Gameweek 8: Fantasy Preview

Posted by John Culea

Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC/Getty ImagesArsenal's Santi Cazorla is back from injury and will play for the first time with new addition Mesut Ozil.

Sir John is back in the USA after his England adventure and ready for the resumption of Premier League play following the international break.

There are ten games over a three-day stretch with one chance to check announced lineups before kickoff. Champions League games later in the week and the after effects of international play figure into real life and fantasy team selection.

Saturday, October 19
Newcastle (3-1-3) vs. Liverpool (5-1-1)
The early game features the lethal duo of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez against surprising 11th place Newcastle. Sturridge and Steven Gerrrard (who is one goal away from his 100th PL strike) had goals for England, Daniel Agger had two PGs for Denmark, Suarez got a PG for Uruguay.
Liverpool gets Glen Johnson, Aly Cissokho, and Lucas back.
Loic Remy has five goals in three games.

Arsenal (5-1-1) vs. Norwich (2-1-4)
Santi Cazorla is due back from injury so we wait to see how he plays alongside Mesut Ozil. Theo Walcott is doubtful. Olivier Giroud with four PL goals had none against West Brom but media darling Jack Wilshere finally got a goal. Hot scorer Aaron Ramsey was yanked goalless before 60 minutes with a reported dead leg.
While the Gunners top the table, the Canaries are in the bird-dropping zone.

Chelsea (4-2-1) vs. Cardiff (2-2-3)
Fantasy dud Eden Hazard came to life with a goal off the bench, and Willian scored. Oscar's goal was his third. Juan Mata, started and played in the periphery. Demba Ba looked the Blues best forward but now Fernando Torres is reportedly available. Ashley Cole is out injured. Andre Schurrle, although scoring four goals for Germany, is out injured.
Cardiff is a box of chocolates that offer few fantasy points.

Everton (3-3-1) vs. Hull (3-2-2)
Everton's strong start was derailed by Manchester City and now they face over-achieving Hull. Romelu Lukaku has four goals and an assist in three games and had a brace for Belgium. Leighton Baines has been a non-fantasy factor for two matches.
Hull and fantasy managers welcome back injured midfielder Robbie Brady. The Tigers offer little else in offense, but have three clean sheets.

Manchester United (3-1-3) vs. Southampton (4-2-1)
The big fantasy question: will David Moyes start wonder starlet Adnan Januzaj whose brace has the PL buzzing? Robin van Persie has been silent, no goals since September 14 but had a hat trick for the Netherlands. Wayne Rooney has three goals and two assists and scored twice for England.
The fourth place Saints have rewarded fantasy managers big time on defense, allowing just two goals in seven matches. Rickie Lambert is the only player with more than one goal (2).

Stoke (2-1-4) vs. WBA (2-3-2)
The Potters are a potter's field on offense with only four goals scored yet stingy with seven conceded. The Baggies Morgan Amalfitano has burst on the fantasy scene with two goals and two assists in two games.

Swansea (2-1-4) vs. Sunderland (0-1-6)
Underachieving Swansea will be the first test of new Sunderland manager Gus Poyet who gets Steven Fletcher back from injury. The Black Cats have leaked 16 goals in seven games, while Swansea seems on the verge of a fantasy goal explosion from Michu and Wilfried Bony.

West Ham (2-2-3) vs. Manchester City (4-1-2)
Big Sam's lads hammered Spurs. Reclamation project Ravel Morrison has two goals. Winston Reid is an offensive and defensive fantasy star on a team that has only allowed five goals. Retread Carlton Cole was signed on a free transfer.
Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero lead high-scoring Man City with four goals each. Aguero is fresh after no international duty in Argentina. Key defender Vincent Kompany is out injured. Man City is winless on the road.

Sunday, October 20
Aston Villa (3-1-3) vs. Tottenham (4-1-2)
Villa was held scoreless last time out and could have Christian Benteke back.
Spurs were shredded at White Hart Lane and need offensive help. Robert Soldado has gone limp after a good start. Gylfi Sigurdsson leads the team with three goals and now fantasy bust Andros Townsend is pushing for a start after a goal for England.

Monday, October 21
Crystal Palace (1-0-6) vs. Fulham (2-1-4)
On paper, this game is a stinker. Fulham's fantasy disaster Dimitar Berbatov faces a late fitness test. Darren Bent scored a late winner and beyond him is 'it' for the team's offense.
Palace is a punching bag.


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