The Premier League scheduling Gods have blessed us with yet more midweek football, and there are some phenomenal looking fixtures on paper for most of the top sides. With a short turnaround since the last gameweek, the Best Picks series returns to help you stay on top of things and make the choices that will send you to the top of your leagues.
Budget Option: Nick Pope (4.7m)
Ah, Burnley, everyone’s favourite defensive team. The Clarets are good for a decent haul of clean sheets, as well as the inevitable win over someone like Arsenal every season, but this weekend it’s the former that we’re interested. Sean Dyche’s men have held six teams to a shutout this season, and they have a good chance of making it seven when they face Stoke on Tuesday. The Potters have scored 19 times in 16 Premier League games so far, which is nothing to write home about, and Burnley are notoriously good at home. Put some faith in Pope for this gameweek.
Premium Option: Ederson (5.5m)
It is round about now that all the Pep Guardiola sceptics lurking around England suddenly become extroverted Manchester City fans, because the legendary coach has got the Citizens playing some dazzling football. His side ran out as 1-2 winners in the Manchester Derby last weekend, and they should face a much easier test against Swansea this midweek. If Wilfried Bony doesn’t exact revenge against his former employers then City should deliver a clean sheet against the Swans fairly comfortably, especially given that their opponents are the lowest scoring side in the Premier League.
Budget Option: Jonjoe Kenny (4.3m)
The Toffees look like a completely different side under new manager Sam Allardyce, mainly because they actually know how to defend. They held eternal Merseyside rivals Liverpool to just one goal at Anfield at the weekend; so dealing with Newcastle’s toothless attack should be easily manageable. The Magpies have only scored 16 times all season, and haven’t looked convincing at all going forward. Kenny has emerged as the preferred right back option in the absence of Seamus Coleman, and he may get forward a fair amount in this game too.
Premium Option: Antonio Valencia (6.8m)
Despite their hiccup against City at the weekend, Manchester United remain the joint best defensive option in the league, and routinely shut down teams with ease. They face Bournemouth on Wednesday – a side that is scoring less than a goal a game – and should get back on track. The Red Devils have kept a remarkable nine clean sheets so far this season, and Antonio Valencia represents the most consistent player amongst Mourinho’s defenders. The Ecuadorian has scored twice this season, which is always a bonus if you own him, but predicting goals for defenders is one of the more difficult tasks.
Budget Option: Richarlison (6.6m)
The brilliant Brazilian is actually without a goal contribution in his last three games, but luckily he gets a clash with bottom of the league Crystal Palace to get his form back on track. The Eagles have conceded 27 times this season, and new manager Roy Hodgson hasn’t yet managed to get his side’s defence performing consistently. Watford meanwhile have been scoring goals for fun in this campaign, and Richarlison has netted five times, as well as adding a further five assists. If the Hornets do score in this game, which I fully expect them to do, the winger has a good chance of being involved.
Premium Option: Christian Eriksen (9.3m)
Tottenham came back with a bang at the weekend, dismantling Stoke 5-1 at Wembley to end their run of poor form. The win has coincided with the form of Eriksen, who has now recorded a goal and an assist in his last two games after six games without a contribution. The Dane is a hugely talented player, and he is always heavily involved whenever Spurs are in good form. Mauricio Pochettino’s men should continue their winning ways at home to a Brighton side that has leaked 21 goals this season. With Kane also finding the back of the net with ease recently, Eriksen is primed to grab a handful of assists or goals in this game.
Budget Option: Wayne Rooney (7.3m)
England’s all-time leading goal scorer is still banging in the goals – four in his last three games to be exact – but now he is doing it in an Everton shirt again. With Sam Allardyce having turned the Toffees’ form around of late, Rooney now provides a solid weekly option as his side will only get better going forward. On Tuesday they face a Newcastle side that has allowed 25 goals this season, and with Rooney on penalty duty he definitely has a chance to grab a goal or two against the Magpies.
Premium Option: Sergio Aguero (11.6m)
Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy can be incredibly annoying at times, but you can roughly work out who will play each game most of the time. Gabriel Jesus started the Manchester Derby at the weekend, so Aguero should be leading the line against Swansea on Wednesday. The Swans have conceded 18 times this season, which actually makes them the sixth best defensive team in the league, but City have been demolishing teams in this campaign. With 48 goals scored already this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Citizens bag three or four, meaning Aguero could add to his current tally of nine goals and three assists.
With short gameweeks comes the risk of injury and rotation. Keep on top of team news right up until the deadline, and make sure you have backup choices for your stars in case they end up on the bench.
In a similar vein, with so many great fixtures this week there is also the big dilemma of captain choice. Make sure your captain is going to play, because you could lose out bit time if they end up being rested.
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