EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Son and De Bruyne can deliver, but so can Fulham's flying Dutchman

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

The Premier League returns now the September international break is done and dusted, and it will be foot to the floor until the World Cup comes around.

With two disrupted months of the season almost gone, some teams are settling down at this stage, while others are continuing to tinker in the hope of igniting their campaigns.

The Qatar 2022 break is on the horizon, adding an extra dimension as many players jostle to earn tickets on the plane with their national teams.

Opta data points to familiar faces who may be primed to deliver those all-important fantasy football goals and assists this weekend, as well as a couple of less-vaunted prospects who could boost your points tally.

Jose Sa (West Ham United v Wolves)

Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa has seen his side struggle this term, with just one win so far meaning they sit a spot above the bottom three – but it has not been down to his own form, with only Manchester City's Ederson having kept more clean sheets than his three this term.

No side have scored fewer goals than Wolves' weekend opponents West Ham this season (three, tied with Wolves themselves) which suggests Sa could be on course to bank another strong performance between the posts.

West Ham have been wasteful with their chances, and are underperforming against their expected goals (xG) tally by 4.6 goals, the worst such record in the Premier League.

Kenny Tete (Fulham v Newcastle United)

Sitting sixth coming out of the international break, Fulham already look on course to avoid the drop back to the Championship, and that has come with a handy assist from their Dutch right-back.

No Premier League defender has more assists than Tete this season (three), with only Kevin De Bruyne (six) and Bukayo Saka (four) providing more among all players.

In addition, two of those assists from Tete have come in his last two games for the Cottagers, suggesting a rich chance he could maintain his form.

Son Heung-min (Arsenal v Tottenham)

Having endured a dramatic goal drought to start the season, South Korea international Son's freewheeling hat-trick off the bench last time out likely pushes him back to the forefront of Antonio Conte's plans.

If he bags three goals again in the north London derby, he would become the eighth player to achieve the feat in consecutive Premier League games.

What's more, he can continue to build on an exceptional 2022, where only team-mate Harry Kane leads him for overall Premier League goals (18) and involvements (24).

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City v Manchester United)

While team-mate Erling Haaland has been tearing up the goalscoring charts, the Belgian heart of Pep Guardiola's side remains a surefire bet for any fantasy football player.

No player has provided more assists (6) or created more chances (25) than De Bruyne this season – and after his prior exploits against United in March, he'll be eyeing up another superb performance.

In a 4-1 City win on that occasion, he scored twice and assisted once. Only against Wolves in May, when he scored four times, has De Bruyne had more goal involvements in a Premier League game.

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    Colombia sit top of Group D after the opening round of matches, with Crystal Palace duo Daniel Munoz and Jefferson Lerma netting in a 2-1 win in Houston and Brazil later failing to join them on three points as they drew 0-0 with Costa Rica.

    Former Real Madrid man Rodriguez teed up both of his team's goals, becoming the first player to assist twice in a Copa America group-stage match since Peru's Andre Carrillo in 2019 (versus Chile). Rodriguez now has 30 assists in 101 career games for his country, with five of those coming in the Copa America. 

    He also led all Colombia players for chances created (three), passes in the final third (17) and crosses (10), as well as ranking second for touches (80) and passes completed (53), both behind Davinson Sanchez (81, 55).

    The victory made them just the fourth CONMEBOL team to record nine straight wins across all competitions, after Brazil (12 times), Argentina (three) and Peru (once).

    However, Colombia did not have things all their own way as Paraguay attempted more shots (12 to 11) and created a higher expected goals figure (0.82 xG to 0.63), leading Rodriguez to call for more.

    "I am very happy, it was very important to start well today against a tough opponent like Paraguay," he told reporters after Monday's victory.

    "In the second half we could have done better, but things are corrected better when the team wins, it's all much easier."

    The NRG Stadium, home to the NFL's Houston Texans, was a sea of yellow for the game as Colombian fans packed into the venue, leaving Rodriguez awestruck. 

    "It's beautiful, they are supporting us a lot," he said of the huge Colombian contingent. "There is still a long way to go and we are going to go game by game."

    Colombia go to Phoenix for their second match against Costa Rica on Friday, before taking on Brazil next Tuesday at San Francisco's Levi's Stadium. 

  • Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke Lineker and Shearer defend criticism of 'terrible' England after Kane rebuke

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    England have four points ahead of their final Group C fixture against Slovenia, though they were uninspired as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Serbia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

    Their performance in the latter match was fiercely criticised, with Lineker describing the display as "s***" on his 'The Rest is Football' podcast.

    England captain Kane hit back at those comments on Sunday, pointing out ex-players like Lineker failed to win international silverware and telling them to be more "helpful".

    On Monday's edition of the podcast, Lineker said of Kane's response: "I thought he answered it fine.

    "There was one bit there where he says we have responsibilities as ex-England players, that we should know better and that we never won anything or words to that effect.

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    Dorival Junior bemoaned a lack of end product after Brazil were frustrated in a goalless draw with Costa Rica in their Copa America opener on Monday.

    Despite enjoying 73.5% of the possession and firing off 19 shots to their opponents' two, Brazil failed to win their first game at a Copa America for the first time since 2016.

    The Selecao's 49 final-third entries throughout the match were the joint-most since such data began being recorded in 2011, alongside their own tally versus Paraguay in 2019, yet they only registered a paltry three shots on target.

    The result means Brazil have lost early ground on Colombia, who lead Group D following their 2-1 win over Paraguay earlier on Monday.

    Speaking after the game, Dorival said: "We rotated the ball well, went from side to side and got our attackers one-versus-one. 

    "We have a smaller field and that makes it easier for those who defend and difficult for those who attack. Vini received the ball with two men on him and a third approaching. 

    "We tried with Savio and were successful in some moments. The detail and definition were lacking, but freedom was given, everyone had the opportunity. 

    "We lacked some in-depth moves. It was the aspect that we intensified the most in training, this dirty work to find space between the opposing lines.

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    Vinicius Junior endured an underwhelming performance, being replaced by future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick with 71 minutes gone after failing to record a single shot and only managing five touches in the Costa Rica area.

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    "I believe the game was well played within a context. We played closely, we created good chances, but we weren't happy with the finishing. 

    "The games will be like this, we have to find ways to improve. It is natural that if the result does not come, questions arise, but I know what we are developing." 

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