Mohamed Salah rewarded millions of FPL managers who entrusted him with the armband, while there was a rise in scores following a Gameweek full of goals and the usual suspects shining through.
After two low-scoring Gameweek 7, where the average score dropped considerably, scores shot up this Gameweek, even though the average score stood at 49 points compared to GW 7’s 36.
Liverpool started the weekend with a five-star performance against Watford as they put five past Ben Foster’s (£4.5m) goal in Claudio Ranieri’s first game in charge of the Hornets.
Aston Villa blew a two-goal lead to lose the match 3-2 in the dying seconds as Rúben Neves’s (£5.4m) deflected free-kick found the back of the net to seal a memorable comeback for Bruno Lage’s side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is on thin ice at the moment as his side were thoroughly dismantled in a 4-2 defeat to Leicester City. Harry Maguire (£5.4m), in particular, had a match to forget as his glaring errors led to at least two of Leicester City’s four goals.
In the other half of Manchester, Pep Guardiola’s Man City have been keeping the lion’s share of possession, but that hasn’t translated to goals since the beginning of September. Against Burnley, though, they registered a comfortable 2-0 home win, with their creator-in-chief Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) scoring again, which looks ominous for the opposition they are due to face next.
Elsewhere, it was a goalless affair at Carrow Road as Norwich City registered their second clean sheet on the bounce since shifting to a back-three, while Brighton & Hove Albion must be thinking of it as a lost opportunity to grab maximum points against a team lying at the bottom of the table.
Without Patrick Bamford (£7.8m) and Raphinha (£6.6m), Leeds United’s attack looked toothless against a stubborn Southampton side, who came out of the fixture with all three points courtesy of an Armando Broja (£5.0m) goal.
Brentford continued to impress despite losing 1-0 to Chelsea this Saturday; it was a Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) strike that separated the two sides at half-time, and following the resumption in the second half, there was an Eduard Mendy (£6.1m) masterclass on show, as the Chelsea #1 produced save after save of the highest order, saving his side’s blushes as Brentford dominated the European champions throughout the second half and deserved to at least get a point.
Fast forward to Sunday, and we have Everton who had nothing to show offensively as David Moyes’ West Ham United, set in a 4-4-2, stifled Rafael Benítez’s 4-4-2 man for man. The Hammers dominated the entire match and deservedly came away with all three points as Jarrod Bowen’s (£6.3m) corner kick found Angelo Ogbonna’s (£5.0m) head.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur turned party poopers as they silenced a joyous St. James’ Park following a 3-2 victory against the Magpies. Harry Kane (£12.1m) scored his first goal of the season and quickly added an assist to it as he ended the evening with a double-digit points haul.
Arsenal, after a dismal start to the campaign, had a chance to move within a point of the Top 4, but blew that following a succession of individual errors from the majority of Arsenal players that cost them the points, as Patrick Vieira and Co. left the Emirates smiling with a sense of mission accomplishment.
With so many things to look back to and digest, let’s take a look at the weekend’s action from Gameweek 8 of the 2021/22 Premier League season.
Watford 0-5 Liverpool
Goals: Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino (x3)
Assists: James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Neco Williams
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool turned on the screw against a lacklustre Watford side. Sadio Mané (£11.9m) opened the scoring in the 8th minute, which was set up by Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) with a delightful outside-of-the-boot through ball, and the Egyptian capped off an exquisite piece of individual brilliance with a fine second-half goal as the Liverpool forward rewarded scores of FPL managers with a double-digit points haul.
Roberto Firmino (£8.8m) returned to lead the Liverpool forward line and in some style as the Brazilian hauled a hat-trick and an assist to bag 20 points for the Gameweek. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) failed to add anything offensive but rewarded his owners with a solid 6-pointer. Owners of Ismaïla Sarr (£6.3m), however, were left disappointed as the winger blanked this week.
Aston Villa 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Goals: John McGinn, Danny Ings || Conor Coady, Roman Saïss, Rúben Neves
Assists: John McGinn, Ollie Watkins || Leander Dendoncker, Adama Traoré, Daniel Podence
An incredible comeback at Villa Park. After an eventful goalless first half where both teams squandered a handful of half-chances, the match opened up as the second half got underway.
John McGinn’s (£5.8m) sliced cross found the head of England striker Danny Ings (£7.8m) as the Villa #9 expertly guided the ball in the back of the net. Twenty minutes later, McGinn made it 2-nil to the hosts as his long-range effort via a deflection cruelly rolled into José Sá’s (£5.0m) gaping goal.
Following smart tactical tweaks, Wolves got one goal back as Daniel Podence’s (£5.5m) squared delivery was finished off by Roman Saïss (£5.0m) and, in the 85th minute, a kerfuffle inside the six-yard box saw the ball put beyond the white line by Conor Coady (£4.5m) after a Leander Dendoncker (£4.8m) scruffy touch to score the equaliser. There was more drama in store, however, as Rúben Neves’s deflected free-kick resulted in Wolves coming away with all three points in the 95th minute.
Leicester City 4-2 Manchester United
Goals: Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans, Çağlar Söyüncü, Patson Daka || Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood
Assists: Ayoze Pérez (x2), Kelechi Iheanacho || Bruno Fernandes, Victor Lindelöf
After a cagey opening 15 minutes where both sides were getting a feel of each other, it was in the 19th minute that Mason Greenwood (£7.6m) produced a moment of magic as he dribbled past his man into open space before unleashing a left-footed thunderbolt that rifled into the right-hand top corner. However, in the 31st minute, when Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.0m) pulled back the ball for Youri Tielemans (6.4m), the Belgium International — with a silky touch — curled the ball into the top right corner. It ended all square at 1-1 as the referee blew the half-time whistle.
In the second half, the game ebbed and flowed till the 73rd minute, before Brendan Rodgers brought on Ayoze Pérez (£5.8m), who in my opinion changed the whole tide of the game. He played the final ball that led to Çağlar Söyüncü’s (£4.9m) goal in the 78th minute. Manchester United equalised courtesy of a great finish by the returning Marcus Rashford (£9.4m), who was spotted by Victor Lindelöf (£4.8m) with a long diagonal ball.
But it only took 54 seconds for Leicester City to take the lead again as Ayoze Pérez again turned provider, this time for Jamie Vardy (£10.6m), who just can’t stop scoring at the moment. And to rub salt into Manchester United’s wounds, a second defensive lapse from Harry Maguire led to Patson Daka (£7.1m), who scored his first Leicester City goal. (What a night to grab it!)
Manchester City 2-0 Burnley
Goals: Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva
Assists: Phil Foden
It was business as usual for Pep Guardiola and his boys, although they would’ve certainly liked to score more. But such is the case with Manchester City, who have been lacking a clinical finisher for about two years now. Bernardo Silva (£7.0m) opened the scoring following a rebounded effort after Nick Pope (£5.4m) saved Phil Foden’s (£8.0m) initial effort on goal. Burnley troubled the Man City backline on a couple of occasions but failed to score any goals.
The second half more or less started on the same wavelength, as Burnley had to endure long spells of sustained pressure during the early proceedings. However, Manchester City’s talisman, Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m), sealed the game for the home side as he latched onto a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and rifled in a left-footed thunderous strike, making it two in two for himself.
Norwich City 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Both Norwich and Brighton & Hove Albion had chances to grab full three points but missed opportunities at both ends of the pitch and the spoils were shared. Leandro Trossard (£6.4m) hit the woodwork in the first half and soon Josh Sargent (5.4m) had a golden opportunity to give Norwich the lead when Robert Sánchez (£4.6m) collided with his centre-back, Lewis Dunk (£5.0m), leaving the goal gaping for Sargent to roll the ball in the back of the net. But the young American’s shot lacked pace as the ball looked like dying down before it was cleared away by Shane Duffy (£4.4m).
In the second half, it was quite a cagey affair as neither team looked like giving an inch of space to the opposition. Both teams had one big chance each during the second half, with the first one falling to Teemu Pukki (£5.9m) as he went one-on-one with the Brighton goalkeeper, but his effort went well wide and left him frustrated as he slapped the pitch in anger. Brighton created their opportunity via a turnover in possession higher up the Norwich half, where Leandro Trossard found Solomon March (£5.3m), whose low-whipped delivery from the edge of the box found Neal Maupay (£6.6m), but the Brighton #9 blazed it over the bar — a glaring miss, considering it could’ve been the winner.
Southampton 1-0 Leeds United
Goals: Armando Broja
Assists: Nathan Redmond
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton became the first team since the start of last season to outrun Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United in a match; this, in itself, is some achievement. And the evening got a lot better for the Saints when Nathan Redmond’s through ball found Armando Broja, who slotted home the winner in the 53rd minute. However, the Albania international had to be taken off in the 81st minute after taking a knock.
Without the services of Patrick Bamford and Raphinha, the latter missing the fixture due to international commitments, Leeds United’s attack lacked that cutting edge throughout the evening, and even if a replay match was played immediately, Leeds would likely have failed to score again. Although Raphinha is sure to feature in their Gameweek 9 fixture, Bamford might need a couple of weeks more to get back into contention.
Brentford 0-1 Chelsea
Goals: Ben Chilwell
Assists: Mateo Kovačić
As the first half wore on at the Brentford Community Stadium, it seemed like the Brentford side that beat Arsenal 2-0 and drew 3-3 with Liverpool just didn’t show up. They looked flat, monotonic, and rigid. On the other end, after squandering a few decent chances, it was Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) with a left-footed strike who gave Chelsea the lead just past the 40-minute mark.
I would really have liked to be a fly in the wall of that Brentford dressing room, because whatever Thomas Frank had said during the half-time interval started to pay off immediately as the second half resumed. Bryan Mbuemo (£5.5m) hit the woodwork twice and Brentford, in general, were far superior to the European champions in the second half. I strongly feel that without Eduard Mendy, Chelsea wouldn’t have come out of that fixture with all three points. The Bees were all over them like a rash as they had seven Shots on Target compared to Chelsea’s one, and out of those seven, at least two-to-three were destined to find the back of the net if not for Mendy’s heroics.
Everton 0-1 West Ham United
Goals: Angelo Ogbonna
Assists: Jarrod Bowen
It was a frustrating tie for owners of attackers all around as forwards from both sides blanked this Gameweek. The West Ham duo of Michail Antonio (£8.0m) and Saïd Benrahma (£6.6m) both blanked again, despite racking up a combined seven shots, of which only one of Antonio’s hit the target. Moreover, another setback for FPL managers was the absence of Vladimir Coufal (£5.0m) in the Hammers’ backline.
Similarly, the Evertonian trio of Abdoulaye Doucouré (£5.7m), Andros Townsend (£5.6m) and Demarai Gray (£5.8m) all failed to register returns. In the end, it was a Jarrod Bowen corner kick that was headed home by Angelo Ogbonna to give West Ham United the lead and eventually win the tie for them. Moreover, with West Ham entering a relatively tough swing of fixtures, it’d be wise to keep an eye out for these Hammers assets.
Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Goals: Callum Wilson, Eric Dier (OG) || Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Tanguy Ndombele
Assists: Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy || Harry Kane, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Sergio Reguilón
The Magpies got off to the best possible start, as just past the first-minute mark, Callum Wilson headed in Javier Manquillo’s delivery to give Newcastle United the lead. But Spurs responded just past 20 minutes when Sergio Reguilón’s cut-back was deftly tucked in by Tanguy Ndombele.
Things just went downhill for the home side from thereon. Harry Kane scored his first goal of the season after it was initially chalked off as offside, but VAR overturned that decision, and four minutes into first-half added time, Harry Kane’s squared ball around the six-yard box found Heung-Min Son, who slotted home an easy tap-in to give Tottenham a two-goal lead.
The second half started off as a cagey encounter, with neither side looking to leave spaces behind. The fixture looked dead and buried in favour of Spurs, until late on in the second half when Jacob Murphy’s set-piece delivery was guided inside his own goal by Tottenham’s Eric Dier. Moreover, Jonjo Shelvey saw red after two cynical and needless tackles which took away any glimmer of hope Newcastle United had for one last push.
Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace
Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette || Christian Benteke, Odsonne Edouard
Assists: Nicolas Pépé, Gabriel Martinelli || Jordan Ayew, Michael Olise
It was a special night at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal’s most enigmatic captain, Patrick Vieira, came home with his team and took on the Gunners.
The evening started in a fairly routine fashion, with Arsenal applying large swells of pressure inside the Crystal Palace 18-yard box, before Nicolas Pépé’s (£7.2m) shot, which was brilliantly saved by Vicente Guaita (£4.6m), was slotted home by an ever-sharp Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£9.9m). The Gunners led 1-0 after just eight minutes.
But as the game progressed, individual errors crept in, particularly by the holding midfielders and the ball-playing centre-halfs in Ben White (£4.4m) and Gabriel Magalhães (£5.0m), and it was Thomas Partey’s (£4.9m) error inside Arsenal’s own final-third that gifted the possession to Jordan Ayew who squared it for Christian Benteke, who slotted home a great goal as the teams ended the half all square.
The second half started in almost the same manner, with Arsenal trying different approaches to break down the Palace structure, and eventually another individual error came back to bite them, and this time it was Albert Sambi Lokonga (£4.9m) who lost possession and handed the ball to Michael Olise, who played in Odsonne Edouard to give Palace an unlikely lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The Emirates went silent, with the away stand in raptures. Arsenal came close to levelling it but had to wait until the very last kick of the ball to salvage a point, as Alexandre Lacazette found the back of the net from point-blank range.
It turned out to be an entertaining but frustrating afternoon for both sets of fans, as both sides had enough chances to grab all three points.