EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Greenwood's teenage kicks and Lingard out to give Chelsea the Blues

By Sports Desk April 23, 2021

You could be forgiven for thinking the lines between reality and fantasy had blurred into one this week with the seemingly doomed experiment of the European Super League.

But fans of actual fantasy football can rest assured we have still scoured the best prospects to help you in your quest to top your private leagues and earn bragging rights among your pals.

With Premier League leaders Manchester City not in action due to playing the EFL Cup final against Tottenham this weekend, there are sure to be a few transfers needed in several teams.

That being said, take a look at our hand-selected picks, powered as always by Opta data…

ROBERT SANCHEZ

Brighton and Hove Albion have a poor record against teams in the Premier League's bottom three, winning only four of 24 such games – the 17 per cent win rate representing the lowest return of any team in the competition to have played a minimum of 10 such games.

However, Sheffield United are the lowest scorers in the division this season (17) and have failed to score in 18 different games, a league worst.

Moreover, Brighton's Robert Sanchez has eight Premier League clean sheets to his name in 2021. Only Ederson (10) has managed more.

VLADIMIR COUFAL

West Ham have won three of their last five home league encounters against Chelsea and another victory would significantly boost their chances of a top-four finish.

Hammers full-back Vladimir Coufal could well be a valuable source of fantasy points this weekend.

Coufal has four home assists in the Premier League this season, which represents the best in the division among defenders.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Dropped by England manager Gareth Southgate for the latest round of international fixtures, Trent Alexander-Arnold has responded in impressive fashion.

The dangerous full-back has been involved in three goals in Liverpool's last three fixtures (two assists, one goal) – as many as he managed in his previous 24 games in the competition.

With Liverpool unbeaten in 24 home matches against Newcastle United, Alexander-Arnold is sure to feature heavily in many fantasy sides this weekend.

JESSE LINGARD

Another player for Chelsea to be extremely wary of this weekend, Jesse Lingard has been in the form of his life since moving to West Ham on loan from Manchester United in January.

The attacking midfielder has been involved in 12 West Ham goals so far in the Premier League (nine goals, three assists) to become a key component in their battle to qualify for the Champions League.

Only Mick Quinn (Coventry City), Les Ferdinand (Newcastle United) and Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) have had more goal involvements in their first 10 appearances for a club in the competition (all 13).

MASON GREENWOOD

Mason Greenwood has found form at an ideal time as he aims to be a part of Southgate's England squad for the rescheduled Euro 2020.

And fantasy football fans perhaps should be looking to make room for a player who has scored four goals across his most recent three top-flight appearances for Manchester United.

Not since Francis Jeffers in the year 2000 has a teenager managed to score in four consecutive Premier League games. Can Leeds United stop the Red Devils' own fox in the box?

WILFRIED ZAHA

Crystal Palace have beaten Leicester City eight times in the Premier League, earning more wins than they have achieved against any other side, while their four away victories against the Foxes is also a joint-high for them in the competition (also four at Everton).

Leicester are also a side who Eagles dangerman Wilfried Zaha has traditionally flourished against, so a trip to the King Power Stadium could be up his street on Monday.

The tricky forward has been involved in six goals in his last six appearances against Leicester (five goals, one assist). Palace won three of those games with Zaha scoring in each.

JAMIE VARDY

On the flip side, Leicester have their own reasons to be optimistic against Roy Hodgson's men.

Jamie Vardy's record against Palace is very favourable, with the experienced striker involved in six goals in his previous nine versus the Eagles (five goals, one assist).

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    Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United and is willing to make some allowances to secure the move.

    Reports of Ronaldo's transfer request emerged over the weekend, although United are said to be holding firm in their desire to keep the superstar.

    That has not stopped the rumours around a potential destination for the Portugal great, though, and he is doing all he can to get the move he wants.

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    The Independent reports Ronaldo is willing to take a "considerable" pay cut in order to move to a Champions League contender.

    The forward's desire to win another European crown was widely cited as key to his decision to push for a departure from United, and the report suggests the player is hopeful a reduced salary could entice leading clubs.

    Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who employ great rival Lionel Messi, are listed as potential suitors.

    The Athletic also again reports Chelsea's interest following talk of a meeting between Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes and new Stamford Bridge owner Todd Boehly earlier in the close-season.

    The Sun says Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is reluctant to agree to such a transfer, though, while AS claims Mendes has also met with Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

    ROUND-UP

    – Corriere dello Sport claims Bayern Munich are looking to bring in Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for a fee in the vicinity of €100million if Robert Lewandowski is to leave.

    – According to Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham have agreed to sign 27-year-old Barcelona centre-back Clement Lenglet for a fee of £17.2m.

    – The Sun is reporting Arsenal have made a £47m bid for 27-year-old Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

    – After loaning Romelu Lukaku to Inter, Chelsea are also weighing up a potential loan move for Hakim Ziyech to Milan, according to The Athletic.

    – The Mirror claims United representatives have met with Ajax to discuss a £39.6m offer for defender Lisandro Martinez.

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    Austin pegged one back in the 28th minute when Ethan Finlay struck from just inside the area, and the sides went in all square at 2-2 when Sebastian Driussi equalised in first-half stoppage time.

    The visitors thought they had completed their comeback in the 52nd minute, only for Maximiliano Urruti's goal to be ruled out, but that decision merely delayed the celebrations as Urriti scored again seven minutes later.

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    They held out this time despite Kipp Keller's dismissal for a second yellow card in the 75th minute, after which Colorado dominated 81.4 per cent of the possession and hit the post through Michael Barrios but could not find an equaliser.

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    A day later, they were back at the venue to seal their respective progressions to the quarter-finals.

    Halep, Wimbledon champion in 2019, defeated fourth seed Paula Badosa 6-1 6-2, while Nadal overcame Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-2 7-6 (8-6).

    Of female players still competing on the WTA Tour, only Serena Williams (14) and Venus Williams (13) have reached more Wimbledon quarter-finals than Halep (five), who will face Amanda Anisimova in the last eight.

    Nadal, meanwhile, has now played 350 matches at grand slams – a total bettered only by Federer and Djokovic.

    The 22-time grand slam winner was made to work for victory in the third set by Van de Zandschulp, but having overcome a wobble, went on to secure his 18th straight major match win of 2022.

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    "Definitely it was a place I wanted to be today. I think I played a great match," she said. "It was a pleasure to be back on Centre Court with this great crowd supporting me.

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    While Nadal is into his eighth Wimbledon quarter-final – and his 47th at a grand slam, a tally that lags behind only Djokovic (53) and Federer (58) – Fritz has never reached the last eight of a major before.

    "In a personal way, for me to be able to be in quarter-finals after three years, it's amazing for me, so I'm very, very happy," said Nadal, who is hunting the calendar Grand Slam in 2022.

    "Every match is different," he added of his tie against Fritz, which he anticipates being tricky.

    "He is playing well and having a very good year, including a first Masters 1000 title, against me by the way, but we will be in the quarter-final of Wimbledon, so what should I expect?"

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