Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 2 Picks

All 20 Premier League teams will be in action this weekend for the first time in 2020-21, with four games on Saturday, four on Sunday and the final two of the gameweek taking place on Monday night.

Manchester City and Manchester United were given last weekend off due to their involvement in European competition abroad last month. The Citizens start their campaign away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night, whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side host Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.

Here are our fantasy football suggestions for the weekend:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton started the season with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend as Carlo Ancelotti handed debuts to three of his summer signings. Allan did an excellent job in protecting the back four whilst James Rodriguez created a number of chances in the opening half.

The Toffees welcome West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime with the newly-promoted side having been beaten 0-3 at home by Leicester City without really causing any problems for the opposition. Slaven Bilic’s side may not see much better luck this weekend against an organised defence so Jordan Pickford should be a good pick between the sticks.

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EPL Predictions Gameweek 1

The 2020-21 English Premier League season kicks off in London on Saturday lunchtime as Fulham play host to Arsenal.

Eight matches in all will take place on the opening weekend, concluding with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

With Manchester United and Manchester City competing in the latter stages of European competition last month the two clubs have been given the opening weekend off, to explain the shorter schedule.

Here’s a look at each of the weekend’s games:

Fulham vs Arsenal

Arsenal have won the FA Cup and Community Shield in Mikel Arteta’s first couple of months in charge and should fancy their chances of picking up three points in their season opener too. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be the obvious selection for your fantasy team given the forward has scored 22 goals in each of the past two seasons, whilst Dani Ceballos (3.50m) and Damian Martinez (1.0m) offer good value for money in this game.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 Picks

The English Premier League returns on Saturday as Fulham entertain Arsenal in the opener of the 2020-21 season.

With the return of the most exciting league in the world sparks the return of the fantasy football season too. Week 1 is always the busiest for players as they select a team from scratch with an eye on both the following week and the entire season in mind.

This season is perhaps more difficult than ever as Manchester City, Manchester United, Burnley and Aston Villa don’t feature the opening weekend as a result of the former two’s participation in the latter stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League campaigns.

With that in mind, here are 11 players who you should strongly consider for the opening weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United at the conclusion of the last campaign and Sheffield United have replaced their successful loan signing with Aaron Ramsdale in goal. The Blades have kept a number of clean sheets over the past two seasons and the former Bournemouth man is a shot stopper so could pick up some points versus Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

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What is stopping Aubameyang from signing a new contract at Arsenal?

You either love the club you play for or you don’t? You either believe they have ambition to match your own, or you don’t? So why hasn’t Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed new contract yet?

It is a question that every Arsenal fan wants to know, but it is also interesting for any fan of football. Speculation has been raging since the beginning of the year as it became clear just how important Aubameyang is to Arsenal. Since his arrival in 2018 the Gunners have struggled by their standards, but Aubameyang has got them out of jail so many times his boots may might as well hold chance and community chest cards from Monopoly.

In short Aubameyang is a quality player, perhaps Arsenal’s one and truly only quality player. He scores goals, he creates goals, he is a delight to watch and is worth every penny of the reported £56 million that Arsenal gave Borussia Dortmund for him.

As it stands Aubameyang is entering his final season with the club, one which has not been able to qualify for the Champions League since his arrival. Surely this is the competition he wants to play in. He is 31 now and time is running out. Arsenal’s options are for him to sign an extended contract, or sell him within the next month, otherwise he will go for free at the end of this season coming up.

Usually statistics can be overused and to some extent make little sense in relevance of how the game is actually played out, but in a strikers case, all is transparent, after all they are on the pitch to do one thing, to score goals, that really is their job. And Aubameyang is surely one of the deadliest strikers in Europe. But there is irony that he is playing for a top club in Arsenal, but who are going through one of their worst situations of the past 30 years. Forget the recent FA Cup win, that was great and yet again it was Aubameyang’s goals that brought home the trophy, remember instead that the Gunners finished 8th this season. That was poor, and shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet.

So for much of the year the papers and media around the world have told us Aubameyang is going to sign a new contract, no doubt about it. The season because of the delayed response to the pandemic finally ended in mid July, we are now in September and no contract has been signed that we are aware of. In mid August the rumour mill went into overdrive when Aubameyang himself tweeted an hour glass suggesting that there would be a countdown and he would be signing a contract. Three weeks later we have nothing.

Maybe admin is simply getting in the way, maybe he is asking for too much, contract tweeks and the like, and it really is only a matter of days before he signs. But even if he does sign, which of course will be great news, why did it take him so long? During the season made sense in a way as he wanted to know if Arsenal would be in Europe next season, and what would their standing be? Could it be that he is waiting to see who Arsenal sign?

It looks likely that Aubameyang will sign, with just a few days until the new season kicks off that would feel like a low blow to the club if they had to sell him. At the same time the window doesn’t close until October 5th.

But even if he signs the fact that he has waited this long almost shows a lack of belief in his employers, and one has to wonder if that is a good thing or not going into the new season.

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Is Aubameyang bigger than Arsenal as the Gunners beat Chelsea in FA Cup final?

All of a sudden Arsenal seem back. After a poor season which saw Unai Emery sacked before Christmas and former player Mikel Arteta brought into the dug out it seemed like Arsenal would be waiting a long time for any type of silverware. However they have ended the season by winning the FA Cup against the odds.

Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1 to lift their 14th FA Cup which is a record. Indeed Arsenal have won 4 cups in the last decade and their name is becoming part of the cup itself- just go ahead and put red and white ribbons on permanently why don’t you?

A burning desire and their name to be scripted onto the cup seemed to come when they upset Manchester City at the semi-final stage. Arteta had changed up the system and even David Luiz was playing with confidence. This was the first glimpse that under Arteta Arsenal could end up being a force to be reckoned with.

In the final it was going to be incredibly difficult given that the last time Arsenal had faced Chelsea in a cup final was in the 2019 Europa League showpiece where Chelsea simply outplayed the Gunners as the game went on and ended up running out 4-1 winners. Sure Eden Hazard who is now at Real Madrid orchestrated the win but still that game surely had to be playing on some of the minds of the players?

Maybe then it was to no surprise that Chelsea took a 5th minute lead through Christian Pulisic who has been outstanding this season for the Blues. With 56 points earned this season the American international was the 3rd best player for Frank Lampard’s team.

Chelsea started brightly but couldn’t find a 2nd and there was just that feeling creeping in that they were not putting this game to bed. With under 30 minutes played Arsenal were awarded a stone wall penalty and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who else? stepped up to take and convert it and the game was back on.

Whilst the 2nd half had it’s lull periods Arsenal were looking more and more of a threat, how much difference from their second half performance in the Europa League. Chelsea hoped for extra time but the Gunners could sense blood and Aubameyang got his brace and the match winner with just 3 minutes left to play.

True Chelsea will feel that Mateo Kovacic’s sending off was harsh, though he was already on a yellow card. It’s unfortunate though that VAR perhaps isn’t used in the big decisions like this, because on this occasion the referee looked to have got it wrong. It’s also worth pointing out that Kovacic has racked up 8 yellow cards this season from just 14 starts in the league.

This cup win feels like a turning point for Arsenal though because finishing 8th in the league represents their worst season in a generation. Arteta has said the win was his most important of his career, now he will be hoping that his statement won’t hold true in a decades time.

The last word has to go to Aubameyang. He has scored 22 league goals this season and assisted in a further 3, meaning that he has contributed to almost 50% of Arsenal’s league goals. He has been phenomenal, the one truly world class player in the side that can change a defeat into a draw and a draw into a win.

Aubameyang stands above as the lead man in this Gunners side and the club will be hoping that he will sign a new contract and stay with the club. They most likely have little chance of that happening if Barcelona or Real Madrid come knocking but given how teams have had to step back somewhat following the pandemic maybe that call won’t happen and maybe Aubameyang will realise that at Arsenal he is the king of the hill, at another club that might not to be the case.

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If Arsenal sell Aubameyang they could be in serious trouble

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be sold in the summer, and this isn’t just fabricated given that the player is delaying signing a new contract.

Losing Aubameyang would be a huge blow to the Gunners. He has been the difference on so many occasions for the club. It has been an incredibly difficult season for Arsenal which has seen the club flirting with 10th position for long periods. However one has to wonder without his goals if Arsenal would be in the bottom half of the table?

In a difficult period for the club, which in truth has been for the last five years or so, Aubameyang is their one true stardust player, a striker that can make almost anything happen and does the most important of jobs, getting those goals. Of course he isn’t perfect and it is his huge missed chance that resulted in Arsenal being knocked out of the Europa League against Olympiacos a few weeks ago. But maybe the bigger picture shouldn’t just be highlighted on him and could be turned to the overall clubs performance in that 2nd leg.

In all competitions for Arsenal Aubameyang has scored 61 goals from 96 games which is a great return and he has scored 17 goals from 25 league games. Last season he was the joint top scorer in England with 22 goals. Arsenal have scored 40 goals in the league this season and Aubameyang has 17 and assisted in one other. That means he has been involved in 18 of their 40 goals which accounts for 45% of all of their league goals so far this season.

This is the reason that Arsenal losing the player will hurt them. Of course he is now 30 and it has been traditional for Arsenal in past seasons to give out only rolling contracts for players who are 30 or over. The problem with that is it is outdated. Players are fitter now and can last much longer. Aubameyang isn’t going to suddenly lose his quality and has at least four to five years still at the top.

However it may not boil down to Arsenal’s choice even if they do want to keep the player. At the end of the day he has kept delaying signing a contract and one can believe that the main reason is to see if the Gunners qualify for next seasons Champions League. The problem is that they are currently 3 wins from that and have too many teams between them and 4th.

The other problem is that Barcelona have come knocking. Currently they have had to panic buy through a shortage of strikers and bring in Martin Braithwaite. If they could get Aubameyang that would represent quite a capture. Though they don’t like Arsenal’s asking price of £50m, in this current climate and with the brilliant form that the player has been in that price looks like a steal.

Where ever Aubameyang ends up next season, sadly for Arsenal it doesn’t look like he will be playing with them and the club are going to have to have a very successful summer transfer window and bring in the right kind of players to feel this loss. Right now Aubameyang is keeping Arsenal afloat.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 27

Let’s take a look below at the best 11 performing players in the Premier League as European finishes hot up with just 11 games left to play.

Formation: 4-4-2:

Goalkeeper: Ederson- Manchester City 7pts

It might seem normal to pick out Ederson for Manchester City but the player had to come up against the 3rd best side in the league in Leicester and made some great saves and City were away from home in game they won 1-0. That was Ederson’s 9th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Romain Saiss- Southampton 7pts

Wolves had a great and commanding 3-0 victory over Norwich to boost their European hopes and Saiss was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet and he assisted in a goal.

Defender: Philllip Bardsley- Burnley 6pts

Stalwart Bardsley helped clean a keep sheet as Burnley won their game 3-0 and he also scored a goal but he got booked and lost some points. But he has been very solid this season.

Defender: Ashley Westwood- Burnley 5pts

Westwood isn’t seen too many times on the weekend best players, but he put in a very good performance at the weekend and made some crucial tackles and that was the players 10th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Patrick van Aanholt- Crystal Palace 9pts

Patrick van Aanholt was spectacular in earning 9 points at the weekend as Palace beat Newcastle. The score finished 1-0 so he kept a clean sheet and he also scored the only goal of the game which turned out to be the winner and a much needed 3 points for the club.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Wolves 10pts

Dioja Jota earned a fantastic 10 points at the weekend as Wolves beat Norwich 3-0 and it wa down to Jota who scored the opening 2 goals he now has 5 goals for the season and looks back to his best.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 8pts

Bruno Fernandes has started his career off at Manchester United very well and the player opened the scoring and then assisted in the last goal as United beat Watford 3-0.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City 4pts

Riyad Mahrez helped his club beat his former one as City ran out 1-0 winners against Leicester. The only goal was scored by Gabriel Jesus and it was Mahrez who made the assist. That was Mahrez’s 8th assist of the season!

Midfielder: Neal Maupay- Brighton 4pts

Brighton are under pressure but they got a very good 1-1 draw away to Sheffield United at the weekend, where many expected them to lose. Maupay got the goal for the away side which was so important for them and he has now scored 8 goals this season.

Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Arsenal 8pts

Arsenal were involved in a five goal thriller as they beat Everton 3-2. Aubameyang scored 2 goals and now has 17 and is joint top of the goalscorers list in the Premier League with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

Striker: Shane Long- Southampton 4pts

Shane Long scored just his 2nd goal of the campaign as Southampton beat Aston Villa 2-0 in a crucial win. That keeps the team up there and Villa back in fighting for survival.

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Premier League: Player of the Week: Nicolas Pepe

It has been a slow start for Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe who was being thought of as the next best player to come from Ligue 1 football. Pepe had just completed a brilliant season with Lille, who had finished 2nd in the French league to inevitable champions PSG. To further that Pepe had scored 22 goals in the league and was a major reason that Lille qualified for this seasons Champions League. Despite qualification Pepe chose to join Arsenal in a deal that cost the Premier League club £72m.

This past weekend Pepe showed the best side of his game, something that Arsenal fans had been waiting for since August. Arsenal beat Newcastle 4-0, a rare result for the Gunners this season given that they have drawn 13 games and have only won 7 games so far. But this was more than a result, it seemed like a statement, even if the club had only really started playing in the 2nd half, given that the match was all square at 0-0 in the first.

Pepe was given the man of the match after a dazzling spectacle that all kicked off in the 54th minute when he set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal’s first goal. Two minutes later Pepe himself was making it 2-0, and it was crucial not just to get the second goal but the fact it came so close after the first, Arsenal were going to triumph here and Newcastle had just been shocked into submission.

Pepe then assisted Alexandre Lacazette when the game was at 3-0 to the home side and Lacazette duly obliged by making it 4-0 in the fifth minute of injury time. It was a great result for Arsenal but a fantastic display by Pepe.

The Ivory Coast international earned 8 points at the weekend, the most of any player in the Premier League, even with reduced fixtures given that there was a winter break on.

So far Pepe has a total of 21 points and is valued at 8m, if he starts his form now that could be a great price as Arsenal try to recover their season from 10th place. The attacking winger has scored 4 goals so far and assisted in a further four and has received 3 yellow cards.

Maybe Pepe’s career with Arsenal has started slow, one remembers though the same applied to both Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry and they ended up being club legends. Also in the fantasy rankings Pepe is the 3rd best Arsenal player of the season so far but is more than double the points behind Aubameyang.

Something says that Pepe is going to get better and better this season,and the Gunners next game will be at home to Everton at the weekend who lie just in front of them in 9th position.

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Premier League: Fantasy Weekend Picks: Matchday 27

Based on fixtures coming up this weekend and players form let’s take a close look at the players that could make a difference this weekend in the Premier League.

Formation:4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Alisson-Liverpool

Alisson has been superb as expected this season and he has conceded just 1 goal in his last five games. Liverpool will play West Ham to wrap up another weekend of Premier League football on the Monday night, and this could be perfect for Alisson to keep yet another clean sheet.

Defender: Harry Maguire- Manchester United

Harry Maguire got a lot of stick this week as pretty much everyone thought he should have been sent off v Chelsea. But he wasn’t and he went on to score the winning goal. United kept a clean sheet, and this bit of luck may just spur the player on to do well again. United will face 19th placed Watford at home and will be the favourites to do well.

Defender: Eric Bailly- Manchester United

In keeping with United it is good to see Bailly back after injury and he has  immediately helped keep a clean sheet on his return. It may be worth going for the player again as he comes up against Watford at home. His value is 8m.

Defender: Enda Stevens- Sheffield United

Stevens has been one of Sheffield United’s best players and the great thing about choosing the player as he can be used in both defence and midfield. He has 41 points so far and has kept 9 clean sheets and United will be favourites at home to do well against Brighton.

Defender: Willy Boly- Wolves

Willy Boly has been on form and has 23 points so far and has been able to keep 5 clean sheets too. Wolves are in the mix and they will play the bottom club Norwich at home where you would think they can record a win and possibly a keep clean sheet to go with it.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Wolves

Diogo Jota can cause a lot of problems and with Wolves being at home to Norwich we expect him to be very lively. He has scored 3 goals this season and his value is 7.5m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso – Tottenham

With injuries mounting up, Lo Celso could get a game when his club take on Chelsea. Spurs need a midfielder that can make the tricks and see the gaps and make a difference and Lo Celso could well do that. He can be brought in for 6m.

Midfielder: Dani Ceballos- Arsenal

Dani Ceballos has only had 8 starts but he is starting to gain the trust of his manager and was impressive in Arsenal’s last game when they beat Newcastle 4-0. The Gunners will take on Everton and his skills could make a difference in midfield. He has 2 assists from his limited time and is just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United

Fernandes is already making people think he is the right buy for United, he is early into his career with the club but is worth picking as he wants to impress every week especially with Paul Pogba on the sidelines.

Striker: Anthony Martial- Manchester United

With injuries for United Martial is getting that chance to shine and he scored against Chelsea in the clubs last game. Now at home v Watford the odds would look good for him to add to his 9 goal tally he has so far.

Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Arsenal

Arsenal have struggled this season but Aubameyang keeps on scoring and being their star dust. Arsenal will be at home against Everton a team he likes to play against, and we could see him scoring again at the weekend. He has 15 goals so far and is 9m.

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Has the 4-0 victory over Newcastle green lit Arsenal’s season?

There are always turning points good and bad in football and one senses that Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend could just be the turning point that Arsenal have been looking for all season.

Arsenal don’t win games 4-0 anymore, in fact they don’t win many games at all. Currently they have 13 draws and this game against the Magpies looked like it would be number 14- and that was if they were lucky.

In truth it was a first half mostly dominated by the away team, who created very good chances and the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton looked very lively. Arsenal looked confused at home and woeful. The first half ended 0-0 and never felt not for one moment that Arsenal would score 4 goals in the second half. But they did.

A lot of that is down to manager Mikel Arteta’s half time talk, and it was interesting how he was able to identify the clubs positives and Newcastle’s weaknesses. Arsenal came out firing on all cylinders and it was the chasing down of the ball and the intensity that they showed right off the bat that won the game for them. Indeed they had started the match this way, and then were huffing and puffing with no ideas after five minutes. But the club in the second half looked a completely different side.

The Gunners are so very lucky to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a striker- how many times has he got the club out of trouble when the chips have been down? And they have been down for so long. But Aubameyang keeps scoring and keeps hoping and he opened the scoring 9 minutes after the re start. When Nicolas Pepe scored the 2nd goal, three minutes later the game was over, Newcastle’s hearts had left the stadium.

It’s true that goals number 3 and 4 put a shine over a game that felt like a 2-0 victory but at the end of the day goals and wins bring confidence to a team. That was only Arteta’s 2nd win in 8 games, although he has only lost one so far.

The question now being posed is is this the beginning of a strong run for Arsenal now, who could still claim a good position. After Manchester City were banned by UEFA in participating in the Champions League, 5th place would now be up for grabs, pending their appeal. If so Arsenal are only six points from that target. With clubs ranked 4th-9th not being consistent enough, Arsenal really could make a charge and a statement and what a comeback it would for the club who have remained around 10th place for much of the season.

What is interesting is taking a look at the clubs upcoming fixtures. Their next game will be tough but they will be at home to Everton. They then have another home match against West Ham. There are trips to both Brighton and Southampton followed by a home match against Norwich and a trip to Wolves before returning home to face Leicester. All of those games look like Arsenal could get points in. Their biggest problem is projecting their home form over to their away form, where they have really struggled not just this season but for the past 3 at least.

Take out the Leicester game though and Arsenal won’t face a top 6 side until the end of April when they play Tottenham away. In May they will play Liverpool, but again all of their opponents now will not be classed as the biggest teams in the league. Still Arsenal have struggled against them anyway this season.

But surely scoring 4 goals in one game has given the club a lift and taken away that dark cloud that has hung over the Emirates since August. Is this the moment that Arteta makes a name for himself and the talented Arsenal players step up to the plate, or was it just a convenient speed bump on the road to a mediocre season?

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