The Premier League is back with a bang at lunchtime on Saturday as Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford. José Mourinho will be looking to extend his excellent record against Arsène Wenger in this one, with the Gunners boss managing just 1 win from 15 against him. In addition to this, Arsenal haven’t won a league game at Old Trafford since September 2006, so the omens aren’t good for the Away side here. With Zlatan Ibrahimović suspended and Wayne Rooney a doubt for the game this could be an ideal chance for young England striker Marcus Rashford (£6.8m) to get back amongst the goals. He hasn’t scored in his last 4 league games but notched twice on his Premier League debut in this fixture last season and will be keen for a similar performance if he’s given the nod up front on Saturday. United have injury problems at the back, with Valencia, Bailly, Shaw and Smalling all likely to miss this one, and with this in mind Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez (£11.3m) could pick up big points. He scored twice in midweek for his country (despite being an injury doubt) and also bagged a brace in his last Premier League away game, a 4-1 win at Sunderland.
Everton against Swansea at 3pm looks to be the home banker of the weekend. Swansea haven’t won since the opening day of the season, and although Everton are hardly in the best form themselves they’re undefeated at Goodison this season and should be too strong for the struggling Swans. Romelu Lukaku (£9.8m) has 7 goals from his last 8 appearances and will no doubt be captained by a host of Fantasy Football managers this weekend. It’s worth considering their defenders this week too; before last week’s 5-0 capitulation at Chelsea Everton’s defence had been impressive this season, conceding just 8 times in their first 10 league matches. Ronald Koeman will be demanding they get back to those standards on Saturday and considering only Sunderland have scored less than Swansea so far this season a clean sheet could be on the cards. Ashely Williams and Maarten Stekelenburg (both £5.1m) should be safe choices in defence and in goal.
Merseyside neighbours Liverpool have a much tougher test on paper, as they travel south to St Mary’s for the clash against Southampton. ‘Both Teams To Score’ in Liverpool fixtures is becoming a favourite with punters, with 9 of 11 league games this season ending this way. Klopp’s side have scored the most goals in the league but only two teams in the top half have conceded more, so avoiding Liverpool’s defenders whilst stockpiling their attacking midfielders is a strategy that could bring plenty of joy to Fantasy Football managers. Sadio Mané (£9.0m), Roberto Firmino (£8.7m) and Philippe Coutinho (£8.7m) have scored over 60 Fantasy Football points each so far in this campaign, notching up 16 goals and 13 assists between them. If all three are in your team then you can be confident of a decent points contribution most weeks. With Liverpool’s dodgy defence in mind Southampton striker Charlie Austin (£6.8m) should have chances to pick up more points this week. He’s scored 5 in his last 7 and only 5 forwards have got more points so far this season.
There’s just one game on Sunday and it features the form team in England, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. They’ve won 5 consecutive league games without conceding, and scored 16 goals themselves in that run. Eden Hazard (£10.1m) has 5 goals and 2 assists from his last 4 games and is looking more and more like the PFA Player of the Year from two seasons ago that Chelsea sorely missed last year. He’s the top Fantasy Football player so far this season with a whopping 82 points, and the Middlesbrough backline will have to be at their best to keep him at bay this weekend. Boro have won just 1 of their last 9 league games but have picked up surprise points against both Manchester City and Arsenal in recent weeks. It would be a shock to see them gain any more this weekend though, especially if Hazard continues where he left off before the International break.
To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:
Crystal Palace v Man City – Sergio Agüero (£13.1m)
Stoke v Bournemouth – Ryan Shawcross (£4.9m)
Sunderland v Hull – Jordan Pickford (£4.1m)
Watford v Leicester – Islam Slimani (£8.3m)
Tottenham v West Ham – Harry Kane (£10.7m)
West Brom v Burnley – Matt Phillips (£5.1m)
Best of luck for this weekend, and we’ll bring you another update next week.