The much-anticipated return of the Premier League promises to be an action-packed affair, with three particular tantalising blockbuster fixtures: Manchester City vs Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United and Everton vs Liverpool.
For many fans, the return of the Premier League also marks the return of the many fantasy leagues across different platforms that are available to the fans. On this note, let’s have a look at the top five players to pick in your fantasy team for the upcoming gameweek.
Team: Sheffield United
Match: Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Dean Henderson has been a revelation for Sheffield United this season and looks set to compete with David De Gea for the No. 1 spot at Manchester United after spending the last two seasons on loan at the Blades. After helping his current side Sheffield United earn promotion to the Premier League last season, the shot-stopper has been in fine form for the Blades this season as well.
In seven appearances, he has kept 10 clean sheets, while his accurate distribution has helped the club to fifth place on the Premier League table this season, making them surprise European contenders rather than relegation candidates.
Match: Everton vs Liverpool
Liverpool have been one of the standout teams in Europe this season and were on course for beating Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ record before Watford ended their run. With just three wins needed to secure their first title during the Premier League era, Liverpool could not find a better time to take on rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby.
With the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold all firing for the Reds, expect the team to wrap up the trophy soon. The young fullback has two goals and 14 assists in 28 starts this season, helping Alisson Becker to 11 clean sheets. He has also been involved in the attacking or defensive returns in 19 of his 28 games.
Kevin de Bruyne
Team: Manchester City
Match: Manchester City vs Arsenal
Manchester City take on Arsenal before hosting Burnley in a bid to reduce the deficit between themselves and Liverpool this season. The last time Arsenal played City; their manager Mikel Arteta was still the assistant manager to Pep Guardiola, and Arteta will no doubt be looking to get one over his former boss.
The Citizens might not be in top form this season but Kevin de Bruyne has been their standout player the whole season. He has 18 assists and eight goals in 26 appearances, including two of the three goals scored in the reverse fixture against Arsenal. He has also created 96 chances; more than any other player this season.
Team: Manchester United
Match: Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United come into this game in fine fettle, having won their last fixture before the forced break, against Manchester City. Key to the resurgence of the club has been their January signing Bruno Fernandes, who has scored twice and provided three assists in his five appearances since joining the club.
Playing behind a fit Anthony Martial will be key for the Portuguese international, while his set-piece prowess will also prove crucial to the remainder of the season, with six of United’s nine remaining opponents at the bottom half of the table.
Match: Manchester City vs Arsenal
The first of two crucial fixtures this gameweek sees Arsenal take on Manchester City at the Etihad, a fixture the Gunners are yet to win in for the last few seasons. Although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is yet to score or assist against the Citizens, his poaching prowess cannot be discounted, having scored 17 goals in 26 appearances, just two behind Golden Boot leader Jamie Vardy.
Aubameyang has always been instrumental to Arsenal’s game but has improved his performances under Mikel Arteta, having scored six times in eight matches under the Spaniard -- four more than any teammate. Post the resumption of the league, the performance of Aubameyang and his team will be in decisive in the future of the Gabonese striker.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis