How Aston Villa have gone from near relegation to Champions League contenders in 4 months

Dean Smith has shown us many emotions in 2020, from near despair in July when the extended Premier League finished to utter jubilation just a few months later when Villa destroyed champions Liverpool 7-2. What everyone wants to know is, how has Smith been able to turn things around so much and so quickly?

Aston Villa’s status that they would remain in the Premier League was only confirmed on the last weekend of last season after they drew 1-1 at West Ham. The club finished with a total of 35 points and only earned 1 more point than 18th placed Bournemouth- even the goal difference was only 1 out so everything could have changed on that final weekend.

It is interesting to note though that Villa did go their last four games of the season unbeaten quite a mean feat for a team who lost 21 games. With Villa’s participation safe for this season, from the outside it seemed as though Dean Smith’s team would be amongst the favourites to be relegated this season, a kind of well done, but maybe last seasons escapade was simply a stay of execution.

And yet here we are in November of the new season and after 8 games Aston Villa are in 6th place. They have been a regular top four side too though faced back to back defeats recently and that looked like the call for them to start slipping down the league table. Villa’s last game was away to Arsenal who have improved this season, the script had been written that Villa would now lose 3 games in a row and their 15 minutes of fame was about to be quashed. But Villa had other thoughts and out played Arsenal winning that game 3-0. Now we probably have to take Smith’s side seriously. After all they come into this weekend having already beaten Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool.

So what has been the turn around at the club? In the summer Villa made 3 interesting buys bringing in Bertrand Traore from Lyon for £17m, Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest for £14m and Ollie Watkins from Brentford for £28m. The fee they paid Brentford for Watkins certainly raised many eyebrows, not because it felt like a steep transfer for a player playing lower league but because of the anticipation of who Villa have just had the confidence to splash that amount of money on a lower league player. And of course the fee was a club record.

Well Watkins is repaying his managers faith and has scored 6 league goals in seven appearances including a perfect hat trick against none other than Liverpool in that infamous 7-2 win over the Reds.

But while Villa were happy to splash the cash spending over £70m once you take out Watkins it has actually been the players that were already at the club that have made the most impact. Stand up Jack Grealish, a player who has been hyped for several seasons, his only problem being that he was playing in the Championship and nobody could really tell if he had the right level for the Premier League. After a debut season in the top flight which only saw flashes of his brilliance he has really turned it on for this season.

Grealish has been Aston Villa’s number 1 outstanding player so far. The midfielder has scored 4 goals and assisted in another five and his value in the fantasy football league is just 3.5m and he has amassed a total of 33 points already. He has a new found hunger and loves his free role that Smith has given him as play maker.

Ross Barkley has been another brilliant signing, the former Everton player was struggling to make an impact at Chelsea but has already done more in his work rate with Aston Villa in a few months than a few seasons at Stamford Bridge. He also grabbed an all important 3 points with the only goal when Villa beat Leicester 1-0 at King Power Stadium.

The biggest change for Villa though seems to be in their attack minded tactics. Last season the club looked to afraid to come out and just hoped to settle for draws, but with the attacking players at their disposal Smith has adopted a rule of attack first, and it seems to be working.

On the change up Smith said: “We always felt that if we retained our Premier League status, we could be more strategic in our planning this year.”

Villa certainly have been and at home they have adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation, but don’t be fooled into thinking that Villa are playing 1 up front. All three players in midfield are very capable of switching to attack and that has been telling giving that the club have scored 18 goals so far this season, only Tottenham and Chelsea have netted more.

This weekend Aston Villa will play Brighton at home where they will be the favourites to win and if they do they would go into 2nd place, so there is all to play for and all eyes will be on Dean Smith’s side this season as they try to finish in a European place.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

The Best 11 Players in the Premier League 2020/21 so far

With the Premier League taking an extended break because of the international fixtures this is an opportunity to look at your fantasy football team and see who is doing the best and grabbing those all important points in the early stages of the Premier League campaign.

In a 4-4-2 formation we will look at the players who are performing the very best so far.

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 21pts

The injury to Kepa has given Edouard Mendy a life line at Chelsea and he has reacted in the best way possible with a terrific start to the campaign. Mendy has 21 points so far the most of any goalkeeper in the Premier League and has kept 3 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 24pts

Considering this is his first season with the Blues Ben Chilwell has been more than terrific and has stood out as one of Chelsea’s most important players so far this season. He has helped the club to 3 clean sheets so far but isn’t afraid to get involved in the action and has scored 2 goals and assisted in a further 2. His value is 6.5m.

Defender: Kurt Zouma- Chelsea 24pts

Kurt Zouma could well be having his best season as a player. At one point it felt that he could lose his place within the Chelsea team, so to come back and start the season the way he has has been impressive. Whilst forming a great partnership with Chilwell he has also scored 3 goals, again impressive for a defender.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 24pts

Southampton have been a major surprise team in the Premier League this season and currently have the best form. Jannick Vestergaard has helped the Saints in keeping 4 clean sheets is valued at 6m and has also scored 2 goals already for the club this season.

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 22pts

Tyrone Mings has really turned his form around since last season. He has been the best overall defender at Aston Villa keeping 4 clean sheets and has also been tidy up front scoring goals too. He can be bought for just 4.5m.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 36pts

Like the last few seasons it’s been a terrific season so far for Mohamed Salah who again continues to light up the Premier League. Whilst it hasn’t been the greatest start for Liverpool they are still well within the mix and Salah has contributed by scoring 8 goals already.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 33pts

There is no doubt about it Jack Grealish is having his best season as a football player. He has been involved in 9 Aston Villa goals scoring 4 and assisting in 5 as the club have started well for this season and his value is incredible at just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 24pts

Bruno Fernandes is arguably Manchester United’s best signing in a decade, since Cristiano Ronado. He has scored 5 goals and made 3 assists in what has been a troubling start for the club, but Fernandes has been one of the best players in the Premier League.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 24pts

Could this be Wilfried Zaha’s best season yet and a turning point in his career? Often a player who is touted at moving from Palace to one of the big six clubs in England he is certainly proving his credentials this season. Zaha has been Crystal Palace’s most effective player and has scored 5 goals and assisted in another two. His value is 8.5m.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 44pts

Harry Kane has been outstanding and Tottenham have been solid climbing into the top 2 clubs in the league. Kane already has 44 points and has scored 7 goals and assisted in another 8, he has been involved incredibly in 80% of Tottenham’s league goals this season. There is a reason then that his value is up at 14.5m.

Striker: Heung- Min Son- Tottenham 38pts

The fact that the two best striker positions in the league go to Tottenham players tells you everything you need to know about how the club have started the season. Heung-Min Son has scored one goal more than Kane with 8 and has assisted in another 2 goals. On his day there isn’t a better striker currently playing in Europe. Kane and Son must be amongst the most deadliest strike pair in European football.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

 

Premier League Game of the Week: Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton

Aston Villa do love being involved in high scoring games and following their 7-2 win over Liverpool and a 3-0 defeat at home to Leeds United they followed that up with a 4-3 loss at home against Southampton.

It was an incredible match given that by the hour mark Southampton were 4-0 up at Villa Park and effectively the game was over. Though the Saints would go on to win the encounter they would have to endure a fright first- so has been this very unpredictable Premier League season.

Southampton believed that they had taken the lead as early as the 3rd minute through an Ezri Konsa own goal but in the build up VAR had found the play to be offside. Konsa’s blushes were saved but Villa would soon pay the price anyway.

Jannick Vestergaard and James Ward-Prowse are proving to be a superb partnership, they ruined Everton’s unbeaten start to the season a few weekends ago and this one gone they paired up to beat Aston Villa. Vestergaard latched onto Ward-Prowse’s free kick with his head to give the Saints the lead just after 20 minutes.

The second goal came 15 minutes later when Ward-Prowse was rewarded another free kick this time he scored directly from it and it was a stunning strike. And it would be a game of free kicks as just before half time it was Ward-Prowse again, and again it was  superb goal. Villa had been outdone by creating too many fouls on the edge of the box and Ward-Prowse is proving to be one of the deadliest free kick takers in the Premier League. The first half ended 3-0.

Though Villa had shown some promise in the first 45 minutes it was telling that Dean Smith’s side had conjured up no shots on target in that time. At 3-0 by half time the game looked dead and buried and one could only believe that a total collapse was going to let Villa back into the game but in the 58th minute it was 4-0. This time it was Danny Ings with a beautiful shot from the edge of the area.

Ten minutes later Jack Grealish set up Tyrone Mings and he headed in from close range to give Villa a consolation goal. Ings with fire in his belly thought he had scored a 2nd goal just six minutes later but it was flagged for offside. As the game went on Southampton  were happy to defend deep as Villa tried to create a miracle comeback. But as the 90th minute rolled on this game was surely over. Not quite.

In the 92nd minute the Saints Ibrahima Diallo gave away a penalty. Ollie Watkins the hero against Liverpool at this very stadium converted it for 2-4. And still there would be drama as the game went into an extended injury time. In the 97th minute Jack Grealish latched onto a loose ball and smashed the ball home for 3-4. Could there be an incredible comeback? Well the answer was no when the referee blew the whistle 60 seconds later.

Though Villa had lost their 2nd game in a row after starting the season so well they could end up taking something from the way they fought back and they had clearly unnerved Southampton. At the same time being 4 goals down at home isn’t acceptable and Villa have now conceded seven goals in their last two games something manager Smith will have to work at. Aston Villa drop down to 8th place and are now 4 points behind current league leaders Liverpool.

Southampton are the form team of the moment in the Premier League and the Saints have picked up 13 points from their past 15 available. They have climbed up to 5th place after a slow start and now have 13 points the same as Everton. Southampton will be at home to Newcastle next weekend and Aston Villa will play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Jack Grealish was the best performing player in the fantasy points for Aston Villa where he earned 6 points from this game.

For Southampton the best performing player was James Ward-Prowse who earned 9 points.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 7

Champions Liverpool are back in 1st place after their rivals Everton lost their 2nd game in a row. Tottenham have been in good form lately and have moved up to 2nd and Gareth Bale scored the winner for them in an emotional game for the celebrated Welshman.

Arsenal recorded a rare victory at Old Trafford and Manchester United are in 15th place and struggling. Presently the best form team in the Premier League is Southampton who have notched up 13 points from their last 15.

Let’s take a look at the in form players, did any of your players make the final cut at the weekend?

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno- Arsenal 7pts

Arsenal recorded their first league win at Old Trafford in over 10 years and goalkeeper Bernd Leno was able to help keep a clean sheet even if Manchester United didn’t have too many chances on goal. A huge away win for the Gunners.

Defender: Kurt Zouma- Chelsea 9pts

Chelsea’s form is picking up and Kurt Zouma led a defence that kept a clean sheet in 3-0 win over hapless Burnley. Zouma scored the 2nd goal which in truth killed the game off as Chelsea eased to a victory soon after. Zouma has been outstanding for the club so far this season and has a total of 24 points already.

Defender: Kyle Walker- Manchester City 9pts

A perfect game for Kyle Walker who in defence kept a clean sheet as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0 away from home. And that winning goal came from Walker himself.

Defender: Rayan Ait Nouri- Wolves 9pts

Rayan Ait Nouri was the unlikely player for Wolves who opened the scoring as the club beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at home. Ait Nouri also maintained the back line well and helped to earn extra points by keeping a clean sheet. He is valued at 5.5m.

Defender: Thiago Silva – Chelsea 5pts

With Chelsea conceding a few goals at the start of the campaign it is important to see this version of the club who have now gone their last 2 games with no goals conceded. A part of that reason is down to veteran Thiago Silva who, after missing the beginning of the season, is fitting well into his role with the Blues.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse- Southampton 9ts

James Ward-Prowse in on fire and the midfielder has made it into the best 11 team for the 2nd week in a row. He did get booked which lost him points, but he hit back by scoring 2 goals as Southampton won a thriller at Villa park beating Aston Villa 4-3.

Midfielder: Hakim Ziyech- Chelsea 8pts

Frank Lampard had been talking Hakim Ziyech up before this game and the player did not let him down as he scored his first goal for the club with the opening goal as Chelsea beat Burnley 3-0 away from home. Ziyech then assisted for Chelsea’s last goal in a man of the match winning performance from the former Ajax man.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 6pts

Aston Villa have lost 2 games in a row and they were defeated 4-3 against Southampton at the weekend. But Jack Grealish gave it his all. At 4-0 down he set up Tyrone Mings to pull one back and then scored in injury time as Villa tried to make an incredible comeback but time simply ran out. Still Grealish earned more points.

Midfielder: Daniel Podence- Wolves 6pts

Daniel Podence is valued at 7.5m and has 16pts so far this season and six of those points were earned at the weekend as he grabbed Wolves’ 2nd goal of the game and his first of the season as his club overcame Crystal Palace by winning 2-0.

Striker: Callum Wilson- Newcastle 7pts

Callum Wilson was too hot to handle for Everton as Newcastle beat them 2-1. Wilson has scored six goals this season already and he scored a brace at the weekend. He did lose points as he was booked early on.

Striker: Danny Ings- Southampton 4pts

Quite a few strikers finished the weekend with 4 points but Danny Ings gets the nod after working so hard as the Saints, the best in form side in the league went to Aston Villa and won 4-3, they were 4-0 up at one point. Ings got on the score sheet too and scored the 4th goal which would turn out to be the winning goal.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League Game of the Week: Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds United

Aston Villa came into this encounter with Leeds United as the only team in the Premier League that held a 100% record. This was an incredible fact given that Dean Smith’s side had only just escaped the clutches of relegation last season.

Villa also came into this game with wins over Liverpool by an incredible 7-2 that will never be forgotten in the clubs history and then beating Leicester 1-0 at King Power Stadium. Shades of their 1980s greatness were being talked about and so this game at home to newly promoted Leeds United looked like another three points. But then again Villa were not counting on Patrick Bamford.

Bamford was brilliant in the Championship for Leeds and the worry was always going to be if the player could carry that over to such a higher level as the Premier League? But after scoring 6 goals and assisting in another those doubts should be laid to rest. He was by far the man of the match in this game as he scored a hat trick in a brilliant 3-0 victory for Leeds United.

Bamford pounced on a goal keeping error to open the scoring, and if that was seen as scrappy then his 2nd goal was a beauty. On the edge of the area he seemed to lift and simply place the ball into the top corner which left everyone stunned even his team mates. That could well be contender for goal of the season.

For his 3rd goal he danced around the Villa defence as if they weren’t there and slotted home a neat goal. Had this been Lionel Messi the plaudits would be out and the headlines would be all about those 2 goals. Bamford looks like a real talent and Leeds are lucky to have him.

Leeds dominated the game and had an incredible 27 attempts on goal with 9 on those o target. Villa were not quiet themselves as they had 4 shots on target in an enjoyable game. But this was an off day for the club who later on saw the impressive Jack Grealish booked which summed up his and Villa’s day- they simply were not at the races.

The defeat leaves Aston Villa in 3rd place with 12 points but Leicester and Tottenham are right behind them. Villa next play Southampton at home. As for Leeds they have risen up to sixth position and have 10 points and that was the clubs 3rd win of the season and Marcelo Bielsa’s team will play Leicester at home next.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Why can’t the Premier League’s golden boy Jack Grealish get a game for England?

Jack Grealish has started the 2020/21 season in sensational form with the Aston Villa star scoring three goals and assisting as many in his club’s first three games. The attacking midfielder put pen to paper on a new deal that included vastly improved terms in the form of a huge pay rise. The decision to reward Grealish with a new and lucrative contract is paying immediate dividends for Villa as any talk of relegation all but over after just 270 minutes of football this season.

For now, that is in stark contrast to the 2019/20 campaign where they fought for their Premier League survival until the very final whistle of the season, eventually finishing above Bournemouth who dropped down instead. Relegation would have been as Villa CEO Christian Purslow described it ‘a £200m catastrophe.’ Sadly for the Cherries, they suffered the financial disaster instead and despite the latest championship betting indicating that they will go straight back up at odds of just 11/10, they have already paid a huge price by losing their best players.

Indeed, with Nathan Ake leaving to join Manchester City and Callum Wilson departing to Newcastle, the perils of losing your star players are obvious for all to see when the setback of relegation hits. Luckily for Villa, they were able to avoid that fate and subsequently were able to keep hold of Jack Grealish, arguably England’s most talented attacking midfielder. Still, not everyone shares that sentiment.

Unfortunately for Grealish, the England manager seems to fall into the unconvinced category. Despite the calls for the Villa captain’s inclusion growing louder, Southgate has steadfastly stuck to his decision by mostly using him as an unused substitute on the England bench. Instead, Southgate has chosen to use Mason Mount as a roaming number 10 for the Three Lions, much to the ire of the Villa fans.

In some ways, you can understand their frustration as Mount has only registered a single goal and assist for Chelsea this season in his five appearances, and is some distance off the form that Grealish is exhibiting. But then again, Mount is the man of the moment for England having netted the winner against Belgium in a crucial UEFA Nations League game whilst Grealish looked on from the bench.

Some may argue that it is just a case of Grealish having to be patient, but there is a sense that as long as Southgate is England manager, the Villa captain will be used somewhat sparingly for England.

Given how loud the noise is around Jack Grealish’s omission from the national side, you can also envision a scenario where this becomes Southgate’s Waterloo and ultimately costs him his job.

Whatever way you look at it, Grealish’s pulsating Premier League form doesn’t look like letting up and that will only heap the pressure onto Southgate. Indeed, the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City have probably seen enough already this season to be in a position where they would happily match whatever astronomical release clause has been inserted into his new contract.

The boy’s a star and could be the one to bring Southgate’s world crashing down around him.

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.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League Game of the Week: Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool

When final scores used to come through on television years before the internet and phones and apps, this was our only source of knowing the results and quick. When big scores came through that fact had to be reminded by spelling out the actual score. If a game was 6-0 next to the 6 would be spelt out SIX just so you knew. Doubly great if you supported the team, rubbing salt into wounds if you didn’t. This past weekend that would have been used again, only this time with a sentence of exclamation marks.

To be sure and just to remind us that we are indeed on planet Earth, Aston Villa beat Liverpool 7-2, SEVEN goals past the reigning champions, seven goals past the team who have reached the Champions League final twice in the last 3 years and won one of them, seven goals past the reigning World Club Cup holders, seven goals past a team who had gone up until the end of February last season without defeat. It was an astounding result, in an incredible game of which wrapped around it is an incredible season so far.

Liverpool were the odds on favourites to beat Aston Villa and make it four wins out of four. The script Gods had it that Liverpool would ease to victory, that the two rival Merseyside teams would be 1st and 2nd in the league, both unbeaten and would play each other next on October 17th for what would have been billed as the most important Everton-Liverpool derby in a generation. Whilst that match still remains of high interest a shine was taken off who would lose their 100% record when Villa put Liverpool to the sword at the weekend.

Had Villa beaten Liverpool in a struggling all out defending 1-0 game, that would have been seen as a surprise, after all Villa just escaped relegation last season and Liverpool finished 60 plus points in front of them. But this was an all out slaughter which to be fair was over by half time.

New signing Ollie Watkins from Brentford emerged as the hero as did Villa veteran Jack Grealish so ever criticised as being good but not as good as he thinks he is, well at the weekend both were Lionel Messi level good.

Watkins scored a hat trick in 39 minutes all in the first half and opened up the scoring for the hosts in the 4th minute. By the 22nd minute it was 2-0. In fact in 17 first half minutes Villa had put 3 goals past what should have been an impregnable Liverpool defence. Whilst it’s true that Liverpool were dearly unlucky to have lost first choice goal keeper Allison in the warm up for the game, one could well argue his absence may wouldn’t have made much difference even if Liverpool may have kept the score down with him. Adrian, his replacement was absolutely at fault for the 1st goal but he shouldn’t be made the scapegoat Liverpool all round were just very very poor.

Grealish had already provided two goals in the first half and in the 2nd half he would become goalscorer as he netted twice and even new signing Ross Barkley a former Evertonian of course scored. For Liverpool the ever dangerous Mohamed Salah tried his best and personally one couldn’t fault him here, he actually scored 2 goals himself, but these will certainly be two goals that Salah would rather forget in a hurry.

It was interesting to note that possession wise Liverpool dominated and yet conceded so many goals. What does this all mean? Was it simply a one off blip much like their 3-0 defeat at Watford last season? Was it because a couple of regulars were missing, especially captain Jordan Henderson? Was it simply a little complacency and fatigue?

As for Villa they have started the season in brilliant form and have 3 wins from three and have kept intact their own 100% start to the season even after their Liverpool test.

This season just feels unique and very much unlike any other, Villa may slump as the weeks and months take hold, but they have already looked like a team who won’t be involved in a relegation dog fight for that manager Dean Smith must be commended for his summer buys. For Klopp the international break has arrived and he will have 10 days to try and understand what just happened.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League Best 11 Players of the Week: Matchday 4

Is this the Premier League or Play station? Who knows anymore what we do know is that if you have an attacking line up in your fantasy team you would have earned many points. Whilst these are sad times for goalkeepers and defenders it is impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of how many goals are being scored.

It was another weekend that saw over 40 goals scored and plenty of shocks. The champions Liverpool have already lost their first game of the season. That feels like a surprise as it was against Aston Villa. What will be a shock is the result, as they lost 7-2. 2. A quite stunning result.

Tottenham are a good side but did anyone really expect them to beat Manchester United away from home by 6-1? And Everton who have not won the league since 1987 are now 3 points clear at the top. What an incredible start to the season, now let’s see which players made the final 11 cut.

Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski- West Ham 7pts

For the second week in a row Fabianski is the goal keeper of the weekend. He was assured and superb in goal as he kept another clean sheet as West Ham stunned the then league leaders Leicester by winning 3-0.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell- West Ham 9pts

A superb game by Aaron Cresswell saw him as part of a defence that kept a clean sheet. But the player also assisted in not one but two goals and had a perfect weekend. He is valued at 7m and has 12 pts overall.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 11pts

Chelsea spent £50m on Ben Chilwell in the summer and he is already paying dividends. He was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet as Frank Lampard’s side hammered Crystal Palace 4-0. And to put the icing on the cake he scored the opening goal and assisted in another.

Defender: Kurt Zouma- Chelsea 9pts

Kurt Zouma was overdue a good game for the Blues and he kept a clean sheet as they beat Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side 4-0. Zouma also scored the Blues second goal in a rampant display at Stamford Bridge. Can Zouma make this season count?

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 7pts

Tyrone Mings had a strong game as Aston Villa stunned Liverpool 7-2. Mings now has 14 pts already and is a real bargain to add to your team and is only 4.5m.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 20pts

Maybe this was Jack Grealish’s greatest game in football so far. He assisted in 2 goals and then scored 2 goals as Aston Villa pulled off one of the greatest shocks and great performances in Premier League history as they destroyed champions Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park. A stunning result, Grealish now has 22 pts overall and is valued at 3.5m.

Midfielder: James Rodriguez- Everton 10pts

James Rodriguez looks like incredible business for Everton and the Colombian scored another 2 goals at the weekend as Everton beat Brighton 4-2. James now has 18 points overall and has been involved in 5 goals so far his value to add to your team is 9.5m.

Midfielder: Jorginho- Chelsea 10pts

Jorginho scored 2 goals- both penalties as Chelsea ran out 4-0 winners against Crystal Palace. It was the midfielder’s best game for the club in some time and this could make him step up this season to become the player everyone knows he can be, he played very well and covered the pitch with maturity.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 8pts

Even though his team Liverpool were destroyed in one of the stunning results in the modern era Salah still managed to score 2 goals. He will quickly forget about them of course in a nightmare day for the Reds but personally Salah keeps scoring goals and that will bode well for the season ahead.

Striker: Heung-Min Son- Tottenham 10pts

Two more goals for Heung-Min Son as they smashed Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford and he also assisted. Son now has 6 goals this season equal to Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Son is having up until now the best season of his career.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 10pts

Together with Son, Harry Kane is part of one of the deadliest if not most deadliest strike partnerships in the Premier League. Kane scored another two goals and assisted in Son’s first. It has been an incredible start for the English international who can be snapped up for 14.5m.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 3

Leicester City caused the biggest upset in gameweek 2 as Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win away to Manchester City. Later that night, West Ham United thrashed Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0.

Here’s a look at the players who made a real difference in the fantasy football last weekend:

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa) – 7pts
The Argentinian goalkeeper has started his Aston Villa career with back-to-back clean sheets as part of the side that won 3-0 at Fulham on Monday. He’ll do well to make it three in a row this weekend when Dean Smith’s side face Liverpool.

Defender: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) – 11pts
Tyrone Mings scored the third as Aston Villa romped to victory at Craven Cottage. A clean sheet too for the centre-back, you can’t get much better than that combo.

Defender: Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – 9pts
Liverpool’s left-back gave his side the lead against Arsenal on Monday night after it was his mistake that gifted Mikel Arteta’s side the lead. Andy Robertson now has a goal, assist and clean sheet in his first three outings this season.

Defender: Arthur Masuaku (West Ham United) – 9pts
Anyone who was brave enough to include a West Ham defender in their team last weekend greatly profited with a surprise clean sheet versus Wolverhampton Wanderers. Arthur Masuaku outscored his fellow defenders by registering an assist too.

Midfielder: Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa) – 12pts
Aston Villa were two up inside 15 minutes at Fulham on Monday thanks to Conor Hourihane adding to Jack Grealish’s strike. The central midfielder also delivered the free kick that Tyrone Mings poked home just after half-time.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – 10pts
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring for Manchester City against his former club before Leicester City produced a stunning turnaround in a 5-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 9pts
Aston Villa’s first goalscorer in their 3-0 win at Fulham saw Jack Grealish make the fantasy Premier League team of the weekend.

Striker: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 13pts
The fourth hat-trick of the 2020-21 Premier League season saw Leicester City thrash Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday. This was Jamie Vardy’s versus the Citizens since the Spaniard has been in charge.

Striker: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) – 11pts
Scorer of the opening two goals from West Ham United in their surprise 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday earned Jarrod Bowen a place in the team of the week.

Striker: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) – 10pts
Callum Robinson only scored one goal in 17 Premier League appearances for Sheffield United last season but scored two in West Brom’s 3-3 draw with Chelsea this weekend. Unfortunately for the striker, he was taken off midway through the second half before he could grab a hat-trick.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com