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Captain Salah? 'It's a no brainer' - fantasy football tips

Published on: 14 October 2021

In my mind there are two non-negotiables going into gameweek eight.

1. You must have Mohamed Salah.

2. You must have at least one Chelsea AND one Manchester City defender.

The safest long-term choices at Chelsea would be Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta and the Spaniard is certainly the differential pick with an ownership of just 6.5% compared to Rudiger's 21%.

Your two best bets at Manchester City are Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo although Spain centre-back Aymeric Laporte has started five of the seven Premier League games and is a slightly cheaper option at £5.5m.

I decided to go for double Chelsea when I played the wildcard before gameweek seven with my one safe pick of Antonio Rudiger and then the slightly riskier selection of Marcos Alonso. On the evidence of the last couple of weeks with Ben Chilwell's performances and goals against Southampton and Andorra it looks like I may have opted for the wrong left-back so it's stick or twist time.

Rotation is now far more likely between the pair of them and the potential for big scores remains with both but just be sure you've got the squad depth to cover when they don't play.

    Listen to the latest Fantasy 606 podcast on BBC Sounds

Time for Kane?Harry Kane has yet to score for Tottenham in the Premier League while team-mate Son Heung-min has three league goals to his name

It's been good to see Trent Alexander-Arnold back in training before Liverpool's trip to Watford if you own him - he's almost a non-negotiable pick like Salah in my mind - and the injury updates after the international break are going to be crucial in selecting your team this weekend.

Romelu Lukaku withdrawing from the Belgium squad with muscle fatigue will concern a lot of managers although it's quite easy to flit between the premium strikers as we've been discussing on the Fantasy 606 podcast this season.

You could take a punt on a bit of Harry Kane differential with Tottenham away to Newcastle on Sunday - he's only owned by 5% of managers at the moment and Chris Sutton keeps promising us the goals are coming.

Tottenham's fixtures then get a bit tougher so Statman Dave has been telling Chris to hop onto Jamie Vardy for a bit with the 34-year-old proving his speed, sharpness and finishing prowess remain undiminished having delivered an attacking return in four of the past five gameweeks.

Plenty of value picks around

We're actually spoilt for choice for strikers at the moment, even with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Patrick Bamford both on the sidelines recently, so in terms of your team formation 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 looks like the way to go.

I learnt that painful lesson by leaving Hwang Hee-chan's 13 points on my bench last week, opting to select Ismaila Sarr and Bukayo Saka ahead of him. It's easy to say it's the wrong call in hindsight but it was particularly annoying when I'd written so glowingly about him on these pages last week. Do as I say not as I do.

Hwang will cost you £5.6m and Wolves' next three games are against Villa (a), Leeds (a) and Everton (h).

Raul Jimenez (£7.5m), Ollie Watkins (£7.3m), Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.8m) and Adam Armstrong (£6m) should all come into consideration but Ivan Toney is Statman Dave's long-term choice for the third striker role, although note that Brentford do come up against the Chelsea defence this weekend.

His strike partner Bryan Mbeumo is definitely worth a look as well - he's classed as a midfielder and comes in at a very tidy £5.5m. Toney (£6.4m) is owned by 15% of managers, Mbeumo just 1.5% at the time of writing.

I also like the look of Liverpool's Curtis Jones at just £5m. Having scored in the 3-3 draw at Brentford he really caught the eye in Liverpool's demolition of Porto in the Champions League and then backed it up with another good showing in the 2-2 draw vs Manchester City.

Jones is obviously not guaranteed to start every week but he would be an affordable way of adding a third Liverpool player to my squad and then I can write about him next week when I leave his double digits on the bench!

I've also not written much about Son Heung-min yet this season whose continued excellence, like Vardy's, is going unnoticed with all the fuss around the arrival of Ronaldo and Lukaku in the game. Jermaine Jenas described him as "unplayable" in Tottenham's 2-1 win against Aston Villa in gameweek seven when he earned his third double-figure score of the season. So if you're prepared to relinquish your hold on Bruno, Rom or Ron then maybe it's time for Son?

Finally onto the captaincy for gameweek eight. I'm giving it to Salah as Liverpool head to Watford who will play their first game under new manager Claudio Ranieri. If you've captained Salah every week so far this season then that's earned you an extra 70 points. That seems like a non-negotiable to me.

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