Fantasy Focus: Battle for Europe intensifies in penultimate gameweek
As the Premier League approaches the penultimate gameweek of the 2019-20 season, the race for the top four looks to be going down to the wire. Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United won their respective matches in the previous gameweek and they will be keen to carry that momentum into their last two league encounters this season.
Apart from the Champions League spots, Europa League berths are also up for the grabs with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur looking to secure European football next season. Here, we have a look at five in-form players who could make a difference to their team’s fortunes in the upcoming gameweek and help you Nostragamus fantasy managers.
Player: Nick Pope
Match: Norwich City vs Burnley
Nick Pope has been an absolute revelation and the English goalkeeper’s performances this season has put him in the reckoning for the Three Lions’ first-choice shot-stopper. He has kept 14 clean sheets for Burnley and been one of their most influential players this season.
The fact that he has an organised backline ahead of him does make life in goal easier for him. That said, he’s come to his side’s rescue plenty of times this campaign. Having him in goal is a safe and smart choice, especially when considering Burnley’s recent form as well as the fact that Norwich are relegated and might just be going through the motions.
Player: Anthony Martial
Team: Manchester United
Match: Manchester United vs West Ham United
The most in-form striker in the Premier League, no player in the league has scored more goals in all competitions in 2020 than the Frenchman’s 12. He has netted six times since Project Restart – the most by any player – and has also provided three assists.
Besides his goal return, Martial’s frightening movement and ability to stitch play together in United’s attacking-third has been a source of nightmares for opposition defences. He is currently enjoying his best-ever season, having found the back of the net 22 times for the Red Devils in the 2019-20 campaign.
Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Match: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Arsenal skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be in a confident frame of mind when he leads the Gunners out for their midweek clash against Aston Villa. The Gabonese striker netted twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final win against Manchester City over the weekend and he will be looking to continue his scoring form against Villa.
Third in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race with 20 goals this season, Aubameyang has two games to add to his tally and overtake Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who has 23 goals but only one remaining game to play in the ongoing campaign. Aubameyang also netted the winner against Aston Villa in their first league meeting this season and he will be looking for a repeat of that on Tuesday.
Player: Mohamed Salah
Match: Liverpool vs Chelsea
Liverpool and Mohamed Salah will want to finish their last match of the season at Anfield in style before lifting their first Premier League title in 30 years. Their Egyptian talisman has enjoyed another productive season with the Reds and is their top-scorer in the league with 19 goals.
He could have had even more with better finishing in the last couple of gameweeks and will be looking to add to his tally against Chelsea’s frail defence. Salah scored a stunning goal against Chelsea in the Blues’ last visit to Anfield in the league and one wouldn’t put it past him to score more goals at the expense of his ex-club at the home of the champions.
Player: David Silva
Team: Manchester City
Match: Watford vs Manchester City
A loyal servant and a club legend, David Silva hasn’t had as much of an influence on City’s ongoing campaign as he has in past seasons. Competing in his last full season with the club, Silva seems to be reminding everyone of what they are going to miss once he leaves the club following 10 years of exemplary service.
Renowned for his quality on the ball, the Spanish playmaker has registered at least 10 assists across all competitions in each of his 10 seasons with the club. His recent exploits over freekicks that’s seen him hit the back of the net twice shows that he continues to improve at the age of 34. With just a couple more league games left to play before calling time on his spell with City, you can rest assured that he will be looking to go out with a bang.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Pete Powell