Is Pep Guardiola right to say that the league cup must end?

You’d have thought that if you’re club had won a certain competition two times from the last 3 years you wouldn’t be talking about ending it, but Pep Guardiola is right, the league cup must end.

Guardiola’s comments have come because of player fatigue and injuries not just to his own players but others also and he is blaming the fact that there is too much football. He was quick to point out the recent injuries to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford which could mean both players will not be 100% fit for this summers Euro 2020 competition with England.

Guardiola said: “Eliminate competitions, take out this competition, so less games, less competitions, less teams, more quality, less quantity. People can live without football for a while. It’s too much. Start the season later after the summer. We have one game a week for a long time and then, after, we start having two or three in one week. In February it is one week, two weeks off. We have two games in two weeks then, after, we have 72 games in one week. It’s a little bit strange.”

The Manchester City manager made a great point about there being too much football. Football doesn’t really end anymore. With the season going on until the end of May, there are various ‘friendly’ competitions littered throughout the summer when major tournaments are not taking place. The introduction of the UEFA Nations League may be welcomed instead of friendly games but then again players become much more competitive in the hope of winning yet another trophy available to them.

The league cup started in 1960, so this year will be the 60th one and Manchester City ironically are the favourites to win again. They beat Manchester United 3-1 in the semi-final first leg and will face either Leicester or Aston Villa if they reach the final.

What is interesting is that in France the Coupe de la Ligue will be played for the final time this season. This is the equivalent cup to the league cup, which of course is now called the Carabao Cup because of sponsorship.

Guardiola’s comments may fall on deaf ears because the majority of clubs actually opt to play their second string sides in the league cup. This gives fringe players a chance to get game time and more experience. Guardiola has been known to play strong sides in the competition, some managers are simply wired that way to win all in front of them.

But the Spaniard does have a good point about there being too much football in the modern game overall. For now it seems that the league cup is very much here to stay.

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Best 11 Players in the Premier League: Matchday 23

Liverpool gained again at the weekend when they won and 2nd placed Manchester City could only draw. 3rd place Leicester lost and 4th placed Chelsea also lost. It was simply total gain for Liverpool who have now moved 16 points clear at the top with a game in hand. We take a look below at the best performing players in the league this past weekend. Did you have any of them?

Formation: 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Alisson- Liverpool

The best goalkeeper in the Premier League picked up a massive 9 points and that is huge for his position. Liverpool beat rivals Manchester United 2-0 as Alisson kept his 7th clean sheet of the season. To put the icing on the cake the Brazilian assisted for Mohamed Salah’s goal. He has 49 points now and is 9 points clear of 2nd placed keeper Kasper Schmeichel. Alisson would cost 10m

Defender: Virgil van Dijk- Liverpool

Nine points were earned for Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool kept a clean sheet and the Dutchman also opened the scoring. He now has 59 points and is ranked in third place i the fantasy rankings for Premier League defenders.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold -Liverpool

Keeping a clean sheet against Manchester United is no mean feat and Alexander-Arnold was at the heart of everything Liverpool did back there. It is his 9th clean sheet of the season and he is ranked No.1. for defenders in the Premier League. He is valued at 7m.

Defender: Isaac Hayden- Newcastle

The hero for Newcastle! The Magpies beat Chelsea 1-0 due to a last minute strike from Isaac Hayden. That topped off an amazing day for Hayden who also helped his team keep a clean sheet. Hayden is valued at just 2m and has 11 points so far.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool

In defence Liverpool almost had a clean sweep. In getting a 2-0 win over old rivals Manchester United, the Reds had achieved a huge result which underlined just how good they have been this season. Robertson earned 5 points at the weekend and is valued at 7m which seems like a great bargain.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool

The attacking midfielder Salah scored Liverpool’s second goal which confirmed the win over Manchester United, and more important for him ended a baron spell. The Egypt international now has 11 goals and 5 assists.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa

Jack Grealish now has 38 points and his value of just 3.5m to buy looks like a steal. He scored a goal at the weekend too as his side drew 1-1 away to Brighton. Grealish has now scored 7 goals this season.

Midfielder: Jordan Henderson- Liverpool

Jordan Henderson is just getting better by each passing season and is the engine room in this fantastic Liverpool side. He only earned 2 points at the weekend but with many midfielders not performing so well, that was enough to make this team.

Midfielder: Ismaila Sarr- Watford

Ismaila Sarr has really stood out as one of the best players Watford have as they continue their fantastic recovery from what looked like certain relegation a month ago. Watford drew 0-0 against Tottenham. Sarr is valued at 7.5m and has 27 points so far.

Striker: Sergio Aguero- Manchester City

For the second week in a row Sergio Aguero tops the charts as one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He scored two goals and almost won the game for his club who were 1-0 down with 8 minutes to go against Crystal Palace. Aguero earned 8 points and he has now scored 15 goals this season.

Striker: Raul Jimenez- Wolves

Raul Jimenez is a real gem of a player at Wolves, and the club produced the best stunning comeback of the weekend. They were losing 2-0 to Southampton and won 3-2 and Jimenez grabbed two of those goals earning a nice 8 points. He has 50 altogether and can be added to your team for just 5.5m.

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Without Aubameyang Arsenal look like a very ordinary team

When Paul Tierney produced the red card which sent off Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last weekend, Arsenal hearts would have sunk. The former Borussia Dortmund player has been far and away the most influential figure at the club in what has become a difficult couple of seasons for the Gunners.

When Aubameyang plays he usually scores and when he scores Arsenal usually walk away with points.

The challenge was a red card indeed, a foot above the players ankle and there is little doubt that Tierney gave the correct decision. With it being a straight red card it means that Aubameyang will miss 3 games in a row for the club. That starts this weekend when Arsenal take on Sheffield United at home. Aubameyang will also miss the game away to Chelsea at the end of the month and the 4th FA Cup tie at Bournemouth.

Aubameyang has been on so many occasions Arsenal’s one bright light, a genuine star for a club that used to have 11 on the pitch. This season he has scored 14 goals just under 50% of all of Arsenal’s league goals. He is on course to beat his personal league best of 22 goals which he recorded last season and in all competitions he has 57 goals from 91 appearances. A great return.

One could wonder where Arsenal would be in the league without the player and without his goals? Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe have not cut it in terms of goals and it’s fair to say without Aubameyang’s contribution Arsenal could well have 10 points less. If this was the case then the Gunners would be in the bottom three.

Mikel Arteta the Arsenal manager was right to say that his players need to step up in reference of Aubameyang missing. The former Arsenal player said: “Players have to step up. You know, when one of your big players is not there, they have to take responsibility. I’m sure when they’re not playing, they want a chance and they talk. It’s time to talk on the pitch, not outside. You come on there, you make the impact that he made and you sure me that you are as good as him or even better. You have the chance.

These were strong and direct words from Arteta who will surely be feeling the pressure after 1 win in his four games in charge of the Gunners, he went on to say. “It’s a big shame and a big loss for us, because as well we know Auba’s intention when he plays. But unfortunately he mistimed the tackle, he made a decision and we have to accept it. Auba has been around, he was very sad after the game. He was disappointed that he left the team with 10 men. It’s an action that is completely accidental in my opinion.”

How will Arsenal fare without the deadly striker? Could it yet be a blessing in disguise as the team are forced to make tactical changes, or will the misery for the club this season deepen? This weekend when they play Sheffield United at the Emirates will reveal that answer.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 23

It’s another round of the English Premier League with some exciting games as the top 4 is still up for grabs and so is relegation. Which teams will be able to make in roads and can Liverpool stretch their unbeaten run to 39 games when they face old rival Manchester United?

Watford v Tottenham

The weekend kicks off with this Saturday lunchtime game and what a game it looks to be. Watford have been in brilliant form and are unbeaten in their last five games. They have climbed out of the relegation zone. Tottenham have been in mixed form and are 9 points behind 4th place now. With Harry Kane out Jose Mourinho will be relying on Heung-Min Son to find some form.  Watford and Tottenham to draw

Arsenal v Sheffield United

Arsenal have been average even under Mikel Arteta with just one win in his 4 games so far. But last time they were at home they beat Manchester United 2-0. One would think they will have too much for the Blades here. Mesut Ozil looks like a new player, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang their potent striker will be missing after being sent off. A narrow win perhaps? Arsenal to beat Sheffield United

Brighton v Aston Villa

Both sides have shown a lack of form and Brighton have slipped to 14th place and have won just once in their last five games. Aston Villa lost 6-1 at home to Manchester City last weekend and are in 18th but a win here could move them out of the bottom three and they could join Brighton on the same points. Watch out for Jack Grealish who is using this year to try and get into England’s team for Euro 2020. Brighton and Aston Villa to draw

Manchester City v Crystal Palace

Last season Crystal Palace stunned Manchester City at the Etihad with a 3-2 win. But it was a one off stunning goal that won it for the Eagles. City are in rich form and scoring goals, with 10 in their last 3 games. A win here would take them to 50 points. Can Sergio Aguero score more goals this weekend after his fantastic hat trick? Manchester City to beat Crystal Palace

Norwich v Bournemouth

Norwich look doomed for relegation. They are bottom of the league and 8 points from safety. They have earned 2 points from their past 15. Bournemouth are in 19th but are six points ahead of the Canaries. This is Norwich’s biggest game of the season, they need to win and need a player like Teemu Pukki to show his early season form. Norwich to beat Bournemouth 

Southampton v Wolves

Along with Watford, Southampton have been the team of the moment. They beat Leicester away from home after losing to the same team 9-0 a couple of months ago. Their recovery looks complete. Wolves have quality but had to play in midweek in the FA Cup and lost to Manchester United. The Saints are at home and the fresher team. Southampton to beat Wolves

West Ham v Everton

David Moyes will face his former team who he spent 11 years at. Moyes’ 2nd stint with the Hammers started well but they lost to Sheffield United last week. Carlo Ancelotti has won 3 of his first five games with Everton. We expect to see a very entertaining game with the away side getting all three points. Richarlison looks fired up since Ancelotti took charge. Everton to beat West Ham

Newcastle v Chelsea

Newcastle have only lost 3 games at home and Chelsea usually don’t travel so well up here. The Blues have gone their last three matches unbeaten, but this will be a tough game for them. The Magpies have not won in 4 games but this record won’t keep up. Jonjo Shelvey just needs to show some of his brilliant form before Christmas. Newcastle to beat Chelsea

Burnley v Leicester

Burnley have lost 4 games in a row coming into this match and that includes losing 4 of their last five home games and now they are up against the 3rd best team in England right now. Leicester’s form has dipped but they can get back on track with a win here. Leicester to beat Burnley

Liverpool v Manchester United

One of the all time great fixtures of football. Liverpool are still unbeaten and have a  100% record at Anfield. They have no major injuries and no distractions. Manchester United are missing Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford could be touch and go. Liverpool are light years ahead of United even though it was the Red Devils who have taken the only points from Liverpool so far. Liverpool to beat Manchester United

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Premier League: Player of the Week: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero would have won a lot of player of the week’s so here is his umpteenth one and this one was arguably the most deserving.

Aguero who has been one of the very best strikers to have graced the game in England collected 16 points in the week as his side Manchester City made light work of Aston Villa and won the game at Villa Park 6-1.

The Argentinian has made the news headlines because his 3 goals were so significant. Firstly he broke Alan Shearer’s record of the most Premier League hat tricks, which had stood at 11, now Aguero has 12. Then and more importantly he scored his 175th, 176th and 177th league goals for City. That took Aguero up to joint 4th in the all time top goalscorers in Premier League history.

In doing so Aguero passed Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and became the most successful foreign striker in Premier League history. With 177 goals he now has the same as Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. Just one more goal will put Aguero into 3rd place which is simply inevitable.

As a side note one wonders just how far Aguero could go on the all time table? In 3rd place is Andrew Cole who has 187 goals, and that could well  be a target for Aguero to break this season, he has a very good chance needing 11 more goals to do it. Could Aguero go even further though? He is 31 and there was talk at the beginning of the season that he could leave Manchester City at the end of this one.

If he was to stay, with the mentality of the club needing to have younger, fitter strikers, even if Aguero stayed fit one would suspect that he would have at best 2 good seasons in England left in him. On average if he scored 45 goals in those seasons and another 10 in this he could well reach 55 goals. This is all hearsay of course but around that figure would take Aguero to around 230 goals. Easy that would be good enough to be the 2nd best striker. But Alan Shearer’s record look like it is going nowhere as he scored 260 goals. It is worth noting that Aguero’s strike rate is far superior to Shearer’s.

So it has been a fantastic week for Aguero and a record breaking one too. In the fantasy rankings he is in 2nd place with 60 pts and has scored 13 goals and assisted in a further 3. He has no yellow cards so far this season and he would cost you to include him in your team 14m. That’s a lot of budget, but you would be getting one of the very best potent strikers in Europe for the last decade.

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After West Ham are denied a point are there serious issues with VAR, handball and offside?

VAR has been the main focus point in the Premier League this season and often made controversial choices. The newest one denied West Ham what looked like a last minute equaliser against Sheffield United. But VAR stepped in and denied the goal based on the fact that there had been a handball in the goal’s build up.

The new technology was right, there had been a handball. It was slight and it certainly wasn’t intentional, not in a Thierry Henry way when the French legend deliberately used his hand to control the ball in a World Cup play off with Ireland over a decade ago. This was different, there was no intention, no malice just the pace of the ball, the way it bobbled and the way the player in a natural position had received it. And yet a goal that looked pretty perfect did not exist and West Ham lost the game, incidentally David Moyes’ first loss as Hammers manager.

West Ham’s Declan Rice was the player at fault as he handled the ball and he had this to say to local sports channel Sky Sports after the controversial moment: “We are fuming all the lads are livid. This is a tough place to come, credit to them they ground it out. We created some chances and missed some chances. The goal at the end was a tough one to take because a point on the road would have been good for us.

Rice continued: “ I’ve just watched it back. He has knocked the ball into my hand. If you are running with your arms like that with the rules as they are now it is handball but it is not intentional. It is a kick in the teeth. I think it is the thoughts of every Premier League player, not just me, pretty much every one doesn’t want to have VAR in the game.There have been so many decisions this season that have been absolutely crazy. They were celebrating VAR like it was a goal and football should not be like that. I can’t get over it, he knocked it into my hand. It is not intentional handball. I was buzzing. I ran 20 metres up the pitch, slipped the ball in for Snodgrass.”

It is very understandable to feel Rice’s frustrations and it has happened countless times when VAR has stepped in whether it is a handball clearly not intentional or an offside. The offside’s this season have been almost comical where most of the time a goal has been chalked off because a players knee, nose or little finger has been officially offside. Surely this is not cheating or the attacking player having an advantage? They would in fact have to be incredibly ingenious to place a nose just in front of the defender all the while keeping tags on where the ball is and where the next pass will be coming from.

So is VAR to blame for the chaos? Well in truth the root of the problem are out of date and new laws. The hand ball situation is a farce, it ruined last years Champions League final for example. All VAR is essentially doing is going with the rules, but it is being too precise. That may sound odd but true football fans or at least the ones following for decades will understand there have always been errors, but those errors have led to goals and not a lack of. It seems ingrained in football fans DNA that the way of the game wasn’t to pause it and then take 3 minutes to decide if a goal is a goal. And like Rice said is it normal to cheer like a goal has been scored when a VAR decision has gone against the opposition?

It does feel that VAR should be taking some responsibility, after all that final decision is coming down to another referee, who is not seeing the issue at hand. If pressure is being applied to have these decisions within the new rules at a 100% return then the rules need to be amended. The bottom line is did that player seek to cheat to get an advantage?

The rules are the rules but they can still be overturned by VAR’s decision, a clear and obvious error and all that. For now that point lost could well come back to haunt West Ham who could be in a relegation battle within a few weeks.

For now this case needs to be filed under c for common sense, let’s hope the powers that be use it fully.

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Premier League Weekend Picks for Matchday 23

Based on form and the fixtures for the new weekend in the Premier League we take a look at the players you should be adding for this weekend and the upcoming fixtures.

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno- Arsenal

A goalkeeping job is all about clean sheets and Bernd Leno is hardly on top of his game with only 4 clean sheets this season. But the last time Arsenal were at home he kept a clean sheet against Manchester United. The Gunners prefer to play at home and under Mikel Arteta will be focused. They are playing Sheffield United and would be tipped to win and keep the score and defence tight. Leno can be brought in for 8.5m.

Defender; Jetro Willems- Newcastle

Jetro Williems has started the most games in defence for Newcastle and has the most points with 16. Newcastle will play Chelsea at home where the Blues usually have a hard time. It’s their longest trip of the season for example. In all Newcastle have only lost 3 games at home this season, and perhaps they can keep a clean sheet this weekend.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton

Lucas Digne has had a solid season for Everton and a really good week. He has been involved in 6 clean sheets this season, two under Carlo Ancelotti already. The club face a test as they are playing West Ham away, but this could be a low scoring game, and Everton could get their tactics right over the Hammers. Digne is only 5.5m to bring into your team and has 20 pts so far.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton

It’s as clear as daylight that Yerry Mina has improved as a player since Carlo Ancelotti became manager. His confidence has grown and with it his displays. He could well partner Digne well in their match against West Ham and help the club to a clean sheet.  He is valued at 6m.

Defender: Lewis Dunk- Brighton

Brighton will be at home to Aston Villa two teams in need of a win, and a possible game that could even end 0-0. Lewis Dunk has been Brighton’s best defender so far with 21 pts and has been involved in 5 clean sheet games. Villa have real problems in defence, and not much confidence up front and this being an away game means Dunk and Brighton could well win or draw and keep that important clean sheet. He is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Theo Walcott- Everton

Theo Walcott’s Everton will play West Ham and Walcott still feels like that London boy when he terrorised West Ham’s defence when playing for Arsenal. He will fancy his chances to provide goals and get forward and could be worth being in your team for this weekend. He hasn’t scored this season yet though but is 7m to bring in.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva- Manchester City

Bernardo Silva has played a very pivotal role in City’s midfield especially recently and the club are playing excellent football. We have also picked him out as he still looks like a bargain price at 8.5m. City are at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure- Watford

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been brilliant in recent weeks for Watford as they have climbed out of the relegation zone. He has become one of the most important players for the club and is scoring goals too. He now has 3 and has assisted in one goal. The Hornets are full of confidence and will take on Tottenham who haven’t always performed so well and Watford will take the comfort they are at home. Doucoure can be brought in for 8m.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse- Southampton

James Ward-Prowse is always a handful and currently he has the most points with 21 so far in the Saints midfield. His price looks good value at 7m  and he has been involved in 6 goals so far this season and Southampton are in great form , the club are at home to Wolves.

Striker: Gabriel Jesus- Manchester City

All of the talk at Manchester City is about Sergio Aguero and his goals and that is fair enough. But for value Gabriel Jesus is a good player to bring into your team. He scores goals like last weekend, has 9 so far and assisted in a further 3. And he is 8m.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton

Richarlison is valued at 7.5m and his performances have really picked up in recent times. Everton will be away to a leaky West Ham defence so he could get on the score sheet once again. He has 8 goals so far this season and is no stranger to assisting in goals having done so 3 times this season.

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Premier League Game of the Weekend: Aston Villa 1-6 Manchester City

Two teams at two different halves of the league with two different objectives played on Sunday afternoon. For Aston Villa they were always going to be the underdog, but they knew they needed to fight for points. The emergence of Watford who looked to be taking up one place for relegation this season means that Villa have become a relegation contender. They fight it.

For Manchester City, the league looks over but they won’t give it up. The champions are 14 points behind Liverpool with this win and the Reds have a game in hand. It could be 17 by the end of the month. City’s true objective in the league was never to be in 3rd place, a position they courted for a few weeks as Leicester showed flashes of the team that won them the league title in 2016. Another objective in winning this game then, was to go 2nd and leapfrog Leicester who had already lost to Southampton the day before.

City met their objective as Villa’s one collapsed in on itself like a black hole. And it is a black hole where most of the Villa team would have wished for when they were on the receiving end of a vintage Manchester City performance.

When City attack this good, not many teams can match them.  A 6-1 victory is a massive score line and one that you feel manager Pep Guardiola needed (lest we forget the team in bottom place, Norwich City, who actually beat Guardiola’s team earlier this season) and these kind of games before a whistle is blown can be potential banana skins. But the only players slipping on them were Villa’s back four who were opened up time and again from the devastating attacks born from defence, made in the midfield and executed so well by a forward line, stand up Sergio Aguero.

It was Aguero who scored his 175th, 176th and 177th goals on Sunday. It was Aguero who passed Thierry Henry’s decade long record of scoring the most goals in the Premier League for a foreign player, and it was Aguero who scored his 12th hat trick, a record in the league surpassing Alan Shearer’s 11.

Aguero earned a whopping 16 pts in the Euro Fantasy League rankings too. He has 60 pts in total and is the current 2nd best potent striker in the rankings. From 12 starts Aguero has scored 13 goals and assisted in another three.

Rightly so Aguero should be championed but let’s not forget Riyad Mahrez who also had a spectacular game scoring two goals himself and at one point both him and Aguero were on 2 goals a piece and we were just wondering who of the two was going to complete a hat trick? Mahrez may have lost out on that battle, but it didn’t matter one bit. Mahrez is now ranked 5th in the fantasy rankings for Premier League strikers with 52 points. He has scored 7 goals and assisted in another 7 and that is an impressive stat.

Talking of stats City had a stunning 22 goal attempts, with 12 on target against Villa, just more than 50% of shots were hitting their target and 50% of goals flew in as a result. Gabriel Jesus’ 9th goal of the season was largely forgotten then giving the exploits of Aguero’s record and Mahrez’s goals.

This was a statement win for City and they would have loved to have kept a clean sheet too but Villa were awarded a last minute penalty, to give what fans remained crumbs from the richness of a six banquet meal.

What this means for the league may seem like little. Guardiola will hope that if Liverpool cannot lose games this season they will start drawing them and dropping points. It would mean that City would have to do what they did last season and go on a truly unique run which saw them win every game in the new year. The league title seems unlikely but at least City are interested in giving a challenge, and, that is the least one could ask for.

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Best 11 Players in the Premier League: Matchday 22

It was another very interesting weekend of action in the Premier League which saw Liverpool win again and Manchester City finally move into 2nd place after Leicester were beaten. City striker Sergio Aguero made history, what did he do? Read below. And 4th place could be a battle between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Here are the best performing players, did you have any of them?

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Alisson -Liverpool 

A few goalkeepers got 7 pts which is usually the maximum for matchdays for goalkeepers but our nod goes to Alisson. The reason being is that Liverpool were away to Tottenham- a repeat of last year’s Champions League final and Jose Mourinho was determined to set up his team to beat the Reds. But yet again Liverpool won and kept a clean sheet. Alisson’s 6th of the season and he is in 2nd place in the rankings with 40 points.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton

Lucas Digne picked up 7 points as he helped Everton keep a clean sheet as they beat Brighton 1-0 and assisted in Everton’s goal scored by Richarlison for an all round performance. Digne costs 5.5m and has acquired an impressive 20 points so far this season.

Defender: Craig Dawson- Watford

Watford won again, this time beating Bournemouth 3-0. Craig Dawson held his nerve and was part of a defence that kept another clean sheet. He is valued at just 2m and scored some rare points this past weekend.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold- Liverpool

It was another 5 points for the brilliant player. Liverpool’s back four all got the same with 5, but Alexander-Arnold ran more and just seemed to make crunch tackles at the right time, he must be worth a small fortune. In fantasy rankings terms he could be yours for just 7m. He is currently the best defender in the rankings.

Defender: Enda Stevens- Sheffield United

Sheffield United got a 1-0 victory over West Ham, so Enda Stevens kept a clean sheet his 8th of the season as the Blades kept in the top half, looking for a European finish. It was an assured performance from Stevens. He is valued at just 1m and has 37 points already and is one of the best bargains to be had.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez got a massive 10 points at the weekend as he scored a brace for Manchester City and then assisted Sergio Aguero for his hat trick. It was a fantastic performance from the City man. He currently has 52 pts and is valued at 9.5m.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool

If Liverpool do indeed win the title a lot of it will come down to this wonderful Brazilian- Roberto Firmino. He is in the right place at the right time, scores goals and is just deadly. He earned 6pts as he scored the winner v Tottenham in a very tight game.

Midfielder: Jorginho Frello- Chelsea

Jorginho earned 6pts as Chelsea cruised to a much needed 3-0 win over Burnley at home. Jorginho opened the scoring through a penalty and that set the way for the Blues onto victory. He has earned 16pts and can be yours for 7.5m.

Midfielder: Roberto Pereyra- Watford

As Watford continue to shine and move out of the relegation zone, some of their players are leading that cause and one of them is Roberto Pereyra. The player only came on with 8 minutes of the match to go and scored Watford’s 3rd goal. He earned 6 pts.

Striker: Marcus Rashford- Manchester United

Rashford scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season as Manchester United made light work of Norwich to beat them 4-0. The player has amassed 58 pts in total this season and would cost 7m. He earned 8 pts this week alone.

Striker: Sergio Aguero- Manchester City

So both Manchester teams take up the strikers rankings but there was something very special about Manchester City’s. Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick as Manchester City slaughtered Aston Villa 6-1. The player the broke Alan Shearer’s hat trick record, he now has 12. And in the process he became the best foreign goalscorer ever in the Premier League with 176 goals, surpassing Thierry Henry. Aguero has 13 goals and and earned a whopping 16 pts. He is valued at 14m.

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Brilliant Danny Ings puts Leicester to the sword as amazing form continues

Danny Ings at 27 is having the best top flight season of his career and is in perhaps the richest form of it. His 14th league goal of the season helped Southampton beat Leicester at the King Power Stadium by 2-1. This was one of the best transformations for the Saints given that they had lost to Leicester at home only in October by a record 9-0 thrashing.

Of course football is a team game and no one would doubt that but it is clear that Danny Ings’ goals are going to keep Southampton up this season. It is incredible to think that only a month ago the Saints were in the bottom three with their Premier League survival under immense threat but no striker has been on the rich form that Ings has.

Whilst the former Liverpool forward started the league slowly he has more than made up for it in the past month. But we can go further back when we talk of Ings’ contribution. Since the 9-0 beating by the Foxes Southampton have played 12 games and Ings has scored 10 goals.

Ings has never had a such a successful campaign in the top flight of football and his previous league best was last season when he netted 7 times for the Saints in 24 games, now he has double the figure from two games less. When we take into account his cup goals that figure goes up to 16 for the season so far and he is well on course to beat his best season ever. That occurred in season 2013/14 in the Championship for Burnley when he scored 26 goals in 45 games and it was that type of devastating form that irked the interest of Liverpool in the first place.

Since Ings’ move from Liverpool for £18m he has scored 24 goals in 49 games and has an average of 1 goal for every 2 games. But it is in this period of his career where Ings has been earning praise and one wonders if his scoring feats can give him the chance of playing for England at this summers Euro 2020 tournament? He only has 1 cap so far and surely he deserves some place in Gareth Southgate’s selection?

As for Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl he was full of good words for Ings’ impact a few weeks ago when he said: “This is the result of a guy who is working his ass off. This is exactly how it should be and he’s absolutely positive all the time. You can feel and you can see how much he invests to win balls, to work for the team, and in the last games, he has a fantastic run and hopefully it stays on.”

Ings certainly deserves all the praise he is getting and long may it continue for one of the Premier League’s best loved players.

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