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Fantasy

Stats Perform’s Premier League Fantasy Picks: Matchweek 23

By: Joe Wright

Premier League leaders Liverpool face another test of their title credentials this weekend, as Manchester United – the only team not to lose to the Reds in the league this season – visit Anfield.

Manchester City host Crystal Palace the day before, hoping to add just a little pressure to Jurgen Klopp’s side, while Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal host high-flying Sheffield United and Chelsea visit Newcastle United.

Using Stats Perform’s Opta data, we point you in the right direction for your fantasy team for this coming matchday, including a (fairly obvious) solution should Marcus Rashford be unable to face Liverpool.

GOALKEEPER – ALISSON (LIVERPOOL)

Liverpool might need their superstar goalkeeper to be at his best to secure a shutout against United.

United have generally performed well against the better sides this season and remain the only team to take points off Liverpool in league football in 2019-20.

Still, in Alisson, the Reds boast a keeper who has kept more clean sheets (27) than any other in the Premier League since August 2018.

Matt Doherty of Wolverhampton Wanderers runs with the ball during an FA Cup Third Round match at Molineux on January 04, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England.

DEFENDER – MATT DOHERTY (WOLVES)

Wolves head to Southampton on Saturday in serious need of goals, having scored only two in a five-game winless run across all competitions.

Perhaps it’s time to turn to a more unorthodox solution. Step forward, Doherty.

Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, Doherty has had more shots (68) and more touches in the opposition box (168) than any other defender in the league, while only Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool have been involved in more goals.

DEFENDER – DJIBRIL SIDIBE (EVERTON)

Everton head to West Ham to face their former boss David Moyes’ new team on Saturday, with the Toffees not quite off and running at full steam yet under Carlo Ancelotti.

Sidibe has proved to be an effective signing this season – not all Everton’s recent acquisitions can say the same – and the full-back could be a good option for a few extra points this weekend.

Among defenders in the Premier League this term, only Alexander-Arnold (230) can better Sidibe’s minutes-per-assist ratio of 280.

MIDFIELDER – EMILIANO BUENDIA (NORWICH CITY)

Norwich City are eight points from safety at the foot of the table and in desperate need of a win against fellow strugglers Bournemouth.

If they find their shooting boots against a notoriously leaky away defence, it could be a good day for all those with Buendia in their lineup.

The Argentinian has created 64 goalscoring chances and registered seven assists in the league this season. Kevin De Bruyne (76 chances created, 14 assists) is the only midfielder with a better record.

MIDFIELDER – RIYAD MAHREZ (MANCHESTER CITY)

Mahrez has quietly had an excellent season for the champions and few attacking midfielders can match his recent form.

In his past 13 league appearances, the Algeria star has been directly involved in 12 goals, most recently scoring twice and setting up another in the 6-1 rout of Aston Villa.

Crystal Palace have lost just once in five away league games, so City may need Mahrez to break down an improved defence.

Mason Greenwood of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford on January 11, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

 

FORWARD – MASON GREENWOOD (MANCHESTER UNITED)

If Rashford is unable to get fit in time for Sunday, Manchester United may well need to throw Greenwood into the firing line at Anfield.

The 18-year-old has looked mostly undaunted when called upon this season and there is every reason for Liverpool to be worried by his goalscoring threat.

He may have scored only four in the Premier League but, out of forwards to play at least 400 minutes in the competition this season, only Sergio Aguero (77) has a better minutes-per-goal ratio than Greenwood (104).

FORWARD – DANNY INGS (SOUTHAMPTON)

Six wins from their past nine league games have dragged Southampton up to 12th in the table, a full seven points away from the bottom three.

Crucial to that run has been the form of Ings, who might just be staking a claim for England recognition, especially given Harry Kane’s injury.

Ings has scored 14 times in the league and his goals have won 13 points for Saints. No other player’s goals have been worth more to their side.