EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: De Bruyne points the way for Man City

By Sports Desk February 17, 2023

Kevin De Bruyne served up a reminder of his match-winning brilliance as Manchester City usurped Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, so Nottingham Forest will be on high alert.

City go to Forest on Saturday, looking to stay at the summit, and their Belgian playmaker is set to be a key figure once more, and potentially a big points winner when it comes to fantasy leagues.

In an unlikely top-seven battle, Brighton and Hove Albion will look to in-form left-back Pervis Estupinan to contribute at both ends of the pitch against Fulham, while Wolves and Brentford will be hoping for big contributions from Ruben Neves and Ivan Toney as they tackle Bournemouth and Crystal Palace respectively.

Stats Perform, using Opta data, has chosen these four players for your selection consideration ahead of the weekend games.

Pervis Estupinan (Brighton v Fulham)

With three assists in his last three Premier League appearances, including last time out against Palace, Ecuadorian Estupinan is making a huge impact for the Seagulls.

Only three defenders have provided more assists than him in the competition this season, while Estupinan is one of only four such players to create at least 20 chances from open play (21).

Head coach Roberto De Zerbi has welcomed the efforts of the former Villarreal player, saying: "He's very important in build-up, but he's becoming a complete player now."

Kevin De Bruyne (Nottingham Forest v Manchester City)

Dropped to the bench at Tottenham recently, De Bruyne has responded by showing his value to City.

After scoring the opener, De Bruyne assisted for Erling Haaland's clincher in the 3-1 win at Arsenal, meaning the Belgian has been involved in 16 Premier League goals this season (4 goals, 12 assists), bettered by only three players.

Since the start of the 2019-20 season, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (14) has both scored and assisted in more games in the competition than De Bruyne (13).

Forest beware: De Bruyne has assisted Haaland six times in the Premier League this season, more than any other player has assisted another.

Ruben Neves (Wolves v Bournemouth)

Wolves midfielder Neves has scored five goals in this Premier League season, equalling his best tally from the 2020-21 campaign.

Four of those five goals have come at Molineux, including in his last such appearance against Liverpool, so he will fancy his prospects of adding to that haul and setting an outright personal best for goals when second-bottom Bournemouth visit.

He is Wolves' joint top scorer in the league, matching Daniel Podence's total, and Neves brings abundant creativity too.

Ivan Toney (Brentford v Crystal Palace)

The visit of Palace should bring the best out of Toney, given he has scored in his last three London derby appearances (against Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham), helping Brentford to a healthy five points.

Only Haaland (30) and Harry Kane (18) have been involved in more Premier League goals this season than Toney (17 – 14 goals, 3 assists).

Another factor in his favour is that among players with 30-plus shots this term, only Haaland (33.3 per cent) has a better shot conversion rate than him (23.7 per cent).

Related items

  • Columbus Crew v Sporting Kansas City: Vermes looking to improve 'soft' defending Columbus Crew v Sporting Kansas City: Vermes looking to improve 'soft' defending

    Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes wants to see a better defensive display when they travel to Columbus Crew in the MLS on Saturday.

    Sporting KC sit second from bottom in the Western Conference, having won just three of their 19 games so far.

    After back-to-back losses to LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake in which they conceded four goals in both, Vermes admitted they needed to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

    "I can't deny the fight of the guys, but defensively, it's too soft," he said. "Unfortunately, it's similar to what happens in a lot of games.

    "We can be fighting back in a game and give away a nothing goal. There's a ton of chances that could put us way ahead, but we can't be giving up the goals that we give up. That's it; that's the game."

    Columbus, meanwhile, are right in the mix in the Eastern Conference, sitting sixth with 27 points.

    A 2-1 defeat to Inter Miami snapped their four-match winning streak in the MLS, but head coach Wilfried Nancy is confident they can quickly put that result behind them.

    "It has been good games, good performances," head coach Wilfried Nancy said. "[The last game] was also a good performance, but we were not good at certain moments. This is again something that we did well. We have grown a lot regarding these kinds of games."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Columbus Crew – Cucho Hernandez

    Cucho attempted 10 shots in the Crew's defeat to Inter Miami on Wednesday, his third game with at least 10 shots since making his MLS debut in July 2022.

    All other players in MLS have three total games with 10+ shots in that time (Raul Ruidiaz, Hany Mukhtar, Julian Carranza, one each).

    Sporting Kansas City – William Agada

    Agada scored two of Kansas City's three goals on Wednesday, his fifth multi-goal match for Sporting. Only five players have recorded more multi-goal games in the team's history.

    MATCH PREDICTION: COLUMBUS CREW WIN

    This will be the Crew's first regular-season home match since losing to FC Cincinnati on May 11. Columbus are winless in four straight MLS home matches after winning 12 of their previous 14 home league games.

    Kansas City have lost nine of their last 10 regular-season matches (W1), including losing six in a row on the road in league play. This is the first time in the post-shootout era (since 2000) that Sporting have lost nine times in a span of 10 such matches.

    However, Kansas City have lost just one of their last 12 matches against Columbus (W7 D4) dating back to October 2012, though three of the last four meetings have ended in draws. This will be the first meeting between the sides in Columbus in one day short of five years (June 23, 2019).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Columbus Crew – 64.2%

    Draw – 19.1%

    Sporting Kansas City – 16.7%

  • Page sacked as Wales manager Page sacked as Wales manager

    Wales have sacked manager Rob Page following the country's failure to qualify for Euro 2024.

    The 49-year-old was initially given the job on an interim basis in November 2020, taking over from Ryan Giggs, before being appointed permanently in September 2022.

    Page took charge of 45 games for the national team, winning 15 of those matches.

    He oversaw the team at two major tournaments, reaching the round of 16 at Euro 2020, and led Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, though they exited in the group stage after earning only one point.

    Wales were agonisingly short of qualifying for a third consecutive European Championships, losing on penalties to Poland in their play-off final in March.

    Despite being backed by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) following that result, Page then came under heavy criticism following a goalless draw with minnows Gibraltar and a 4-0 thrashing by Slovakia in their June friendlies, leading to his contract being terminated.

  • Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni

    Barcelona have announced Pere Romeu as their new head coach following Jonatan Giraldez's departure.

    Romeu, who was an assistant coach at the club in the last three seasons, has signed a two-year contract until 2026.

    The 30-year-old takes over following a successful season for Barcelona in which they won the quadruple, lifting the Champions League, Liga F, Copa de la Reina and the Supercopa de Espana Femenia.

    Giraldez had confirmed in December 2023 that he would be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, and it was announced in January he would be joining NWSL club Washington Spirit.

    "I have been with the team for three seasons, and I know their day-to-day life. I'm 100 per cent ready," Romeu said in his first interview as head coach.

    Romeu coached in Barcelona men's youth set-up between 2017 and 2020 before joining Romanian side Viitorul Constanta as an assistant coach before making the move back to Catalonia to join Barcelona Femeni in 2021.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.