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Fantasy

Stats Perform’s Premier League Fantasy Picks: Matchweek 17

By: Guy Atkinson

Top meets bottom in the Premier League this weekend as relentless Liverpool welcome lowly Watford to Anfield.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope Manchester United’s recent revival continues at home to Everton – who will be led again by temporary boss Duncan Ferguson – while second-place Leicester City entertain Norwich City at the King Power Stadium.

Chelsea host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho takes his Tottenham side to Wolves.

Using Opta data, we look at the players who could give your fantasy team a serious pre-Christmas boost.

GOALKEEPER – VICENTE GUAITA (CRYSTAL PALACE)

Brighton and Hove Albion face the daunting task of trying to find a way past Guaita when they travel to Selhurst Park this weekend.

Only Leicester City (seven) have kept more clean sheets than the Eagles’ tally of six in the Premier League season, while Guaita has played his part in delivering shutouts in their last three top-flight games.

Selhurst Park has also played host to fewer goals than any other ground in the top flight so far this season, with just 13 scored in eight games.

George Baldock of Sheffield United

DEFENDER – GEORGE BALDOCK (SHEFFIELD UNITED)

Baldock has been in superb form for Sheffield United during their hugely successful return to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old has been directly involved in four goals in his last five top-flight games, scoring two and creating two more. Only Liverpool full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold (seven) and Andrew Robertson (six) have been involved in more this campaign.

He will hope to add to that tally against Aston Villa at Bramall Lane.

DEFENDER – ANGELO OGBONNA (WEST HAM)

It has not been going well for West Ham in recent weeks, but defender Ogbonna can reflect on a positive contribution – at one end of the pitch, at least.

The Italian – whose side take on Southampton in Saturday’s late kick-off – has scored two goals in his last four Premier League appearances; the same number as he had managed in his previous 112 outings in the competition.

MIDFIELDER – RICHARLISON (EVERTON)

Boosted by beating Chelsea last time out, Everton travel to Manchester United with their Brazil international in fine form.

Richarlison has scored four goals in his last five Premier League games, including strikes in his last three appearances. That is more than he had netted in his previous 17 matches in the division.

MIDFIELDER – SADIO MANE (LIVERPOOL)

Mane should be licking his lips at the prospect of facing rock-bottom Watford at Anfield.

The Senegal international – who already has scored nine times in the Premier League this season – has been directly involved in eight top-flight goals (five goals, three assists) against the Hornets.

Only against Crystal Palace does he have a better record (one goal, nine assists).

Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City

FORWARD – KELECHI IHEANACHO (LEICESTER CITY)

Having played second fiddle to Jamie Vardy for much of the season, Iheanacho has shown his worth in recent weeks.

The former Manchester City forward has both scored and assisted in each of his two Premier League starts in December, with just 23 minutes per goal involvement – the lowest ratio in the competition in 2019-20.

If he starts against Norwich City, expect the Nigeria international to inflict some damage on the struggling Canaries.

FORWARD – NEAL MAUPAY (BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION)

Maupay has wasted little time in settling in to life in the Premier League following his move from Championship side Brentford.

The Frenchman has scored six top-flight goals for Graham Potter’s men – three times as many as any other Seagulls player.

Can he add to that total against Crystal Palace’s formidable defence this weekend? We think he might well do.