With a reduced run of fixtures in the Premier League this coming weekend owing to FA Cup Sixth Round action, there are only ten teams from which to take this week’s weekend picks. The pick of the upcoming fixtures is arguably Everton hosting Chelsea in the 4.30pm kickoff on Sunday, while Bournemouth host in-form Newcastle on Saturday. Burnley do battle with Leicester and West Ham take on Huddersfield in Saturday’s other games, while Sunday’s earlier game sees Fulham welcome Liverpool to Craven Cottage. Taking all of that into account, let’s adopt a 4-3-3 this time and see which players could be set to work their way into fantasy management consideration.
This weekend’s Premier League action has one or two tasty fixtures coming at a great time, with arguably the match of the round closing out the weekend’s proceedings when Arsenal take on Manchester United at the Emirates in Sunday’s 4.30pm kickoff. Conversely, getting things underway with the Saturday lunchtime kickoff will be Crystal Palace hosting rivals Brighton at Selhurst Park. With the exception of Man City taking on Watford on Saturday and Chelsea hosting Wolves on Sunday, just about every other game sees a top-half side taking on a bottom-half side, and so there could be one or two surprises in store for fans attending a game in England’s top-flight this weekend.
Arsenal fans got what they wanted when Arsene Wenger left the club at the end of last season. However, what they were denied was the transfer market spending called for by the masses. Instead, the Gunners spent prudently, signing players who filled gaps in their squad, but didn’t really improve the quality of their first team.
It’s likely to be a similar story this summer. There is no suggestion that Arsenal will spend big, with Sven Mislintat leaving the Emirates Stadium at the start of the month after a different of opinion over the direction of the club in the transfer market. That isn’t to say the Gunners can’t improve their side this summer, though.
Nathan Ake is one of the players who should be on Arsenal’s transfer targets shortlist. The Bournemouth defender is exactly the sort of defender Unai Emery needs and there is a suggestion that a bid of between £40 million and £50 million might be enough to prise the Dutchman from the grips of the Cherries.
The 24-year-old has been in exceptional form this season. Ake is strong on the ball, is a good tackler and maintains a high level of concentration. He is no Shokdran Mustafi, that’s for sure. Indeed, Ake would be an upgrade on what the Gunners currently have in their defensive ranks.
There’s a case to be made that Ake is among the best centre backs in the Premier League right now and Arsenal desperately need someone of his ilk to build around. It’s crucial that they look to make defensive improvements as they enter the second phase of Emery’s project at the club.
“People have more expectations of me now because of the season I had… so there is a new step, a new thing I have to overcome and cope with the expectations,” Ake said in a recent interview. “I need to learn and cope with that and after that, who knows… you always want to reach the highest levels.”
Arsenal simply aren’t strong enough at the back. Sokratis Papastathopoulos has proven himself as a decent option, but injuries have been a problem for the Greek defender. Rob Holding has also impressed at times, but consistency has been an issue. Ake would be a kingpin in the way Virgil Van Dijk is for Liverpool and Aymeric Laporte is for Manchester City.
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Manchester City and Liverpool have 23 points after nine games of the 2018-19 Premier League season, while Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham trail them by just two points following another incident-filled weekend in England’s top flight. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI from the last three days…
GK: Jordan Pickford, Everton – seven points
Jordan Pickford has recovered from a slow start to the season to pick up 14 points in two of his last three games. He earned another seven in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace – a match in which he also saved a penalty.
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.
With the first round of Premier League action in the bag and the second fast approaching, let’s travel a little into the future and see which players could find themselves starring once again for their respective sides this weekend. For this one, we have gone for a 4-3-3 formation, as adopted by Liverpool in their 4-0 hammering (sorry) of West Ham last weekend.
With the new Premier League season just around the corner, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has spent the summer busying himself trying to reinforce his Cherries squad. Continue reading
Chelsea’s success in the Roman Abramovich era has been mostly built on a solid defence, and it was no different for Antonio Conte’s side last season. Continue reading