H)
Gomis’ initial purple patch has turned morbidly black, with a return of zero goals in the last four games. It is a stark contrast to the blistering start that saw goals scored in each of the first four game weeks. For this reason, Gomis’ price has not surged to the stratospheric heights that many fantasy managers expected, but he remains a valuable addition to your squad.
Ultimately form is temporary, but class is permanent, and it is only a matter of time before Gomis’ lean period comes to an end. The visit of Stoke City, with just one clean sheet this season, represents a good opportunity for Gomis to return to his goal poaching ways.
6. Delle Alli – vs Liverpool (H)
Jürgen Klopp has wasted no time in stamping his authority on a wayward Liverpool team bringing huge promise to Anfield. Charismatic though Klopp is, the demands of authorities at a high-profile club such as Liverpool will undoubtedly prove to be something of a culture shock for the German ‘messiah’. A short period of transition is to be expected, giving Tottenham the opportunity to ruin Klopp’s Premier League bow on Saturday afternoon.
Since arriving on the top-flight scene, young Delle Alli has established himself as the great hope of White Hart Lane, having played every minute of the last three BPL games in succession. Though Liverpool may have the greater flair in midfield, Spurs have the better resilience, and the inclusion of Alli should prove to be a shrewd, and highly economical, decision.