EPL

Premier League Fantasy Picks: Salah over Jota and the must-have Chelsea defender

By Sports Desk November 06, 2020

There is one more weekend of Premier League action to go before the final international break of the year and some mouthwatering fixtures lie ahead.

Faltering Everton look to get their season back on track at home to lowly Manchester United on Saturday, while the previous two champions Manchester City and Liverpool do battle on Sunday.

But who can you trust to deliver fantasy points in these mammoth clashes? Use our Opta-powered weekly guide to find out.


HUGO LLORIS

The brilliance of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale has prompted title talk at Tottenham, but keeping goals out is just as important. For that, they – and you – can rely on Lloris.

Of Premier League goalkeepers to have played at least 500 minutes since the start of last season, the Spurs captain has the best save percentage at 75.8.

Lloris ranks second in that time, behind Dean Henderson, for goals prevented. He has conceded just 28 (excluding own goals) from shots worth 40.6 xG, a difference of 12.6.

CONOR COADY

When selecting players for a fantasy team, the first guarantee you might look for is that they will indeed play. There are no concerns in that regard when it comes to Coady.

The Wolves skipper is one of just four outfielders in the Premier League to play every minute of every match since the start of last season.

This helps Coady regularly collect points for clean sheets, too, managing more (17) than any other outfielder over the same stretch.

KURT ZOUMA

Chelsea's vastly improved recent defensive form makes a Blues defender an obvious selection, so why not opt for a man who also does the business at the other end?

Zouma has three Premier League goals already this season, the best return of any defender.

And that makes this already the Frenchman's most prolific campaign in the competition, trumping his two in 2018-19 – although he also weighed in with a pair of assists that season.

MOHAMED SALAH

Sometimes it's worth just going for the obvious option.

Diogo Jota might be Liverpool's man of the moment, but Salah has also netted in each of the Reds' past three games and has proven he can sustain this form over an extended period.

Indeed, since moving to Anfield in 2017, Salah has a competition-high 80 Premier League goals in 115 games, nine clear of next best Harry Kane over the same period.

BRUNO FERNANDES

Consistency is another key component in fantasy football, allowing you to transfer a player in and not have to worry about moving him out again the following week.

In this regard, Fernandes is surely king. The Manchester United midfielder has been involved in 12 goals (scored eight, assisted four) in his nine away games so far in the Premier League.

In only one of those nine matches – the 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in July – has Fernandes failed to register either a goal or an assist.

TIMO WERNER

Interest in Werner might have dimmed after he failed to record a goal or assist in his first four Premier League games, but the Chelsea man is now showing he was worth sticking with.

Werner has three goals and an assist over his past three games, suddenly finding his feet in England.

After netting a brace from the spot in Chelsea's midweek Champions League game, the German also looks to now be the Blues' penalty taker, ensuring more fantasy points.

CALLUM WILSON

Reliable Southampton scorer Danny Ings might be out injured, but Friday's opponents Newcastle United have another man steadily supplying the goals.

Wilson struggled as Bournemouth were relegated last season but has already proven invaluable to the Magpies and a host of fantasy managers.

With six strikes in seven league games this term, the forward has netted more than he managed in his final 30 Bournemouth matches (five), while his goals have been worth six points to Newcastle.

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    Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has completed his loan move to Milan, the Premier League club have confirmed.

    Tomori will spend the rest of this season with the Serie A leaders after finding first-team opportunities limited under Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.

    Milan have an option to make the deal permanent, with the transfer fee in question - although not disclosed by either club - reported to be in the region of £25million.

    The 23-year-old made his first-team breakthrough at Chelsea last season, having impressed on loan at Derby County throughout 2018-19, when Lampard was in charge of the Championship club.

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    "Fikayo is a developing player, a very good player," Lampard told reporters ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup fourth-round match against Luton Town.

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    "His journey has been great. He is going to be a top player, but he is a developing player, too."

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    Tomori is their third signing of this window after the captures of midfielder Soualiho Meite on loan from Torino and experienced forward Mario Mandzukic on a free transfer.

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  • Atletico champions, Sevilla join big three in top four – Stats Perform AI completes LaLiga season Atletico champions, Sevilla join big three in top four – Stats Perform AI completes LaLiga season

    Even in these extraordinary times, Barcelona letting Luis Suarez go to Atletico Madrid is starting to look like the oddest decision of the season.

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    With the majority of sides having now played half of their matches, the Stats Perform AI team have run the numbers to simulate how the rest of the LaLiga campaign will play out – and it's good news for Diego Simeone.

     

    The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

    Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

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    Atletico have been given a 75.1 per cent chance of winning LaLiga, according to the model.

    Simeone's men are predicted to finish on 86 points, nine clear of the rest of the field. They are given just a 17.8 per cent chance of coming second and dropping outside the top four is considered practically impossible.

    Barcelona and reigning champions Real Madrid are predicted to end with 77 points apiece, with just a 12.4 per cent chance each of pipping Atleti to the title. Madrid have a 41 per cent chance of finishing second, slightly above Barca's 39.4, having beaten Ronald Koeman's side 3-1 in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou last October.

    Those two are, at least, very likely to end up in a Champions League place. They are expected to be joined there by Sevilla, who have a 47.8 per cent chance of finishing fourth on 65 points, just three above Villarreal and six clear of Real Sociedad. The remaining European spot is predicted to be a close battle between Granada, Getafe and Real Betis, with Diego Martinez's men odds on to snatch it.

    Valencia fans might be enduring a difficult time (again), and our sim has Los Che missing out on European football once more, if only by four points. That said, they still have a 3.6 per cent chance of a Europa League spot, which is better odds than those given to Supercopa de Espana winners Athletic Bilbao.

     

    WOE FOR HUESCA

    At the other end of a relatively tight table, in which just 11 points will separate seventh from 16th, it looks like Huesca are in for a tough run-in. They are given a 59.7 per cent chance of finishing bottom of the pile and just a 5.1 per cent shot at avoiding relegation, having won only once so far this term.

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    The addition of Odegaard would add some welcome creativity to Mikel Arteta's squad, the Gunners having managed just 23 goals in 19 league games so far in what has been a topsy-turvy 2020-21 season.  

    Arsenal have created 158 scoring opportunities, of which 33 are considered big chances by Opta, well adrift of the league-high 53 recorded by Manchester City this term. The Gunners have managed 20 goals from 221 attempts (excluding penalties), slightly below their xG figure of 23. 

    Emile Smith Rowe has been a revelation of late, contributing three assists in open play, but no individual has created more chances for the Premier League club than full-back Kieran Tierney, his total of 22 putting him one above Bukayo Saka. 

    Having been busy so far in January trimming the squad, including the impending departure of Mesut Ozil, Arteta has admitted he hopes to make additions before the transfer window closes. 

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    "Obviously this market and the context makes it difficult, but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do."

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