EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Back Kane to find form at Everton

By Sports Desk April 16, 2021

Harry Kane continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham and, after last week's defeat to Manchester United, his Spurs future looks little brighter.

Still, the England star has rarely allowed off-field rumours to influence his form, and he happens to be preparing to face one of his favourite opponents in Everton.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is another forward we are encouraging Fantasy Football players to select for this week, as the champions get ready for a tricky test at Leeds United.

Is there anyone else who offers good value for this week, we hear you ask? Read on for a handful of suggested picks, as powered by Opta data...

 

RUI PATRICIO

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio has kept five clean sheets in his most recent 13 Premier League games. That might not sound like a lot, but he went 12 matches before there without keeping the ball out of the net.

Those shut-outs have come against some strong opposition, too: Chelsea, Leicester City, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Fulham have all failed to find a way past the Portugal international.

Given Sheffield United have failed to score in 17 league matches this term, the highest number in the division, Patricio is an ideal man for the number-one spot.

PABLO MARI

Backing Arsenal defensively is rarely the safest of bets, but they do have a strong record against promoted teams in the top flight, having kept four clean sheets in their most recent six meetings with such opposition.

Of their four main centre-backs, Pablo Mari has the best rate for minutes per goal conceded: one every 103.

Having helped the Gunners ease past Sheffield United last week, he could be in line for another outing against struggling Fulham.

 

ANTONIO RUDIGER

Antonio Rudiger has only started 14 games in the league this season, but Chelsea have kept clean sheets in nine of those matches, including in five of the most recent seven.

In the most recent game in which the Germany defender did not start, the Blues shipped five goals at home to a West Brom side who were made to look like peak Barcelona.

After their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Chelsea resume league duties against Brighton and Hove Albion – a team with a frustrating habit of failing to turn promising play into goals.

 

DIOGO JOTA

Liverpool might have fallen from the lofty heights of last season, but few could blame their decline on close-season signing Diogo Jota.

The Portugal forward has averaged a goal every 103 minutes in the league this term, the best rate of any Liverpool player. He has also netted in each of his past three away games.

With Leeds United boasting an expected goals against figure of 48.94, the fourth-worst in the division, Jota will fancy his chances at Elland Road.

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN

With a goal and an assist off the bench against Burnley last week, Allan Saint-Maximin proved just how valuable he could be to Newcastle United's survival hopes.

The winger has been involved in five goals (two scored, three assisted) in his previous six league matches, as many as he managed in 19 before then.

The Magpies face tough opponents in West Ham, but David Moyes' men have conceded nine goals in three league games - and each time after going 3-0 up.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane cut a disconsolate figure after Spurs' loss to Manchester United, but this weekend could offer the chance for a pick-me-up.

Kane has scored nine goals in his past seven games against Everton in all competitions, including five in just three appearances at Goodison Park.

He also just one short of reaching 20 in the top flight in a single season for the fifth time.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

His two goals at West Ham were not quite enough to mount a comeback, but they did underline the red-hot form of Kelechi Iheanacho.

The striker has hit seven goals in five league games, as many as he managed in 63 previous appearances in the competition.

With eight league goals to his name in 2020-21, Iheanacho is just one short of his best ever return for a Premier League season. Next up for Leicester after their FA Cup final? Relegation-threatened West Brom.

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    Jurgen Klopp will talk to Sadio Mane about his post-match handshake snub at Old Trafford but the Liverpool boss says the incident is being blown out of proportion.

    Mane was named among the substitutes for the Reds' clash with fierce rivals Manchester United on Thursday and replaced Diogo Jota in the second half of a 4-2 Premier League win.

    The Senegal forward was clearly not impressed that he had been dropped to the bench, heading for the tunnel with his back to Klopp when the Liverpool boss went for a handshake on the pitch at full-time.

    Klopp revealed that he had not explained to the former Southampton man why he was not in the starting line-up prior to the match.

    The German reiterated on Friday that he would speak to Mane but did not take the snub personally.

    He said in a press conference ahead of Sunday's trip to West Brom: "I cannot make a bigger story of it as it is.

    "Football is an emotional game and everybody expects us to control our emotions always. It doesn't work out always, that's the case. It happened to me as a player, it happened to other players when I was their coach.

    "So far we've had no real chance to talk about it, but we will and everything will be fine. Do we want these things to happen? No, but it's not the first time in my life and I'm afraid to say it probably will not be the last time, so that's it."

    Klopp added: "If somebody shows me respect five million times and one time not, what is more important?

    "The world is in difficult situation where you make this one time bigger than necessary, that is unfortunately the case and I hope for you your boss will not forget if you one time don't show respect, that he then doesn't forget all the other stuff.

    "I'm completely relaxed about it, if you would have seen me as a player what I did out of emotion, it was insane and I'm a completely normal guy. If nothing else, we will talk about it and it will be sorted."

    Victory for Liverpool at The Hawthorns this weekend would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to go in the battle for Champions League qualification.

  • Lingard named Premier League Player of the Month as fine loan spell continues Lingard named Premier League Player of the Month as fine loan spell continues

    Jesse Lingard has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for April, winning the award after also being nominated in February and March.

    The attacking midfielder has thrived since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United.

    Lingard scored four goals and added an assist in four appearances over the course of the month as West Ham continued their push for a European place.

    He has nine goals and three assists in 13 Premier League outings for West Ham so far since joining, having been out of the picture under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first half of the season at Old Trafford.

    The fine form he has shown earned Lingard an England recall in March.

    Mason Greenwood was one of the other members of an eight-man shortlist which also contained Trent Alexander-Arnold, Stuart Dallas, Kelechi Iheanacho, Matheus Pereira, Allan Saint-Maximin and Chris Wood.

    "I've been nominated for the past two months and even getting nominated is a great feeling for me," said Lingard, who recently received praise from Bruno Fernandes when the United playmaker labelled him the top-flight's best player over the past 10 games.

    "I want to be up there as the best I can be and the best in the world.

    "David Moyes has shown faith and given me the freedom in each game to go and perform."

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    He beat Sam Allardyce, Marcelo Bielsa and Solskjaer to the award after a month which saw Newcastle draw with Liverpool and Tottenham while recording wins over Burnley and West Ham.

    It was a run of form that secured Newcastle's Premier League safety.

    Bruce won the award for the first time after 19 years and 465 matches in the competition.

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    Veteran striker Derbyshire seized upon a slack pass to dink home a cheeky finish in the fourth minute – the earliest goal by any Macarthur player in the A-League.

    The hosts were indebted to a magnificent point-blank save by Adam Federici from Rudy Gestede that preserved their lead – an advantage that was doubled in the 39th minute when wing-back James Meredith headed home Jake McGing's cross to crown a fine team move.

    Elvis Kamsoba reduced the deficit for second-bottom Victory after substitute Lleyton Brooks sprung the offside trap and his shot came back off the post.

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