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Five talking points ahead of FPL Gameweek 8 after another international break

SoccerBy Colm Hayes
Despite failing to fire against Burnley, Arsenal attackers are in demand
Despite failing to fire against Burnley, Arsenal attackers are in demand

An enigmatic Swede, Arsenal's fixture list, international breaks, Stoke City and Diego Costa all discussed ahead of Gameweek 8.

Ibra

Stick or twist? Ibrahimovic owners have a tough decision on their hands ahead of the GW8 deadline (11:30 on Saturday), with the £11.5m tied up in the Sweden striker burning a hole in many pockets.

On paper, United face a fairly tough schedule with away clashes against Liverpool and Chelsea in the next two before playing a stubborn Burnley outfit at Old Trafford.

However, Jurgen Klopp's men are yet to keep a clean sheet, Antonio Conte's side have let in nine goals so far and Sean Dyche's team have condeced six goals in two away ties.

A GW7 blank was extremely damaging for Zlatan owners, especially those who gave him the captain's armband, against a leaky Stoke City as other heavy hitters also failed to bring home the points.

Ibrahimovic's stats suggest the goals will come but have managers run out of patience?

The striker has launched more efforts on goal (36) than any other player in the Premier League, with about 33% of those (12) hitting the target. A player of his quality would have expected to open the scoring inside two minutes against Stoke when he was put through by Paul Pogba but the missed chance ended up being a sign of things to come as Ibrahimovic failed to get on the scoresheet.

Expect a firesale if the big Swede fails to produce the goods at Anfield.

Arsenal fixtures

With three excellent fixtures in a row [Swansea (h), Middlesbrough (h), Sunderland (a)] ahead of a crunch GW11 clash at home to Spurs, Arsenal assets are seriously in demand.

Owning an attacker from Arsene Wenger's side seems like a no-brainer at this point. Alexis Sanchez (£11.3m) was rested after the last international break but Arsenal were gearing up to play PSG away in the Champions League directly after GW4. Next Wednesday, they face European minnows Ludogorets at the Emirates.

Theo Walcott (£7.7m) offers a cut-price alternative to the expensive Chilean, while Alex Iwobi is available for just £5.8m - an absolute steal for a currently nailed-on cog in Arsenal's attacking machine.

Olivier Giroud again misses out through injury this weekend, meaning Sanchez will lead the line once more to leave the wing roles of both Walcott and Iwobi unthreatened for the time being.

These fixtures also present a strong case for the defence, though with Monreal and Mustafi the cheapest options at £6.0m, funds will need to be freed up elsewhere.

Our resident Arsenal fan rages at why you can't buy four players from one team in FPL, but that's a matter for another day.

International injuries

FPL bosses will have done well to hold fire on their GW8 transfers after a slew of injury worries.

Many ears prickled when news of a Sergio Aguero niggle came through but the striker played 90 minutes for Argentina on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (which included a penalty miss).

Romelu Lukaku, on the other hand, failed to lineout for Belgium with a thigh strain as Christian Benteke ran riot for the Belgian Red Devils with a hat-trick against Gibraltar.

The Everton striker has since been confirmed fit:

All in all, it is worth letting prices fluctuate during the international break and waiting until the Thursday or Friday before the following gameweek to hit the transfer button, considering the amount of FPL assets that must endure international duty.

Speaking of enduring international duty, keep this in mind for the next break, which is in 4 GWs time (it can't possibly feel as long as this one did?)

Can fixtures trump form for Stoke?

Despite coming away from Old Trafford with a point in GW7, Mark Hughes' side were fortunate not to concede several times.

The goalkeeping heroics of Lee Grant (£4.0m) kept the Potters in the game numerous times as Zlatan and co were frustrated in Manchester.

Stoke's next six include home ties against Sunderland, Swansea and Bournemouth while they travel to Hull, West Ham and Watford.

With a budget backline on offer as well as attacking assets like Marko Arnautovic (£7.2m) and Xherdan Shaqiri (£6.3m), who have fallen in price since GW1, to choose from, Stoke have several options to offer fantasy managers should they take advantage of a kind schedule.

Time to wake up and smell the Costa coffee?

A divisive figure both on the pitch and as an FPL asset, Diego Costa looks to be back in 2014/15 mode with both goals and cards aplenty.

Having returned in six out of seven gameweeks so, and picking up four yellow cards along the way, Costa's consistency can't be argued with.

For those looking to downgrade Ibrahimovic, the Spain striker presents a tantalising option.

With fixtures against Leicester, Man Utd, Southampton, Everton and Spurs in the next six gameweeks, however, Conte's team will be up against it.

Add in that Costa will face a one-game ban in the very near future and it could be wise to wait until after the inevitable suspension to draft the Chelsea hitman.

However, the devilish forward has been stinging non-owners continually this season and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see that continue despite a tough fixture list.