Gameweek 8 brought us the exciting prospect of Liverpool vs Manchester United on Monday night, but not until we had seen several very interesting results on Saturday and Sunday respectively. A few of the sides competing in the Champions League in midweek were forced to rest key players, especially Manchester City, who would rest none other than Argentine Sergio Aguero in preparation for a tough test against Barcelona this upcoming week. Arsenal also faced a Swansea side under new leadership in former US national team boss, Bob Bradley. So, here’s the FPL Gameweek 8 Review:
Maarten Stekelenburg – The Dutch stopper had a day to remember at Manchester City on Saturday, as his Everton side held firm to claim an impressive point against the top side. Having rested Sergio Aguero, Pep Guardiola kept faith in the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, while Kevin De Bruyne returned to the line-up following injury. This came ahead of a match against Barcelona in midweek. Neither team was able to break the deadlock until the 64th minute, when Romelu Lukaku stunned The Etihad as he fired Everton in front. This came after the usually reliable Kevin De Bruyne spurned a chance from the spot. City were then awarded another penalty just five minutes after Lukaku’s goal, but Stekelenburg kept out yet another spot-kick, this time from Sergio Aguero. Nolito headed City level just minutes after, but it was a disappointing day for a City side who have now failed to win in two games.
Jose Holebas – Middlesbrough played host to a Watford side who had enjoyed a solid start to the season given their tough fixture list, but were looking to make up for the dropped points at home to Bournemouth last time out. It was a cagey affair where neither side were able to gain a foothold, with the most notable incident involving Spanish full-back Antonio Barragan, who was lucky to stay on the pitch after he cynically hauled down Isaac Success twice in a matter of minutes. Barragan would get away with it yet again, when he tripped Success down the ‘Boro touch line. The referee had a tough time, failing to make several major decisions. However, a moment of brilliance from left-back Holebas would decide the game, and take three points back to Vicarage Road, when he hammered a superb strike into the top-left corner from 20 yards, sending the Watford fans into raptures. It’s a vital three points for Watford, while ‘Boro have still won just the one match this season.
Charlie Daniels – After Hull’s promising start to the season, followed by a series of poor results, Mike Phelan would take charge of the Tigers permanently as manager for the first time, and it’s fair to say it was a day to forget. They would go down 6-1 to a Bournemouth side who rarely disappoint at home, and they were rampant, with several goal scorers getting in on the act on a day to savour for Cherries fans. It was Charlie Daniels who opened the scoring, netting after Junior Stanislas’ free-kick had come back off the upright. Daniels is a key man for Bournemouth, whose performances were a particular highlight last campaign in their debut Premier League season.
Steve Cook – Yet another Bournemouth player to feature is centre-half Steve Cook, who scored to put his side 2-1 up after Ryan Mason’s effort had deflected off of Cook himself to put the Tigers level. Callum Wilson and Dan Gosling also netted for a Bournemouth side who were cutting through the Hull backline like a hot knife through butter, on a day where Hull showcased the frailties that made them most people’s favourites for relegation. It was a good day for Cook and Bournemouth, and there’s still more to come from the Cherries in this dream team.
Nathaniel Clyne – In an eagerly anticipated clash at Anfield on Monday, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds would take on Mourinho’s Manchester United side, who had fallen on hard times of late, struggling to pick up wins and failing to play a brand of football that excites the Old Trafford faithful. However, it was United who had the better of the first period, with their organisation and wealth of talent proving a handful for Liverpool. However, in the second half, the only team looking to win the game was Klopp’s side. Emre Can looked to have opened the scoring late on, but David De Gea got down to make a massive save. The Spaniard wasn’t finished there though, as he made a stunning save to deny Phillipe Coutinho scoring what would have surely been the winner. Both sides will take the point, with Liverpool continuing to look like they may finish in the top four this season.
Junior Stanislas – The final Bournemouth player to feature this week is former West Ham and Burnley winger Junior Stanislas, who netted twice in Bournemouth’s 6-1 win over Hull City at the Vitality stadium. His first contribution however, was to hit the post from a free-kick, from which Charlie Daniels netted just four minutes in. He would then take the corner which was converted by Steve Cook shortly afterwards. Stanislas then stepped up to convert from the spot on half time, before finally netting his second when he slotted into the bottom left corner.
Joe Allen – Stoke picked up their first win of the season as they eased past a poor Sunderland side 2-0 at home on Saturday. Both goals came from Joe Allen, who prior to this season seemed to offer very little in this department. He has been in rich goal scoring form of late, netting at Old Trafford, as well as for his country in the recent World Cup qualifiers. His first of the day came when he rose highest to head in from Marko Arnautovic’s cross after just eight minutes. His second would come on the stroke of half time, when Allen fired through a crowded penalty area to beat Jordan Pickford in goal for the Black Cats. Sunderland remain winless, with pressure mounting on David Moyes as Sunderland start yet another season in horrible form.
Theo Walcott – The Englishman Theo Walcott continued his terrific form as Arsenal squeezed past a Swansea side that could have taken a point at the Emirates. He notched his fourth and fifth goals in his last eight Premier League matches as he twice took advantage of poor defending and netted from Jack Cork and Jordi Amat’s respective errors. Swansea pulled one back before Mesut Ozil restored Arsenal’s two-goal lead. Borja Baston made it 3-2 with his first goal of the season. Granit Xhaxa’s sending off for a cynical kick almost proved the turning point but Arsenal were able to hold on, and continue their fine form.
Manuel Lanzini – West Ham picked up a superb win at Selhurst Park on Saturday against a Crystal Palace side that didn’t offer a great deal on the day. It was Manuel Lanzini’s first half strike that proved the decisive goal for the Hammers. Aaron Cresswell, on his first match back from injury slid the ball into the path of Argentine Lanzini, who coolly slid the ball into the far corner with the inside of his right foot. Cresswell’s return wouldn’t be without controversy though, as the Englishman was sent off for two yellow cards within one second half minute. First, he seemed to have been fouled in the Palace area, but what seemed a penalty was deemed to have been simulation and Cresswell was booked. Just moments later, an arm on the shoulder of Wilfried Zaha would see Cresswell given his marching orders. Christian Benteke was presented with a chance to take a point for Palace, but side-footed his penalty high, wide and not so handsome.
Victor Moses – Moses struggles to get games at Chelsea, but impressed as he started against Leicester City at Stamford Bridge. The Blues dismantled the Foxes, with a resounding 3-0 win being the final score. The defending champions have had a tough start to their title defence, currently the worst away side in the league, although it’s worth considering their tough fixture list to start the season. Diego Costa grabbed the Chelsea opener, before an inventive overhead kick from Pedro sent through Hazard. Hazard rounded the keeper before passing into an empty net. When Nathaniel Chalobah flicked the ball through to Moses, the Nigerian international finished well to round off a great day for Antonio Conte’s side.
Charlie Austin – It’s fair to say that Charlie Austin has been forced to wait for his opportunities at Southampton after the Saints snapped the forward up for a bargain £4 million in January from QPR. Having struggled for minutes, mainly due to injury, the former Burnley and Swindon forward has netted four in his last four. He was the main man yet again on Sunday, as Southampton ran out 3-1 winners at St. Mary’s. Austin opened the scoring, smashing in from a corner after his own shot fell back to him. Nathan Redmond doubled Saints’ lead with a good strike, before Austin killed the game, converting from the spot with ease. Burnley pulled one back themselves, Sam Vokes scoring from twelve yards. It was a strong performance from an improving Southampton side, while Burnley continue to struggle away from Turf Moor. Sean Dyche was left to lament a penalty that his Clarets side should have been awarded at 0-0.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)
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