The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 8

Posted: October 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

I would like to make a request to my thousands of readers. Can I break the rules this one time? Please? Allow me to explain to you the merits of going with a 3-1-6 formation this week. Who cares if it’s an illegal formation in FPL – it would make my Eleven selections a much simpler task!

There are many fantastic players vying for your attention and they can be divided into two tantalising groups. The first is the big hitting players like Costa, Aguero and Falcao – all great options based on the pedigree who have good (not great) fixtures. Then we have the mid-priced strikers who have mouth-watering home ties – Pelle, Wellbeck, Naismith and Cisse all come to mind.

I have decided to choose 2 from the former category and one from the latter – let it be said that if your strike force contains three from the above group, a good gameweek is very likely indeed!

SPECIAL COMPETITION: As a bonus, I will give out a special prize of a full personal FPL team evaluation to anyone who shares the Dirtsheet on twitter this week. Simply RT the Dirtsheet and say which pick you like best. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow night.

Please use that fantastic RT button at the bottom to RT the Dirtsheet – every one is appreciated!

Without further delay, here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 8!

THE DIRTSHEET: GAMEWEEK 8 (Formation: 4-3-3)

Wojciech Szczesny (ARS)
Opponent – Hull City (H)
With some forced changes ahead of him in the Arsenal defensive selections, I think Arsenal will need to rely on their Polish stopper more than usual. This could mean save points in addition to the decent chance of a clean sheet. The bookies certainly seem to think the changes of a clean sheet are quite good!

Leighton Baines (EVE)
Opponent – Aston Villa (H)
The Englishman was a David DeGea palm away from his third double-figure haul of the season and I think it’s time to strongly consider Baines ahead of a run of 5 favourable fixtures. His attacking threat seems to be more prevalent this year, and although he is priced at £7.0m, he is essentially playing as a left winger and is one of the greatest attacking threats for the Toffees. Villa have shown little threat against the better sides this year and have key injury doubts in the striker positions. A home clean sheet is a decent bet.

Nathaniel Clyne (SOU)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
There is a lot of debate as to whether Clyne or Bertrand is the best cover for the Saints back line. Having said that, there is an argument for the inclusion of both players right now as Southampton have been immensely solid at the back this year. I’m opting for Clyne this week. I fancy him to get a little more space against the attacking Van Aanholt. Southampton should nick a clean sheet this week, and Clyne is slightly favoured by the bonus points system.

Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (A)
Despite being the cheapest player in the Chelsea back line, he is perhaps the best choice if you are looking to get a share of the Chelsea clean sheet spoils. Even when he hasn’t contributed attacking points, he is still scoring very highly on the BPS system – a fact that is highlighted by him scoring bonus on two such occasions. He may not have the attacking threat of two seasons ago, but he is certainly still an excellent choice. Crystal Palace will try to contain Chelsea for as long as possible, and I fancy Mourinho’s men for a clean sheet.

Raheem Sterling (LIV)
Opponent – Queens Park Rangers (A)
Will he start? Won’t he start? Is he too tired to play or is he raring to go? It’s hard to tell right now if I am being honest – Rogers has already said that he expects Sterling to get abuse for the debacle about his fitness, and I wonder will he protect the youngster against what will be a bristly QPR crowd. If you have Sterling, you really have to start him. I honestly think that Rogers would like to rest him but cannot afford to given recent results. He has 3 goals and 2 assists so far and seems to be a catalyst for Liverpool victories this year.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA)
Opponent – Stoke City (A)
Bang on form during the International break, a lot of FPL managers hope that he will continue his scoring form against Stoke. He returned his third double-digit return with two assists against Newcastle in GW7. He is still perhaps the best value midfielder in the game, and despite some difficult fixtures in his next 5 games, I am hoping he gets back on the score sheet on Sunday evening.

Angel Di Maria (MUN)
Opponent – West Bromich Albion (A)
As someone who bases a lot of his decisions on pure stats, Di Maria is a choice that I always think twice about before eventually selecting him. I am getting a Yaya Toure (and before that Gareth Bale) vibe about him – although his stats from previous seasons do not suggest he should be scoring regularly, he still is doing so. WBA have some key injuries and doubts and United always look like needing 3 goals to kill off any game. Di Maria has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games and I expect more attacking returns on Monday night in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
Opponent – Hull City (H)
With the Arsenal medical team working overtime on almost a dozen players, Arsene Wenger will need to start Sanchez. He hasn’t had massive returns recently due to rotation and tough fixtures against Spurs and Chelsea, but Hull at home is the type of game where his talent should shine through. I do think he is a sleeper selection right now, and could be a huge differential in any other gameweek.

Sergio Aguero (MCI)
Opponent – Tottenham Hotspur (H)
Aguero is on the brink of setting the league alight – I am certain of it. Whether it comes at home to a defensively sound Spurs side is uncertain, but he will be a huge threat. Pochettino has Spurs set up much better at the back than they were last year and I am uncertain we will see a repeat of the scorelines we witnessed last year. However, I still think Aguero will figure in any goals scored by City. He is 100% fit and on penalties – a goal is likely. Danny Welbeck is your cheaper alternative. He is in good form and faces a porous Hull side who recently conceded four against Manchester City.

Graziano Pelle (SOU)
Opponent – Sunderland (H)
After deciding to opt for Aguero and Costa, I have to select a third striker from a plethora of mid-priced attacking talent. Welbeck, Cisse, Pelle, Ulloa and Naismith all merit some attention this week and I could easily select any of these for the third spot this week. However, I’m going to go with my gut this week. Fresh from scoring on his international debut for Italy against Malta, Pelle returns to the Premier League where he has already notched 4 goals and an assist in his first 7 games for Southampton. The Saints welcome Sunderland in the first of five very favourable games, and I think Pelle could prove be an immensely shrewd pick in the coming weeks. He spearheads the attack, is on a great run of form and is supremely confident right now. Danny Welbeck comes very close to Pelle but I think the Italian has better longer-term figures. As I have gone with my gut, I encourage you to do the same.

Diego Costa (CHE)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (A)
Costa is a doubt. Again. Is there any end to the issues we face as FPL managers? It’s like this, if you are reading this, you probably have him already so I’m going to say he starts (as usual). I’m expecting a smash-and-grab victory for Mourinho’s side against a Palace side that have replaced defensive stability with attacking flair this year. If Chelsea score early (a common sight this year), they could easily score three or more. Costa is very consistent in his returns and is certainly a captaincy choice to consider after notching in all but one of his games thus far. He will eventually draw a blank, but I do not see it happening in this fixture. Whether he will score two or more is debatable, and I know a lot of people looking to chase a lead are looking at other options. If you are looking for a cheaper option, consider Papiss Demba Cisse – he has 4 goals in 151 minutes since his return from injury.

The Captain – Diego Costa (CHE)
I think if you have Sergio Aguero, he is still enough of a differential just to have him. With that in mind, I’m going to go with Diego Costa. Just be sure to have a good vice-captain!

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Southampton, Everton, Arsenal, Liverpooland Chelsea to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Rafael (MUN)
Midfielder: Dusan Tadic (SOU)
Striker: Papiss Demba Cisse (NEW)
Captain: Danny Welbeck (ARS)

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And that’s a wrap! It’s quick, it’s informative and it’s helpful. It’s the Dirtsheet, and it’s here every Friday! Please share this on Twitter and Facebook! Every follower counts!



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