FPL Captain Picks and Tips - Gameweek 8

3:48pm Oct 3 2018

We’re struggling to look past Tottenham’s Harry Kane for the Gameweek 8 captains pick

It was a clean sweep for the Gameweek 7 Captain Picks! Sergio Aguero left it late but just about justified the Captain Obvious pick; Raheem Sterling scored 14 points; Harry Kane 13; Jamie Vardy 8 and Alexandre Lacazette 5.

Apologies in advance if there’s an undeserved satisfaction radiating through this week’s article, but it’s the first (and likely last) time I’ve got five out of five and I intend to milk this confidence for all I can.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool is of course the highlight of Gameweek 8, but with Mohamed Salah’s middling form and Sergio Aguero’s ongoing injury concerns – not to mention both players’ Champions League involvement this week – both are omitted from this week’s picks.

Of course, there’s one particularly standout option this week. Much like how Aguero was captained by more than two million players last week, Harry Kane will likely receive a similar amount armbands in GW8.

I’m still going to try to convince you of some other options though, mainly because I’m going to captain Kane and to be honest I’d rather you didn’t.

Harry Kane vs. Cardiff (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Cardiff – worst start to a season in 54 years

> Spurs have scored in 32 of last 33 PL games

Cons:

> Possibly not as fresh following Champions League

Scoring two against Huddersfield is almost requisite for any striker worth their salt this season, but Kane also had the highest xG in GW7 – 1.31 from 3 shots – and with five league goals Sir Harold is now back among the essentials collection.

If you don’t yet own Kane, even transferring him out on a one-week punt could limit damage to your rank. Then you can just swap back to Aguero – should your funds work out that way – for when the City striker faces Burnley at home in GW9.

Kane and Spurs face Barcelona on Wednesday, which is hardly ideal preparation for the much more important GW8, but Cardiff are so darned bad Kane could feasibly play with one leg tied behind his neck and still score.

This is the Bluebirds’ worst start to a season in 54 years, and Neil Warnock admitted after the Burnley defeat that he doesn’t know how to shore up their defence. Cue another hurri-Kane.

Not convinced? Consider this: Spurs have scored in 32 of their last 33 top flight games, failing to net only at West Brom in May. Cardiff keeping a clean sheet would, to be honest, be amongst the greatest Premier League upsets.

Eden Hazard vs. Southampton (A)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Highest FPL points scorer (60)

> Saints no home win this season

> Scored 3, assisted 1 in last 4 games vs. Saints

Cons:

> Will he feature in Europa League?

As the unquestionable player of the season so far, not owning Hazard is now a significant risk (bet you thought I was going to write “hazard” didn’t you? Come on now). And he’s an eminent alternative to captaining Kane.

In fact, Hazard’s only second on this list because Kane is at home and Hazard’s away record this season, while stellar, reads one goal and one assist in three, with that blank at West Ham the only mark on his record.

At Southampton, I expect him to have more joy. He likely won’t be risked against Videoton on Thursday in the Europa League, a cameo at most, and Saints are not only without a league win this season (in three games, against non-top-six teams) but Hazard’s recent record against them is menacing. In his last four against Southampton he’s scored three and assisted one.

It’s no surprise that Hazard is the most owned midfielder, after all he’s the highest FPL scorer so far (60), and his price has spiked an incredible 0.4m in just three weeks.

He’s in devastating form, and Chelsea’s first team should be fresh if Mauricio Sarri again rotates in the Europa League. Saints could be Eden for trouble (I couldn’t hold out).

Kieran Trippier vs. Cardiff (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Cardiff’s woeful goalscoring record

> Synergy with Kane

> Consecutive Premier League assists

> Cardiff third-lowest xG (5.58)

Cons:

> Outside chance of rotation

Kieran Trippier started filtering into teams following the uncertain surrounding Ben Mendy, and the Spurs wing-back began justifying his inclusion to his new GW7 owners with an assist for Kane and clean sheet against Huddersfield.

In fact, since the start of last season, no player has provided more Premier League assists for another player than Trippier has for Kane (7). And this number could further extend against Cardiff.

Sorry Bluebirds fans – this article probably seems like a hatchet job – but as weak as Cardiff are at keeping goals out (16, joint-most), they’re just as impotent at scoring them.

Only Huddersfield have scored less (3) than Neil Warnock’s side (4), and while one of those did come at Stamford Bridge, asking for a similar outcome against a rejuvenated Spurs side is a tough ask. A clean sheet will be a minimum expectation for Trippier owners.

It is Trippier’s attacking threat alongside his promise for clean sheet that excites me. Cardiff have the third-lowest xG (5.58) and Trippier has two assists in his last two.

Plus, Serge Aurier’s injury has freed up the right-back slot for Tripper to claim as his own. However, there’s always the possibility that Kyle Walker-Peters could get a run out in GW8, with Trippier likely to start against Barcelona (as of writing). This is purely speculative, but it’s worth considering. Although with Spurs still pushing the leaders, it’s unlikely Trippier would be rested.

As ever, captaining a defender is risky business. And if you have Kane, captaining the big man makes more sense. But Trippier could be a GW8 essential, and fortune favours the brave (apparently), which certainly extends to selecting FPL captains.

Alexandre Lacazette vs. Fulham (A)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Goal involvement in each of the last 5 GWs

> Fulham, highest xGA, no team has conceded more

Cons:

> Needs to come through unscathed in Europa League

Having been involved in a goal in each of the last five gameweeks, it could be argued that Alexandre Lacazette is now a premium essential differential, whatever that means.

Leading the line for Arsenal at the expense of the left-wing Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang – who didn’t have a single shot against Everton – the Gunners have won five straight in the league – with Lacazette key.

At £9.5m and with only 7.2% ownership, the Frenchman is notching up solid attacking scores. He may only have two goals, but only Callum Wilson (5) has more FPL assists than Lacazette (4) among strikers.

Then there’s Fulham’s defence, the Happy Hour of Premier League back fours. No team has conceded more than the Cottagers (16) and no team has a higher xGA (16.86).

If Lacazette emerges unscathed from Arsenal’s Europa League game with Qarabag then he’s an intriguing captaincy option if, for whatever inexplicable reason, you don’t own either Kane or Hazard.

Romelu Lukaku vs. Newcastle (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> 6 goals, 4 assists in 10 PL games vs. Newcastle

Cons:

> He’s playing for Man United

Ok, so there are a wealth of alternatives who could fill this last slot. Marko Arnautovic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Son Heung-Min, Jamie Vardy and even Aguero or Salah. But I’m going with Romelu Lukaku, let me tell you why. Stop shouting at me

Yes, Man United are a shambles right now. And Lukaku hasn’t been at his best. In fact, considering how under-performing United have been at home – without a win in all comps since the opening day – it’s far from a given they will beat Newcastle. The Magpies will set up defensively, aim to frustrate, and try to squeeze at least a point from Old Trafford.

But United won this fixture 4-1 last season, with Lukaku on the score sheet. Significantly, Lukaku’s record against Newcastle is excellent: six goals and four assists in 10 PL games vs. Newcastle.

United aren’t creating many chances, but consider that Lukaku’s four goals compare with an xG of 3.91 – he’s scoring chances you’d expect him to score.

Yes, his four big chances missed is a more alarming stat, but Newcastle have such little possession against the top teams (19% vs. Chelsea, 22% vs. Man City), that United will likely dominate the ball, and that bodes well for Lukaku’s opportunities.

Newcastle have already lost to Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs this season; they’re still without a league win to boot. Lukaku is the outside shout.

Captain Obvious 

Last week’s captain points: 16

Average captain score: 18.5

Total captain points: 130

This week’s Captain Obvious: Harry Kane

Having brought him in as part of my 2FTs this week, Kane’s also going to get the armband. Yes, there’s some recency bias following his Huddersfield haul, but irrespective of that this is a glorious fixture for Spurs. Cardiff are woeful, and Spurs are in decent league form. Kane could end the Golden Boot race on Saturday.

BEFORE YOU GO…  Join the Fantasy Football Pundits and many other FPL accounts on the Daily Fantasy Football site, Starting11.io this weekend, for some Gameweek 8 fantasy action.

To get involved, simply download and check out their FREE iOS and Android app.

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips – FPL Captain Picks and Tips – Gameweek 8’ which was written and produced by @JWoodfield365