Gameweek 8 preview

October 2, 2015

03 Oct 12:45 Crystal Palace v West Brom
03 Oct 15:00 Aston Villa v Stoke
03 Oct 15:00 Bournemouth v Watford
03 Oct 15:00 Man City v Newcastle
03 Oct 15:00 Norwich v Leicester
03 Oct 15:00 Sunderland v West Ham
03 Oct 17:30 Chelsea v Southampton
04 Oct 13:30 Everton v Liverpool
04 Oct 16:00 Arsenal v Man Utd
04 Oct 16:00 Swansea v Spurs

After gameweek five Manchester City sat clear at the top of the table, hadn’t conceded a goal, led the goalscoring charts and most of their starting eleven dominated the top scoring fantasy players. In a fortnight they’ve lost two and conceded six. They’ve not fared too much better in the intervening European games. How much of it is down to having to rotate that once impenetrable defence is anyone’s guess, but Vincent Kompany, who will be on the sidelines again this weekend, Joe Hart and Equialim Mangala have all been missed. Last week’s donkey, Martin Demichelis, and new signing, Nicolas Otamendi have amassed a total of one point between them in the outings they’ve had.

More worrying is the form of their main man. Sergio Aguero should smell blood against one of the league’s dodgiest defences. City’s record in the league against Newcastle during the ‘money years’ is pretty good. Played a lot – won ’em all – and usually by more than the odd goal. This, for many managers, will be Aguero’s last chance. Fail to score past this shower and you’re out. You can get two Jamie Vardys for one Sergio Aguero.

Equally frustrating is Yaya Toure and David Silva seemingly taking in turns to be injured in recent weeks, although Kevin De Bruyne has been an instant success and their main source of goals since his signing. You’d still be mad to bet against a healthy home win.

As City have floundered, West Ham and Leicester have become the leagues leading scorers. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have 11 of Leicester’s 15 goals – at the combined cost of £13.1 million. That’s cheaper than one Aguero. However, only Sunderland have conceded more. They added five more to their against total after their defeat to Arsenal last weekend. They’re the modern day mid 90’s Newcastle. And they play Norwich, who themselves haven’t yet kept a clean sheet. It’s bound to be 0-0.

West Ham have scored in every game, only failing to find the net less than twice on one occasion. And they appear to be more effective away from home than on their own patch, so this weekend’s trip to Sunderland bodes well for managers with a Hammers presence in their team. Dimitri Payet has been getting the headlines as their big money buy, but take note of Diafra Sakho, Chiekhou Kouyate, Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell who’ve been quietly racking up the points.

As have the Tottenham back line. They now have the best defensive record following City’s recent mini-collapse. They have five defenders in the top 12 of the form table. Eric Dier in particular could be of interest, having been pushed forward slightly into the holding midfielder role. He’s bagged two goals and three bonus marks as well as his three clean sheets. A trip to a misfiring Swansea, who started so well, has potential for another shut out.

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