The Champions League Factor
What impact will crunch Champions League group clashes have on GW8 proceedings?
After the opening 2 group games of the 2017/18 edition of European club football’s premier competition, the UEFA Champions League, English clubs are sitting well, having collected 26 of the 30 points available to them.
Manchester United’s victory in the Europa League final means that English football has an unprecedented 5 representatives this time around, as it looks to build on a poor recent record in which only one side, Chelsea (in 2013/14), have progressed to the semi-final stage of the tournament or better.
Despite collecting maximum points from their opening 2 games, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all know full well how quickly things can change in this competition with Roma, Napoli and Real Madrid their next respective opponents on Matchday 3. None of these sides can afford to take their foot of the gas.
Manchester United, who are in a slightly stronger position due to their softer group, face Benfica away, while Liverpool, with back to back draws in the competition, visit Maribor.
These 2 giants clash at Anfield in the Premier League round that immediately proceeds these European fixtures and neither side is likely to be found wanting in the motivation department, with North-West bragging rights on the line.
Jürgen Klopp is not averse to ringing the changes either but surely he will keep them to the minimum for the visit of United.
The latest goal projections would suggest that there is little to choose between the two in GW8.
Chelsea, Man City and Spurs would appear to have relatively straight forward tasks on paper but the Premier League is a great leveller. The Blues and the Citizens have already been hit with injuries to key forward players, so their respective managers will certainly be tempted to give some of their fringe players a run out in GW8, especially with numerous members of their squads away on international duty this week, all of whom they hope will return unscathed.
Burnley are the Premier League’s surprise package so far this season, punching considerably above their weight but another low-scoring affair is expected when they host the Hammers at Turf Moor and we’re not expecting to see too many goals in the fixtures at the Liberty Stadium or the Amex either. Swansea city take on Huddersfield Town in the former, while Brighton and Hove Albion entertain crisis club Everton in the latter.
Many Fantasy Premier League managers detest international breaks with a passion but there is plenty to factor into those Gameweek 8 line-ups this time around, with some crunch Champions League clashes on the horizon.