After a mixed week for English clubs in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, the focus is quickly back for one more matchweek in the Premier League before we head to the season’s second international break.
A lot happened in Europe - Tottenham Hotspur had a forgettable night at White Hart Lane, while Manchester United settled for a below-par goalless draw against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League.
Liverpool, meanwhile, were involved in a seven-goal thriller, just edging past Salzburg at Anfield and their road ahead in the Premier League does not look easy, to say the least.
In terms of Fantasy Premier League (FPL ) returns, none of the 10 most-captained players, including Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng registered double figures in the last gameweek.
However, there was still something to smile about for FPL managers as four of them at least came close to doing so – Aubamayeng (9), Kevin de Bruyne (9), Virgil Van Dijk (8) and Harry Kane (8).
Neverthless, it is better to not to ponder on the past and look what we have in store for gameweek 8.
Liverpool host high-flying Leicester City
After a strong start to their Premier League campaign, third-placed Leicester City face their biggest challenge yet in the competition this season – a clash against league leaders Liverpool.
The Foxes’ only loss all season so far has been their 0-1 defeat to Manchester United in September. Apart from that, they enjoy a record of four wins and two draws in the league.
Jurgen Klopp’s men, meanwhile, are not only unbeaten in 16 consecutive league matches, but also are yet to lose to the former Premier League champions in the last 19 years. Their last loss to the Foxes came in May 2000, suffering a 0-2 defeat.
In terms of team news, Klopp confirmed that Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker has returned to training, but was still unsure if he would make it in time for Saturday’s clash.
"With Alisson it's still: maybe, maybe not," Klopp said at the pre-match press conference.
The German also confirmed that his team will be without Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri for the clash owing to injuries.
Otherwise, the Reds are set to go ahead with their usual front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Meanwhile, Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, returning to his former club, confirmed that James Maddisson is back in training and fit to face Liverpool. Maddison, sidelined with an ankle injury, had suffered a knock during Leicester’s 2-1 win over Tottenham on 21 September. The attacking midfielder had been out of action ever since.
Looking at Leicester’s fixtures ahead, Jamie Vardy and Ricardo Pereira are must-have options for the next few gameweeks. Having scored five goals and assisted once, Vardy is Leicester’s top-scorer in FPL with 44 points.
In fact, the Foxes only face Arsenal as the other ‘Big six’ team until December, with eight of their next nine fixtures after this being given an easy rating.
Fair to presume that many would have regretted not handing Ricardo Pereira the captain's arm-band after he returned with 13 points in their 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United – scoring a goal and earning clean sheet points.
All in all, there will be a lot at stake when these two teams meet, FPL or otherwise.
Manchester City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester City has had a sub-perfect start to the season. Only Sergio Aguero has continued his scoring form, while Kevin de Bruyne is deemed unfit for the game against Wolves after suffering a groin injury.
This, however, will be a chance for Riyad Mahrez to continue his impressive form. After having returned 25 FPL points in the last two gameweeks, the Algerian midfielder assisted for Raheem Sterling’s opener in City’s Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Injury woes continue for City, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte still sidelined. Kyle Walker could start with Oleksandr Zinchenko, while Pep's rotational game could see Gabriel Jesus start ahead of Aguero, after the Argentine played majority of midweek tie, and he willl be alongside Raheem Sterling up front for the defending champions.
For Wolves, Raul Jimenez hasn't hit his straps so far this season, and his only returns have come in the games against Bournemouth and Everton.
Diogo Jota is out of action with a foot injury and he is less likely to feature in the game. That would also mean Adama Traore partner Jimenez up front.
Riyad Mahrez: Kevin de Bruyne missing out could be Riyad Mahrez’s gain. The Algerian has so far scored two goals and provided five assists in the Premier League, and looks all set to start in City’s upcoming game against Wolves.
What’s more, Mahrez currently is the most transferred-in player ahead of the gameweek and seems like a lot of FPL managers have started to put faith in him to deliver on Sunday.
Jamie Vardy: Leicester City are on a high and so is Jamie Vardy. The Foxes striker has been the most reliable player in the team, having scored in three of the four matches Leicester has won.
The favorable fixtures also mean that managers could go for Leicester City assets, and Vardy should definitely be one among them.
Teemu Pukki: Who knew Teemu Pukki would become a ‘risky business’ in first half of the season? Two blanks in the last two gameweeks and the Norwich City forward is already the fourth most transferred-out player.
Six goals in seven games is no mean feat, but are you sticking with the striker?
Daniel James: It seems like Manchester United’s defensive struggles has also affected Daniel James’ form. Having scored three goals in the league so far, the midfielder has endured a run of three games without a goal. Along with Aaron Wan Bissaka, James is one of the most transferred-out United players ahead of the upcoming gameweek.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Oct 05, 2019 11:41:52 IST