With the Premier League now very much entering the business end of the season, and with just a few matches remaining to decide the respective fates of several teams, there was a full schedule of games in England’s top-flight this past weekend. Once again, the spread of fixtures was great with Newcastle winning at Leicester on Friday night, six games taking place on Saturday, title challengers Man City and Liverpool winning their respective games on Sunday and Arsenal travelling to Watford on Monday. Results this weekend meant that both City and Liverpool are guaranteed to finish first and second in either combination. With that in mind, let’s take a look and see which players performed the best in their position, using a 4-3-3 formation.
Only two players have made more assists in the Premier League this season than Ryan Fraser. Indeed, the Scottish midfielder has been a creator extraordinaire for Bournemouth over the 2018/19 campaign, notching no fewer than 10 assists in 30 games for the Cherries. Fraser sits deservedly in the top three of this season’s assists chart alongside Eden Hazard and Christian Eriksen.
It’s little wonder then that the Scotland international has, in recent weeks, been linked with a summer move away from the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth have made themselves a permanent fixture in the Premier League of late, but many believe Fraser is ready for that next step in his career.
Arsenal, who are reportedly keen on the 25-year-old, would represent that next step up. Fraser is, by trade, a wide player and the suggestion is that Unai Emery wants to add at least one such figure to his Gunners squad this summer. And with Arsenal unable to compete at the very top end of the transfer market Fraser would be an extremely shrewd addition.
Reports hint that Fraser could be available for as little as £25 million, making him one of the potential signings of the summer. The Scot would add some drive and energy through the midfield for the Gunners, something they will need following the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus at the end of the season.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s very nice,” Fraser said when asked what it meant to him to be linked with a club of Arsenal’s stature. “It means you are are doing something right. They are a huge club, a massive club. When you see your name thrown around you always think to yourself that you are a Bournemouth player and you try to do well. I’m not going to lie, you do feel good, especially when it’s a massive club.”
Fraser might not be more than a squad option to Arsenal, but he would be a very good one. The Scot has already stepped up his game by moving to the south coast from Aberdeen as a youngster and his recent comments suggest he is ready to make another step up. Fraser wouldn’t be the most glamorous of signings, it’s unlikely that thousands of fans will turn up for his unveiling at the Emirates Stadium, but he would widen the range of options at Emery’s disposal.
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This past weekend we saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lose his domestic unbeaten run as Man Utd manager, with Arsenal triumphing 2-0 at the Emirates. Elsewhere, Liverpool maintained pressure on league leaders Man City with their 4-2 win over Burnley at Anfield, and Southampton caused something of an upset by beating Tottenham 2-1 on the south coast. There were wins for Brighton and Cardiff, with Newcastle also putting in an impressive showing with their 3-2 home win against Everton. With that in mind, we will now adopt a 4-4-2 formation and see which players performed the best for their clubs in England’s top flight this past weekend.
Ryan Fraser in recent months has been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, an individual who is having one of his best seasons as a Bournemouth player and is in his fourth campaign within the Premier League.
When a player from a mid-table side is in fine form and is playing a crucial role towards his team finishing in the top half of the table, they instantly become wanted by the top clubs in England. Players such as Jamie Vardy, Ruben Neves and Wilfried Zaha have unsurprisingly entered this category thanks to the contributions and performances they’ve produced for their respective clubs.
Focusing back onto Fraser himself, it’s time to look at his rise within the Premier League over the last year or so, and how he has caught the attention of Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur.
With no further ado…
He fits well into Pochettino’s and Spurs’ project
Pochettino has made a name for himself when it comes to developing young talented players and taking them to the next level since arriving to England in January 2013. From his early days at Southampton up until his current days at Tottenham, he has helped a number of English youngsters to make improvements and tweaks to their style of play, with the well-known ones being Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Kyle and James Ward-Prowse.
On top of that, the former Espanyol and Southampton coach is yet to make many signings of the age of 30 and over, which clearly shows the players he brings in are those are who suited to his long term plans and are willing to stay around for at least three to five years. With Fraser turning 25 in a few days time, he has the ideal skillset to go on to being someone who can control and dictate the side’s attack, especially given he has created the most chances (17) in the league so far this season.
Pochettino craves for intelligent midfielders
Looking at Tottenham’s current midfield, it’s none other than Christian Eriksen who is pulling the strings for the side, a player who is very tidy on the ball and can produce something out of nothing. Meanwhile, Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko have actually come into their own in the last couple of months, but are yet to show they have the ability or the spark to guide the team forward, to produce a moment of brilliance from midfield and importantly for when their key men are not on the pitch.
But if Spurs were to go all out for Fraser, they will be going for an individual who is stepping up on his numbers in the final third of the pitch and is proving to be a valuable asset when it comes to delivering set-pieces. Currently on five goals and nine assists in 26 league games, if the Scotland international was to confidently hit double figures in both departments before the season finishes, he would potentially be making a serious name to become one off Tottenham’s main transfer targets for the summer window.
Allows Eriksen to player higher up the pitch
It is more or less fair to say that, Eriksen is one of the side’s most crucial players and is seen as one of the best playmakers within the league and the whole of Europe. Although he is playing in a deep role at this moment of time, alongside either Winks or Eric Dier in the middle of the pitch, the possible arrival of a central midfielder would allow him to play high up the pitch once again, where he can feed the perfect passes into Harry Kane, Heung Min-Son and Fernando Llorente like a piece of cake.
If Ryan Fraser just happens to be that midfield signing in the summer, he could play a useful role as a box-to-box midfielder as well as in Eriksen’s position for whenever the Danish playmaker is in need of a rest or is unable to start the match. The Aberdeen-born star has proven himself as a versatile play over the last couple of months, where has played in all the tactical roles within midfield and also the key areas out on the flanks, which could be important to Pochettino as he continues to utilise a small squad.
The 11th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Bournemouth take on Manchester United and Liverpool travel to Arsenal. Let’s take a look at some players who you should consider adding to your EPL Fantasy teams before the weekend…
GK – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
We’re going to look specifically at high-scoring players who sometimes go under the EPL Fantasy radar in this week’s picks, starting with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The World Cup winner has 21 points this season — only four goalkeepers have more — and he could easily add to that tally against Wolves on Saturday.
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.
The fifth weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Chelsea and Liverpool maintain their winning starts, while Manchester United picked up their second victory in a row with a 2-1 win over Watford. Let’s take a look at which players stood out to make the EPL Best XI of the Weekend.
GK: Wayne Hennessey, Crystal Palace – seven points
After being deducted two points in each of his last three games, Wayne Hennessey got back on track this weekend by keeping a clean sheet in Crystal Palace’s hard-fought 1-0 win away at Huddersfield.