With just a few games left in the Premier League campaign, things are starting to take shape and will continue to do so with this weekend’s round of matches. There is no Friday night fixture this week, but instead we have a big card of games on Saturday with three coming on Sunday and one on Monday evening, with games every day next week except for Thursday as matches in hand are played. Man City taking on Tottenham in Saturday’s lunchtime kickoff looks to be the biggest game of the weekend, but there are plenty of games in store to keep us guessing. Bournemouth host relegated Fulham hoping to build on their impressive 5-0 win at Brighton last weekend, while Newcastle host Southampton in Saturday’s late game. Let’s go for a 4-3-3 here!
With the Premier League now very much entering the business end of the season, and with just a few matches remaining to decide the respective fates of several teams, there was a full schedule of games in England’s top-flight this past weekend. Once again, the spread of fixtures was great with Newcastle winning at Leicester on Friday night, six games taking place on Saturday, title challengers Man City and Liverpool winning their respective games on Sunday and Arsenal travelling to Watford on Monday. Results this weekend meant that both City and Liverpool are guaranteed to finish first and second in either combination. With that in mind, let’s take a look and see which players performed the best in their position, using a 4-3-3 formation.
Only two players have made more assists in the Premier League this season than Ryan Fraser. Indeed, the Scottish midfielder has been a creator extraordinaire for Bournemouth over the 2018/19 campaign, notching no fewer than 10 assists in 30 games for the Cherries. Fraser sits deservedly in the top three of this season’s assists chart alongside Eden Hazard and Christian Eriksen.
It’s little wonder then that the Scotland international has, in recent weeks, been linked with a summer move away from the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth have made themselves a permanent fixture in the Premier League of late, but many believe Fraser is ready for that next step in his career.
Arsenal, who are reportedly keen on the 25-year-old, would represent that next step up. Fraser is, by trade, a wide player and the suggestion is that Unai Emery wants to add at least one such figure to his Gunners squad this summer. And with Arsenal unable to compete at the very top end of the transfer market Fraser would be an extremely shrewd addition.
Reports hint that Fraser could be available for as little as £25 million, making him one of the potential signings of the summer. The Scot would add some drive and energy through the midfield for the Gunners, something they will need following the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus at the end of the season.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s very nice,” Fraser said when asked what it meant to him to be linked with a club of Arsenal’s stature. “It means you are are doing something right. They are a huge club, a massive club. When you see your name thrown around you always think to yourself that you are a Bournemouth player and you try to do well. I’m not going to lie, you do feel good, especially when it’s a massive club.”
Fraser might not be more than a squad option to Arsenal, but he would be a very good one. The Scot has already stepped up his game by moving to the south coast from Aberdeen as a youngster and his recent comments suggest he is ready to make another step up. Fraser wouldn’t be the most glamorous of signings, it’s unlikely that thousands of fans will turn up for his unveiling at the Emirates Stadium, but he would widen the range of options at Emery’s disposal.
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This weekend we have another full schedule of ten EPL matches to look forward to. Here are the predicted lineups for every EPL game.
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha
Brighton XI: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Knockaert, Andone, Jahanbakhsh
Out: Speroni, Sakho, Souare (Crystal Palace); Balogun, Gross (Brighton)
With a host of games in the Premier League seeing plenty of entertaining action as well as goals in all but one of the games, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that the game of the weekend in this case should be a 1-1 draw, but when Wolves travelled down south to Dean Court to take on Bournemouth the spectacle on display was anything but a dull affair. Penalties, plenty of controversy and an unscheduled water display ensured that fans attending Bournemouth’s ground were well entertained to say the least. If former Gladiators referee John Anderson were addressing entertainment in general, he would have said “you will go on my first whistle…..”
If Watford was the first hurdle, then Bournemouth will be more of an uphill struggle for Newcastle United. Victory over the Hornets last weekend, under the most pressurised of possible circumstances, has lifted the mood on Tyneside and breathed new life into an area which, after weeks of misery and frustration slowly developing into fear and genuine concern, may just start to believe again.
Unbeaten Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are only separated by goal difference at the top of the Premier League table after Week 8 of the 2018-19 season. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI of the weekend…
GK: Hugo Lloris, Tottenham – seven points
Hugo Lloris started his first Premier League game since August as Tottenham narrowly defeated Cardiff 1-0 on Saturday. The Frenchman earned seven points in the match — no other goalkeeper picked up more over the weekend.
Players from Manchester City, Wolves and Crystal Palace were among the high-scorers from Round 5, while Chelsea’s Eden Hazard topped the points chart following his hat-trick against Cardiff. Let’s take a look at some players you should consider in your EPL Fantasy team this weekend.
GK – Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
Admittedly, this is a risky selection. Kasper Schmeichel is on -4 points after five games and he conceded four goals last week. However, Leicester play Huddersfield – the Premier League’s lowest scorers – next before matches against Newcastle and Everton. At 7.00m, he’s worth considering.
The fifth weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Chelsea and Liverpool maintain their winning starts, while Manchester United picked up their second victory in a row with a 2-1 win over Watford. Let’s take a look at which players stood out to make the EPL Best XI of the Weekend.
GK: Wayne Hennessey, Crystal Palace – seven points
After being deducted two points in each of his last three games, Wayne Hennessey got back on track this weekend by keeping a clean sheet in Crystal Palace’s hard-fought 1-0 win away at Huddersfield.
In a season that had begun with a notable wobble from Manchester United and a run of four consecutive victories for Watford, Bournemouth’s fast start went largely unnoticed. The Cherries’ success was perhaps initially put down to a relatively simple fixture list (wins against Cardiff City and struggling West Ham United are par for the course), but a dominant 4-2 victory over Leicester City has confirmed that Eddie Howe’s side are playing well above expectations.