International football is largely over for 2020 and the Premier League is returning for the run-up to Christmas.
The next five weeks are jam-packed with action both domestically and in Europe, and hitting the ground running this weekend could give plenty of sides a timely boost.
If you’re getting that fantasy team primed once more, cast your eye over our Opta-powered top tips…
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy finally conceded a goal in the Premier League in his last appearance, although the Blues still recovered to beat Sheffield United 4-1.
There’s no reason to lose faith in the Senegal international ahead of the visit to Newcastle United this weekend.
In fact, Mendy has saved six of the seven shots on target he has faced in England’s top flight, giving him a save percentage of 85.7. No keeper in the division can boast such a figure this season.
Chelsea’s new-found stability means filling the backline with Blues defenders is no longer a risk to your fantasy success.
Of course, Ben Chilwell is someone who can provide plenty of points regardless of doing any actual defending.
He has been directly involved in four goals (two scored, two assisted) in five league games this season, more than any other defender.
4 – Ben Chilwell has been directly involved in four goals in his three Premier League home games for Chelsea (2 goals, 2 assists), as many as his 52 home appearances for Leicester in the competition. Accommodating. pic.twitter.com/Gq965bMYkw
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2020
However, the prize for 2020-21’s most creative defender goes to West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell.
His three assists and 17 chances created are the top figures in the competition among defenders and he has been a part of three clean sheets to boot.
With the Hammers facing struggling Sheffield United this weekend, Cresswell is well worth considering.
Now that doubts about his place in the England team appear well and truly dismissed, Jack Grealish can focus on the more improbable task of keeping Aston Villa in the race for Europe.
Only Harry Kane (eight) has more assists this term than Grealish (five), and only Mohamed Salah (20) has created more chances from open play (17). The Liverpool star is also the only player with more touches in the opposition box (85) than the Villa captain (70).
What’s more, Grealish has scored in each of his past four appearances in all competitions against Brighton and Hove Albion, including in all three meetings last season. They are his favourite opposition.
8 – @JackGrealish has created eight chances in the @premierleague this season for @AVFCOfficial following a ball carry (travelling 5+ metres with the ball) that started in the opposition half, more than any other player in the division. Progressive. pic.twitter.com/YaL4MmFfjR
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 9, 2020
Crystal Palace’s four wins from their first eight games owes much to the form of Wilfried Zaha.
With five goals and two assists, he has already equalled the number of goal involvements that he managed in 38 league games in 2019-20.
Palace face winless Burnley on Monday.
No Sergio Aguero? No problem. Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 11 goals in his past 11 matches in all competitions (eight scored, three assisted).
The Brazil striker has also scored in each of his previous three games and will look to stretch that run to four for the first time since April 2018 when Manchester City face Tottenham.
Only four players have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Patrick Bamford – and they are only one ahead of the Leeds United striker.
Bamford has hit seven in his eight league games in 2020-21, a scoring run not seen at the club since the days that Mark Viduka graced Elland Road (he managed nine in his first eight appearances).
Given Arsenal’s inconsistencies, there is every chance Bamford will pick up where he left off prior to the international break.
3 – Patrick Bamford is the fifth away player to score a Premier League hat-trick at Villa Park after Chris Sutton (1997-98), Robbie Fowler (1998-99), Gareth Bale (2012-13) and Sergio Agüero (2019-20). Wand. pic.twitter.com/PUWojOJjli
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 23, 2020
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