Juan Mata is a tireless workhorse in Manchester United’s midfield engine room.
The talented Spaniard puts in everything for his team when he’s out on the pitch and that’s been quite evident this season as well.
On Thursday night, Mata scored what was the deciding goal against Rostov for United in their Europa League encounter – helping the Red Devils through to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
And according to WhoScored’s Stat, Mata has now scored 10 goals in all competitions for the third season in a row.
A player with tremendous work ethic and a knack of being in the right place at the right time, Mata has risen to become Jose Mourinho’s key goalscoring midfielder.
And one thing looks certain, there’s surely more goals to come from him this term.
Juan Mata: Has scored 10 goals in all competitions for the third season in a row #UEL— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 16, 2017
Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans'” league using the code 118790-38575.
The Fantasy Premier League big guns have really thrown a spanner in the works haven’t they? Harry Kane lured in managers by the hundreds of thousands with his recent form only to pick up a serious injury in FA Cup action that rules him out for about five weeks.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended, Alexis Sanchez is hardly on the best terms with Arsene Wenger and now even Romelu Lukaku seems to have annoyed Ronald Koeman by rejecting an Everton contract and questioning the club’s ambition.
What it does is serve up plenty of dilemmas for us FPL managers with the chief one being whom to captain.
That’s why this week’s column addresses that burning question and picks five less popular players who could come to your rescue this weekend.
WHO TO PICK AS CAPTAIN
Romelu Lukaku [10.1m] was the pick for captain in Gameweek 28 and the Everton striker did not disappoint, registering a goal and assist in a 3-1 win against West Brom. The Belgian would be an ideal option this week as well but given Koeman’s criticism of his comments regarding the club, it’s not a happy camp right now.
Odds are that Lukaku will still start out of necessity more than anything else but it will be interesting to see the reception he gets at Goodison Park. A few of his team-mates are bound to be a bit upset with his remarks as well.
So instead, this week, you could gamble and captain Pedro [7.1m] who is in great form, notching up 28 points in the last three gameweeks.
He didn’t play in the FA Cup tie with Manchester United but that may have been to give Willian some playing time. It also means that while Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are the front runners in the Chelsea side, Pedro will be the freshest of the lot this weekend.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN – MANCHESTER UNITED [8.8m]
The United attacker has been one of the most exciting players at Old Trafford of late, always looking like a serious threat.
Given Jose Mourinho’s lack of options with injuries to Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial and suspensions for Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan is almost certain to start as they travel to Middlesbrough who have just sacked Aitor Karanka.
It’s also worth starting to gather some United talent ahead of the two double gameweeks they will play later on.
RIYAD MAHREZ – LEICESTER CITY [8.9m]
Remember him? Mahrez was the highest FPL point scorer last season, which is why his price is still up there despite disappointing this time around.
But given Leicester’s recent resurgence, the Algerian could be on the rise again. He scored and bagged 10 points against Hull City last time out and has a few tasty fixtures over the next few weeks.
"It is a magical goal from Riyad Mahrez!" ✨ 👌— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 7, 2017
Watch the Algerian's unbelievable goal against Hull again... pic.twitter.com/MbOPKuVvny
SON HEUNG-MIN – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR [6.8m]
In Harry Kane’s absence it’s quite possible that Son will take up the lone striker’s role like he did the last time the English international was side-lined.
Don’t forget, he’s listed as a midfielder as well which would see him fetch more points for goals and at only 6.8m, he’s worth the gamble.
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With the international break just around the corner and England’s squad for friendlies against Germany and Lithuania announced, how have members of Gareth Southgate’s side fared in the Premier League this term?
WhoScored have done the leg work and ranked the top ten English performers in the top flight.
Unsurprisingly, Harry Kane, who actually missed out on this latest squad through injury, is firmly in top spot – with a healthy 7.49 score.
He is one of a glut of Tottenham players in the list, which include Danny Rose in second position and then there is West Ham hitman Andy Carroll in third.
What comes as a surprise though is that 34-year-old striker Jermain Defoe, who was recalled to the England squad, is not in the top-ten list.
The veteran has been in prolific form for lowly Sunderland, scoring 14 goals in 27 games.
Here’s the numbers in full:
GRAPHIC: Highest rated English players in the Premier League this season (10+ apps) pic.twitter.com/ZGP72wI9q5— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 16, 2017