The five English teams in the Champions League will be buoyed by the fact that all of them still have a reasonable chance of reaching the quarter finals of Europe’s elite tournament, but now it’s back to Premier League business for most, with Man United facing Chelsea, two key relegation clashes, and a game next Thursday between Man City and Arsenal, who first play each other in the EFL Cup final on Sunday. With all this going on, you need some help for your Fantasy Premier League team – so it’s a good job our friends at Armchair Fancast – the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League – are here to help with their five player picks for the week! Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- Nick Pope (BUR, £4.9): Burnley may still be in 7th by virtue of their excellent first half to the season, but they haven’t won in the league in 2018 and have now conceded more goals at home than they have scored at home this season. Pope managed 8 clean sheets before Christmas, but only 1 since the start of this year. So why pick him? Obviously it’s a risk, but with Tom Heaton’s return from injury imminent, Pope has incentive to prove he deserves to keep his spot between the posts, and home matches against Southampton and Everton are as good a chance as any to make his point.
- Virgil van Dijk (LIV, £5.5): Liverpool’s defensive reputation is one of the weaker among the league’s “big” teams – which is partly why Van Dijk was brought in during the January transfer window – but things have been better recently, with two clean sheets in the last three league games and a thoroughly impressive shut-out in Porto during last week’s Champions League game during which VVD looked impressive. West Ham got smashed 4-1 by Klopp’s side earlier in the season, and despite the improvements under David Moyes there is reason to believe it could be another big day in the rematch at Anfield on Saturday.
- Christian Eriksen (TOT, £9.2): On the podcast we said last month that Tottenham’s tough run of games in February would make or break their season – fortunately for Spurs fans it seems to have done the former, and Eriksen is a major reason for that. With goals against Man United in the Premier League and Juventus in the Champions League, he seems to be back to the kind of form that made him the best player in his team for the first 8 games of the season – and this week he has the chance to take apart a Crystal Palace side that is out of form and ravaged by injuries.
- Jose Izquierdo (BHA, £5.9): Swansea might be enjoying a renaissance at present, but they face a tricky away trip to an increasingly impressive Brighton on Saturday. Izquierdo has epitomised the Seagulls’ increased attacking menace since cementing his place in the starting line-up over the past three gameweeks – Brighton are in the top five teams in the league for number of shots during that time, and Izquierdo has scored in each of the last two matches. He might also benefit from his position on the left wing, which has been a weak spot for the Swansea defence all season.
- Steve Mounie (HUD, £5.7): Steve Mounie’s ineffectiveness for the past ten league games had coincided with that of his team, who were in freefall before they crushed Bournemouth 4-1 a fortnight ago. Everyone (including us) was surprised by the brilliance of that Huddersfield performance, and in particular the imperious Mounie who not only bagged his 5th goal of the season, but earned his first pair of assists too. This week his team visits crisis-hit West Brom, the first of six games in the next seven that look ripe for the Terriers to prove they can fight their way out of trouble.
Author: Dave Bradshaw