Middlesbrough top the Premier League after more shocks, spills and surprises in Gameweek 8 of Champ Man 01/02 FPL, while injury news has left many managers with plenty of tough decisions to make ahead of Wednesday’s matches.
Despite falling behind early on to a goal from Arsenal’s Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Middlesbrough responded superbly with an Allan Johnston strike and a Gianluca Festa penalty to ensure that the men from the Riverside top the table. Nobody could have expected that but there are plenty of strong teams breathing down their neck.
It was another disappointment for the Gunners and the misfiring Thierry Henry but Arsenal have brought in Demetrio Albertini from AC Milan, now priced in the game at £6.5m.
Leeds lead that chasing pack after their forwards ran riot at Craven Cottage, beating Fulham 5-1. Robbie Keane netted twice and Mark Viduka fired a hat-trick in a game that was much closer than the scoreline suggested.
However, news of a minor injury to Ian Harte has caused issues for managers, many of which had held Harte for the home game against Everton. With Harte doubtful, will managers stick or twist?
Manchester United gained the expected comfortable win against Charlton, beating the ten-man Addicks 3-0. Jason Euell‘s early red card gave the visitors an insurmountable task but, despite the ease of victory, the frustration for most Fantasy managers was that Ruud van Nistelrooy was not amongst the returns.
Goals from Laurent Blanc, Mikael Silvestre and Paul Scholes sealed the points, although van Nistelrooy still picked up two bonus points. As highlighted by Tom from WGTA, van Nistelrooy has had more shots and won more headers than any other player and has the highest average rating amongst all players. Surely big returns will follow, and Juan Sebastian Veron returning to full fitness could be the man to help unlock the Dutchman’s potential.
Liverpool looked to be cruising to a win when leading Sunderland 2-0 but they had to settle for a 2-2 draw thanks to Kevin Phillips‘ second-half penalty.
More bad news for Liverpool comes from their treatment table, with Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Emile Heskey and Jari Litmanen now all on the injury list for the foreseeable future. Will Liverpool make a move in the transfer market or will they rely on young forwards John Miles and Daniel Sjolund?
In other news, Spurs won again thanks to a late masterclass from Gustavo Poyet but there was more disappointment for owners of Stefan Selakovic as the Swede missed a penalty.
Newcastle also flattered to deceive, with the Magpies succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to Southampton after a brace from Jo Tessem.
Chelsea assets are on the chopping block, too, after a 3-0 defeat at Everton. A young John Terry saw red in that loss for the Blues.
The two teams that haven’t disappointed their new owners are Bolton Wanderers and Ipswich Town.
The Tractor Boys bagged another clean sheet in a 1-0 win against West Ham. With Mauricio Taricco injured, many managers have targeted Matteo Sereni, Titus Bramble and Hermann Hreidarsson, reaping the rewards.
As for Bolton, Henrik Pedersen proved to have the edge over his strike partners with another goal.
Looking at Gameweek 9, Leicester City assets are in the spotlight. James Scowcroft and Muzzy Izzet could be viable differentials, while there are plenty of budget options with Dean Sturridge up front. Defensively, there is real appeal in Damien Delaney, Matt Elliott or Gerry Taggart.
It could be a Gameweek for a differential captain, with Luis Boa Morte and Viduka names that may strongly appeal. Keep your eye on @CMScoutFPL today as any early team news could be crucial.