An intriguing Fantasy Premier League weekend lies ahead, with conundrums aplenty for managers and tough captaincy decisions to make in Gameweek 12.
For the casual or tribal fan, a mouthwatering top of the table clash lies in wait at Anfield as first meets second on Sunday. Liverpool would stretch their lead to a commanding nine points over Manchester City with a win, while three points for Pep Guardiola’s men will cut the Reds’ advantage to just three.
But for fantasy managers the match-up provides dilemma rather than delight. Do you even pick the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Raheem Sterling? And captaining any of them – or anyone else in red and blue – could be a risk.
Elsewhere, Leicester could cash in if they maintain their prolific form at home against Arsenal while Chelsea welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge. There’s a Midlands derby between Wolves and Aston Villa while Manchester United look to avoid Seagulls droppings as they host Brighton.
Here are a few tips to help guide you.
CAPTAIN – JAMIE VARDY | LEICESTER | 9.4M
There’s no more Pukki party, but Jamie Vardy is hosting one at the King Power Stadium on Saturday and you’re all invited.
The Foxes are in fantastic form, having won all but one of their last six games, and even that defeat came courtesy of a contentious 95th penalty at Anfield. They face fragile Arsenal in their own den and will be looking to deadly Vardy to carry on his stunning goalscoring form.
He tops fantasy with 80 points and leads the way with 10 Premier League goals. Half of those have come in his last three games and, with Liverpool and City meeting at Anfield, the Foxes will hope to win and slyly creep closer to the top two.
HARY KANE (12.3m) should be back to lead the Spurs line at home against Sheffield United after missing last weekend’s draw at Everton with illness.
The England striker has three goals in his last five games and is a better option if you’re concerned about giving the armband to a Liverpool or City player due to their potentially tight and tense clash.
Spurs certainly missed his deadly goalmouth presence as they lacked a cutting edge to slice through the Toffees last week and he could provide the key to unlock a stingy Blades defence that has conceded a joint lowest eight goals.
TAMMY ABRAHAM (11.0m) is the fourth-highest scoring player in fantasy this season (73 points) and a good day at the office against goal-shy Palace (10) – only Watford (6) and Newcastle (9) have scored fewer – could see him overtake Kevein De Bruyne and Mane above him. The pair might be unable to fill the stats sheet in a potentially close top of the table contest on Merseyside.
The 22-year-old bagged his ninth goal of the season in Gameweek 11, as well as an assist, for a 12-point haul.
MARCUS RASHFORD (8.5m) had slipped out of fantasy contention following a decent start to the campaign. But with United finding some form in recent weeks – they’ll hope last week’s Bournemouth blip was just a bump in the road – it might be time to bring Rashford back into your squad.
He is a different beast with Anthony Martial in the team and after netting his 50th United goal against Norwich and a brace – including a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque free-kick – to send the Red Devils through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals at Chelsea, he has two nine-point hauls in the last three weeks.
ONE TO GET
CAGLAR SOYUNCU | LEICESTER | 4.8M
The Turk has been terrific alongside Jonny Evans for Leicester, who have not missed a beat since bidding farewell to Harry Maguire. We preached caution after six points against Newcastle in Gameweek 7 because of a trip to Liverpool on the horizon, but since then the 23-year-old has bagged 22 points – including a clean sheet and a maiden Foxes goal as part of a 14-point haul in the 2-0 win over Palace.
Not only do Brendan Rodgers’ side host a jittery Arsenal this weekend, they also have a kind run of fixtures to follow – including Brighton, Everton, Watford and Villa.
ONE TO AVOID
SERGIO AGUERO | MANCHESTER CITY | 12.0M
“Are you mad?”, we hear you cry. Even on an off day, Aguero is surely worth a punt as an alternative captain, isn’t he? But the veteran Argentine is in uncharacteristically poor form in front of goal – his strike against Southampton last week ending a three-game scoreless streak. It bagged him six points, the first time since Gameweek 6 that he had registered five points or more.
And when you’re not at your best, an away day on Merseyside is hardly the perfect ailment to cure your ills. Aguero has seven goals in 14 Premier League games against the Reds – but has never scored at Anfield.
EMERSON | CHELSEA | 5.5M
Emerson started the season as the Blues’ first-choice left-back and had shown a lot of promise, shining in attack and offering plenty of thrust from full-back before sustaining a hamstring injury in Gameweek 6 that sidelined him for a month.
Prior to that he had established himself as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back and walked straight back into the squad, replacing Marcos Alonso – who has performed well in his absence – for the 2-1 win at Watford.
That should tell you how high his Blues’ stock is. Despite a month out, his 1.3 dribbles per game is still joint fifth among team-mates.
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