Should Harry Maguire be dropped this weekend?

Manchester United return to Premier League action this weekend for the first time in a fortnight following the international break.

Their last outing saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side humiliated 1-6 at Old Trafford by Tottenham Hotspur and their former employer, Jose Mourinho.

Anthony Martial’s dismissal in that game, with the score 1-2 at the time, means the French forward will be suspended for Saturday night’s trip to St James’ Park to face a Newcastle United side that have had some good results to start their campaign.

Manchester United’s issues aren’t so much in attack though; they have five goals in their first three games of the 2020-21 Premier League season. It’s in defence where the issues lie – 11 goals conceded.

The Red Devils shipped three in their surprise loss at home to Crystal Palace in their opener before a penalty in the 10th minute of stoppage time earned them a 3-2 win away to Brighton & Hove Albion. They had conceded twice in the opening seven minutes after taking the lead versus Spurs before Martial’s red card.

Much of the talk heading into the season had been about whether Dean Henderson should replace David de Gea between the sticks. And whilst Solskjaer stuck with the Spaniard and the question continues to remain, the Norwegian manager’s bigger problem may be in the four that protect him.

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EPL Predictions Gameweek 5

The 2020-21 English Premier League is back from the international break and kicks off with the Merseyside derby on Saturday lunchtime with current league leaders Everton hosting defending champions Liverpool.

As well as the Toffees, the only other team with a 100% start is Aston Villa. Dean Smith’s side face a tough challenge to maintain that with a trip to Leicester City on Sunday night.

Here’s a look at all of the weekend’s fixtures with your EPL fantasy team in mind:

Everton vs Liverpool
Everton are the Premier League’s joint top scorers through four games whilst Liverpool have scored just one less. The Toffees are without a clean sheet since their season opener whilst Jurgen Klopp’s side shipped seven goals in their final game before the break. Although this fixture is often tight we should be in for goals this time around, making attacking players a good choice for your team. James Rodriguez has scored three in his four games this season, whilst Mohamed Salah is the highest-scoring midfielder in fantasy football.

Chelsea vs Southampton
Edouard Mendy started his Premier League career with Chelsea’s first clean sheet directly before the international break. The goalkeeper comes up against Danny Ings and co at Stamford Bridge this weekend in what could be a real challenge for Frank Lampard’s side, who have made an inconsistent start to start the new season.

Manchester City vs Arsenal
Mikel Arteta will be looking to get another one over former his former employers when Arsenal go to Manchester City on Saturday evening. The Citizens start the weekend in the bottom half whilst only Everton have more points than Arsenal. Can Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score another winner versus Pep Guardiola’s side?

Newcastle United vs Manchester United
Aside from a 0-3 hammering at home by Brighton & Hove Albion, Steve Bruce’s side have made a fine start, taking seven points from their other three games. Don’t be surprised if Newcastle take points off Manchester United this weekend either with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side jetting off all over the world during the international break and being hammered 1-6 at home by Tottenham Hotspur just before.

Sheffield United vs Fulham
A basement battle kicks off Sunday as the bottom two meet at Bramall Lane. Sheffield Untied and Fulham have each lost all four of their games so far but I have to lean towards a home win here. Chris Wilder’s side are much more tactically adept and solid at the back. In a weekend that looks set for goals galore, Aaron Ramsdale could be your choice as goalkeeper.

Crystal Palace vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Crystal Palace were hammered 4-0 at Chelsea before the international break and will be looking to bounce back against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend. The Eagles had made a good start to the season with victories over Southampton and Manchester United but have been brought down to earth with back-to-back defeats. Despite losing 2-3 to United and then 4-2 at Everton, I fancy the Seagulls to get something out of this game. Neal Maupay has been delivering the goals so would be a solid choice for your fantasy team.

Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United
The one London derby of the weekend comes at the new Tottenham stadium with Jose Mourinho’s side hosting West Ham United. The Hammers have recorded stunning 4-0 and 3-0 wins over Wolves and Leicester respectively but face a Spurs side who hammered Manchester United 6-1 before the international break. Heung-min Son and Harry Kane would be obvious choices for your team.

Leicester City vs Aston Villa
Everton and Aston Villa are the only two teams returning from the international break with a 100% win record and Leicester City will be looking to put an end to the latter’s when Dean Smith’s side travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday night. Leicester have been freescoring themselves so don’t be surprised to see Jamie Vardy back among the goals this weekend.

West Bromwich Albion vs Burnley
A tough game to call on Monday evening as West Bromwich Albion and Burnley have one point between them. That came from Slaven Bilic’s side drawing 3-3 at home with Chelsea whilst the Clarets have only scored three goals in total from their first three games this season.

Leeds United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Premier League action concludes at Elland Road on Monday night as we’re in for a good battle between Marcelo Bielsa and Nuno’s sides. Leeds United have made the better start of these two and we should be in for a goalfest based on both of their starts to the new season.

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Fantasy La Liga Gameweek 5 Picks

The 2020-21 Spanish La Liga season continues this weekend following the international break with Granada and Sevilla kicking off the action on Saturday lunchtime.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are both in action on the same day, with the champions welcoming Cadiz to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium before Ronald Koeman’s side are also in the capital, away to Getafe.

Hare are our recommendations for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid have kept three clean sheets in their four La Liga games to start the new campaign and are widely-expected to add another one versus Cadiz this weekend. Thibaut Courtois himself has been in fine form to start the new campaign.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 5 Picks

The English Premier League returns from the international break with the Merseyside derby on Saturday lunchtime as leaders Everton welcome defending champions Liverpool across Stanley Park to Goodison Park.

It’s one of two huge fixtures on Saturday as Manchester City host Arsenal in a rematch of their FA Cup semi-final a few months ago when Mikel Arteta surprised his former boss, Pep Guardiola.

Sunday sees a London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, whilst the weekend’s action concludes on Monday night between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road.

Here are our recommendations for your EPL fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)
Sheffield United have a great opportunity to pick up their first points of the season this weekend in a battle of the bottom two versus Fulham at Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder’s side haven’t been overly bad this season, losing late versus Leeds and 1-2 at Arsenal. Meanwhile, Fulham have failed to score in three of their first four matches back in the top flight and things already look concerning for Scott Parker’s side. A home win is on the cards and a potential clean sheet too.

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Final test results mean Napoli will return this weekend

Napoli are set to host Atalanta on Saturday 17 October as Serie A returns to domestic action following the international break.

The break came at an ideal time for Gino Gattuso’s side after they failed to show up to the Allianz Stadium for their scheduled fixture away to Juventus on Sunday 4 October.

Punishment has yet to be happened out to the Napolitains, with many expecting the defending champions a 3-0 victory for their opponents’ no show.

Local authorities prevented Napoli from leaving the region of Campania for their last fixture before the international fixtures.

Back on 27 September, I Partenopei hammered Genoa 6-0, but discovered that 22 of their opponents’ players and staff subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. Napoli’s squad were then placed in quarantine, with Piotr Zielinski and Elif Elmas returning positive results.

Genoa’s scheduled match versus Torino the following weekend was subsequently postponed, but they are now set to return to face Hellas Verona on Monday 19 October.

Following two positive tests, local country restrictions prevented Napoli from fulfilling their fixture up north. However, the Italian FA may not be so forgiving when they determine the club’s punishment, which is expected to be announced before the weekend. Napoli had otherwise made an excellent start to the season – winning 2-0 away to Parma and their 6-0 win. Gattuso’s side were beaten in both of their fixtures versus Parma last season.

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8 confirmed absentees for Milan derby

The Derby della Madonnina, otherwise known as the Milan Derby, is scheduled for Saturday evening as domestic football is set to return after the international break.

One of the biggest fixtures on the Italian football calendar, both Milan clubs have made a good start to the 2020-21 campaign - Stefano Pioli’s side joint top of Serie A with a maximum nine points, whilst Inter have only dropped points in their 1-1 draw away to Lazio.

However, both clubs have been hit with positive tests for COVID-19 over the past couple of days. Although it is understood that a postponement of the fixture is not at threat currently, neither club will want to lose any more players between now and the weekend.

AC Milan will be without Matteo Gabbia for the next two weeks after the centre-back tested positive whilst away with the Italian under-21 side. The 20-year-old had started all three league games this season, as Milan have yet to concede a single goal at the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign.

Leo Duarte is the only player who will be missing for Piole’s side this weekend due to self-isolation. Whilst the Brazilian has played just 18 minutes of football this season in one substitute appearance, he could have been a straight swap for Gabbia.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 4

The 2020-21 Premier League campaign is set to head into its first international break of the campaign after another thrilling weekend of action that included Aston Villa’s incredible 7-2 victory over champions Liverpool.

Liverpool will be the next team in action when the Premier League returns as they are set for the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on lunchtime of Saturday 17 October.

Before that though, let’s have a look at who the top players were from matchday 4:

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – 7pts
Four goalkeepers kept a clean sheet in the Premier League over the weekend and we selected Edouard Mendy in the team of the week. The Senegalese goalkeeper was making his Chelsea debut on Saturday lunchtime in helping Frank Lampard’s side keep their first shutout of the new campaign in the 4-0 hammering of Crystal Palace.

Defender: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) – 15pts
Ben Chilwell was also making his Chelsea debut on Saturday when the left-back opened the scoring and later got an assist to go with his clean sheet in what can only be described as the perfect start from the England international.

Defender: Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) – 12pts
Chelsea dominate our defence as Kurt Zouma’s goal made it 2-0 midway through the second half to help secure three points in the London derby. It’s the centre-back’s second goal in only three Premier League games so far this season, and his first clean sheet.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United) – 12pts
Back-to-back surprise victories have come with clean sheets for West Ham whilst manager David Moyes is self-isolating. The Hammers followed up their 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers with a 3-0 win away to Leicester City on Sunday lunchtime. Left-back Aaron Cresswell setup two of the goals.

Defender: Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) – 12pts
The one defender to make the team of the week without keeping a clean sheet is Tottenham Hotspur right-back Serge Aurier. Jose Mourinho’s side were behind within two minutes before coming back to hammer Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford. Aurier scored the fifth of those shortly after the break.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 22pts
The highest point scorer of the weekend was Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who remains at the club after deadline day. The midfielder helped himself to a brace in the second half of their 7-2 humiliation of Liverpool at Goodison Park on Sunday night.

Midfielder: John McGinn (Aston Villa) – 11pts
Liverpool had reduced the score to 1-2 through Mohamed Salah in the first half before John McGinn’s goal for the Villans restored their two-goal advantage 10 minutes before the break.

Midfielder: Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) – 11pts
Allan Saint-Maximin tore into the Burnley defence on Saturday night as he scored in the opening goal in Newcastle’s important 3-1 victory that sees Steve Bruce’s side head into the international break in the top half whilst the Clarets remain pointless.

Striker: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 18pts
The Aston Villa striker marked his recent transfer from Burnley with a first half hat-trick against Liverpool on Sunday night. Dean Smith may have found his man after struggling for goals out of his strikers last season.

Striker: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) – 14pts
The South Korean has been deadly to start the new season. Son Heung-min returned from injury to take his place in the starting lineup and score twice in the demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Striker: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 13pts
His well-taken goal on half hour proved to be the nail in Manchester United’s coffin by making it 3-1 moments after Anthony Martial’s red card. Harry Kane added a second 10 minutes from time from the penalty spot.

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Can Everton win the Premier League?

Can Everton win the 2020-21 Premier League? Stranger things have happened.

Leicester City shocked the world with their surprise success in 2015-16. Jose Mourinho put his name on the map by winning the Champions League with FC Porto in 2003-04.

Roberto Di Matteo stepped in as Chelsea boss and surprised us all by not only reaching the 2011-12 Champions League final but upsetting Bayern Munich on their own turf to lift the prestigious trophy.

That same year Montpellier won the Ligue 1 crown, one of the biggest surprises in French football.

What do all of the above have in common? The season ended with the European Championships. What is scheduled to take place next summer? Euro 2021.

OK, history isn’t going to help determine this season’s Premier League winners, but some of the early bizarre results says this unique season could really leave us with a surprise winner at the end of the campaign.

Need I remind you of Aston Villa’s incredible 7-2 win against Liverpool this past weekend and Leicester City going to Manchester City to pick up a 5-2 win the week before.

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5 of the best La Liga transfers during the window

The summer transfer window is now closed around Europa and Spanish La Liga clubs have made a lot of business during the summer and first couple of weeks of the 2020-21 season.

New arrivals were landed as late as deadline day on Monday and managers have a fortnight to put their new plans in place due to the international break.

Here’s a look back over the transfer window to five players we believe could have the biggest impact on your fantasy team this season:

1. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
The Uruguayan had a quiet end to his career at Barcelona by his standards but showed he still has it with a brace in his 12-minute Atletico Madrid debut in the 6-1 thrashing of Granada.

Luis Suarez may be considered a gamble for your fantasy team because he will set you back £10.50m, but with Diego Costa seeing a lack of game time and Joao Felix not putting up the goals in his first season, the 33-year-old could quickly establish himself as Diego Simeone’s main goalscorer.

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5 of the best Premier League transfers during the window

The summer transfer window is now closed and Premier League clubs have made a lot of business during the opening couple of weeks of action.

New arrivals were landed as late as deadline day on Monday and managers have a difficult job to integrate their new players into the team ready for next weekend’s action as many squad members are currently jetting off all over the world for international duty.

Here’s a look back over the transfer window to five players we believe could have the biggest impact on your fantasy team this season:

1. James Rodriguez (Everton)
The Colombian star has taken the Premier League like a duck to water with four goals and an assist in his first four starts for Everton. As a result, the Toffees headed into the break as the only team with 12 points.

James Rodriguez has been outstanding as the number 10 in Carlo Ancelotti’s attacking side that have scored a league high 12 goals through four rounds of action. Although he’ll set your fantasy team back £9.50m he has so far been worth every penny.

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