Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 5 Picks

The English Premier League returns from the international break with the Merseyside derby on Saturday lunchtime as leaders Everton welcome defending champions Liverpool across Stanley Park to Goodison Park.

It’s one of two huge fixtures on Saturday as Manchester City host Arsenal in a rematch of their FA Cup semi-final a few months ago when Mikel Arteta surprised his former boss, Pep Guardiola.

Sunday sees a London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, whilst the weekend’s action concludes on Monday night between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road.

Here are our recommendations for your EPL fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)
Sheffield United have a great opportunity to pick up their first points of the season this weekend in a battle of the bottom two versus Fulham at Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder’s side haven’t been overly bad this season, losing late versus Leeds and 1-2 at Arsenal. Meanwhile, Fulham have failed to score in three of their first four matches back in the top flight and things already look concerning for Scott Parker’s side. A home win is on the cards and a potential clean sheet too.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 4

The 2020-21 Premier League campaign is set to head into its first international break of the campaign after another thrilling weekend of action that included Aston Villa’s incredible 7-2 victory over champions Liverpool.

Liverpool will be the next team in action when the Premier League returns as they are set for the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on lunchtime of Saturday 17 October.

Before that though, let’s have a look at who the top players were from matchday 4:

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – 7pts
Four goalkeepers kept a clean sheet in the Premier League over the weekend and we selected Edouard Mendy in the team of the week. The Senegalese goalkeeper was making his Chelsea debut on Saturday lunchtime in helping Frank Lampard’s side keep their first shutout of the new campaign in the 4-0 hammering of Crystal Palace.

Defender: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) – 15pts
Ben Chilwell was also making his Chelsea debut on Saturday when the left-back opened the scoring and later got an assist to go with his clean sheet in what can only be described as the perfect start from the England international.

Defender: Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) – 12pts
Chelsea dominate our defence as Kurt Zouma’s goal made it 2-0 midway through the second half to help secure three points in the London derby. It’s the centre-back’s second goal in only three Premier League games so far this season, and his first clean sheet.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United) – 12pts
Back-to-back surprise victories have come with clean sheets for West Ham whilst manager David Moyes is self-isolating. The Hammers followed up their 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers with a 3-0 win away to Leicester City on Sunday lunchtime. Left-back Aaron Cresswell setup two of the goals.

Defender: Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) – 12pts
The one defender to make the team of the week without keeping a clean sheet is Tottenham Hotspur right-back Serge Aurier. Jose Mourinho’s side were behind within two minutes before coming back to hammer Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford. Aurier scored the fifth of those shortly after the break.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 22pts
The highest point scorer of the weekend was Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who remains at the club after deadline day. The midfielder helped himself to a brace in the second half of their 7-2 humiliation of Liverpool at Goodison Park on Sunday night.

Midfielder: John McGinn (Aston Villa) – 11pts
Liverpool had reduced the score to 1-2 through Mohamed Salah in the first half before John McGinn’s goal for the Villans restored their two-goal advantage 10 minutes before the break.

Midfielder: Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) – 11pts
Allan Saint-Maximin tore into the Burnley defence on Saturday night as he scored in the opening goal in Newcastle’s important 3-1 victory that sees Steve Bruce’s side head into the international break in the top half whilst the Clarets remain pointless.

Striker: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 18pts
The Aston Villa striker marked his recent transfer from Burnley with a first half hat-trick against Liverpool on Sunday night. Dean Smith may have found his man after struggling for goals out of his strikers last season.

Striker: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) – 14pts
The South Korean has been deadly to start the new season. Son Heung-min returned from injury to take his place in the starting lineup and score twice in the demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Striker: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 13pts
His well-taken goal on half hour proved to be the nail in Manchester United’s coffin by making it 3-1 moments after Anthony Martial’s red card. Harry Kane added a second 10 minutes from time from the penalty spot.

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Tottenham need more than Kane to beat Barcelona

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Injuries to key players in Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side couldn’t have come at a worse time for the north Londoners.

If losing Dele Alli wasn’t bad enough, to hear that Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier, Jan Verthongen and Moussa Dembele were out too would likely have sent even the most optimistic Spurs fan into meltdown.

Hugo Lloris returns in goal in one bit of good news for ‘Poch,’ who will be heavily reliant on the talismanic Harry Kane doing the business. Continue reading

Arsenal Eye Disgraced Aurier

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It’s no surprise that the disgraced Serge Aurier is being linked with a move away from PSG, and now Arsenal appear to have entered the race for the 23-year-old.

The right back appears the obvious solution to Arsene Wenger’s need for depth in wide areas, with Mathieu Debuchy set to depart the club in the summer; leaving Hector Bellerin as the only established full back in the squad.

Aurier was widely critical of PSG boss Laurent Blanc and teammates including Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a series of posts on social network Persicope, and naturally it looks likely that the Parisian outfit will wave him goodbye. As such, his transfer value is believed to have fallen to £11.8 million; a snip of a price for a young defender with all the attributes to do well in the physical Premier League.

In a statement PSG officials confirmed that the Ivorian will train with their reserve squad until March 20 pending a further investigation, and so he will certainly miss the second leg of their Champions League tie with Arsenal’s London neighbours Chelsea.

“At a time when Paris Saint-Germain must remain focused on key dates, the management of the club must keep the professional group free of any potential trouble and has decided that Serge Aurier will be available to the CFA [second team] as of Monday February 29 until Sunday March 20 inclusive,” the statement read.

“At the same time, the player has offered to perform various actions for Paris Saint-Germain’s Club Foundation.

“While he hopes to soon celebrate with his supporters a fourth French title in a row, the club wishes to reaffirm its full confidence in his coach, his staff and his players.”

The potential transfer certainly looks something of a gamble for the Gunners as this isn’t the first time Aurier has been in trouble. In another video onslaught, he called referee Bjorn Kuipers a ‘dirty son of a bitch’ after he sent off Ibrahimovic in a Champions League tie; leading to a three-match ban. This 23-year-old is clearly something of a maverick.

Blanc was heavily critical of his defender in the immediate aftermath, and despite Aurier’s apologies the French manager said that he will ‘suffer the consequence’ for his ‘pathetic’ actions.

He will now miss six of his side’s matches as they attempt to progress to the last eight of the Champions League and secure successive Ligue 1 titles.
 

Serge Aurier playing a starring role in Paris Saint Germain’s bright start to the season

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Paris Saint-Germain are enjoying a fantastic start to the new French Ligue 1 season, and the incredible form of right-back Serge Aurier has been one of many factors. The 22-year-old has been a standout start for the Blues, and his stock is rising to new heights every week. Aurier signed from Toulouse on a permanent deal this summer with the reputation of being a highly-attacking fullback who can create goals, as well a showcasing a real combative nature to his defending.

He suffered an injury-hit debut season at the Parc des Princes, making just 12 league starts for the champions. Despite the sporadic game time for Paris Saint-Germain in 2014/15, Aurier showed the supporters what to expect in the coming years. He was outstanding for his former side Toulouse, and had a lot of interest in his services when news broke of his availability. Arsenal were one side who came close to securing his services, but PSG won the race.

Arsenal’s loss is certainly PSG’s gain too, with Aurier having been on fire in 2015/16. He’s made seven league appearances this season, averaging a tackle or interception every 12 minutes, while creating a chance per game on average, as well as attempting almost two dribbles a game. Aurier has a penchant to beat his opposite marker out wide to get into a crossing position.

Boasting excessive pace, composure in possession and high levels of industry, the Ivorian is a perfect modern-day fullback. Still only young, he’s sure to generate interest from the elite European sides if he can continue such form in the league and Europe this season. Teammate Thiago Silva has lavished the talented fullback with praise, and believes Aurier has already developed in a short space of time.

“Physically he’s very strong and technically I think he’s developed a lot this year. I think Serge and a lot of players in this team have a lot of confidence at the moment and that’s why we’ve had a very good start to the season,” said Silva. The 22-year-old is looking an inspired signing, and manager Laurent Blanc revealed how keen the club were to make the defender theirs last year.

Aurier has made a real name for himself this season, and will be attracting more interest from the best sides in Europe as things stand. Fewer fullbacks can boast such attacking quality and defensive attributes, and considering PSG paid just £7M for the right-back, he’s been a steal for the Parisians.