With no Friday or Monday night Premier League games, this upcoming weekend serves up a full fixture list over two days, with eight encounters taking place on Saturday, and two on Sunday.
Newcastle travel to Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s early kick-off, against Chelsea. Fantasy football fans will appreciate the contrast in both sides recent form, with the Blues having won four out of their last five Premier League games, with Newcastle losing four out of theirs
Despite his inevitable high price, Eden Hazard has been in scintillating form for those managers who’ve picked the Chelsea winger within their team. Hazard has scored five goals in all competitions within the last month, and has picked up two star player awards. With the Belgian being rested midweek against Swansea, a fully fit and raring to go Hazard will certainly be near the top of Newcastle’s priorities come Saturday, in terms of stopping Chelsea.
The visitors offer very little temptation in terms of an attacking sense for most Fantasy managers, and a visit to Stamford Bridge will do little to boost that appeal. The pick of their players this season has surely been their Jaamal Lascelles, who will need to be at his very best at the weekend to pick up any further individual points.
With Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as Watford and Tottenham Hotspur clashing, managers may be wise to sway their attention to Liverpool’s visit to Brighton & Hove Albion, with the irrepressible Mohamed Salah continuing to rack up seemingly endless goals and points, in a fixture that appears promising for Liverpool’s attacking prowess in general, in a game they will be strong favourites to win.
Arsenal are in superb form. With only a defeat to Manchester City within their last six Premier League games, a fantastic win at home to rivals Spurs, and a midweek 5-0 thumping of Huddersfield Town, they will go into their clash with Manchester United as slight favourites. It remains to be seen whether or not Mourinho will deploy his often debated defensive approach, given that his side cannot afford to drop any more points behind leaders City.
Managers may be tempted therefore to bring in United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who now on his way back to full fitness, will surely be playing a significant part for Mourinho’s side, particularly in games of a tighter nature, which Saturday’s is anticipated to be.
Watford, despite their 4-2 defeat on Wednesday to Man United, have been very impressive so far this campaign. With midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and winger Richarlison taking most of the plaudits, defenders like Adrian Mariappa’s performances have often gone slightly under the radar, and the likes of Mariappa, and fellow centre back Craig Cathcart should be strong considerations for any manager, looking for a less expensive option at the back.
Along with the Hornets, Burnley continue to surprise with their exploits this season. The Clarets visit Leicester City this weekend, in a game expected to be a close affair. Virtually any of their defensive line would be a great asset to any side, with Sean Dyche continuing to get the best out of his back four, game after game.
Sam Allardyce will take charge of his first official game as Everton boss, against Huddersfield Town at Goodison Park on Saturday. After an appalling run of form, the Toffees were very impressive in Wednesday nights 4-1 defeat of West Ham United, with Wayne Rooney looking particularly excellent, scoring his first hat-trick for the club.
Given that their confidence should have returned following midweeks result, and the positive vibe that a new manager in their first game often brings, Rooney is a relatively cheap option for fantasy managers, and with Everton’s upcoming fixture list looking somewhat favourable, the Premier League’s second all-time goalscorer may be a great asset, if only on a short-term basis.
West Bromwich Albion too, will be potentially buoyed by their new managerial appointment, Alan Pardew. The Baggies face Crystal Palace at the Hawthorns, in a game where the visitors will no doubt be looking for star man Wilfried Zaha to produce their biggest attacking threat.
From a West Brom perspective, it will be fascinating to discover whether Pardew implements a fresher and more attacking approach than his predecessor Tony Pullis, given the latters much maligned negative tactics.
If so, wingers Oliver Burke, and Matty Phillips may well be competent acquisitions for Fantasy managers in search of a bargain. Burke in particular, has missed a lot of this year’s campaign through a hamstring injury, but clearly has ability, with the Baggies spending 15 million pounds this summer to bring the winger in from RB Leipzig.
West Ham United are 20/1 to take all three points on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the fact that they’re travelling to Manchester City. It looks wise therefore to avoid any of the Hammers defensive players this weekend, and perhaps switch to encounters such as Stoke City vs Swansea City, and Bournemouth vs Southampton for more pragmatic signings, with both games featuring relatively low scoring sides.
Swansea in particular are in desperate need of a win, and will see their visit to the Bet365 stadium as a real opportunity to come away with at least something from the game. Wilfried Bony is yet to score, following his return to Swansea, and it would be typically ironic for the striker to break his duck against the side he ran out for last season, in Stoke.