Spectators will be allowed back into some grounds for this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures, which means Tottenham will have the backing of 2,000 fans when they take on Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby.
December promises to be a hectic month for every team, and Premier League leaders Spurs will be aiming to keep themselves in pole position.
Using Opta data, we’ve come up with our latest weekly selection of fantasy picks, which might give some aspiring managers an edge heading into the festive period…
West Ham have shot up the table after a run of three straight wins, and sit in fifth place.
Goalkeeper Fabianski, who has conceded 11 times in total, has been crucial, with David Moyes’ side conceding just once over the course of their winning run.
The former Arsenal keeper has prevented more goals (2.21) than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season, and seems set for another busy game when Manchester United visit London Stadium.
Given he is such an attack-minded full-back, it is hard to believe it took Mendy until last Saturday to score his first goal in English football, as he side-footed Manchester City into a three-goal lead during their 5-0 rout of Burnley.
Mendy may have only just broken his goalscoring duck, but the former Monaco left-back is a regular provider for his City team-mates.
He has registered eight assists in his 40 Premier League appearances – among top-flight defenders to play more than 10 games since his debut in the competition in August 2017, only Liverpool pair Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have more assists per game – and will be relishing going up against a leaky Fulham defence on Saturday.
1 – Benjamin Mendy has scored his first goal for Man City (60th appearance in all competitions), finding the back of the net for the first time since March 2017, for Monaco against Marseille in the Coup de France. Class. #MCIBUR pic.twitter.com/fDW0USJf2a
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 28, 2020
Leeds United’s versatile defender Ayling looked set to go off injured early on against Everton, yet battled on to help Marcelo Bielsa’s side clinch a 1-0 win at Goodison Park last time out.
Ayling has made more tackles than any other defender in the Premier League this season, registering 30 in total ahead of this weekend’s clash with high-flying Chelsea.
The full-back has also proved his worth going the other way, with only two defenders – Joao Cancelo and Liverpool’s Robertson – having created more chances from open play this term than Ayling’s tally of 11.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
A no-brainer of a fantasy pick, De Bruyne was in rampant form against Burnley, creating two of City’s five goals and almost getting himself on the scoresheet with a wicked effort which rattled the woodwork.
Since his Premier League debut for Chelsea in August 2013, De Bruyne has provided 71 assists in the Premier League, at least eight more than any other player – this despite the Belgian playing just three games across the first two seasons in that run.
De Bruyne is joined in the top 10 list for assists in the last seven years by City stars Raheem Sterling (43) and Riyad Mahrez (41), while former team-mate David Silva is in second, with 63 to his name.
A clever, cheaper fantasy alternative to De Bruyne could well be Ward-Prowse, who has been in sensational form for Southampton this term.
Ward-Prowse has scored four goals and set up a further two, taking his total tally to 26 goals and 24 assists in the Premier League for the Saints – one of just four players to register 50 or more goal involvements for Southampton in the division.
Southampton head to Brighton and Hove Albion for a south-coast derby on Monday, and their captain will be eager to deliver a match-winning display.
Going up against Southampton and Ward-Prowse will be Welbeck, who has made a bright start to his Brighton career.
After netting his first goal for the club in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Welbeck won a point-saving penalty against Liverpool.
Welbeck has an impressive record against Southampton, having been involved in six goals in his last three starts against the Saints in all competitions (four goals, two assists).
It has been more about creating than scoring so far for Spurs talisman Kane this season, with the England captain having provided nine assists in 10 league appearances; crafting 21 chances in total.
Goals have of course come too, with Kane on seven for the campaign, and should he score against Tottenham’s rivals Arsenal, he will be the outright highest goalscorer in competitive north London derbies.
Kane is tied on 10 goals with Tottenham great Bobby Smith and Emmanuel Adebayor, who of course played for both clubs. He has been struggling with an injury, but Jose Mourinho expects him to feature.
13 – Spurs have won 13 points away from home in the Premier League this season (W4 D1) – converting to three-points-per-win all-time, only in 1960-61 have they earned more points from their first five games on the road in the top-flight (15). Foundations. pic.twitter.com/nY2RmTkhzf
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2020
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