Football Article

EPL Fantasy Preview: Kepa Out, Jump on Mendy?

EPL Fantasy Preview: Kepa Out, Jump on Mendy? Photo: TT
Arsenal's Kieran Tierney, right, kicks the ball past Leicester's Timothy Castagne during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium

It’s time for another game week with dilemmas and new options galore, including the rise of Chelsea’s new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy reinforcing their backline while Harry Kane continues to wrack up the points.

New Options

If you thought Diogo Jota might be a bit-part player at Liverpool then it might be time to re-think that, after he scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Sheffield United. He’s already scored twice for the Reds since joining last month.

It’s also hard to go past Patrick Bamford who made his mark at this level with a hat-trick for Leeds United in their surprise 3-0 thrashing of the previously unbeaten Aston Villa. The fact he can cut it at Premier League standard is the significant revelation.

If we’re including UEFA Champions League matches, Chelsea’s new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has kept three clean sheets in a row, including away to Manchester United last weekend, so he might be worth targeting before his price rise.

Previous week lessons

You cannot trust the big guns this season, with Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Trent Alexander-Arnold and the returning Kevin De Bruyne all failing to fire. Even the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin let us down.

On the contrary, three of the last round’s top scorers were from Southampton; Che Adams, Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse. The thing is they played previously top Everton, who you might’ve thought would deny them points. Knowing who to drop and who to play in your XI is a lottery.

Wilfried Zaha reminded plenty of Fantasy coaches of his quality last round, with many jumping on him early this season before discarding him. David De Gea kept a clean sheet after a poor run too and he’s relatively cheap.

Who to captain?

The possibility of De Bruyne or Vardy starting is attractive after minor injuries but you simply cannot go past Harry Kane or Son Heung-Min at the moment. The pair combined for Spurs’ only goal in the win over Burnley. Tottenham host lowly Brighton as well, which appears a perfect match-up.

The added bonus of Kane and Son is their Europa League commitments mean they’ll usually play on Sundays at this stage of the season, meaning you’ll get a crack at a vice-captain loophole option.

If you want to try your VC luck, City play on Saturday with De Bruyne the obvious option along with Raheem Sterling or Riyah Mahrez. Chelsea and Liverpool also play on Saturday, with Salah and Sadio Mane the best choices but for a point of difference you could try Ben Chilwell or penalty taker Jorginho.

Injury front

There’s plenty happening with injuries but we’ll start with the good news that De Bruyne started and played 82 minutes for City in midweek and looks set to return to the XI in the league against Sheffield United on Saturday.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker also returned earlier than expected from a shoulder problem, playing last weekend and in midweek, although clean sheets proving elusive for the Reds, but his return may help if you’ve still got Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson.

The major out is Leicester City’s full-back Timothy Castagne who Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed has injured his hamstring and likely won’t return until after the November international break. He’s been a popular pick-up so will force plenty of re-shuffles.

In-form West Ham striker Michail Antonio is also set to miss a month with a hamstring injury, while James Rodriguez shook off injury concerns last weekend to play although he’s rated 50-50 this time out.

Finally, Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea against United, shuffling out Mason Mount, although Hakim Ziyech got the nod in midweek. Frank Lampard is “hopeful” Kepa Arrizabalaga has overcome a shoulder problem but don’t expect him to start ahead of Mendy.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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