The best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players for Gameweek 8 are debated by Fantasy Football Scout contributors Az, Sam, Neale and Tom.
For those new to this feature, it’s a weekly piece that always takes the form of a ‘Free Hit’-type selection for the upcoming Gameweek.
All of our panelists have put forward an 18-man long-list of Fantasy assets and will explain their notable inclusions and omissions below.
It also serves as a precursor to the Scout Picks, as the players listed will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.0m) for final our weekly selection.
Each writer must meet the following requirements:
- At least one goalkeeper costing £5.0m or less
- At least one sub-£5.0m defender
- At least one midfielder listed at £6.5m or below
- At least one forward priced at £7.0m or lower
- No more than three players from the same club
SCOUT SQUAD’S PICKS OF THE BEST FPL PLAYERS FOR GAMEWEEK 8
|GK||Aaron Ramsdale||Robert Sanchez||Aaron Ramsdale||Robert Sanchez|
|Robert Sanchez||Hugo Lloris||Robert Sanchez||Aaron Ramsdale|
|Illan Meslier||Ederson||Emiliano Martinez||Illan Meslier|
|DEF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo|
|Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Shane Duffy||Shane Duffy||Kieran Tierney||Marc Cucurella|
|Ruben Dias||Cesar Azpilicueta||Joel Veltman||Matthew Cash|
|Kieran Tierney||Tino Livramento||Cesar Azpilicueta||Tino Livramento|
|MID||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Son Heung-min||Son Heung-Min||Kevin De Bruyne||Son Heung-min|
|Phil Foden||Phil Foden||Son Heung-min||Riyad Mahrez|
|Sadio Mané||Andros Townsend||Phil Foden||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Andros Townsend||Mason Mount||Bukayo Saka||Bryan Mbeumo|
|FWD||Neal Maupay||Romelu Lukaku||Cristiano Ronaldo||Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Romelu Lukaku||Neal Maupay||Romelu Lukaku||Jamie Vardy|
|Michail Antonio||Raul Jimenez||Adam Armstrong||Harry Kane|
|Jamie Vardy||Ollie Watkins||Michail Antonio||Allan Saint-Maximin|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Harry Kane||Neal Maupay||Neal Maupay|
Most popular picks: Robert Sanchez, Joao Cancelo, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah. Son Heung-min, Neal Maupay (four), Aaron Ramsdale, Phil Foden, Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo (three)
It’s a really tasty-looking bunch of games this weekend and the only matches I’d have any real confidence in calling are Manchester City beating Burnley and Liverpool putting Watford to the sword. With this in mind, I’ve selected six players from these two teams, including two City defenders (Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias) and two Liverpool attackers (Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané).
Elsewhere, I feel the Scout Picks are very much up for grabs this week. I like the look of Shane Duffy against Norwich, and he will be a menace at set pieces. As many (including myself) flock to expensive, premium midfielders, could the £4.4m Brighton man make a mockery of his price tag?
In midfield, despite Newcastle’s new wealth and Spurs’ indifferent form so far this season, this looks a good game for Son Heung-min to deliver and I would say he’s the best “non-Salah” player to consider captaining, if you were looking for a differential. He has only managed two goals in 10 games against the Magpies, but with Harry Kane not playing his best football, eyes will be on Son to deliver.
I wanted to include a Man City midfielder in my selection, and it’s between Jack Grealish and Phil Foden for me. While I think Grealish is more sure of a start, to me, Foden looks more threatening and more likely to deliver FPL returns. We’ve been waiting for Foden’s real “breakout” season in FPL, and I do wonder if we are seeing the beginning of it now.
Up front, Romelu Lukaku will be confident of getting a goal against newly-promoted Brentford, however, I don’t think this will be an easy game for Chelsea based on what I’ve seen of the Bees so far this season. In an incredible turn of events, it may be Neal Maupay who ends up as the pick of the strikers, and the in-form Seagull will fancy his chances against an out of sorts team of Canaries. With Manchester United still trying to get the most out of their new additions, Cristiano Ronaldo falls some way down my list – with the in-form Michail Antonio looking good in any match he plays in – and under-the-radar pick Jamie Vardy up against a patched-up United backline that won’t feature either Varane or Maguire.
There is a pool of teams this weekend who look set to be great investments at both ends of the pitch.
Brighton face a Norwich side who, alongside Newcastle, have conceded more goals than anyone else. This bodes well for the Albion attack and Neal Maupay has been in good form, registering five attempts in the last two Gameweeks – two inside the box and one big chance. Alongside Maupay, Robert Sanchez also looks a great pick as Norwich have scored the fewest goals in the league so far, registering just two.
Like Brighton, Manchester City have a great match-up at both ends of the pitch. The last four fixtures against Burnley at home have finished 5-0 and therefore Ederson, Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden all look like fantastic options. With attacking potential as well as a good opportunity for a clean sheet, Cancelo seems the perfect pick this week. Foden, meanwhile, has the highest xG and xGI for Man City midfielders over the last two Gameweeks and merits the attention he is getting from FPL managers.
Alongside Brighton and Man City, Liverpool have a great fixture following the international break. With the news that Trent Alexander-Arnold is available for the weekend, he will likely be an important pick for the Gameweek with good potential for a clean sheet and attacking returns. Mohamed Salah’s highest ever FPL return came against Watford in the 2018/19 season and with his current form, he feels like a player you can’t afford not to own.
Chelsea also fit into this ‘great fixture on paper’ category, although I do expect their clash with Brentford to be harder than it seems on the ticker. With doubts surrounding Antonio Rudiger, I’m going with Cesar Azpilecueta to be safe and he is on good form following his brace of assists in Gameweek 7. With Thomas Tuchel’s comments about Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku’s understanding, they both make my picks; hopefully, Lukaku will have recovered from the muscle fatigue that saw him miss out on Belgium’s third place play-off match in the Nations League.
I also fancy the Spurs attackers to finally find their feet and capitalise on a wobbly Newcastle defence who are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, hence both Son Heung-min and Harry Kane make my picks. If you want a real differential captain, one of these two could provide a huge boost.
Manchester City host Burnley on Saturday afternoon, having won each of their last four Etihad encounters against the Clarets’ 5-0. As usual, identifying exactly who will start isn’t straightforward, but given the upside, tripling-up feels like a risk worth taking. At the back, I’ve opted for Joao Cancelo over Ruben Dias, though both defenders are equally good picks, while further forward I’m tipping Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden. Both midfielders opened their 2021/22 Premier League accounts in Gameweek 7, and head into this fixture as real differentials, with ownerships of just 2.1% and 2.0% respectively.
Meanwhile, high-flying Brighton and Hove Albion have lost just one of their opening seven matches, and look a good team for bargain hunting this week. Their opponents – Norwich City – have scored just one goal from open play and sit bottom for shots in the box, efforts on target and big chances. That leads me to a defensive double-up via Robert Sanchez and Joel Veltman, with the defender hopefully in a wing-back role and therefore attacking the Canaries’ weaker left-flank. I’ve also found a spot for Neal Maupay up front, who has already netted four Premier League goals this season.
Arsenal also supply three picks: Aaron Ramsdale, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka. The Gunners have taken 10 points from their last four matches, with their new-look defence keeping three clean sheets during that time. Saka has also looked lively on the right wing, bagging a goal and assist, and encouragingly has been taking lots of shots. In fact, amongst all midfielders since Gameweek 4, only Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have attempted more. Crystal Palace won’t roll over, but this is a match I see Mikel Arteta’s side dominating.
Elsewhere, Adam Armstrong is one of my top forward picks in Gameweek 8. The 24-year-old has had a relatively slow start since his summer move from Blackburn Rovers, but I see this match against Leeds United suiting him, and I’m more than happy to back him knowing that he might be on penalties in James Ward-Prowse’s absence, too. I also like Son Heung-min, and think opponents Newcastle United could leave space in behind in an attempt to get on the front foot and impress their new owners in the stands.
The Scout Squad is the easy part this week, with so many big hitters enjoying favourable fixtures; it’ll be the narrowing down to a starting XI for the budget-restricted Scout Picks that will prove to be the tricky part.
I expect Brighton assets will end up being the cash-freeing enablers in our Friday selection, so I’ll probably have a tough job selling Marc Cucurella when cheaper routes into the Albion defence are available. But the Spaniard was mightily impressive against Arsenal a fortnight ago and he’s accumulating some eye-catching numbers, sitting fourth among FPL defenders for touches in the final third since his debut.
On the subject of gallivanting wing-backs, Matthew Cash is enjoying the freedom of Villa’s right flank since the move to a 3-5-2. Only one defender has had more penalty box touches than Cash since the change in shape, and this weekend he’ll be up against an out-of-sorts Marcal. I’m also yet to be fully convinced that Wolves are over their early-season profligacy, as two goals against a dismal Newcastle defence is hardly Roy of the Rovers stuff.
Four of my five forwards are selected as much for the teams they’ll be facing: Newcastle are clean sheet-less; Spurs have conceded more goals than any other team in the last four Gameweeks; Leicester are a shambles at the back and have allowed more shots in the box than any other side in 2021/22; and Manchester United are down two centre-halves.
Injuries to Patrick Bamford and Raphinha solidify my Tino Livramento selection, while the likely unavailability of right-wing alternatives Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres (not that he is to be found in that role much these days) leads me to punt on Gameweek 1 bandwagon Riyad Mahrez for Manchester City’s annual 5-0 humping of Burnley. The Algerian has racked up 46 points across City’s last three home league meetings with the Clarets, scoring six goals in the process.
Finally, with doubts over Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva, I’m backing Bryan Mbeumo to continue to deliver the goods when Brentford entertain Chelsea. Seemingly the bigger goal threat than Ivan Toney in games of this magnitude, he ranks third for expected goals (xG) among all FPL midfielders regardless of price – not bad for £5.5m.