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    George's Fantasy Football Tips: Week Eight





    The international break is finally over… no more painful 1-0 wins over Lithuania for at least a few months. Time to get back to what we all care about. I cannot remember what I predicted last time- I probably got it horribly wrong anyway so I will spare the embarrassment and move swiftly on…

    Burnley vs. West Ham

    Burnley’s away form has shocked many- in their previous three seasons in the top flight they picked up a combined total of just five wins. Already on two for the campaign, they are beginning to be treated with the respect that they deserve. However, what has also been surprising is their frustrations at Turf Moor. One of the most difficult places for an away side to go in recent years, so far only Burnley have registered only a single home goal and win. This will give West Ham some confidence, especially as they seem to have sorted out their defensive frailties. West Bromwich Albion went to Lancashire in August, kept it tight at the back and grabbed a 1-0 win- it would seem that if teams sit back and allow Burnley to have the ball, the home side run out of ideas. Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez and Diafra Sakho could all be decent bets to grab a goal while Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio are likely to return from injury as well. Lanzini and Antonio are two of West Ham’s most creative and effective players- this will be a massive boost for the Hammers.
    Stephen Ward has 41 points already this season and costs only £4.6
    It would be foolish to write off the home side though, and they probably go into this game as slight favourites. Chris Wood and/or Sam Vokes are not simply throw backs to the traditional centre-forward; they are tidy in possession and make intelligent runs to create space or an option for teammates. They are not prolific, but they are effective. Burnley’s defence has been their strongest asset this season so far though and with Nick Pope deputising admirably for the injured Tom Heaton, he is a logical addition for only £4.5. James Tarkowski and Stephen Ward have also been standout performers- the latter even being the joint third highest points earner among defenders this season. These additions well be worth it- none of the above players are priced over £5.0 and they therefore free up funds elsewhere, maybe even enough for Lukaku AND Kane… scary thought.
    Richarlison has scored or assisted five of Watford's eleven goals this season

    Watford vs. Arsenal

    Saturday’s late kick off sees two in-form teams who have gone slightly under the radar. Watford are in eighth place and have only lost once this season. Marco Silva is one of the most exciting young managers in the country and deserves credit for the work he has done at Vicarage Road and hopefully he will get longer than a season to keep improving a side with great potential. They also look decent going forward with Richarlison the stand out performer. The 20-year-old will be keen to continue his fine form and, although very unlikely, he may even have contending for the upcoming Brazil World Cup squad as a target. Abdoulaye Doucouré has also shown fine form after a difficult first season in England and only costs just over £5.2. Richarlison is, understandably, a little pricier at £6.2 but could still be worth a punt given Arsenal’s injury woes at the moment.
    Rob Holding has already featured for Arsenal three times this season
    The Gunners are unbeaten since August and, although they have not faced the most difficult opposition, they have quietly but convincingly gone about their business. They are thin on numbers at the back though with Mustafi and Chambers both out indefinitely and Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolašinac doubts. Kolašinac has chipped in with a few assists as well and could be a big miss. It may well fall to young Rob Holding to step up to the plate. He is capable of doing so but Arsenal look vulnerable if Koscielny and Kolasinac do not feature. Going forward, they are always a threat. Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez are both back off international duty following World Cup qualifying heartbreak- they will be itching to end the week on a high if they are fit enough to play. Alexandre Lacazette has also settled in well to the rigours of the Premier League and is always a decent bet for a goal. If he gets a chance, he is almost guaranteed to convert- almost like another Frenchman who used to be a hero at Highbury. That’s right: Jérémie Aliadière.
    Vardy has scored over half of Leicester's goals this season
    Leicester vs. West Bromwich Albion
    Both teams in this fixture are on a poor run of form but Leicester have not actually played that badly this season. The Foxes have already played four of last season’s top six and have had two tough fixtures away at Huddersfield and Bournemouth to deal with. They now have a favourable run of matches before a difficult end to November and Christmas period- it is essential they pick up points in their immediate matches or they and Craig Shakespeare could be in some trouble. They can take comfort in the fact that, forgetting Robert Huth, they have no major injury concerns. Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire have proved capable deputies for Huth, playing in every minute so far this season. Going forward, Jamie Vardy has already scored five in seven this season and is most likely Leicester’s best bet for a goal.
    Rondon's style of play is ideal for a counter-attacking system
    At the same time, his style of play may be hampered by the away side. West Brom will sit deep and hope to plug any gaps down the flanks. They are known to sit deep and, with hard working wingers like James McLean, Chris Brunt and Matty Phillips, they are difficult to get in behind. As a result, if Vardy or Leicester in general are to score, it will most likely be from a deep cross from the full backs- something Christian Fuchs is known for. With regards to West Brom, Salomon Rondon got off the mark for the first time in the 2-2 home draw with Watford and could be instrumental to their game plan come Monday night. Their last away win was a smash and grab at Burnley and they will likely play on the counter again. The Venezuelan’s pace and power will be essential to this. Their main problem this season has been a lack of goals and Leicester is not exactly the easiest away day to rectify that issue. Two teams that are desperate for a win, the Monday night fixture will be an interesting encounter.

    Thanks for reading, hopefully I’m not embarrassingly wrong like normal on these predictions!
    George Kelsey
    @GK_Journo
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    Item Reviewed: George's Fantasy Football Tips: Week Eight Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Kelsey
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