FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 8 preview

Another big one for the differentials in gameweek 7, while this season’s usual suspects largely kept quiet. The popular likes of Erling Haaland, Kaoru Mitoma and James Maddison all blanked, while Pervis Estupiñan one-upped them with a juicy -2 FPL points. It wasn’t ALL bad news for the highly owned assets though, as three of the most-selected players made it into the official Team of the Week as well: Ollie Watkins with a 23-point whopper, Martin Odegaard with a 17-pointer, and Kieran Trippier with 12 points. The differential of the week was clearly Nottingham Forest’s Nicolas Dominguez, who made the Team of the Week with 10 FPL points, courtesy of a goal versus Brentford, while sitting in exactly 0.0% of all teams in the official Fantasy Premier League game.

On to gameweek 8 then, which has all the makings of a cracker, both in real life and in fantasy. Spurs and Chelsea are kicking off the weekend with winnable away games on paper, against Luton and Burnley respectively, while struggling Manchester United will try to wash away their Champions League home defeat against Galatasaray with a home game against Brentford. The real fireworks are saved for Sunday though, when Brighton host Liverpool, West Ham faces Newcastle in a clash of the highflyers, and Manchester City tops off the gameweek with a visit to Arsenal.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 8 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 7th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 5th, 2023)

GKOnana (MUN), Ramsdale (ARS), Ederson (MCI)Areola (WHU), Leno (FUL), Turner (SHU) 
DEFEstupiñan (BRI), Chilwell (CHE), Botman (NEW)Cash (AST), Trippier (NEW), Andersen (CRY)Estupiñan and Chilwell injured, Botman injury doubt, Cash and Trippier form
MIDRashford (MUN), Saka (ARS), Mbeumo (BRE)Son (TOT), Maddison (TOT), Bowen (WHU)Saka injury doubt
FORAlvarez (MCI), Haaland (MCI), Morris (LUT)Watkins (AST), Alvarez (MCI), Archer (SHU)Luton DGW over, Archer price, Villa form

Premium pick

Salah traveling to Brighton and Haaland visiting Arsenal this weekend while Heung-Min Son (£9.3m) goes to Luton’s Kenilworth Road stadium a day earlier has us backing the South Korean as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 8. New Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou deploys the attacker as a striker and it’s understandable why. Son has scored 6 goals in his last four league games, including a brace away at Arsenal in GW6 and a goal last weekend against Liverpool. Luton have already conceded 14 goals this season and despite the Hatters picking up their first win in GW7, we find it hard to imagine them keeping the points at home against Spurs. So much so, in fact, that Heung-Min Son will also be leading our captaincy debate for gameweek 8 later on in this piece.

Non-premium pick

We briefly mentioned Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) in our intro and he is returning here as our non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 8. At least in terms of attacking returns, the Aston Villa striker had a bit of an underwhelming start to the 2023-24 campaign, not finding the net until his goal at Stamford Bridge back in gameweek 6. Over those preceding five gameweeks though, he did provide 4 assists, so he was clearly getting involved in the goalscoring at Villa and it finally all came together last weekend. In what can only be labelled as a superb display, both from Watkins and from Villa as a whole, the Villans wiped the floor with Brighton, beating them 6-1 at Villa Park. Watkins took up the role of chief destruction officer with an incredible 3 goals and 2 assists for a total of 23 FPL points, the highest single-match score for a player so far this season. That monster haul made it three consecutive league games with attacking returns for the England international and it could very well be the start of a serious purple patch for him. After all, Villa’s visit to Wolves on Sunday is followed by back-to-back home games (West Ham and Luton), a visit to Nottingham Forest and a home game versus Fulham. Can Watkins make it seven or eight rounds of attacking returns in a row?

The budget enabler

On Wednesday, the big-money clash between Saudi-owned Newcastle and Qatar-owned PSG took place at St. James Park and it ended up as a night to remember for the Toon. They walked over the French side, beating them 4-1 and allowing just two shots on goal. One of the best performances on Magpie side came from Dan Burn (£4.6m), who initially struggled a bit with Ousmane Dembele’s pure pace, but bit by bit got himself into the game, topping that progress off with a thumping header at the back post in the 39th minute. As a result, he will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s away match versus West Ham, especially when you consider how good of an FPL asset he’s been of late as well. He recorded clean sheets in each of his three last league games and even went into double digits on gameweek 6, thanks to a goal against Sheffield United. In other words, Dan Burn looks to be right around the top of the world right now. Upcoming opponents West Ham are no pushovers by any stretch of the imagination this season and the Magpies have their work more than cut out for them this weekend, but after that it’s Palace at home, Wolves away and Bournemouth away in the next four. At his current price of £4.6m, Burn therefore looks like a very good budget enabler on the short and even the long term.

The differential

We’ve already mentioned Tottenham’s favourable fixture away at Luton this weekend, so for our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 8 we’re moving back to North London. A new-look Spurs side has grabbed a few headlines already this season and with good reason, because the Londoners are looking more competitive than they have done in a long time. Besides the shining stars of James Maddison and Heung-Min Son, Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) has been flying under the radar considering his current 1.9% ownership. The former Juventus forward has cemented his spot in Postecoglou’s starting eleven though, and already has 2 goals to his name. Looking at Spurs’ upcoming run of fixtures, starting with the visit to Luton to kick off GW8 and including encounters with Fulham, Crystal Palace and Wolves soon after that, we can see the Swedish international’s ownership get a decent bump soon. His away game at Kenilworth Road this weekend looks like a perfect entry moment if you want to take a differential punt with the Spurs attacker.

The (vice-)captaincy

As we wrote when covering Heung-Min Son as our premium fantasy pick of the week, he is also our first choice for the armband in gameweek 8. The South Korean is in red hot form right now and playing as a striker, while registered as a midfielder in the official game, against a leaky Luton defence. If he can score a brace at the Emirates, he can do something nice for the roughly 27% of managers who own him at Kenilworth Road as well, right?

Seeing as Brighton just shipped six goals at Villa Park, FPL logic dictates to include Mohamed Salah as a very viable option for the armband as well. Liverpool are kicking off the Sunday with a visit to the AmEx. Other interesting options for the captaincy in gameweek 8 include James Maddison away at Luton Town, Bruno Fernandes at home to Brentford and Ollie Watkins for Villa’s visit to Molineux.