At this late-ish stage of the season, Premier League clubs do of course start gaining games in hand over some of their rivals. At the time of writing, for example, league leaders Liverpool have played 32 games, while second-placed Man City have featured in 31 and Arsenal (in fifth) are on 30. Of course, Monday evening games play a part, but so too does the progress of different teams in different competitions. Liverpool now have a two point lead at the top of the table, though City have of course played that one game less. It is now time to look at which players performed the best for their clubs in this past weekend’s round of games, adopting a 4-4-2 formation here. For simplicity, we are calling this week 32 but that may not apply to all teams of course.
England produced one of the biggest surprises of the international week by coming from a goal down to beat Croatia 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday.
It looked as though the Three Lions were going to be relegated when they trailed with 12 minutes to go, but late goals from Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane ensured that Gareth Southgate’s side qualified for next summer’s Nations League semi-finals.
The sixth weekend of the Premier League season saw Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea maintain their unbeaten starts to the campaign, while Burnley picked up their first three points of 2018-19 with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI of the Weekend.
GK: Petr Cech, Arsenal – seven points
With eight teams keeping clean sheets this weekend, EPL Fantasy managers picked up plenty of points from goalkeepers and defenders. Petr Cech was key in the first half of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Everton, earning himself seven points.
The Premier League and the top-six clubs will always be the main topic on a regular basis, no matter how they do against their opposition. The key big-game players such as Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero are already starting to show their fine form as they look to help their respective clubs to challenge for the league title as well as compete in the other competitions.
However, the English media and the Premier League experts do not show enough respect and value to the teams and players outside of the top-six. The reason to why it is like this is not known as of yet, but the only time players from the likes of Crystal Palace, Everton and Southampton are mentioned, is when they are linked with a huge move to one of the clubs from the top of the league.
It’s time to now look at three most wanted players outside of the top-six in the Premier League…
James Tarkowski – Burnley
Looking at the campaign so far compared to recent seasons, Burnley’s defensive record has been below standards and unconvincing as they have already conceded ten goals in six league games, which is more than the likes of Newcastle, Watford and Wolves. Though, when they are at their best, it is normally due to the ideal brilliance and consistent display of centre-back James Tarkowski.
The 25-year-old has been a dominant and reliable player for Sean Dyche’s side since joining the club from Brentford in February 2016. Furthermore, he has gone on to complete over 50 Premier League appearances and has also made his debut for the England national team early this year. Overall, his defensive tools could be really helpful for a side like Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United.
Ruben Neves – Wolves
Wolves have had a memorable transfer window in the summer, having brought in players with huge influence such as Adama Traore, Diogo Jota, Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves. Out of the all the many signings that have arrived at Molineux Stadium, it’s been the perfect performances of central-midfielder Ruben Neves that has allowed the side to control and lead the matches from midfield.
Neves has already come up with some impressive showing against the likes of Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United, which has caught the attention of many as well as a number of scouts from the top-six sides. At the age of 21, the Portuguese international is showing that he can read the game on both areas of the pitch and has the pure ability to dictate the tempo and pull the strings.
Wilfred Zaha – Crystal Palace
The story of Wilfred Zaha and his time in the Premier League will always be deemed as an interesting and motivational one. He went from being a Manchester United player that had an attitude problem and was not given enough opportunities to show his worth, to an individual that has developed and maturely improved season by to season to go on to becoming the main man for Crystal Palace.
When he is not in the starting line-up, Roy Hodgson’s side suffer a lot as no other player in the squad has the ability to stretch the opponent’s defence and create chances for their team-mates in the final third like Zaha does. On top of that, he has the special spark to produce something out of nothing as well as proving himself to be one of the best dribblers in the league and in Europe.
Honourable mentions: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Harry Maguire, Manuel Lanzini, Richarlison, Ryan Sessegnon and Wilfred Ndidi.
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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.
Leicester vs Liverpool – King Power Stadium
While Maguire’s 95th minute winner will certainly send the Foxes tail up into this clash against the early league leaders, we think Liverpool will continue building their defensive record this season and claim the win. Fantasy managers who own stock in the Anfield Defense will look ahead with joy, as Leicester will be without Jamie Vardy, whose scoring record against the Reds is remarkable – 7 strikes in 5 games.
With the annual Premier League awards fast approaching towards the end of the month, there has been much discussion regarding which player should be the one to lift the Premier League Player of the Season award. The other awards haven’t been discussed quite as much, though. For example, surely Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be the one to secure the Manager of the Year award?