Having only just finished an exciting batch of midweek games, the Premier League returns with the potential for more drama, goals, and perhaps some fantasy points to boot.
Everton boss Rafael Benitez will be hoping to arrest his team’s downturn in form when Arsenal come to Merseyside, but despite defeat at Manchester United on Thursday, the Gunners have a couple of form players to keep an eye on.
Antonio Conte will be looking to continue a promising start at Tottenham as they host Norwich City, and it will be no surprise to anyone if one of his wing-backs ends up having a decisive impact again.
Another electric wing-back has returned for Brighton and Hove Albion in recent weeks; Manchester City boast one of the form players in Europe; and the bottom, two teams look to their star strikers for much-needed points.
Plenty of fantasy teams are just as desperate for points, so here are Stats Perform’s suggestions for possible picks ahead of the weekend, powered by Opta data.
Matchweek 14, you were quite something pic.twitter.com/snwl2wEers
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 2, 2021
AARON RAMSDALE (Everton v Arsenal)
Aaron Ramsdale has been rather busy since his arrival from Sheffield United, and he faced another ten shots on target from United on Thursday.
However, he has broadly impressed in Mikel Arteta’s side, and ranks third in the Premier League this season for goals prevented (2.57).
He is also set to face an Everton side fresh off a chastening Merseyside derby defeat, and who have scored only four times over their past six league games, the joint-fewest of any side in the division with Wolves.
SERGIO REGUILON (Tottenham v Norwich City)
Conte’s new Tottenham side are unbeaten in their opening three league games, the Italian head coach utilising a three-man defence again after successes with Chelsea and Inter.
Sergio Reguilon has been the main beneficiary of the change in system, with the left wing-back directly involved in a Spurs goal in each of his last two league games, scoring against Leeds United before assisting against Brentford last time out.
The Spaniard next faces strugglers Norwich, who have scored the fewest goals of any side in the Premier League this season (eight), while conceding the second-most (28).
TARIQ LAMPTEY (Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion)
Tariq Lamptey played an integral part in Brighton snatching a late equaliser against West Ham as he crossed in for Neal Maupay’s acrobatic brilliance in the closing minutes.
The Englishman was brought on with 20 minutes to go and, as an impact sub, did exactly what he was asked to ensure Graham Potter’s men did not return south empty-handed.
The right wing-back ranks fourth for chances created per 90 minutes among defenders in the English top flight this season, creating 2.4 opportunities on average as he prepares to face Southampton.
5 – Five of Brighton’s seven away Premier League goals this season been scored in the final 20 minutes of games, with three of those coming in 89th minute later. Listening. pic.twitter.com/BpGDM8nWm9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 1, 2021
BERNARDO SILVA (Watford v Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola hailed Bernardo Silva as the best player in the league after the Portugal international nailed an expert first-time volley in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
The 27-year-old, who reportedly wanted a move away in the previous transfer window, has scored four goals in his last seven league games for City, as many as he had in his previous 55 in the competition.
With the reigning champions perhaps a striker short still, Silva will continue being of central importance for City’s attacking returns as they travel to Watford.
EMILE SMITH ROWE (Everton v Arsenal)
Emile Smith Rowe may have converted in bizarre circumstances at Old Trafford, but as many fantasy players will tell you: they all count!
The England international has had a hand in eight goals in his previous 11 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal (six goals, two assists), with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bettering that total this season (nine).
He heads to Benitez’s Everton, who have conceded more goals than any other team in the league over their last six games (15).
2 – Emile Smith Rowe (21y, 127d) is now the second-youngest goal scorer for Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford, after Nicolas Anelka in February 1999 (19y & 340d). Unusual. pic.twitter.com/KTnIkoitJs
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2021
TEEMU PUKKI (Tottenham v Norwich City)
There is one man for the job of keeping Dean Smith’s Norwich away from the Championship and that is Teemu Pukki, a budget fantasy favourite for the Canaries.
The Finland goal poacher has managed three goals in his last four top-flight outings, as many as he had in his previous 24 appearances.
Indeed, if Norwich can breach Tottenham’s resurgent defence, it is likely to be Pukki, who has scored five of his side’s eight goals this term.
CALLUM WILSON (Newcastle United v Burnley)
In similar fashion to Pukki, Newcastle United’s attacking hopes largely rest on the shoulders of Callum Wilson, who converted from the penalty spot in his last game against Norwich.
Another cheaper option compared to the likes of Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Bournemouth man has scored 17 Premier League goals for the Magpies.
That is more than twice as many as any other player for Newcastle since he joined the club at the start of last season, and Eddie Howe will be hoping his main man can deliver once more.
10/11 – Callum Wilson has scored 10 of his 11 penalties taken in the Premier League. His strike today was his 17th Premier League goal for Newcastle, more than double that any other player has scored for the club since the start of last season. Reliable. pic.twitter.com/WnAoYo4VwH
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 30, 2021