EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Maddison and Wood pulling double duty

By Sports Desk April 15, 2022

Thanks to the FA Cup semi-finals, matchday 33 in the Premier League is a bit more spread out, with just six games taking place at the weekend.

A further six games are scheduled for midweek, so there is a chance to get some of those pulling double duty in your fantasy team.

Whether your interests lie in the title race, the top-four scuffle or the relegation battle, there promises to be entertainment for everyone.

Therefore, it is time for Stats Perform to give you some suggested picks for your team using stats from the wonderful people at Opta.

HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion)

As odd as it sounds after a 4-0 win, had it not been for Lloris' heroics between the sticks last time out, Spurs could very well have lost against Aston Villa.

The Spurs captain made seven saves in the first half at Villa Park to keep Steven Gerrard's team out, with the visitors scoring four from their five on target in an afternoon of ruthless efficiency that had Antonio Conte smiling.

Only Alisson and Ederson (both 17) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Lloris (12), while the Frenchman last recorded more shutouts in a single campaign in 2017-18 (15).

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Brighton and Hove Albion)

This feels like we're picking on Brighton, but the fixture computer has not been kind to them, pitting them against two of the league's most in-form teams this week.

Only Gabriel Jesus (seven) has more assists for City in the Premier League this season than Joao Cancelo (six), as many as in his previous three league seasons combined.

As well as that, Cancelo is part of a staunch City defence that has conceded the fewest goals in the league this season (20), and against a Brighton side that has scored fewer goals (28) than all except Burnley (25) and Norwich (20), will be confident of a clean sheet on Wednesday.

JAMES MADDISON (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Everton v Leicester City)

Maddison is somewhat of an enigmatic player and, not that long ago, was struggling to start in Brendan Rodgers' strongest line-up.

However, he has already equalled his goal involvements tally for the entirety of last season in the Premier League (13), with the former Norwich man only bettering that in 2018-19 (14).

Indeed, he has either scored or assisted in each of his last three league appearances (one goal, two assists), last doing so in four such games in January 2021 (three goals, one assist).

CHRIS WOOD (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Newcastle United v Crystal Palace)

It has hardly been an electric start for life on Tyneside for Wood since his January move, though goals drying up for his former club and relegation rivals Burnley has been a positive added factor for the Magpies.

The New Zealander scored a crucial penalty in the 1-0 win against Wolves last time out, though, and he is looking to bag in consecutive league games for the first time since May 2021 (run of three).

Also, only against West Ham (seven) and Wolves (six) does Wood have more Premier League goals than he has previously managed against Leicester (four).

Related items

  • Seattle Sounders v Minnesota United: Ramsay relishing 'difficult' road trip Seattle Sounders v Minnesota United: Ramsay relishing 'difficult' road trip

    Eric Ramsay is looking forward to the challenge Minnesota United face when they travel to Seattle Sounders in the MLS on Saturday.

    Minnesota are third in the Western Conference, having lost just one of their last nine matches in the competition.

    With leaders Real Salt Lake just four points in front of them, the Loons are looking to keep on the pressure, but they have never earned a point when travelling to Seattle.

    However, Ramsey is confident his team can put that history behind them after watching them rise to challenges throughout the season.

    "It's a challenge that we can go and meet head-on," he said. "We've met challenges all the way through this season in that way.

    "I can only imagine it's a positive, if anything. I said to the group that every time they've been asked to rise to the occasion, largely they've done that.

    "Going to a place like that, where we obviously find it difficult - we have a big few days that could arguably define the upcoming period."

    Meanwhile, Seattle have won just one of their last five outings and sit outside the playoff places in the table.

    Captain Stefan Frei admitted it is tough to look on the bright side after their poor run, but is hopeful they can get themselves out of trouble.

    "Finding positive things has been hard this year. Finding frustration is very easy," said Frei. "Finding negatives is very easy.

    "But you cannot succumb to that because no good will come from it. You've got to keep trying to find positives and, if not, create them so that we can all find a way out of this hole. Even as an individual, to find a way through it, so you can help the rest of the team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Seattle Sounders – Stefan Frei

    Seattle conceded the game-winning goal to Kansas City in the 85th minute on Saturday in a 2-1 defeat.

    The Sounders have allowed a result-changing goal in the last 10 minutes five times this season, including in three of their last four regular-season matches (two equalizers, one winner). Stefan Frei will be aiming to avoid conceding another late goal on Saturday.

    Minnesota United – Hassani Dotson

    Dotson scored just his second goal of the season in Minnesota's 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last time out. Only five players for the Loons have netted more times than him this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: SEATTLE SOUNDERS WIN

    The Sounders have won all eight of their home matches against Minnesota United (incl. playoffs). The longest home winning streak by one team over another in MLS play (incl. playoffs) is nine straight, done five times, most recently by Philadelphia Union against D.C. United (2015-22).

    Six of Seattle's last eight home MLS matches have ended in draws (W1 L1), including the last three in a row. Dating back to last June, the Sounders have split the points in 10 of their last 15 home league games.

    Meanwhile, Minnesota have lost only one of their last nine regular-season matches (W5 D3) following a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday. The Loons enter their 17th match of the season with just three defeats this year after having never had fewer than five losses in the first half of a full season before.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Seattle Sounders – 41.6%

    Draw – 26.7%

    Minnesota United – 31.8%

  • Robertson aiming for 'legendary' status with Scotland at Euro 2024 Robertson aiming for 'legendary' status with Scotland at Euro 2024

    Andy Robertson challenged Scotland to "make history" as they prepare for their Euro 2024 opener against hosts Germany on Friday.

    Scotland qualified for their second consecutive European championships after a strong qualifying campaign saw them finish second in their group behind Spain.

    In Euro 2020, Scotland were knocked out at the end of the group stage having earned just one point from their three games.

    Now, Robertson has urged the Tartan Army to become the first side in the nation's history to make the knockout stages of the competition, despite the tough test ahead of them.

    "We know that's what's at stake," said Robertson in a press conference. "We've got a lot of incentives, but one is becoming that legendary squad - that has to drive us forward.

    "We have to be at our best and if we can do that, who knows where we'll be come 23 June.

    "We don't want to have any regrets this time. What's the worst that can happen? We go on to a long list of teams that haven't made it out the group, or we put ourselves in a position to make history.

    "We're excited by the challenge, we're excited about what's ahead, and if we perform the way I know we can perform, then I'm confident we can make history."

    Steve Clarke is the first Scotland manager to lead the team out in two consecutive Euros, and he is confident his team can block out the noise surrounding the fixture and get a positive result.

    "One of the mantras I've had is respect everyone and fear no-one," Clarke said. "We know they're a good team, but hopefully, we can show everyone we're a good team as well.

    "We're proud we've been able to do back-to-back tournaments and hopefully, by the end of this, we'll be even more proud at having done something a bit more special."

  • LA Galaxy v Sporting Kansas City: Yoshida and hosts hungry for more after mid-season break LA Galaxy v Sporting Kansas City: Yoshida and hosts hungry for more after mid-season break

    LA Galaxy captain Maya Yoshida says the team are not satisfied with their position at the halfway stage of the MLS season, with Sporting Kansas City next up on Saturday.

    The Galaxy's six-match unbeaten streak ended before the mid-season break, with the Chicago Fire coming from behind to beat them 2-1.

    They sit fourth in the Western Conference, five points behind leaders Real Salt Lake, but Yoshida believes they should be challenging for the top spot.

    "It's a big improvement on last season, but I'm still not satisfied. I'm still not happy enough," Yoshida said.

    "Maybe, generally, people say the Galaxy are doing well, but I feel like we could play better and get more points. We should be top of the league. I'll always stay hungry and greedy, and I want to do more and more and more."

    Head coach Greg Vanney echoed his thoughts, saying: "I'm pretty happy with the point total that we have from the first half of the season.

    "We let a couple of opportunities to be a little higher go. I think we learned a lot about ourselves that we need to clean up or keep using as we understand ourselves better."

    Sporting snapped a 10-match winless run last weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders, leaving them in 12th.

    Peter Vermes is confident his team can use that victory as a platform to push them forward for the second half of the season.

    He said: "This is a good team. The issue last year, which was different, was for the longest time, I had to be the one to tell them that. Our win over [Colorado] should reinforce that message that they're good. When they want to play, they can play."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

    Puig has found the net in three consecutive appearances for the Galaxy for the first time in his MLS career. The Spaniard has been involved in seven goals since the beginning of May with only four players in MLS involved in more in that time.

    Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

    Russell scored his seventh career regular-season goal against Seattle Sounders in the win on Saturday, his most against any opponent, breaking a tie with three other teams against whom he has scored six times, including the Galaxy.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LA GALAXY WIN

    The Galaxy ended a six-match winless run against Kansas City (D3 L3) with a 3-2 road win on March 24. The win was just the Galaxy's third in their last 17 matches against Sporting dating back to October 2015 (D7 L7).

    LA have lost only one of their last 17 regular-season home matches (W8 D8), including winning four of their last five in Carson (D1). The 17 matches in that run have seen a total of 67 goals for an average of 3.9 per match.

    Meanwhile, Kansas City ended a seven-match losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Seattle on Saturday. Sporting came from 1-0 down in the match as they have gone behind in 10 straight league matches dating back to mid-April.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LA Galaxy – 53.5%

    Draw – 23.8%

    Sporting Kansas City – 22.7%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.