This weekend we look forward to the big Manchester derby. City vs United is set to start with a bang at 17:30 on Sunday evening. These are strange, new times, as the odds for a United win are as high as 8.40! They were even higher before Mourinho & Co surprisingly beat Juventus in Turin Wednesday night.
It is not that we expect Manchester United to have a fair chance in the encounter. We do not. It is just that it is unusual to see City being such a big favorite against the biggest club in the Premier League. As for picking players from Pep Guardiola’s squad, we got a harsh reminder last week that it can be risky. He has so many great players to choose from; very few players are guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven. Pep rested RIYAD MAHREZ (12.9M) last weekend, apparently with the Champion League game in midweek in mind. Will Mahrez start on Sunday? We think so, but we are not sure.
The big players
Liverpool is by far the biggest favorite this weekend (odds of 1.12!) as they play bottom-of–the-table-team Fulham. Two players stand out; MOHAMED SALAH (14.4M) and SADIO MANE (14.8M). The Liverpool attack machine is not firing on all cylinders right now, but these two must still be in the front of the line when considering captains for this round.
Watch out for JAMIE VARDY (11.3M). The Leicester striker has only scored three times this season, but this week Leicester welcome a Burnley team setting records defensively, and not in a good way. The former extremely solid outfit has conceded no less than 13 goals in the last three matches! Admittedly, the Leicester attack is not as lethal as its counterparts at Manchester City and Chelsea are, but we think it could easily be another brutal day for the Burnley fans.
When all you have is a hammer…
If you are looking for a top player with a medium price tag, look no further than to MARKO ARNAUTOVIC (8.8M). The West Ham striker missed out on a couple of the league matches due to illness but still has scored five times this season, in nine matches. He is just very talented, and we cannot really understand why he keeps playing for teams like West Ham and Stoke! The upside in that for us fantasy managers though, is that he is guaranteed a place in the starting eleven as long as he is healthy. Last weekend he took advantage of a big mistake in the Burnley defense, and when getting one-on-one with Burnley keeper Joe Hart, the Austrian National team player once again showed his class by scoring effortlessly. This week West Ham travels to Huddersfield and John Smith’s stadium, which is far from a fortress these days. Huddersfield has conceded 21 goals so far this season, which makes them the third worst team in the league defensively. West Ham, in contrast, has solid form, as they actually played well both against Leicester (10 men most of the match) and Tottenham, before they beat Burnley 4-2. FELIPE ANDERSON (8.4M) is another hot name at the London club. His performances have been admittedly variable since he joined West Ham from Serie A outfit Lazio this summer, but against Burnley, he scored twice. The left-winger showed coolness in both situations. He was perhaps a bit lucky that both shots went between the legs of an opponent, but the Brazilian showed up at the right place at the right time, and that is valuable in football.
A cheap defense or a pricey one?
This time we are going to recommend two defense teams. West Ham’s very nice fixture is already mentioned. No team has scored fewer goals (5) this season than Huddersfield, so the West Ham defense should have a decent chance of getting a clean sheet. Best value is perhaps left-back AARON CRESSWELL (5.9M), but PABLO ZABALETA (6.3M) and ISSA DIOP (6.0M) should be good candidates, while keeper LUKASZ FABIANSKI (8.4M) has a name for being very good at making saves, so his price is perhaps a bit steep because of that. Remember to check the line-up, as West Ham are playing at 16:00 Saturday. The problem is, of course, that if you already picked Arnautovic or Anderson, you will not be allowed to field three West Ham defenders. May we suggest you make one team with Arnautovic + Anderson and one team with West Ham defenders perhaps?
Liverpool can be an alternative at the back. While their overall form is a little bit questionable, their defensive record is still great for the season. So far, they have only let In 5 goals in league games. They welcome Fulham to Anfield, and the London club is performing worse than in a very long time, sitting at the bottom of the table. We have no choice but to believe that Liverpool will hit back after the traumatic Champions League loss in midweek. Unfortunately, we will not be able to check their line up before submitting our fantasy team, so it is probably best to play it safe with ANDREW ROBERTSON (11.2M), VIRGIL VAN DIJK (10.6M) and ALLISON (10.8M). The trio should be in the starting eleven, while the other defenders are a bit more uncertain.
The author of this article has been playing fantasy football for real money extensively for several years and is considered an expert in the field.