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.
The date was October 18, 1986 and Watford – managed by legendary boss Graham Taylor – beat visiting Aston Villa 4-2 at Vicarage Road. Little did anyone know at the time, but that match would go on to live long in the history of Watford Football Club. For in that game, Hornets striker Mark Falco netted a hattrick. He also scored against Villa the following year, before an unbelievably barren run saw Watford fail to even score against Villa again until late 2015 when they would win 3-2 at Villa Park – some 28 years later. The match in question however, until very recently indeed, held another record – it was the last time a Watford player had scored a hattrick in the top flight.
This weekend’s Premier League fixture list promises another round of tension, goals, celebration and despair. Proceedings get underway Saturday lunchtime with the north London derby, Spurs welcoming Arsenal as their guests at Wembley. We also have a relegation clash as Brighton host bottom side Huddersfield, while on Sunday we have a west London derby – Fulham vs Chelsea – and the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. Manchester City look to continue their bid to retain the Premier League crown when they travel to Bournemouth 24 hours before Liverpool’s trip across Stanley Park, and with both of those fixtures proving potentially slippery for the top two this weekend could well start to shape the landscape as the domestic season rolls on.
The 14th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Liverpool host Everton, while Tottenham make the short trip across north London to face Arsenal. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…
GK – Jordan Pickford (Everton)
We’re going to look specifically at players who have gone under the radar in EPL Fantasy this season, starting with Jordan Pickford. Everton’s 7.00m-rated No.1 has picked up 15 points in 2018-19 — only five goalkeepers have a better record.
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.
The first three weeks of the 2018-19 Premier League season have gone according to plan for many EPL Fantasy managers, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City all having unbeaten starts to the campaign, but there are still plenty of players across the league who could be worthy of inclusion in your team this weekend.
GK – Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton haven’t started well defensively this season, conceding five goals in three games, but Jordan Pickford’s tally of -4 points should improve with home fixtures against Huddersfield and West Ham coming up. At 7.00m, he’s worth considering.
Time now to look ahead at this weekend’s Premier League action, and see which players will be worth keeping a keen eye on. Some of these players will be included based on their fine form so far this season, while others maybe have an opportunity to get their season going after perhaps a stuttering start. We will be playing a 4-4-2 this week.
Goalkeeper – Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
The former world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Alisson is now the only custodian yet to concede a goal this season. He has a solid defence in front of him, but the visit of Brighton – who beat Man Utd last weekend – will be another testing fixture.
Defender – Steve Cook (Bournemouth)
Former Brighton defender Cook has impressed so far this season, with the Cherries having only conceded one goal in their opening two games. Everton are this weekend’s guests, and so fans will be after a real confidence-boosting performance.
Defender - Cédric Soares (Southampton)
Soares has had a dodgy time of things last weekend against Everton, being booked as Saints conceded two. This weekend sees Leicester arrive at St. Mary’s, and while that is a tough game it is one Mark Hughes’ men must look towards to get something.
Defender – Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
The Spaniard’s improved valuation of 8.5m (over last season’s 2.5m) means he will likely not be picked by as many fantasy league managers this term, but having earned five points from each of Chelsea’s first two games he seems in fine fettle.
Defender - José Holebas (Watford)
Holebas’ season started with a bang as he provided both assits in the Hornet’s 2-0 win over Brighton, but he was almost anonymous in their 3-1 win at Burnley a week later. They welcome Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road this weekend.
Midfielder – Roberto Pereyra (Watford)
The second Watford player in a row, Pereyra’s story is much like that of team-mate Holebas. 10 points on the opening weekend had people waxing lyrical, but a quiet game against Burnley dampened things. He too will want something from the Palace game.
Midfielder – Paul Pogba (Man Utd)
The Frenchman will be after a good performance and result when United take on Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday night. Pogba was vocal about his disappointment with the Red Devils’ performance against Brighton, and should lead by example here.
Midfielder – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal)
Arsenal midfielder Mkhitaryan will want to be the engine to get the Gunners moving this season after defeat in their opening two games. Those two were horrific first fixtures admittedly, but Unai Emery will want the likes of the Armenian to produce the goods.
Midfielder - Rúben Neves (Wolves)
Neves was vital in Wolves’ opening day draw with Everton, but failed to do anything of note when they were beaten at Leicester a week later. Wolves welcome champions Man City to Molineux this weekend, giving the Portuguese star a chance to shine.
Attacker – Sergio Aguero (Man City)
The Argentinian striker hit a hattrick in the Citizens’ 6-1 win over Huddersfield last weekend, and all eyes will be on whether Aguero can replicate that clinical finishing at Wolves.
Attacker - Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Kane finally ended his August hoodoo with his goal against Fulham last weekend, and may well feel the match at Old Trafford against Man Utd on Monday evening could be the perfect platform to really get up and running this season.
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When a new season kicks off, rarely do things occur which massively shape the entire season to follow. There tend to be more upsets, shocks and incidents on the opening day of the campaign than on just about any other day on the footballing calendar as players try to feel their way into the next few months and find their levels. One place where absolutely none of that seemed to happen last weekend was at Anfield, where Liverpool maintained their status quo with a 4-0 brushing aside of West Ham in their first Premier League game of 2018/19. Manager Jurgen Klopp stated after the game that he believes West Ham will go on to have a decent season – though the quality of their performance at that time may suggest they could be in for a struggle.
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.