Manchester City appear to be cruising towards the Premier League title and will look to extend a 17-match winning run away to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.
While top spot is firmly in their hands, the chasing back have plenty to play for, with Manchester United in need of a win at home to Newcastle United and Tottenham heading to West Ham for a tough London derby.
Chelsea’s winning streak under Thomas Tuchel has put them firmly back into top-four contention, and Timo Werner’s welcome return to goalscoring could have come at a critical time.
That said, fantasy football managers would also be wise to consider Danny Ings, whose impressive scoring record will be of concern to Tuchel’s men.
Aston Villa’s reported £20million spend on Emiliano Martinez is a candidate for the best piece of Premier League business this season.
Martinez kept his 12th clean sheet of the season to help Villa grind out a draw at Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.
The former Arsenal man is just the fifth Villa keeper in the Premier League era to keep at least 10 clean sheets in a season and is only three short of Brad Friedel’s tally set back in 2009-10. Leicester City’s impressive attack could have met its match.
Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has enjoyed perhaps his best season for the club, with his form rarely affected despite his team’s up-and-down recent results.
He has provided an assist in each of his previous three appearances, registering five in total this term, his best tally in a single league season.
Against a struggling Newcastle side, Shaw could become only the fourth United player to assist a goal in four consecutive games, after Ryan Giggs, Nani and Antonio Valencia.
2 – Luke Shaw has as many Premier League assists in the first half against Southampton as he managed in his previous 45 Premier League appearances (2). Delivery. pic.twitter.com/qnkOII9PFK
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 2, 2021
Brighton have not conceded more than one goal in any game since drawing 3-3 with Wolves on January 2.
On Saturday, they host a Crystal Palace side who have failed to score in a higher share of their away league games this season (58 per cent) than in any other campaign in the competition’s history.
A clean sheet for Brighton and Lewis Dunk looks likely, and given the centre-back has scored more goals (six) than any other defender except Virgil van Dijk (also six) since the start of 2019-20, he could be worth the captaincy this weekend.
If Arsenal are to stop City’s run, they will need to keep Raheem Sterling quiet.
The England forward has scored seven times in the league against the Gunners – he has only scored more often against Watford, West Ham and Bournemouth.
Sterling has netted in all three of his previous league meetings with Arsenal and has registered four goals and two assists in his most recent five games against them.
3 – Raheem Sterling is only the third player to score 100+ goals in all competitions under Pep Guardiola in his top-flight managerial career, after Lionel Messi (211) and Sergio Agüero (120). Century. pic.twitter.com/OlFFploTaJ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 7, 2021
West Ham have rarely gone into recent games with Tottenham as favourites, but they are six points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s men in the table, after playing a game more.
However, they will have to contend with Son Heung-min if that points gap is going to grow. The South Korea star has been involved in six goals in his past five league games with the Hammers and assisted in each of the last three.
In fact, he has assisted more goals (four) against West Ham than he has against any other side in the Premier League.
Timo Werner ended his league goal drought against Newcastle United last time out, scoring exactly 1,000 minutes after his previous effort against Sheffield United in November.
Despite that much-publicised goal drought, Werner has actually been directly involved in more goals (10) in the league than any other Chelsea player this season, while only Mason Mount (105) has had a hand in more shots (73).
With his confidence beginning to grow, this could be a good time to back the Germany striker in your selection.
1000 – Timo Werner has scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in exactly 1000 minutes – since netting against Sheffield United in November – ending a run of 31 attempts without finding the back of the net in the competition. Relief. #CHENEW pic.twitter.com/1DaodRBhBU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2021
Southampton have lost six games in a row since knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the fourth round, so backing a win over Chelsea would seem a little bold.
Still, expecting Danny Ings to be among the goals is usually a safer bet.
The striker has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any Saints player with at least 15 in the competition, averaging one every 161 minutes.
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