EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Sterling and Bale winging in for more capital punishment?

By Sports Desk March 13, 2021

All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Tottenham chase a first league double over Arsenal in the north London derby since 1992-93.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in the capital, giving struggling Fulham a tough task at Craven Cottage in Saturday's late kick-off.

The most intriguing tactical battle of the weekend could come at Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, while West Ham are likely to face a thorough examination of their top-four ambitions at Manchester United.

Here, we give a few pointers on which players could come up trumps in fantasy football terms.

DEAN HENDERSON

England goalkeeper Henderson has not played too frequently since opting to make a go of things with parent club Manchester United.

But when he has featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, the 24-year-old has generally impressed, even if his midweek outing against Milan in the Europa League contained an unwanted sting in the tail.

If David de Gea is absent once more against West Ham, Henderson's 19 saves from 22 shots faced in the Premier League this season suggests the United goal is in safe hands. His save percentage of 86.4 is the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game this season.

AARON CRESSWELL

Given the dearth of natural left-back options available to England manager Gareth Southgate, a strong season at West Ham for Cresswell could turn out to have been perfectly timed.

The full-back is also a threat in opposition territory, with his seven assists more than any other defender in the division. It is a left-back dominated list, with Lucas Digne up next on six from Andy Robertson, Luke Shaw (both five) and Southgate's first choice Ben Chilwell (four).

Seven assists also matches the most productive season of Cresswell's career in that regard, having provided the same number in 2017-18.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Tuchel has overseen a defensive transformation since taking over from Frank Lampard, tightening up an unhelpfully leaky backline.

Club captain Azpilicueta has been a pillar of this turnaround. His eight clean sheets are the most for any Premier League defender in 2021.

Azpilicueta is one ahead of rejuvenated club-mate Antonio Rudiger, while Manchester City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias and Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka similarly have seven apiece.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Relegation-haunted West Brom would be forgiven for dreading the sight of Crystal Palace winger Zaha.

In his past four outings against the Baggies, the Ivory Coast international has scored four times.

That run includes a second-half brace from when Palace hammered the Baggies 5-1 at The Hawthorns in December – a result that would prove influential in Slaven Bilic's sacking later that month.

RAHEEM STERLING

England forward Sterling sat out City's 5-2 win over Southampton in midweek after his latest disappointment in the derby against United.

His native London is a far happier hunting ground, with the 26-year-old amassing 16 goal involvements (10 goals and six assists) in his previous 16 Premier League starts in the English capital.

Sterling continued that streak last time out at Emirates Stadium, heading the only goal early on in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

GARETH BALE

This weekend, another wide forward on a hot streak will be foremost in Arsenal's thoughts.

A revitalised Bale scored twice in a 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, meaning he has had a hand in six goals in his past four top-flight appearances (four goals and two assists).

And, if you believe the form book stays on this side of the window on derby day, the Wales star has five Premier League goals against Arsenal – more than against any other side in his career.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

As the battle for a top-four finish hots up, sides in the chasing pack will need players to weigh in with 'heavy' goals.

Thankfully for Everton, no player's goals in the Premier League this season have been worth more in terms of points gained than Calvert-Lewin's.

The centre-forward, who was rewarded with an England breakthrough following a sensational start to the campaign, has netted 13 times in the league this season – strikes that have won a total of 14 points.

Burnley, this weekend's visitors to Goodison Park, could be the next team to add to his tally.

Related items

  • Mane: 'I will never forget my time with Liverpool' Mane: 'I will never forget my time with Liverpool'

    Sadio Mane says he "will never forget" his time with Liverpool having made a move to Bayern Munich in the recent transfer window.

    Mane joined the Reds from Southampton in 2016 and spent six successful years at the club, winning both the Premier League and the Champions League.

    And while the 30-year-old now plies his trade in the Bundesliga, he says he will always have fond memories of playing for Liverpool.

    "Honestly, I will never forget my time there," Mane told UEFA.com.

    "I learned a lot – as a man and as a football player. The supporters were amazing, the people from the city were amazing. It is a club that will stay in my heart forever.

    "It is also a legendary club – they have won everything. And also, it is the club that had all the best Champions League nights."

    Mane cited the 2019 Champions League final win against Tottenham in Madrid as a particular highlight, adding: "I remember the second goal that Divock Origi scored very well. I was over the moon at that moment. I couldn't believe it.

    "I just thought back to my childhood, when I was watching the Champions League. I found myself playing a final and, more importantly, winning it.

    "It was amazing – 2019 was an outstanding year. The celebrations, the club, you just had to be there to understand. I think over half a million people were out in the streets waiting for us to parade our trophy. It was just beautiful."

    The Senegal international has endured a mixed start to his Bayern career, scoring three in three league games to start the season but then going on a run of five appearances without a goal in all competitions before finally finding the net again in Friday's 4-0 thumping of Bayer Leverkusen.

    And he admitted his move to Germany had not all been plain sailing so far, saying: "Switching from one club to another is not easy.

    "I spent eight very nice years in England, six years at Liverpool [after] two at Southampton, and now I am in a new country. It is not easy because everything changes so suddenly, people, training, everything.

    "Everything is changing so it is not easy at all. I need to adapt. I knew that and it came as no surprise. It is happening just the way I imagined it.

    "People here are welcoming, and they're real players. People around the club are amazing so I am very happy.

    "We have a very, very young squad. It's the first time in my career that I have been part of such a young group. What really stands out to me is that they're all hungry. They all want to develop and they're attentive too.

    "Training sessions are as intense as the games. It's important as I think it makes a real difference and it shows. It’s so easy to play alongside these youngsters, who are massively talented and promising."

  • Haaland a combination of Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic, says Schmeichel Haaland a combination of Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic, says Schmeichel

    Erling Haaland shares many of the same qualities as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to Peter Schmeichel, who has described the Manchester City man as several top strikers "put into one player".

    Haaland produced an incredible display as City swatted aside Manchester United for a 6-3 derby win on Sunday, scoring a treble and teeing up two goals for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

    The Norwegian – who has scored 14 goals in his first eight Premier League appearances – has now scored a hat-trick in three successive home league games, becoming the first player to do so in the competition's history.

    After watching Haaland tear United apart at the Etihad Stadium, Schmeichel picked out similarities between the 22-year-old and several striking legends.

    "The biggest part of a good striker is patience. I played against some of the best strikers, and when they go missing is when you really have to concentrate," the former United and City goalkeeper told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "The Cristiano Ronaldos, the Filippo Inzaghis of this world – they disappear then all of a sudden they get the chance.

    "When you look at Haaland, you see different players. That Zlatan-like goal, and Ronaldo is in there too. You see top, top strikers in one.

    "That is why he is so dangerous. He has the luxury of seeing many top strikers and they are all put into one player."

    Haaland's dominant display on Sunday saw him become just the 25th player to record five goal involvements in a Premier League game – and the youngest to ever do so (22 years, 73 days).

    In Haaland and team-mate Kevin De Bruyne, meanwhile, City have the highest goalscorer and top assist-maker in Europe's top five leagues this season (in all competitions).

    Haaland has already found the net 17 times this season, with five of those strikes being laid on by De Bruyne, who has a total of 10 assists in 2022-23.

  • 'Zach doesn't flinch' – Saleh credits returning Wilson after Jets see off Steelers 'Zach doesn't flinch' – Saleh credits returning Wilson after Jets see off Steelers

    New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh lauded returning quarterback Zach Wilson following Sunday's 24-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    The Jets looked set for a third loss of the season when Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett scored two rushing touchdowns to hand the hosts a 20-10 second-half lead in Pennsylvania.

    However, the first-round draft pick threw three interceptions as the Jets had the last laugh, with Breece Hall sealing victory when he ran for a two-yard touchdown with 16 seconds remaining.

    Wilson – featuring for the first time since he suffered a knee injury in the Jets' preseason opener – was crucial to their revival, completing 10 of his 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in a brilliant fourth quarter.

    Speaking after the win, Saleh hailed Wilson's ability to handle pressure, declaring: "Zach doesn't flinch.

    "I'm sure there were a couple of plays he wishes he had back. But he got us out of a lot of bad situations with his mobility. I thought he played a pretty good game, [for] his first game back."

    Wilson himself, meanwhile, was delighted by the Jets' late show, adding: "All the ups and downs of trying to overcome adversity, it was just such a good win.

    "I think there was so much growth those last two minutes as an offense, executing a drive as clean as it was and punching it in. It was just awesome

    "It's just the NFL, man. We had some good things early, we scored, then things got stalled out. 

    "My mentality is just keep doing my job, keep chipping away. That was my message and that's what everybody did. 

    "There was some frustration, but it was the right frustration. That was a cool opportunity for us to lose a lead like that and come all the way back for the win."

    Asked whether he was convinced the Jets would get over the line on their decisive late drive, Wilson added: "Yeah, 100 per cent from the beginning. 

    "I think there was no doubt in our minds, especially when I hit a couple of quick passes, we hit a couple of runs as an offense. You could just feel it."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.