Tag Archives: Premier League

‘Chelsea’s Best Player’ Defender Praised For Another Great Performance vs. Burnley

It’s a funny old game. Who remembers the reactions surrounding David Luiz’s Chelsea comeback in the summer? Some of you may choose to forget it all.

The Brazilian defender first joined the Blues from Benfica back in 2011 for £21.25 million, and despite conquering the hearts of those at Stamford Bridge, Luiz never quite convinced the doubters in comparison to John Terry and Gary Cahill.

José Mourinho’s second stint in west London saw him incline towards the same pairing, so it was with great disbelief that much of the football world saw Chelsea receive a record-high bid for the out-of-favour defender, as he joined Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain for an initial fee of £42 million in 2014.

Luiz’s flaws were then on full show, alongside many of his Brazilian teammates, as his national team were infamously thumped 7-1 on home turf against Germany, the eventual winners of 2014 World Cup, with the queries into his reliability as a central defender escalating further.

Football in Ligue 1 took the ex-Benfica man out of the limelight, somewhat, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see the amount of eyebrows raised when his eventual return had been announced.

Chelsea had formerly been interested in other big names to fill the void Antonio Conte believed needed to be plugged in, as they failed to land the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Kalidou Koulibaly.

The opportunity to bring back Luiz arose on deadline day, adding a scent of panic buy to the deal, but the Brazilian has silenced those critics by coming on leaps and bounds since his latest transfer.

Chelsea’s latest bout versus Burnley accentuated the £30 million man’s growth in popularity, with social media quick to show their appreciation for the curly-haired character.

Such has been Luiz’s zero-to-hero rise that, even with a heavily strapped knee away to a physically imposing Burnley side, he’s kept club legend John Terry and hot prospect Nathan Aké parked on the bench, becoming Conte’s go-to-guy in the lauded 3-4-3 formation.

The Brazil international’s typically good construction of play shun through the pain barrier, a role maximised by the added cover of two more central defenders either side of him, whereas Luiz also racked up the most amount of interceptions (8) in a tight contest.

Luiz continues looks a shoe-in for the PFA’s Team of the Year, as Chelsea set their sights on the Premier League title. Not bad for a panic buy!

Pretty Average: All The Arsenal Players Rated Out Of 10 vs. Hull

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Hull City in the Premier League.

Petr Čech – 7

With pressure on the veteran shot-stopper after last week’s debacle at Stamford Bridge, Čech responded with two very good saves from Oumar Niasse attempts to keep the Gunners in control.

Héctor Bellerín – 6.5

A decent display from the young Spaniard, who found himself in goalscoring positions on a couple of occasions, meanwhile also managing Hull’s new boy Kamil Grosicki.

Shkodran Mustafi – 6

A relatively stress-free day for Mustafi, who instead saw Niasse look to initiate attacks from the right-hand side of Hull’s attack.

Laurent Koscielny – 6

Had a lively iteration of Niasse and, at times, Lazar Markovic to deal with too, which the Frenchman did with varied success, as well as being a key figure in Arsenal’s initial construction of play.

Kieran Gibbs – 6

The left back was very good in associative play, a differing threat he holds over current mainstay Nacho Monreal, but there were a few moments in which he struggled to take care of Markovic that will stand as a concern surrounding his bid to start more often for Arsenal.

Francis Coquelin – 6.5

Far better from one of Arsenal’s under-fire figures, picking out carefully plotted tackles to commence counter-attacks in ways few others know how to replicate.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7

‘The Ox’ demonstrated a real eye for the final ball on occasions, which is sure to strengthen the case made for his transition into the centre of midfield.

Alex Iwobi – 6

Typically pleasing in and around the box, as Arsenal looked to crack down an in-form Hull side.

Mesut Özil – 6

He’ll have seen better days, by his standards, as he appeared to constantly be on the receiving end of an imperfect pass, when it wasn’t him who was providing them himself. Lively, however, which always bodes well going forwards.

Theo Walcott – 5.5

The link-ups in Arsenal’s attack were actively present, but throughout the Gunners’ greatest periods going forwards, Walcott very rarely came into the equation.

Alexis Sanchez – 7

Undoubtedly Arsenal’s key figure throughout the game, Alexis wrapped up his decent showing with both of the North Londoners’ goals to his name.

Subs:

Mohamed Elneny – 6

Tightened the game up alongside Coquelin in the second period, with Wenger sure to be pleased to have the Egyptian back at his disposal.

Lucas Perez – N/A

Danny Welbeck – N/A

Hull City

Eldin Jakupović – 5

The Hull goalkeeper cut a sorry figure in the lead-up to Arsenal’s killer blow in the dying moments of the game, as he recklessly abandoned his goal and basically left San Clucas resigned to blocking Perez’s header with his arm, as Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot.

Omar Elabdelloui – 4.5

The ex-Olympiakos man never got anywhere near the likes of Iwobi, Alexis and Gibbs.

Andrea Ranocchia – 4.5

Another to suffer at the hands of Arsenal’s mobile attack, with the Gunners unlucky not to convert a couple of chances a lot earlier than Alexis’ controversial opener.

Harry Maguire – 5

A key figure in Hull’s recent renaissance, the ball-playing defender was unable to be as effective as he has been in recent weeks, as the Tigers struggled to get out of their own half for prolonged periods of the game.

Andrew Robertson – 6

Kept Walcott quiet and offered an outlet at the other end.

Tom Huddlestone – 5

Often so crucial to Hull’s game, Huddlestone was unable to get a grip of things in the centre of the park, limiting the away side somewhat.

Sam Clucas – 5

Another who never managed to impact the game from the middle, as a late red card wrapped things up for the playmaker.

Alfred N’Diaye – 6.5

The towering figure of the ex-Villarreal and Sunderland man began to impose himself as the game went on, often providing well-timed passes to the flanks on the break. A good start to his Hull career.

Lazar Markovic – 6.5

Not the best going backwards, but given space, Markovic really did come to life on the counter.

Kamil Grosicki – 5.5

The Poland international promised a lot with his first few involvements, but his impact gradually faded at the expense of Markovic starring.

Oumar Niasse – 6

In good form, the striker might well have added to the hype had it not been for Čech on a couple of occasions.

Subs:

Ahmed Elmohamady – 5

Replacing Ebdellaoui, Elmohamady did at least provid a greater threat down the right flank, but in turn, plenty of gaps were also left behind him.

Evandro – N/A

Adama Diomandé – N/A

Did The Gunners Create Their Own Problems In 3-1 Defeat vs. Chelsea?

Everyone knew Chelsea’s reception of the Gunners would be a tricky one for Arsenal to come out victorious from at Stamford Bridge, a ground the north Londoners had tasted success just once since 2011.

Arsène Wenger’s conundrum began to find its form when Granit Xhaka was shown a red card in the hard-earned 2-1 victory at home to Burnley, a dismissal reciprocated by a then furious Arsenal boss en route to the pair grabbing themselves four-game bans.

That might not have meant a great deal with a cup-tie versus Southampton and a supposedly low-risk clash at home to an off-tune Watford side awaiting the title hopefuls, but it did leave Arsenal at a clear disadvantage against Chelsea in the following fixture.

The trip to the St. Mary’s Stadium proved to be a success, as the Saints also chopped and changed in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but the Gunners’ incompatibilities in midfield were clear versus Watford.

Xhaka-less, whereas Mohamed Elneny was representing his country in the Africa Cup of Nations, Wenger turned to an Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin pairing against the Hornets, a duo that was bypassed with ease and dismembered within 20 minutes via the former’s injury, enough time to leave Arsenal 2-0 down already.

This all conditioned the Gunners’ hand at Stamford Bridge, without key components in midfield, now including Ramsey, and with the added woe of apparent knocks being carried by Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Coquelin, the pivot that would be backed against the West London outfit.

With a deep-seated crisis in the middle of the park, Arsenal were tasked with defeating the title favourites, of which the luck with injuries has seen the Blues necessitate to extend their starting XI to no more than 13 players – Quite the contrast.

But even under less than favourable circumstances, the Gunners might well have managed to worsen their chances of withholding success against Antonio Conte’s side.

Wenger opted for a relatively untried Chamberlain – Coquelin pivot, both, as mentioned, reportedly carrying knocks, to set up a two vs. two against Nemanja Matic and the ever-impressive N’Golo Kanté.

The results proved to be obvious, as the Chelsea pair, subsidised by the club’s wing backs, took control in the moments before Marcos Alonso’s opener and, later, took advantage of Arsenal’s middlemen’s physical limitations through counter-attacks.

All facts considered, domination by Kanté and co. was predictable, but the north Londoners might well have made their own bed when fielding just the two central midfielders.

With both Chamberlain and Coquelin failing to transport the ball to the likes of Mesut Özil, the midfield pair were contrarily left to fend for themselves defensively due to the German’s tendencies to not track back.

The same scenario has repeated from time-to-time with a tried and tested side, making Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 look more like a 4-2-4 and highly-susceptible to counter-attacks – a dangerous set-up versus a team of Chelsea’s ilk.

A change many ‘Gooners’ have called for is a transition to a 4-3-3 set-up, pushing Özil into a forward role instead, and it’s a formation that could have been debuted against the Premier League leaders even with limited options.

On the bench sat Ainsley Maitland-Niles, a wide man by trade, but one that has excelled in a central role on more than one occasion. Could the energetic youngster not have added something this Saturday? With Chamberlain and Coquelin supposedly not in peak condition, how could you not turn to an extra body for help?

Today will go down as a missed opportunity for Wenger and his men to have closed the gap on their title rivals, and in Maitland-Niles’ addition they may have discarded their only hope of being disciplined enough to do so.

Ratings: Arsenal 1-2 Watford – All The Players Rated Out Of 10

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at home to Watford in the Premier League.

Arsenal

Petr Čech – 6

There was little the veteran could have done to have prevented Watford sinking two goals past him, whereas he stood up to be counted on a couple more occasions that the visitors threatened Arsenal’s goal.

Gabriel Paulista – 5.5

The Brazilian will take his slice of the blame for Watford’s second goal after a miscalculated throw-in to Aaron Ramsey, but the Brazilian did improve in the second period.

Shkodran Mustafi – 5.5

The German’s infamous invincibility record in an Arsenal shirt finally came to an end, with him cutting a sorry figure in the lead-up to Troy Deeney’s goal.

Laurent Koscielny – 6

Somewhat powerless in both Watford strikes, whereas he was often the man Arsenal were reduced to looking for when building from the back effectively.

Nacho Monreal – 6.5

Put on a decent tussle with Watford’s Daryl Janmaat on the flank, proving to be far from culpable in a night of disappointment for the Gunners.

Francis Coquelin – 4.5

Not a game the Frenchman will want to look back on in a hurry. He was dominated by Watford’s presence in the centre, meanwhile struggling in possession, so much so that Arsenal took the gamble midway through the second period to make do without him.

Aaron Ramsey – 4

Summing up Arsenal’s start to the game, Ramsey deflected Younes Kaboul’s free-kick into his own net prior to giving up possession in the lead-up to Deeney’s goal. Visibly incompatible next to Coquelin, Ramsey’s night was concluded with an injury. Royal Ascot 2017 is on its way, hopefully you’ll have more luck their than Arsenal do with injuries.

Alex Iwobi – 7

Starting on the right, before being switched out onto the left and ending up in a central pairing, it was Iwobi’s goal that offered Arsenal hope in the second half. The Nigerian gradually lost his handle on the game, however, in a makeshift coupling with Chamberlain.

Mesut Özil – 6

Involved in some eye-opening Arsenal moves, the German just didn’t see enough of the ball in habitual areas throughout particular periods of the game, largely down to the Gunners’ inability to play out from the back effectively.

Alexis Sanchez – 6.5

The Chilean forced Arsenal’s issue hard, of which Iwobi benefitted from when pulling the game back to 2-1, but it was a largely unsuccessful display by the forward.

Olivier Giroud – 5.5

If Özil didn’t see enough of the ball, you can imagine the count on Giroud’s imprint on the game. The Frenchman didn’t return for the second half, as the Gunners turned to Theo Walcott.

Subs:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6.5

The Englishman, after a big performance against Southampton on Saturday, demonstrated Arséne Wenger may have been wrong to overlook him in a central role prior to replacing the injured Ramsey. Despite helping regain some form of control, ‘The Ox’ picked up a knock during the second half and saw his impact shrink.

Theo Walcott – 5.5

On for Giroud as the game resumed, Walcott stretched Watford’s defence and threatened to turn the tables in Arsenal’s favour, but spurned a few good opportunities to do so.

Lucas Perez – 6

The substitution itself, replacing Coquelin, may not have been timed to perfection, as Chamberlain’s knock shortly after saw Arsenal lose their grip on a chase to equalise, but the Spaniard came agonisingly close to doing so with a shot thundering off the bar.

Watford

Heurelho Gomes – 7

The Brazilian shot-stopper made a handful of good saves against the likes of Iwobi and Walcott, crucial on a night like tonight.

Craig Cathcart – 5.5

The defender had a fairly serene first period, but with Iwobi on his case in the second half, he almost crumbled.

Younes Kaboul – 6.5

With an important, yet fortuitous goal to his name, Kaboul completed his night with a reasonably solid performance at the other end.

Sebastian Prödl – 6.5

Assisted Kaboul in keeping Giroud under wraps, and meanwhile the defensive pair came close to unravelling in the second half, the Austrian kept composed in moments of intense pressure.

Miguel Britos – 5

Theo Walcott caused the Uruguayan all sorts of issues, whereas the ex-Napoli man caused his own problems on occasions with indecisiveness inside the box.

Daryl Janmaat – 6

Put in a shift on the right flank, backing up both attacking and defensive phases.

Valon Behrami – 6.5

Anchoring the midfield, Behrami aided the early midfield domination through habitual aggressiveness.

Tom Cleverley – 7

Typically good at going box-to-box en route to a solid first half performance.

Etienne Capoue – 7.5

Watford’s key man on the night, proving to be a big player in the middle and the chief creator of the visitors’ eventual killer blow in the game.

Mbaye Niang – 6.5

A decent debut that saw the ex-A.C. Milan forward tire heavily towards the end, but his potential partnership with Deeney looks promising.

Troy Deeney – 7.5

Another key performer in Watford’s night of success at the Emirates Stadium, scoring their second of the night and working tirelessly towards victory.

Subs:

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 6

A smart change by Watford, as the Frenchman re-energised their midfield and took the sting out of Arsenal’s suffocating resurrection.

Isaac Success – 5.5

On to freshen up the flanks and add bite to any potential Watford counter-attack, but that chance never came.

3 Players To Put In Your Premier League Fantasy Football Teams This Week

As the scenario gets tighter both at the top and bottom of the Premier League, the margin for error for all 20 clubs hits an all-time low with each coming week, adding greater intrigue to every upcoming matchday.

This week sees Manchester City hope to bounce back from their disarmament at Goodison Park last week when hosting Tottenham Hotspur, whereas José Mourinho’s men roam to the Bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City.

London duo Arsenal and Chelsea land more ‘favourable’ fixtures at home to Burnley and Hull City, respectively, in addition to Liverpool welcoming Swansea City to Anfield, which has the potential to alter the picture at both ends of the table. Here’s who we’re tipping for success in Fantasy Premier League this week.

  1. Héctor Bellerín
    Club:
    Arsenal
    Position: Defender
    Price: £6.5m

A home game versus Sean Dyche’s Burnley could prove to be a potential banana skin for the Gunners, as they try the utmost to leave the Emirates with at least a point.

Commonly, that could see the Clarets take to the field in a naturally rigid and organised manner, much like they did at Old Trafford and at home to Merseyside pair, Everton and Liverpool, subsequently earning themselves five points from a potential nine.

Burnley’s record away from home, however, isn’t so impressive, earning just one point altogether this season on their travels and scoring a mere three goals in the meantime.

A more conservative approach is sure to invite the likes of Héctor Bellerín further up the field, increasing the potential for defensive goal contributions, meanwhile also heightening the chance for clean sheet bonuses, given the visitors’ poor record on the road.

Player Ratings: Everton 4-0 Manchester City – Everton’s Midfield Runs Riot

These are Fresh Football’s player ratings for Everton’s home clash versus Manchester City this Sunday.

Everton:

Joel Robles – 6.5

The Spaniard had little more than three or four shots at goal to deal with, which he did, on top of making a couple more chances tougher to execute from the opponent’s perspective by making himself big on occasions, as well as keeping a clean sheet.

Seamus Coleman – 6.5

A reasonably solid performance from Coleman, considering the opposition he was up against today. The Irishman was typically good at supporting play down the flanks.

Mason Holgate – 6.5

A real prospect, who had to deal with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sterling and Aguero attacking him for much of the afternoon, but the young defender came out on top.

Ashley Williams – 6.5

A no nonsense performance, sweeping everything in his sight at the heart of Koeman’s back three (five).

Ramiro Funes Mori – 6.5

Much like Williams, Funes Mori kept things simple for the most part, even if his positioning wasn’t entirely up to scratch.

Leighton Baines – 7

As he enjoys an injury-free spell in Everton’s XI, Baines kept on top of things down a relatively quite left flank.

Tom Davies – 8.5

A real moment in Everton’s season, as 18-year-old Tom Davies emerges as the Man of the Match. Combative in midfield and purposeful in possession, the new Goodison Park hero fully deserved his goal. See more reaction to his performance here.

Gareth Barry – 7.5

A strong and simplistic performance from Barry, standing as the base for counter-attacks by anchoring Koeman’s midfield with success.

Ross Barkley – 7.5

A key outlet in Everton’s attack, Barkley offered a bold reminder of just how good he can be.

Kevin Mirallas – 7.5

The Belgian winger produced the goods alongside his compatriot, Lukaku, with an assist for his international teammate and a well-taken finish in the second half.

Romelu Lukaku – 7

Owner of the opener with a first-time finish, as he held his own against the majority of the City’s defence.

Subs:

Morgan Schneiderlin – 6

The new signing offered brief glimpses of his capabilities, as he strived to shut down the game.

James McCarthy – N/A

Ademola Lookman – N/A

Difficult to hand a rating based on six minutes, but a well-executed strike for a debut goal really was the cherry on top of the icing for all concerned.

Manchester City:

Claudio Bravo – 4.5

Not his finest hour and shipping four will do little settle the question marks around the Chilean goalkeeper.

Bacary Sagna – 5.5

The better half of City’s full backs, Sagna did go close to pulling a goal back for the visitors with a looping header at the back-post, but he might well have required more in support of attacks.

Nicolas Otamendi – 4.5

Often toyed with by Lukaku, proving to be no match for the Belgian forward on the day.

John Stones – 5.5

Not the comeback of dreams he would’ve hoped for. Wasn’t the worst by any means.

Gael Clichy – 4.5

Culpable in Everton’s first goal and left chasing shadows for the hosts’ third. One to forget.

Pablo Zabaleta – 4.5

Totally ineffective in build-up, as the Argentine was neither here or there positionally against an industrious Everton midfield.

Yaya Toure – 6.5

Among the best in a City shirt, connecting dots well from a deeper role than we’re accustomed to seeing him in – a nice throwback to his younger days.

Kevin De Bruyne – 6.5

Perhaps the most likely to create magic for City from the left, so there can be minimal, if any, complaints over the playmaker.

David Silva – 5

Had little-to-no effect on Everton’s defensive posture, despite a few warnings in the first half.

Raheem Sterling – 5.5

Found himself in good areas in the first half and might well feel he deserved a penalty for his troubles in the first 45 minutes too, but the Englishman ultimately cut a frustrated figure.

Sergio Aguero – 5

Looked to force his way into the game, subsequently without success.

Subs:

Kelechi Iheanacho – 4.5

Joining Aguero in attack, the forward almost went unnoticed upon entrance.

3 Players You Need In Your Premier League Fantasy Football Teams This Week

Following a backlog of festive fixtures and the iconic third round ties of the FA Cup, the Premier League returns to its routine ways with Matchday 21, this weekend.

With Manchester United hosting bitter rivals Liverpool before Marco Silva’s league bout as Hull City manager against Bournemouth, there’s plenty to look forward in the coming days. But who will the headlines belong to?

1 – Patrick van Aanholt
Position:
Defender
Club: Sunderland
Price: £5.0m

It seems there’s never a time when Sunderland aren’t in desperate need of points and Saturday’s reception of the Premier League’s typical middle-ground club, Stoke City, shall be no different.

Under adverse circumstances to what the table tells us, Sunderland are unbeaten in their last three home fixtures, whereas their opponents have lived dangerously on the road with 19 goals conceded in their 10 away fixtures so far this season.

Patrick van Aanholt has often been someone the Black Cats can rely upon for a goal contribution or two, claiming three for himself in this very campaign, so if David Moyes’ men are to build up a bit more momentum in their fight for survival this week against a Stoke side that aren’t ticking as well as they could be, the Dutch full-back might well have a hand in doing so.

Combined XI: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea

With yet more points dropped between the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal at the top end of the table, Tottenham Hotspur’s clash at home to Chelsea tonight sets itself up to be of the greatest importance for both sides.

For the Blues, a record 15th consecutive win opens up a nine-point-gap between them and 2nd place Liverpool, whereas a triumph for Spurs over their London rivals not only keeps Manchester United off their backs, but also sees them leapfrog 3rd and 4th placed Manchester City and Arsenal, as well as reducing the distance between themselves and top spot to seven points.

As both sides go toe-to-toe in tonight’s heavyweight encounter, Fresh Football has consulted its bubble of imagination to compile what we think an All-star Chelsea and Spurs combined XI would look like, relative to form. Here’s what we’ve conjured up:

Goalkeeper: Hugo LlorisTottenham Hotspur

There is, without a doubt, very little between Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois, who stand as two of the greatest shot-stoppers in the league, if not, the world.

Both come into the game with envious defensive records; Courtois has 11 clean sheets in the league to Lloris’ seven, but the latter has conceded just one more goal than the Belgian.

Last year was a totally different experience for Courtois, however, under-performing alongside his teammates in a season to forget for Chelsea. At the same time, no Premier League side conceded less than Spurs (and Man United), which is why Lloris takes our number one jersey.

Right Back: Kyle WalkerTottenham Hotspur

As impressive as Victor Moses has been in his new-found right wing back role, there’s the argument that the Nigerian formerly considered “deadwood” would struggle defensively without the added back-up of a third centre back in Antonio Conte’s lauded 3-4-3 system.

Further north in London, there’s few who operate better at right back than Kyle Walker. Blistering pace, coupled with well-built physicality and technical ability sees the Englishman boss the entire right flank more often than not, making him vital to the way Spurs play.

Moreover, Walker already has four assists to his name this season from defence, one more than he managed last season, and so concludes one of the easier decisions we’ve had to make in this line-up.

Centre Back: Toby AlderweireldTottenham Hotspur

The Belgian’s transition to English football has been no less than impressive, joining the north London club from Atlético Madrid to steal some of the thunder surrounding his compatriot, Jan Vertonghen, in becoming the main man at the back.

Reliable, refined in possession and a notable aerial threat, Alderweireld combines traits that sees him stand as one of the league best centre halves, therefore taking this spot in our combined XI ahead of the likes of Gary Cahill and John Terry without question.

Centre Back: David LuizChelsea

Many a human welcomed Chelsea’s £30 million signing of David Luiz, a man often synonymous with erratic defending, with smiles and laughter.

In its kindest form, his signing was branded as a complete panic buy in response to Chelsea’s failure to land the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer, but the Brazilian defender and Chelsea fans alike will be sure to be giving some stick back to the numerous critics.

Since the Blues’ tactical reinvention, Luiz has seen the defensive set-up form around himself at the at the heart of the defence, subsequently seeing the 29-year-old go from strength-to-strength in his return to Stamford Bridge.

So much so has been his success with Conte’s tactical shift that he’s now touted as one of the favourites to finish the campaign in the Premier League’s Team of the Season, so it’s only fair that he sits Vertonghen out of this one.

Left Back: César AzpilicuetaChelsea

Much like Kyle Walker, Rose plays a pivotal in Mauricio Pochettino’s high-pressing side, doing so well, but meanwhile the Spurs product excels going forwards, César Azpilicueta comes up trumps going in the opposite direction, hence why he’s played across Chelsea’s backline across the years. The Spaniard gets our vote.

Right Midfield: PedroChelsea

Pedro looked to be on somewhat of a downward spiral in the past couple of seasons, falling out of favour at Barcelona before failing to crack life at Chelsea last season.

Things just abruptly clicked, however, after the Blues’ heavy 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal back in September, with Pedro scoring four goals, including one versus Spurs, and assisting six since the debacle at the Emirates.

With Erik Lamela still out injured and Willian only just now beginning to find his feet in the west Londoners’ new look outfit, Pedro claims his spot.

Centre Midfield: N’Golo KantéChelsea

The first name on the team sheet. By now you will have already heard that N’Golo Kanté picked up more points alone than any other team in the Premier League since joining Leicester City in the summer of 2015. The man is just ridiculous.

Centre Midfield: Mousa DembéléTottenham Hotspur

In the same vein as Kanté, Dembélé is equally crucial to a side hoping to get their hands on the coveted Premier League trophy.

Following recovery from injury in October 2015, Spurs didn’t lose once in his presence. Contrarily, once the Belgian was suspended for his ill-tempered altercation with Diego Costa back in May 2016, Spurs picked up just 12 points from their next 11 league games.

He was, undoubtedly, the cerebral driving force among the high praise solely directed at Dele Alli, Harry Kane, among others, and the aforementioned stars proved to be a lot poorer without Dembélé in the side. An underrated entity.

Left Midfield: Eden HazardChelsea

A shining light in Chelsea’s side, Eden Hazard finally looks to be back to his best in a free role given to him by Conte.

Nine goals and two assists in the league sees the Belgian playmaker spearhead his way as one of the favourites to take the Player of the Year gong, so he’s got his place reserved in our squad.

Striker: Diego CostaChelsea

Rivalling his teammate, Hazard, to Player of the Year award has been Diego Costa, so, again, there was little chance of us leaving him out of this combined XI.

The Brazil-born Spain international has been taken to the next level by Conte, at least from a disciplinary perspective, as the 28-year-old leads the goal-scoring charts with 14 league goals so far.

Striker: Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur

For the second season running, after Euro disappointment, Harry Kane started the season rather tentatively, but alas the constant stream of goals appear to be following the Spurs number 10.

The striker’s brace versus Watford in Tottenham’s 4-1 win saw the Englishman hit double figures in the league for the season, his 59th overall after 100 Premier League games, making him hard to overlook.

Player Ratings: West Ham United 0-2 Manchester United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for West Ham United’s home clash versus Manchester United in the Premier League:

West Ham United

Darren Randolph – 6.5

Came up with an important reflex save to deny Antonio Valencia a simple tap-in, with the Irish goalkeeper left with little to work with in denying the visitors’ two goals.

Håvard Nordtveit – 4.5

The weak link in West Ham’s defence, adapted at right back and fully exposed by Marcus Rashford’s entrance in the second half.

Winston Reid – 6

Kept the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as quiet as possible throughout much of the game, eventually falling foul to an offside goal by the Swede.

Angelo Ogbonna – 6

Much like Reid, Ogbonna kept things tight as best as he could in what seemed to be an inclined pitch following Sofiane Feghouli’s early red card.

Aaron Cresswell – 5

Due to obvious circumstances, we didn’t see the ex-Ipswich Town full back bomb up and down the left flank as often as he would’ve hoped, taking away a key outlet in the Hammers’ attack.

Cheikhou Kouyaté – 5.5

Closed many avenues centrally but also tired substantially as the game went on, allowing for greater dominance by United.

Pedro Obiang – 6

Among the best in a West Ham shirt, evading the bodies situated in the middle of the park to set counters with the ball in his possession, but like his midfield counterpart, Kouyaté, Obiang appeared visibly fatigued in the latter stages of the game.

Sofiane Feghouli – N/A

In his first start for the London club, the former Valencia wide man was sent off rather controversially after just 15 minutes of football.

Manuel Lanzini – 6.5

The key threat going forward, somewhat muted following Feghouli’s red card.

Dimitri Payet – 5.5

Looked sharp in the early exchanges, but he also shrunk in size and effectiveness after Mike Dean’s controversial decision in the game’s infancy.

Michail Antonio – 4

The West Ham top scorer spurned a great chance one-on-one to give the hosts the lead and United weren’t so merciful soon after at the opposite end.

Subs:

Andy Carroll – 4.5

Came on in response to United taking the lead, but the man most likely to find him inside the box turned out to be the player he replaced – Payet. A missed opportunity from Slaven Bilić, rather than anyone else.

Edimilson Fernandes – N/A

Manchester United:

David De Gea – 7

As reliable as ever, De Gea came up with two big saves to deny Lanzini and Antonio a goal either side of the half time interval.

Antonio Valencia – 5.5

Arguably should’ve scored from close range, didn’t, but there’ll be few complaints from a defensive perspective, which is never a bad thing.

Phil Jones – 6

Another clean sheet for the file, strengthening the defender’s case to enter the defensive equation definitively in the José Mourinho era.

Marcos Rojo – 6

Started the game at centre back, ended it at left back. Solid, once again, in both positions, as his versatility begins to prove fruitful.

Matteo Darmian – 5

Victim of a tactical shift at half-time that saw Juan Mata replace him against 10-man West Ham. A solid, if insignificant, first-half performance by the Italian.

Michael Carrick – 6.5

Very sound in conducting United’s search for a goal, keeping them composed, as they eventually broke through the Hammers’ barricade.

Ander Herrera – 6.5

Typically kept play ticking, pressed high to retain possession and provided a threat late in the second half, as the game opened up. Good again from the Spaniard.

Paul Pogba – 6.5

In the same boat as Herrera, the multi-million pound man grew as the game went on, going close to goal himself a couple of times in the second period.

Jesse Lingard – 4

Hit the post from just yards out in United’s clearest goal-scoring opportunity in the first period, as the 24-year-old failed to inflict damage upon a compact West Ham side prior to be replaced by Marcus Rashford.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5

Not his finest performance of late, with space to operate in proving to be limited.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5

Starved of service for the best part, but Ibrahimovic still managed to add a goal to his name, despite being in an offside position.

Subs:

Juan Mata – 6.5

The goal scorer of yet another crucial goal for the Red Devils, as he tipped the balance once more in United’s favour.

Marcus Rashford – 7

The key to unlocking the game, Rashford was able to cause disruptions down the left flank and, crucially, assist Mata for the game’s opening goal.

Chris Smalling – N/A

Disgraceful: This Arsenal Midfielder Has Had A Shocking Season, And Needs A Wake Up Call

Mesut Ozil has put in a run of poor performances for Arsenal recently, and must improve dramatically if Arsenal are to make a push to try and catch Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table. 

The Gunners sit 4th going into Christmas after a toothless performance at Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, missing their opportunity to maintain their place in 2nd and widen the gap between themselves and Pep Guardiola’s side.

Mesut Ozil has been poor over the last few games, and has seemed to have disappeared a lot on the football pitch. On Tuesday night, Ozil was involved heavily in the Arsenal attack in the first fifteen or twenty minutes at Goodison Park against Everton. However, as soon as the game turned physical and the Toffees started to a put in some strong tackles, we saw very little of the German playmaker.

Ozil did find himself with space for a shot just inside the Everton box in the second half, but failed to take his chance as he fired his shot over the crossbar, a chance that he probably should have buried. The German created one chance in the first half, but when Everton drew level, Ozil didn’t create a any chances. He didn’t complete a take-on either in the whole match.

The 28-year-old’s display against Manchester City was just as poor. He was shrugged off the ball too easily, and failed to create chances for the Gunners in what was a gutless display at the Etihad Stadium. He was found walking in the midfield too many times, his work-rate was awful.

The German international did create one chance, didn’t have a single shot, nor did he have a single shot, or make a single tackle. The same happened at Old Trafford a month ago. Manchester United played a very physical game, and rather unsurprisingly, Ozil disappeared once again.

Costing Arsenal a hefty £42.5m a few seasons ago, Ozil needs to become that big game player for the Gunners, something that he has failed to do in his time at the Emirates, especially this season. When the rest of the team isn’t playing well, Ozil needs to step up and make things happen. Maybe a spell out of the side would actually have a good effect on the German.

The problem that Arsene Wenger faces is that Ozil is one of those undroppable players, and the French manager probably fears the reaction and stick he will face if he were to drop Ozil. However, Wenger needs to step up and make the big decision in my opinion, and give Ozil the wake-up call that he needs. The 28-year-old has provided just two assists this season, the same amount as Tottenham flop Moussa Sissoko. He needs to become more involved, and fast if Arsenal are to push for the Premier League title this season.

‘Incredible’ Twitter Heaps Praise On Manchester United Man After Performance vs. West Brom

All talk was reserved for one man in particular, as Manchester United continued to brush up their fortunes with a 2-0 victory away to Premier League high-flyers West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns this Saturday.

As Wayne Rooney continues to set his sights on Bobby Charlton’s historic 249-goal haul for the Red Devils, denied the feat on the night by the crossbar, it was Man United’s other veteran in attack, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that hogged the plaudits with his renewed stream of goals.

The Swede gave José Mourinho’s reviving side the lead as early as the 5th minute with a well-taken header from Jesse Lingard’s cross, whereas Ibrahimovic was on hand to double the dosage in the second half and ease any lingering worries that existed concerning a potential banana skin that was the trip to 7th placed West Brom.

Of the two shots taken by Ibrahimovic, all ended up in the back of the net in what was a Man of the Match performance, whereas the brace bagged tonight sees the target man hit his 34th goal in 33 league games throughout 2016.

Just the one goal was enough, however, for the 35-year-old’s name to dominate the reactions emerging from United’s evening in the West Midlands.

Ibrahimovic was widely expected to struggle in the Premier League when arriving at Old Trafford, in particular due to his age, but the striker’s first goal of the night told a very different story, taking him to double figures in the Premier League and pushing his total for the season to 15.

In response, United fans and loyal ‘Ibra’ backers were on hand to outline the former Paris-Saint Germain star’s good work, without a doubt aimed at those branding him a flop.

Ibrahimovic, a champion in Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, has always had the question mark hanging over his head around these alleys of Europe over whether he could replicate his success in front of goal in the popular goldfish that is Premier League.

Now testing his capabilities at the ripe old age of 35, the odds weren’t as favourable as the man himself might like to think, but the striker has always strived to discard such claims that he’s “finished” at the highest level.

Even as recently as today, the well-preserved Ibrahimovic was keen to outline that he feels fresh in the prospect of being handed a rest in coming games.

“In football, sometimes you have to listen to everybody around you, but in my mind I’m a 20-year-old boy,” the Man United number 9 said. “I’m fresh and I’ll keep going, as long as the team needs me.”

A repeat of Ibrahimovic’s current goal scoring exploits in 2016 certainly wouldn’t go amiss in United’s bid to climb back up the Premier League.

3 Big Investments You Need To Make For Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week

There’s every chance that it could be another weekend filled with goals, given the sheer amount of relegation “six-pointers” and high-profile clashes coming our way in Gameweek 17 of the Premier League.

Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad Stadium and this season’s first instalment of the Merseyside derby stick out like a sore thumb, but pay special attention to West Ham United hosting Hull City, the clash down on the south coast between Bournemouth and Southampton, Sunderland versus Watford, and many more potentially goal-infested games.

With the festive period over the horizon, we appreciate Fantasy Premier League won’t be the first thing on your mind, which is why this week’s edition of Fresh Football’s tip-offs is dedicated to those players you should look to invest in while you take your eye of the ball. Here are our choices:

Michail Antonio
Club:
West Ham United
Position: Midfield
Price: £6.7m

After appearing totally downbeat a fortnight ago in response to West Ham’s 5-1 meltdown at home to Arsenal, Slaven Bilić and his men have managed to grab onto some form with a bounce-back 2-2 draw at Anfield to Liverpool and a 1-0 win over a resilient Burnley side in midweek.

The picture looks brighter ahead of Hull’s trip to east London, with the Irons taking on Swansea City and Leicester City following Saturday, all subsequently languishing alongside them in the bottom half of the table.

West Ham have the opportunity to kick-start a revival and in Michail Antonio, the goal scorer in their 2-2 draw against Liverpool and currently with seven league goals to his name, they have a potential hero guide them out of a precarious situation.

2 – Alexis Sanchez
Club:
Arsenal
Position: Midfield
Price: £11.7m

Sunday’s clash sees a reunion between Alexis Sanchez and his former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, who’s had his fair share of success up against Arsenal in European competitions over the years. The Gunners will be without key man Shkodran Mustafi, sorely missed in their 2-1 defeat versus Everton on Tuesday, but list of absentees in the blue half of Manchester also goes a long way into opening up this clash.

Sergio Agüero headlines the list of players Guardiola can’t count on ahead of their next fixture, as he serves part of his four-game suspension, whereas midfield general Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are joined by İlkay Gündoğan on the sidelines, likely to be out for up to eight months!

Guardiola will be tasked with averting Arsenal’s recent unbeaten run against City, currently without a loss in their last five league meetings, but if they continue to expose themselves as much as they have done with expansive football directly from the back-line, in particular with Sanchez and co. sniffing around, they could land themselves in deep trouble.

The Chilean leading the line for the Gunners has proved to be a revolutionary feature in north London this season, thus far leading the Premier League’s goal scoring charts with Chelsea’s Diego Costa on 12 goals, and with a double-header at home coming up against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace into the New Year, there could well be more to come from Sanchez, starting Sunday.

Theo Walcott is a valid alternative, despite his poor show at Goodison Park this Tuesday, off the back of two goals in Arsenal’s last two home games, as well as occasionally popping up on the score sheet against City over the years.

3 – Diego Costa
Club: Chelsea
Position: Forward
Price: £10.2m

Winning ten out of their last ten games in the Premier League, leading the table by six points, Chelsea are without a doubt the in-form team in the division. A portion of that is owed to Diego Costa, goal scorer of the winning goal versus West Brom last weekend and owner of 11 more throughout this season, with the Spain international promising more from his startling performances.

Next up for Antonio Conte’s man is a date with Crystal Palace; an away trip that is sure to test the Blues’ endurance in what can be considered a gap year for the side relieved of its European duties in midweek, as opposed to many of their title rivals. Chelsea’s last outing on Wednesday saw them settle for a 1-0 win against relegation candidates Sunderland.

Crystal Palace are coming off a strenuous task themselves, however, as they were sunk by an 88th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner in a 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United, so the fitness worries are also there for the club that’s conceded 31 goals already this season.

Can Costa add to that count? We wouldn’t bet against it, whereas the all-action striker also has winnable home fixtures against Bournemouth and Stoke City to top up his goal scoring antics following Saturday’s early kick-off.

Player Ratings Out Of 10 For All The Everton and Arsenal Players

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Everton’s Premier League clash at home to Arsenal on Tuesday night:

Everton

Maarten Stekelenburg – 6

Nothing spectacular from the Dutch goalkeeper in between the sticks, but he did provide a few successful ‘Cruyff turns’ on Arsenal’s stars that went down well with sections of the home crowd. His experience throughout periods of the game were also an invaluable feature in Everton riding spells of Gunners attacks, cutting the impetus.

Seamus Coleman – 7

A typical, tenacious Seamus Coleman performance, completed by the goal late into the first-half that brought the Toffees level.

Ashley Williams – 7

From zero to hero – the Welsh defender was at the centre of Arsenal’s first goal, deflecting Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick past Stekelenburg, but the ex-Swansea skipper more than made up for his less than fortunate moment with an 86th minute winner.

Phil Jagielka – 6.5

Solid alongside Williams and pivotal in the build-up that led to his defensive partner’s late heroics, but the former Sheffield United man will be ruing a late tackle that saw Mark Clattenburg brandish a red card upon him, subsequently ruling him out of the Merseyside derby next Monday.

Leighton Baines – 8.5

The English left back was on top form versus Theo Walcott, picked up an assist for Coleman’s equaliser and was on hand to salvage Everton with an 11th hour clearance off the line from Alex Iwobi’s shot in the dying seconds of the game.

James McCarthy – 6.5

Lifted the crowd with some borderline tackles which, ultimately, Everton benefited from over the course of both halves.

Idrissa Gana Gueye – 6.5

Alongside McCarthy at the base of midfield, Gueye’s energy was priceless in maintaining Everton’s often relentless tempo and making things uncomfortable for Arsenal through constant pressure.

Ross Barkley – 6

A better performance from the under-fire Englishman, who on another day might well have chipped in with a goal or two with the chances he had to either score or assist.

Aaron Lennon – 4.5

The ex-Tottenham Hotspur winger put a shift in when required to do so, but he was, ultimately, disappointing in the final third.

Enner Valencia – 7

Among his best performances for his new club, Valencia ran the channels well and ensured an uncomfortable night for Nacho Monreal with his pace.

Romelu Lukaku – 6.5

An incredibly sacrificial display from Lukaku, often hanging within Laurent Koscielny’s radius to occupy Arsenal’s star defender for the benefit of his teammates. The Belgian’s link-up play from direct balls proved to be sound, despite rarely threatening to beat Petr Cech himself.

Subs:

Kevin Mirallas – 5

The winger came on to refresh the left flank when replacing Aaron Lennon, but didn’t have much success up against Hector Bellerin.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – N/A

Ramiro Funes Mori – N/A

Arsenal

Petr Cech – 6.5

There was little the Czech Republican could do for both headed goals scored by Everton, but Cech did come up with a big save to deny Jagielka just moments before Williams’ winner.

Hector Bellerin – 6.5

The Spaniard grew into the game from an offensive aspect, meanwhile keeping both Lennon and Mirallas at bay on the right flank.

Gabriel Paulista – 6

Filling in for the injured Shkodran Mustafi after spells at right back, Gabriel appeared to have made the smooth transition back into the heart of the defence, initially, but the likes of Valencia and Lukaku did get the better of the Brazilian on a few occasions as the game opened up.

Laurent Koscielny – 7.5

Busy with Lukaku in his peripheral view, the Frenchman dealt with much that came his way.

Nacho Monreal – 6

A game of phases for Monreal. At times he looked troubled, in particular when in foot races next to Valencia, but there were also moments when the experienced left back was on hand to trouble the Everton back line with associative play on the flank.

Granit Xhaka – 5.5

The Swiss midfielder failed to impose himself on a hectic, end-to-end game, and how Arsenal could have done with someone to set the tempo on a night filled with disappointment.

Francis Coquelin 6.5

Played his part in combating Everton’s tenacity, pressing with success himself and winning his fair of 50/50s that kept Arsenal somewhat competitive in the middle of the park.

Theo Walcott – 4.5

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Walcott was never in the game.

Mesut Özil – 4.5

The pace of the game blew past the German playmaker, who will also be kicking himself for missing a great opportunity to make it 2-1 to Arsenal midway through the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 4.5

Another who never managed to leave his imprint on the game, cutting a frustrated figure on Arsenal’s left flank and committing his fair share unnecessary fouls as a consequence.

Alexis Sanchez – 7

Looked to be the likeliest Arsenal player to tip the balance all night after scoring the first goal of the game, but too many of his teammates just weren’t on the same wavelength.

Subs:

Olivier Giroud – 4.5

The Frenchman’s introduction didn’t quite have the desired effect the Gunners imagined him to have, as Everton pushed up their defensive line and made it difficult for the target man to spearhead Arsenal’s counters through a natural lack of pace.

Alex Iwobi – 5

Promised more than both Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain from wide areas when coming on, but his general passing game was a little off in crucial moments.

Lucas Perez – N/A

Player Ratings For Both Teams: Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

These are Fresh Football’s player ratings for the game in between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Manchester United

David De Gea – 7

The Spaniard made some good, if uncomplicated saves to keep Man United’s register clean throughout the game.

Antonio Valencia – 6.5

Maintained a solid display from start to finish, entering in interesting disputes with Danny Rose out on United’s right flank.

Phil Jones – 7.5

The former Blackburn Rovers man continues to offer José Mourinho food for thought with yet another impressive performance, this time marking Harry Kane out of the game.

Marcos Rojo – 7

Solid once more, accommodating Jones from a technical aspect at the heart of defence. Rojo has been given lots of praise from the fans, see some reaction here.

Matteo Darmian – 6

The Italian had his hands full with both Kyle Walker, Son Heung-Min and later Moussa Sissoko bombarding his flank, but Darmian didn’t let his side down.

Michael Carrick – 6.5

At the base of United’s midfield, Carrick was on hand keep things compact, evade Spurs’ habitual high press and set purposeful counters.

Ander Herrera – 6

Combative in midfield, priceless in supporting Carrick up against the likes of Vincent Wanyama, Mousa Dembélé and Dele Alli.

Paul Pogba – 7

Among his best performances in a United shirt, the Frenchman took full advantage of the space beyond him in an open second half, threatening Spurs in a number of attacks and leaving his compatriot, Hugo Lloris, stunned when smashing the post from a dangerous free-kick. Better.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 8

Another man of the match performance from the Armenian, the man to break the deadlock with an emphatic finish in the first half. Mkhitaryan served as the main outlet in spearheading counter-attacks.

Anthony Martial – 5

Very passive and unsupportive of his full back partner, Darmian. The weak link in United’s side.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 6.5

Far from being the main threat, but the spaces occupied by Ibrahimovic proved to be incredibly beneficial in confusing a high defensive line from Spurs.

Subs

Marcus Rashford – 5

There was nothing of note in the final third from the young Englishman, but his mere presence and fresh legs was enough to dampen Kyle Walker’s appetite to roam forwards.

Eric Bailly – N/A

Marouane Fellaini – N/A

Tottenham Hotspur

Hugo Lloris – 6.5

Kept Spurs’ hopes of taking something from the game alive with a couple of good saves from Pogba and Ibrahimovic efforts.

Kyle Walker – 6

Often supportive high up on the right flank, but didn’t quite find the openings that have so often seen him inflict damage in Mauricio Pochettino’s set-up.

Toby Alderweireld – 6

A little rusty and limited further by United’s tactical approach to prevent him from playing the ball out from the back, but the Belgian was generally okay.

Jan Vertonghen – 5

Never quite managed to patch up the gap between him and Danny Rose, exposed fully by Mkhitaryan on his way smashing in the game’s only goal.

Danny Rose – 5.5

Lively as always, but second best up against Mkhitaryan and Valencia.

Victor Wanyama – 5

Missed a very good chance to equalise in the second half with a tame and inaccurate header, whereas the Kenyan, moreover, was an unnecessary quantity in midfield in Spurs’ search for an equaliser.

Mousa Dembélé – 5.5

Never quite got ahold of the game as he usually does, to Spurs’ detriment.

Son Heung-Min – 5.5

Appeared the most likely player in the first half to bring Spurs level, testing De Gea from range on a couple of occasions, but the South Korean was sacrificed for Pochettino’s tactical switch early in the second period.

Dele Alli – 4.5

Failed to link the midfield to a stranded Harry Kane in a toothless performance from the young Englishman. Tottenham fans aren’t happy with his performance, see some reaction here.

Christian Eriksen – 5

Always a threat from a set-piece, that’s almost a given, but Eriksen continued to be somewhat uninspired as one of Spurs’ chief creatives.

Harry Kane – 4.5

Buried in United bodies and culpable in Mkhitaryan’s goal, giving the ball away prior to the hosts’ quick counter.

Subs

Moussa Sissoko – 5

Came on to take full advantage of Martial’s flawed back-tracking, but the Frenchman lacked a little finesse in his thought process to ever hurt the Red Devils.

Harry Winks – N/A

Georges Nkoudou – N/A

3 Alternative Selections For Your Premier League Fantasy Football Team This Week

Premier League football could well be in for a triple dosage of goal-laden games this week, given the amount of must-win duels coming our way.

In hope of a response to Wednesday’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League, Leicester City will be praying for three points, something that has escaped them since late October.

The Foxes’ opponents this Saturday come in the form of favourable quantity Manchester City, also coming into this weekend’s clash off the back of European disappointment versus Celtic and with an underwhelming record of just three wins in their last six league games.

Old Trafford hosts the anticipated meeting between top four contenders, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, neither being left with much margin for error, whereas at the other end of the table, the likes of Hull City, Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Sunderland all face “cup finals” of their own.

But with so many blows expected to be traded this weekend, it’s perhaps a surprise to see we’re backing just one striker to rake in a large sum of points this weekend in Fantasy Premier League. Here are our reasons:

1 – Gylfi Sigurðsson

Club: Swansea City
Position: Midfielder
Price: £7.4m

Currently sitting bottom of the pile in the Premier League, the need for points is urgent at the Liberty Stadium and they won’t have many better opportunities to do so than when Sunderland come to town.

The Black Cats are on the up, winning three of their last four league games, but they’re still very much within the realms of the lower end of the table, as two points separate the relegation candidates prior to Saturday’s fixture.

Swansea’s last victory saw the Swans topple Crystal Palace in a 5-4 thriller a fortnight ago, of which Gylfi Sigurðsson was on hand to chip in with a goal and assist en route to victory. Last weekend’s 5-0 loss away to Spurs was the first time in six appearances that the Icelandic star didn’t contribute directly to a Swansea goal, so if Bob Bradley’s side are to lift off the root of the league table come Saturday, we expect the 27-year-old to have a significant input.

No Mata, Bailly Starts! Manchester United Team News & Predicted Line-Up To Face Tottenham

Manchester United have been left frustrated in the last few weeks, failing to finish games off, drawing against Everton, West Ham and Arsenal in recent weeks. United will be looking to secure their first win since the beginning of November but will be coming up against a Spurs side that have lost just once in the Premier League this term. 

Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw will be unavailable through injury for the visit of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs. Here is our Manchester United predicted line-up to face Tottenham.

GK: David De Gea

Sergio Romero started in goal for the Red Devils on Thursday night in the Europa League, but I am fairly certain that David De Gea will return for United to face Spurs.

RB: Antonio Valencia

Valencia has not only proved that he can defend extremely well down the right-hand side, but the attacking threat he offers is also valuable to Mourinho and United. He will look to cause Danny Rose some problems down the right and look to put some dangerous crosses into Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

CB: Eric Bailly

Bailly has just recovered from a knee injury picked up at Stamford Bridge, and played in the Europa League on Thursday. Bailly has proved what a good signing he is for the Red Devils, and will probably make his first league start since October.

CB: Phil Jones

Jones has stepped in well for the injured Chris Smalling, who is not likely to make it back for the clash with Spurs. A few good performances from Jones may mean that he keeps his place for this match.

LB: Daley Blind

We have seen a few players play at left-back for Manchester United this season under Jose Mourinho, but with Luke Shaw injured, it is likely that we will see Daley Blind start at left-back.

CDM: Ander Herrera

Herrera has played very well for United this season and played again on Thursday night. He is an extremely important player for United, and will most likely start in midfield on Sunday.

CDM: Michael Carrick

He was brought on in the Europa League on Thursday, but Marouane Fellaini will not be in Mourinho’s good books after that stupid challenge last week at Goodison Park. Carrick will probably start in holding midfield here alongside Ander Herrera.

RAM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Jose Mourinho has recently praised the attitude of Mkhitaryan, and he has been in electric form since being placed in the team. A goal in the Europa League will boost the Armenian’s confidence, and he should start against Spurs at Old Trafford

CAM: Paul Pogba

The Frenchman needs to find his best form and has shown very little of why United decided to fork out £89m in the summer. He is one of those undroppable players considering how much he is worth, but he needs to start pulling his weight in team, with many fans starting to get extremely frustrated.

LAM: Anthony Martial

It will be an interesting battle to watch out for on Sunday afternoon. It is more than likely that Martial will be lining up against Kyle Walker at Old Trafford, and that will see two quick players against each other, but who has the most guile?

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Two goals this week for Ibrahimovic, one against Everton last Sunday, and another one in the Europa League, and he is almost guaranteed to start against Spurs with the threat he provides.

Bellerin Starts, Ramsey Out: Arsenal Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Stoke

Arsenal will be full of confidence after a successful couple of weeks both domestically and in Europe. Following a good run of form, Arsene Wenger’s man have seen themselves move up to second in the Premier League and secured top spot in the Champions League group stages after PSG’s slip-up on Wednesday night. 

Hector Bellerin could return from injury for this one while Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all out for the Gunners. Here is the Arsenal predicted line-up to face Stoke.

GK: Petr Cech

Was dropped for the Champions League match in favour of Ospina, but should start once again here.

RB: Hector Bellerin

Gabriel hasn’t put in a bad shift yet at right-back since the injury to Hector Bellerin, but the return of the Spaniard will be a big boost for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, and he should be reinstalled back into the starting line-up straight away.

CB: Shkodran Mustafi

Mustafi and Koscielny have built up a very good relationship and understanding at the back for Arsenal. The defender missed out in midweek in Basel, and should be placed back in the starting line-up here.

CB: Laurent Koscielny

Will be a little disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet in the Champions League, but it was enough to take Arsenal through in top spot. I have no doubts in that he will play from the start against Stoke.

LB: Kieran Gibbs

Had a good game in midweek in the Champions League, and picked up three assists in that 4-1 win over Basel to secure top spot. Should keep his place here.

CDM: Granit Xhaka

Nothing too special from Granit Xhaka in midweek, but he had a solid game. After settling in, he will be looking to hit top form and nail down a regular place in Arsene Wenger’s line-ups. A good performance here will go a long way to doing that.

CDM: Francis Coquelin

Is available for selection to Arsene Wenger once again, and I think he will return to the starting line-up after that rest in midweek.

RAM: Theo Walcott

Another one that wasn’t selected in Basel, but has been in decent form recently. He should start again at the Emirates for Arsenal here.

CAM: Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil has discovered some good form in the Champions League but has not been at his very best in the Premier League recently. However, he was back amongst the goals last week against West Ham in the 5-1 thrashing, scoring his first league goal since October and will look to build on that.

LAM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Also among the goals last week at the London Stadium, and has looked dangerous recently, scoring his second of the campaign last Saturday. Contract talks have reportedly started with the winger, and Arsenal will be hoping to tie him down with a new contract.

ST: Alexis Sanchez

Despite his hat-trick against Basel, I do not think that Lucas Perez will start on Saturday. I think that Alexis Sanchez will lead the line by himself against Stoke, with Lucas an attacking option on the wing and through the middle from the bench.

‘Would Struggle In The Championship’ West Ham Fans Furious With Defender Following Arsenal Defeat

West Ham put in an absolutely terrible performance at the London Stadium as Arsenal tore them apart to emphatically take all three points in a thumping 5-1 win.

A devastating performance from Alexis Sanchez, who scored a hat-trick and assisted the first goal along with goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil sent a statement out to the rest of the Premier League on Saturday evening.

For West Ham, on the other hand, they have not won in the Premier League since the 22nd October when they stumbled over the line against Sunderland at the London Stadium. Slaven Bilic has been under increasing pressure in the last few weeks as his West Ham side move ever closer to the drop zone.

It was a terrible defensive performance from the West Ham defence, conceding five goals, and West Ham fans were very critical of centre-back Angelo Ogbonna in the crushing defeat.

Although he won 100% of his aerial duels, the centre-back wasn’t up against one of the tallest players in the world in Alexis Sanchez. Ogbonna made five clearances and just one block in the 5-1 defeat, and here is how West Ham fans reacted to his performance.

It has been well-documented that West Ham have not offered enough going forward and that their strikers have not performed, but if the Hammers are to make a charge up the table, then their defensive record will have to improve after conceding five in midweek, three against Spurs, and another five here.

If West Ham are to move up the table, they will need to perform better in the big games. Their 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford last week was a step in the right direction. However, when competing against the big teams, as a centre-back, you need to keep the main man quiet. Ogbonna did very little to try and nullify the effect of Alexis Sanchez, and this is something that must change for the centre-back if West Ham are to compete with the big boys.

Arsenal Are The Real Deal & Can Win The Premier League This Season

Arsenal picked up 3 points away from home on Saturday evening in what could’ve been a tricky away fixture for the title-chasing Gunners.

But in the end, it was a relatively straightforward win with the Gunners dominating in the first half but only managing to go into the break with a 1-goal lead. That goal came from Francis Coquelin making a key interception and that freed Alexis Sanchez who unselfishly gave the ball to Mesut Ozil, allowing the German to tap into an empty net.

The second half saw West Ham come into the game more than Arsenal fan will have liked, but they were still restricted to very few openings as the Gunners defence stood strong. It was then time for Alexis Sanchez to once again show his quality. Starting as the lone striker, the Chilean looked so confident and was quality with pretty much everything he did. He doubled Arsenal’s lead with a brilliant individual run, and most impressive was the finish. Striking from a tight angle, he found the bottom corner with aplomb, and it helped highlight the difference in quality between Alexis and most of the other players on the pitch.

It wasn’t long before the little Chilean made all the difference again, striking from the edge of the box and finding the bottom left corner with an unstoppable, accurate finish. There was a scare for Arsenal when Carroll headed in to make it 3-1, but Oxlade-Chamberlain responded immediately and restored the 3-goal lead for the Gunners. Then, a few minutes before full-time, Alexis completed an incredible performance, chipping the goalkeeper to get his hat-trick and make the score 5-1.

Crucially Alexis scored 3 goals and made 1 assist – but what was reassuring about Arsenal’s performance is that they always looked in control. Too many times in the past, Arsenal have crumbled in this kind of game, even when they take the lead. They now look so much more in control and are playing with a new found confidence. The additions of Mustafi and Xhaka to the spine of the team cannot be underestimated and the decision to move Alexis to play through the middle has been a revelation.

I loved the fact that Mustafi was barking orders throughout the game, keeping the defence in line and the midfielders in front of him in check.

With the Chilean’s contract having less than two years to run, many Arsenal fans have called for him to extend his contract, and for Arsenal to give the player the money he wants.

In my opinion, Alexis is up there with the best in the Premier League and tonight showed that. Arsenal really need to keep hold of him, he’s different class. The sooner we wrap up his contract the better, it’s time to loosen the purse strings.

Alexis was not the only star on the day, though – there were encouraging performances from the likes of Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield as it appeared Arsene Wenger finally found his midfield rhythm.

With this kind of performance and with the new signings settling in so well, Arsenal must truly be considered title challengers now.

They have quality players in every position and every title winning team has a main man, Arsenal’s is without a doubt Alexis and he proved that with a brilliant hat-trick.

The Gunners have passed several tests already this season that show they are a changed team. They dismantled Chelsea, and apart from the opening day of the season, where only half the team was there, they are undefeated in the league. You can rightly say that West Ham were very poor, but it is unusual and refreshing for Arsenal to still have not lost an away game when you consider the strength of all the teams in the Premier League.

Premier League Team of the Week: Including 3 Arsenal, 3 West Ham & 2 Man City Players

Here’s our Premier League team of the week from the latest round of fixtures. There were some standout performances with 3 players from West Ham and 3 more from Arsenal making the eleven. Scroll down to find out about the XI in full, and why they made it.

Darren Randolph – West Ham United

This is not the first goalkeeper to go to Old Trafford this season and have, arguably their best game of the season thus far. Randolph joined that list of keepers this weekend after an immense display against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. He denied the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jese Lingard, saving a point for the Hammers as Slaven Bilic rightly favoured the Republic Of Ireland international over Adrian.

Nicolas Otamendi – Manchester City

When the Argentinian first arrived in England, he was heavily criticised for his performances which did not reach the billing City faithful where hoping.

But, since Guardiola’s arrival he has formed a fine partnership with England defender John Stones. On Saturday, Otamendi impressed at the back for City and made 18 clearances, created one chance and also finished the game with 88% passing, which will be a stat that pleases the boss.

Angelo Ogbonna – West Ham United

Much like teammate Randolph, Ogbonna was excellent in the Hammers away match to Jose Mourinho’s men and was at the heart of the defence that kept United at bay.

He made one key block to deny Ibrahimovic in the first half, which was destined to hit the back of the net and finished the game with 100% tackles and aerial duels won, whilst also impressing with a 75% passing accuracy in a truly great performance.

Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal

Arsenal man Laurent Koscielny has become vital to this Gunners team, and time and time again proves why he is one of Europe’s finest defenders. The Frenchman had another top class display on Sunday against a very strong Bournemouth attack including the likes of Wilson and King who both possess excellent speed. The Arsenal man finished the game winning 67% tackles, 75% aerial duels, making eight clearances and 87% passing. Mr consistent.

Nathan Ake – Bournemouth

Although he was on the losing side on Sunday, he was brilliant on the left hand side for the Cherries.

The on-loan Chelsea man surely caught the eye of Blues boss Antonio Conte after his quality display at the Emirates. He was both brilliant offensively and defensively whilst creating once chance, making 14 clearances and finishing the game wit 78% passing accuracy. The 21-year-old has been in fine form in recent weeks and if he keeps progressing will find himself knocking on the Chelsea starting XI door next season.

Michail Antonio – West Ham United

Antonio has been excellent consistently in the past two seasons and was once again impressive at Old Trafford. Although the Hammers man had a dip in form after Bilic opted to play the versatile midfielder at right-back where he struggled significantly. Since moving back to his favoured position he has been extremely dangerous for West Ham, and on Sunday he created once chance, completed four crosses, five take ons and helped out defensively with 100% tackles won.

Granit Xhaka – Arsenal

Arsene Wenger experimented another midfield pivot with Granit Xhaka starting alongside Mohamed Elneny, and it may be the most perfect partnership thus far, at least in Santi Cazorla’s absence.

Xhaka was phenomenal for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium as he helped his side get back to winning ways. Fans have been left raging in recent weeks due to Wenger’s exclusion of their summer signing, but after his performance on Sunday he must be deemed un-droppable for the upcoming games.

The Switzerland midfielder was excellent in transitions, whilst his exquisite passing helped Arsenal attack quickly, finishing the game with 90% passing accuracy, the midfield rock also managed to be successful with 73% of his tackles – a truly wonderful display.

Josh Sims – Southampton

Well, what a way to introduce yourself to the Premier League. Within 42 seconds the young Saints player registered his first assist after setting up Charlie Austin for the winning goal, whilst running Everton ragged all afternoon with immense pace and ability. An afternoon to remember for the 19-year-old after a very good introduction.

Leroy Fer – Swansea

Now we have all calmed down from the game of the season at the Liberty Stadium, we can reflect on the brilliant Leroy Fer who scored a brace for the Swans. Bob Bradley was in desperate need for the three points for his struggling side, and two goals from Fer helped seal the 5-4 victory, he was too much to handle for Crystal Palace as he completed three take ons and 77% passing in an erratic game.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

When you have the quality of Sergio Aguero leading your line, you just know he will score. The Argentinian scored a brace for Pep Guardiola’s men after they went 1-0 down to Burnley at Turf Moor after a fine strike after Marney opened the scoring. Aguero secured three points for the away side with a 2nd and was once again the difference between City and the opposition.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal

When Arsenal need a saviour, up steps this magic Chilean. Alexis Sanchez once again got on the score sheet for the Gunners as they secured three points against a very resilient Bournemouth side. Aside from Alexis scoring a brace in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory, he maintained high intensity throughout and pressed high up the pitch to try win the ball back. Arsenal can rely on their new number 7, after he created four chances, three take ons and finished the game with 72% pass success, not bad for a striker.

3 Must Have Players For Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week ft. Liverpool Midfielder

Another week has come and gone, and Fresh Football returns with its weekly edition of Fantasy Premier League hotpicks, bracing ourselves for the action ahead in Gameweek 13.

In between that time, the current title holders, Leicester City, continue to impress on a continental stage, so much so that the 13 points amassed in Group G by the Foxes has already surpassed their current mark of 12 points in the Premier League.

Arsenal’s murky relationship with the month of November continues, but, in the meantime, the Gunners are also still unbeaten since their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool back in August – an improvement from past seasons.

Elsewhere, the Manchester City continue to show signs of being anything but the finished article under Pep Guardiola, whereas Tottenham Hotspur’s return to the European elite has proven to be short lived; a 2-1 defeat at the hands of AS Monaco sealing their fate.

In fear of a European hangover, but also due to potentially glaring opportunities to pick up points elsewhere, we’re avoiding games between the aforementioned clubs altogether.

So here’s who we’re topping to come up trumps this weekend.

1 – Jonny Evans

Club: West Bromwich Albion
Position: Defender
Price: £4.5m

Tony Pulis and his club appear to have gotten their mojo back. After claiming just two wins from their first 10 league games, West Brom have proceeded to pick up back-to-back victories versus Leicester City and, most recently, Burnley, defeating the newly-promoted side 4-0 on Monday night.

Next up for the Midlands club are Hull City, who continue to slip down the table after winning just once since August. 19th placed Sunderland were the latest side to snatch three points from the Tigers, so one can imagine morale isn’t great at the moment, because the form certainly isn’t.

On the ascendancy, West Brom have every chance of making it three wins on the spin, and failing that, a clean sheet at the very least. We’ll settle for that, tipping Jonny Evans to star.

Player Ratings For Both Teams: Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 West Ham United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Tottenham Hotspur’s London derby versus West Ham United at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur

Hugo Lloris – 5

Nothing of note from the French goalkeeper, who was fairly powerless in stopping Michail Antonio’s opening goal and the penalty converted by Manuel Lanzini later on.

Kyle Walker – 5

Spurs will be left wanting more from the full back in the direct duel with Aaron Cresswell on the right flank, whereas his general play also proved to be a little rough around the edges, today.

Eric Dier – 6

A solid performance from Eric Dier, slotting in at centre back without any considerable concerns.

Jan Vertonghen – 7

Provided a platform to play out from the back, as always, and came up with a few crucial tackles at a time when the hosts were chasing the game.

Danny Rose – 6

Much like Walker, Rose looked unable to function down the flanks as he’s accustomed to doing, but he did manage to get the better of Antonio on a few more occasions in the second half, most importantly in the lead-up to Harry Winks’ equaliser.

Victor Wanyama – 6

The Kenyan undertook fairly simplistic duties throughout the second half, but did so very well, sweeping up possession in the middle of the park to set Spurs back on their way to attacking West Ham.

Mousa Dembélé – 6

He’ll have had more dominant performances, but Mousa Dembélé appeared relatively neat in possession nonetheless, before being replaced by Son Heung-Min

Harry Winks – 8

Intensity, tenacity, creativity and an important goal, all on the 20-year-old’s Premier League debut. A very mature performance.

Christian Eriksen – 5

The Dane is currently a long way away from what we’ve been used to seeing from him in a Spurs shirt, acting as a chief culprit in losing possession in this one.

Harry Kane – 6

Operating around Vincent Janssen in a two-striker formation, Kane never quite got into the game, but his mark on the occasion is there for all to see; Two goals, three points.

Vincent Janssen – 4

Lacking synergy between him and Kane, as well as many more of his teammates. The Dutchman is looking increasingly difficult to fit into the first XI, especially with Son thriving.

Subs:

Son Heung-Min – 6.5

A big introduction into the game, having a helping hand in both of Spurs’ late goals that gives the home side all three points and maintains invincibility in the Premier League.

Dele Alli – 5

Didn’t quite have the desired effect coming on in the second half, as difficult as it may be in a derby.

West Ham United

Darren Randolph – 7

Made a few key saves, particularly one from an Eric Dier header in point-blank range, but the Irishman was arguably at fault for the turnaround when his attempted save from Son’s cross diverted the ball away from Angelo Ogbonna and into Kane’s path.

Michail Antonio – 6

A great first half display up and down the right flank, complete with yet another headed goal, but the Englishman may well have blown his engine in the second period, as Rose and Son exposed his defensive flaws on a number of occasions.

Cheikhou Kouyaté – 7

A quality performance from Kouyaté, somewhat of a throwback to his Anderlecht days when instructed to play as the third central defender. The towering figure did very well, particularly in the first half when driving the ball out from defence to commence purposeful counter-attacks.

Winston Reid – 6

A solid performance from the captain was later marred by the Spurs turnaround and a second yellow card in injury time.

Angelo Ogbonna – 6

Another who, like Reid, performed to a good standard in the heart of defence.

Aaron Cresswell – 6

In the left wing-back role, Cresswell specialised in minimising Kyle Walker’s effectiveness

André Ayew – 4

West Ham will have been hoping for spurts of inspiration from Ayew, but the opportunities for the Ghanaian never came.

Pedro Obiang – 6.5

Stood his ground in quite an offensive midfield from the Hammers, on top of being the go-to-guy to settling down play in certain phases of the first half.

Manuel Lanzini – 7

Among the best in a West Ham shirt, it was Lanzini who spearheaded the counters for the visitors and caused Tottenham’s defence the greatest cause for concern.

Dimitri Payet – 4

Totally uninspired, perhaps fatigued, and how the Hammers could have done with an on-song Payet for certain openings late in the second half.

Diafra Sakho – 4

Lots of running and little else from the striker who was soon replaced by Simone Zaza in the second half.

Subs:

Simone Zaza – 6

Provided greater involvement from as a focal point, perhaps courtesy of the game opening up, but lacked any real conviction from shooting areas. A positive cameo, however.

Edimilson Fernandes – 5

The young Swiss was on hand to rejuvenate the West Ham midfield as best as he could and combat the eventual Dele Alli entrance.

Håvard Nordtveit – N/A

Few were the minutes the former Arsenal man had on the field, but it was he who turned out to be among the most decisive characters of the tale, sweeping Son’s foot and gifting Spurs the late penalty that won the clash.

3 Things Conte Needs To Do For Chelsea To Win The Title

Chelsea are in great form at the moment and having switched to the 3-4-3 formation they look serious contenders for the title. No European football will certainly help Chelsea in the long term against their rivals, but here’s three things Conte needs to do to keep Chelsea in the running.

1 – Keep Hazard in form

One of the biggest differences about Chelsea this season is the fact that they have an in form Eden Hazard. He is arguably one of the best players in the league and at his best can be a matchwinner is every game for Chelsea. He can make the vital difference in close games due to his individual quality on and off the ball. If Conte can continue to get the best out of Hazard then for me, Chelsea have every chance of winning the title. Along with Diego Costa, those two give the team world class talent in the frontline.

3 Players You Need In Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week ft. Arsenal & Manchester City Players

As always, we update you with our weekly overview of players to look out for ahead of the Premier League action for your fantasy football team. With the North London Derby on the horizon, Manchester United’s struggles, Leicester City gaining momentum and Manchester City blossoming, here are three stars to keep tabs on for your fantasy football team ahead of a cracking weekend of football.

1) – Alexis Sanchez
Club: Arsenal
Position: Striker
Cost: £11.4m

Arsenal, who are unbeaten since the opening weekend of the new season sit joint top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of their North London clash with Tottenham Hotspur which promises to be exciting as always. Ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium, we take a look at why we feel Alexis Sanchez should be in everyone’s teams this upcoming weekend.

Firstly, he is thriving in the new number 9 role he is playing for the Gunners, if he isn’t scoring goals he is creating chances galore whilst menacing defences, the impressive Arsenal star has six goals thus far this season whilst creating a majestic 20 chances. Spurs’ defender Toby Alderweireld remains a major doubt for the game, Sanchez could find it that bit easier without the Belgians presence.

The Chilean has been in inspired form with six Premier League goals thus far, and will almost guarantee to be a big player for the Gunners this weekend, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Walcott & Cazorla Start: The Strongest Possible Arsenal XI To Face Tottenham On Sunday

Arsenal and Tottenham have both started the season very well. Arsenal are joint top of the league and their North London rivals are not far behind, and remain unbeaten in the league. The Gunners will need to end their rivals run on Sunday with a win needed to show the club are serious title contenders.

Here’s the strongest Arsenal line-up for the weekends game.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

He’s not been himself this season and he will need to make sure he finds his best form for this game, as one save is likely to make all the difference in this tight encounter.

Right-Back: Hector Bellerin

I hope anyway… Wenger is yet to reveal the full extent of the ‘injury’ the Spaniard picked up in training pre-Ludogorets but hopefully it was just a precaution that he didn’t travel, he needs to start.

Centre Back: Skhodran Mustafi

Centre Back: Laurent Koscielny

Left Back: Kieran Gibbs

There’s a tough decision for Wenger to make on Sunday as Monreal is likely to return to fitness but Gibbs has done, for the most part, very well in the Spaniards absence. I’d opt for Kieran to keep momentum and because being English and being at the club for so long, he knows what the derby is all about.

Centre Midfield: Francis Coquelin

Coquelin must keep his head in this game, hopefully he has learned from the last derby. I think Xhaka has maybe not yet learned his discipline for games like this and he is unlikely to be put into such a high pressure game. Coquelin is important in this one as Tottenham have a lot of attacking talent but the Frenchman must keep his discipline and break up the play.

Centre Midfield: Santi Cazorla

Cazorla is likely to come back into the line-up on Sunday after an injury has ruled him out of the last couple of games. His play between the lines, experience in this fixture and all-round demeanour make him an essential part of the XI for this game. Please be fit.

Right Midfield: Theo Walcott

If he’s fit Walcott needs to come back into the side for this game. He knows all about the rivalry and has a decent record against Spurs.

Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil

The German was majestic on Tuesday night and Arsenal really need him to prove his worth in the big games like this one to show he is truly amongst the very best in European football.

Left Midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

There’s a big call for Wenger to make on the left hand side of midfield with Alexis, Ramsey, Ox, and Iwobi all options. I don’t think Wenger will, but I’d go for The Ox. Again, he knows what this derby is about, he’s coming into form and he’s a player that, at his best, can make a big difference.

Striker: Alexis Sanchez

I think Alexis played a lot worse on the left on Tuesday and the Gunners played worse as an attacking unit with Giroud up front. Keeping Alexis at number 9 is the sensible choice, Giroud can always be used as a plan B coming off of the bench.

Premier League Team of the Week: 3 Arsenal, 3 Chelsea & 2 Everton Players Feature

Tom Heaton – Burnley

Burnley’s resilience was once again outstanding on Saturday as they held out for a point at Old Trafford, but will certainly have to give the plaudits to their goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
The Clarets man arguably had his best performance in the Premier League on Saturday after keeping out non-stop United attacks, making 11 saves including one outstanding save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Seamus Coleman – Everton

David Luiz – Chelsea

Kieran Gibbs – Arsenal

Kieran Gibbs has been given a run in the first team after playing a secondary role to Nacho Monreal in previous seasons, and he has given Arsene Wenger a massive headache.

The Gunners full-back has been influential in Arsenal’s recent games and has found himself at the heart of Arsenal’s attacks after combing excellently with Alex Iwobi but also doing his defensive duties well. Gibbs created as many chances as Mesut Ozil on Saturday, a stat that shows what influence the Englishman had for his side, a performance worthy of a run in the team. The impressive display also saw him bag his first assist since March 2015 in the Gunners’ 4-1 win over Sunderland.

Victor Moses – Chelsea

A career reborn under Antoino Conte and his new formation. After being sent out on loan and warming the bench for the Blues in recent years, the Nigerian has now found himself first choice right-wing back ahead of the likes of Willian. He has been excellent thus far this season, using his pace and power to his abilities and being very dangerous for the Blues.

Mohamed Elneny – Arsenal

After staring in Arsenal’s stalemate at home to Middlesbrough the week before, Arsenal fans didn’t seem to happy at the prospect of Elneny starting alongside Francis Coquelin again, but he certainly proved doubters wrong in an exceptional display. The Egyptian midfielder managed 91% passing accuracy which itself is immense, whilst creating two chances and breaking up play very well with 6 interceptions.

Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City

Was this his statement? It certainly felt that way, Ilkay Gundogan performed excellently on Saturday afternoon and bagged himself a brace in his best performance in a City shirt. The City star also grabbed an assist in City’s 4-0 rout over West Brom.

Joe Allen – Stoke City

Allen has done really well at Stoke and haunted his former club on Monday night with a couple of assists.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku – Everton

Lukaku is really finding form under Ronald Koeman at Everton and he had another game to remember against West Ham at the weekend, notching both a goal and assist to keep him towards the top of the goalscoring charts in the league. If Everton are to have any chance of European football this season, they must hope that the Belgian maintains this kind of form.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal

Since swapping positions in Arsene Wenger’s team, Alexis Sanchez has become one of the most dangerous centre forwards in the Premier League, a position which he is certainly enjoying.

Arsenal’s attack is a different kind of dangerous this year, they should really be feared with the Chilean leading the line, he bagged himself another two goals at the Stadium of Light and terrorised the Black Cats defence all afternoon.

The Chilean has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances (five goals, three assists).

3 Must Haves In Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week: Ft. Arsenal, Man Utd & Stoke Players

There’s sure to be a handful of frights, thrills and horror spills to go with a Halloween weekend of football and, as always, Fresh Football will strive to be ahead of the curve in advising you on your Fantasy Football choices ahead of Gameweek 10 in the Premier League. Here’s who to keep tabs on:

1 – Chris Smalling

Club: Manchester United
Position: Defender
Price: £5.9m

Halloween came early for José Mourinho and his Manchester United side last weekend when succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chris Smalling played a notable role in the Red Devils’ demise, yet the Englishman remains central to plans of a potential full-blown response from Man United at Old Trafford, welcoming Burnley on Saturday.

The Clarets have scored just once in three Premier League fixtures away from home, and even without Eric Bailly next to him, we think Smalling and co. should have enough about them to thwart Sean Dyche’s team at home, or score a goal himself in what *should* be a standard United win.

The hosts will have to be wary, however, with key man Andre Gray returning from a four-game-ban to hand out some retribution of his own to his teammates and fans.

Sunderland vs. Arsenal – 3 Battles That Will Decide The Result

After a disappointing birthday for Arsène Wenger, his team will certainly be looking to put things right this weekend as they visit the Stadium of Light in search of three points. The Black Cats are without a win thus far this season and are struggling for confidence after gaining just two points from nine matches. David Moyes certainly has a job on his hands if they are to get anything from the game against the Gunners and I look at three battles that could decide the game.

1 – Alexis Sanchez v Lamine Koné

After a somewhat confusing summer for Sunderland defender Koné, he finds himself still playing his football in the Tyneside after handing a transfer request in to the club in bid to force a move to Everton, which obviously didn’t work.

The Sunderland man has been at the heart of central defence for the Black Cats since the new season and will certainly have his hands full again this weekend against Arsenal’s deadly Chilean Alexis Sanchez.

It’ll be interesting to whether Sanchez plays off John O’Shea or Kone, but the feeling is Moyes will instruct the athletic, strong, 6 ft 1′ central defender Koné to try and dominate the tricky Alexis.

Nonetheless, which ever defender of Sunderland’s defensive duo must try and stop Alexis, they will certainly have a tough time, the Gunners man has enjoyed leading the attacking line and has been deadly in front of goal, but also creating chances at ease.

Premier League Team Of The Week: 4 Chelsea, 2 Liverpool, 1 West Ham & 1 Arsenal Player Feature

Petr Cech – Arsenal

Once again Petr Cech pulled off some miraculous saves against Middlesbrough to spare the Gunners blushes. Cech arguably saved a point for Arsenal producing some fine saves throughout the 90 minutes, and certainly eased the pressure when backs where against the wall, its time like these Arsenal fans will appreciate having such an experienced goalkeeper between the sticks.

Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea

Finally, Azpilicueta is slowly getting back to his best after reverting to a right-back of a back three position after again show-casing a solid performance against the Red Devils.

The Chelsea defender had his hands full up against the likes of Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimović, but the Blues man come out on top in a superlative display.

Azpilicueta managed to win 100% of his tackles, which just shows how good he was, whilst making four blocks and seven clearances. The Chelsea man also managed to create one chance in an all-round performance.

David Luiz – Chelsea

A man reborn? Luiz has found himself at the central of a Chelsea back three and has been superb in recent displays for the club.

Up against one of the best strikers in the Premier League, Luiz certainly won his battle against Ibrahimović and gave the veteran striker very little throughout the game.

The Blues man won 100% of his aerial duels making three clearances and one block. Luiz was instrumental at the back and won his duels, and helped his team keep another clean sheet.

Winston Reid – West Ham United

Two consecutive weeks in a row Reid makes our TOTW.

Last week, he was excellent in their win over Crystal Palace, and again this week he helped his side pick up the three points.

Reid wasn’t just solid defensively making six clearances and two interceptions whilst keeping up a high standard of 87% passing. He helped his side grind out another win, he scored the all-important goal in stoppage time to secure the three points.

Christian Fuchs – Leicester City

Fuchs, a no nonsense defender, scored one the most brilliant left-footed volley’s thus far this season after running on to a loose ball outside the area. Along with his wonder goal, he created two chances and made a staggering nine clearances in an exceptional afternoon for the Austrian.

His goal certainly excited Gary lineker… https://twitter.com/GaryLineker/status/789853182134521856

Xherdan Shaqiri – Stoke City

After his ridiculous acrobatically goal in the Euros, you wouldn’t be surprised after seeing Shaqiri score two stunning goals in Stoke City’s win over Hull.

Not just scoring goals gets him into our TOTW though, he was at the heart of everything positive and his link up play was sublime, especially with fellow player Marko Arnautovic.

The Stoke man created an eye watering five chances and completed six take on’s in a complete display. We all know the Stoke man possesses excellence, but doing so on a consistent basic is what Stoke will need for the remainder of the season.

N’golo Kante – Chelsea

Kante is certainly starting to find his feet in this Chelsea side now and is showing glimpses of what we saw from his last season when he was with Leicester.

He was at the heart of Chelsea’s domination against Manchester United and kept the likes of Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba invincible during the game, outshining both creating two chances and making five interceptions and two blocks.

To top of an astounding display, Kante went and scored one of the game’s best goals, waltzing himself past Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba before giving David De Gea the eyes, slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Mane was once again on the score sheet this week in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over West Brom, the Liverpool man has been one of the best buys of the summer after his summer switch from Southampton, his goal was very well taken and was a menace all game creating three chances, Liverpool will count on him if they are to mount a serious title challenge.

Adama Traore – Middlesbrough

What a way to introduce yourself on the big occasion, the 20-year-old ran riot against Arsenals backline and was superb all afternoon in their shock draw at the Emirates stadium.

Traore gave Nacho Monreal a headache all afternoon and nearly got himself on the score sheet if it wasn’t for the outstanding Petr Cech.

The winger flashed brilliance in Arsenal’s poor display, with Middlesbrough leaving the stadium unjustified without the three points.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Eden Hazard has rightly so come under strong scrutiny after a disastrous campaign last season. But under Conte he is slowly showing glimpses of what he can do.

He caused United headaches all afternoon and scored a very well taken goal after linking up with Nemanja Matic outside the box, after giving Smalling the run around, he then slotted the ball past De Gea, finishing off a brilliant performance which included 8 take on’s for the Chelsea playmaker.

Roberto Firmino – Liverpool

Klopp has opted for Firmino to lead the Liverpool attacking line ahead of Daniel Sturridge and it has certainly worked out thus far, the Brazilian capped off another fine performance with a brilliant assist, whilst creating four chances for his teammates and completing two take on’s in another impressive display.

‘He’s Miles Better Than Pogba’ Chelsea Fans Delighted With Midfielders Performance vs. Manchester United

Chelsea fans have every reason to be cheerful after their clubs impressive 4-0 win at home to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. At the heart of the Chelsea team was one player, N’Golo Kante. 

Not only did Kante have a great overall game, but he netted a rare goal, dancing past the United defenders and slotting past De Gea with ease. It was a goal to crown a fabulous performance for the Frenchman.

In Antonio Conte’s early games at the club, Chelsea were struggling to perform and were particularly humiliated at the Emirates Stadium, but since that heavy loss they have reverted to a 3-4-3 formation and since then they have won 3 out of 3 and not conceded a goal. Kante is not the only player who is excelling in this formation, but he is one of many now benefitting from Conte’s shrewd tactical switch.

Before the season started, the only concern about Kante was his lack of playmaking ability. In this game though he completed 88% of his passes. He completed 65 passes in total, that’s more than any other Chelsea player on the day. He attempted 3 long balls and completed 2. Offensively he made 2 key passes and defensively he was as reliable as ever, making 5 interceptions and 2 tackles. In total he was awarded an impressive 8.61 match rating from WhoScored.

Here’s how fans reacted to Kante’s performance on Twitter. The Chelsea fans were pretty pleased as you might imagine. Many opted to compare Kante’s performance to Pogba’s, the former cost less a third of what Pogba did – and after humiliating the United man on the way to scoring the 4th goal, the comparisons were inevitable.

Chelsea will be delighted with how Kante has started his career in London. They probably cannot believe how they managed to sign him from Leicester for so little – especially when they’ve seen today Pogba’s performance, a player who cost so much more. Kante’s impact on a team is very obvious, you can see that by how not only Chelsea are doing well, but how Leicester City are seriously struggling to replace him.