Manchester City are five points clear at the top of the Premier League after their demolition of defending champions Liverpool last time out.
With Guardiola getting the better of one managerial rival already this term in Jurgen Klopp, City’s focus now switches to a clash with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.
Key to City’s superb form has been Ilkay Gundogan, who has scored nine goals this season in the league, three more than his previous best of six from 2018-19.
Given he scored twice at Anfield – while also missing a penalty – it would seem a smart decision for fantasy football managers to back Gundogan again this weekend, though which other players should make the cut?
15 – Manchester City’s current run of 15 consecutive wins in all competitions is the longest in English football history by a top-flight side. Ruthless. pic.twitter.com/hx7TiE4Ksg
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 10, 2021
Another team in fine form as of late have been Brighton and Hove Albion, who have conceded just one goal in their last five top-flight matches, with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez certainly playing his part.
Sanchez ousted Mat Ryan – now on loan at Arsenal – as first choice earlier in the season, and of all goalkeepers to have played at least 10 Premier League games this season, only Ederson (one every 145 minutes) and Edouard Mendy (114 minutes) have a better minutes-per-goal conceded rate than Sanchez (one every 98 minutes). He has played 12 times, conceding 11 goals.
Going up against Brighton this weekend are Aston Villa, and one defender to look out for could be Matt Targett.
Brighton have not scored more than once in a league match since a 3-3 draw with Wolves on January 2, and Villa left-back Targett has been involved in 11 clean sheets this season – more than any other Premier League defender apart from Ruben Dias.
If you are looking for a more attacking option, however, then that player may well be West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell.
The full-back has registered five league assists this season, second to only Everton’s Lucas Digne (six) in terms of defenders, while only Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson (38) and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw (36) can better his tally of 34 chances created by a defender.
In Kevin De Bruyne’s absence, Gundogan has come to the fore for Guardiola’s team, and the former Borussia Dortmund man is the highest scorer in the Premier League so far in 2021 with seven goals in eight games.
The German’s previous seven goals in the competition came over a period of 62 games, dating back to 2018.
With Brighton’s Sanchez in such fine form for Brighton, it could be a tough decision for fantasy managers, especially with Jack Grealish being so prominent in Villa’s attack.
Grealish, arguably the league’s player of the season so far, has been directly involved in five goals in his last five appearances against Brighton in all competitions (four goals, one assist), scoring in his last two games at the Amex.
3 – Patrick Bamford is the first player to score in three Premier League games in a season against teams he previously played for in the competition (vs Crystal Palace x2 & Burnley) since Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18 (vs Everton, West Brom & Chelsea for Man Utd). Haunting. #LEECRY pic.twitter.com/LBWK46c4x3
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 8, 2021
Leeds United returned to winning ways as they saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday, with a trip to Arsenal up next on Sunday.
Patrick Bamford scored Leeds’ second at Elland Road against Palace, and he has been involved in five goals in his last three Premier League games, netting twice and providing three assists. Eight of his 12 Premier League goals this season have been away from home (67 per cent).
Another forward who has thrived on the road in 2020-21 is Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.
He has netted eight times in the Premier League this season, with six of those goals – 75 per cent – having come away from Old Trafford. The England international has never scored more in a single campaign on the road.