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    George's Fantasy Football Tips: Week Three

    With the season now well underway and squads beginning to take shape, Fantasy Leagues have once again become a top priority for most football fans, including yours truly. As such, here are a few matches and players that might be worth keeping an eye on based on this weekend’s fixtures. I must stress that I am in no way an expert, I had Thibault Courtois and Marcos Alonso in my side for the opening day.

    Mo Salah will potentially find a lot of freedom this weekend

    Liverpool vs. Arsenal:
    Arsenal and Liverpool possess temperamental defences but potentially explosive attacks and have both had mixed starts to their seasons. In the past five seasons at Anfield there have been twenty-two goals in this fixture so it would be logical to expect a few more this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how the Gunners’ defence, given its lack of experience, copes with the pressure of playing on a narrow, tight pitch against a high pressing side. Laurent Koscielny could feature for the first time this season but it will still be a difficult task for Arsenal to hold off the onslaught. With the Phillipe Coutinho saga still lingering, expect Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino to continue to step up as well as new signing Mo Salah, who looked particularly impressive during midweek against Hoffenheim. If Arsenal continue to play a back three and the wingbacks aren’t at their best, Salah and Mané can expect to enjoy a lot of freedom. On the other hand, Liverpool are also susceptible to conceding goals and may over-commit, especially on the flanks. Expect the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey or Danny Welbeck to exploit those pockets of space, and Alexandre Lacazette to add to his debut goal against Leicester. In short, it’d be worth considering a good portion of both side’s forward lines for your side this weekend.

    How will Huddersfield cope with Gabbiadini?

    Huddersfield vs. Southampton:
    Huddersfield have continued their momentum from an incredible promotion campaign so far this season. Aaron Mooy, Tom Ince and Steve Mounie in particular have impressed for the Terriers who look comfortable at this level so far. Southampton managed to see off West Ham last weekend but did need two penalties to do so. They look a relatively solid outfit as usual and enjoyed a decent away record last year, winning as many games on the road as they did at St. Mary’s. Their loss to Wolves in midweek may flatter to deceive as well; they were much changed from the weekend and the away side had won three of their opening four games. Huddersfield are also yet to face a side with a cold blooded, clinical striker. Manolo Gabbiadini, since signing in January, is the epitome of this for Saints and has proven on many occasions so far that he only needs a yard of space or one defensive mistake to find the net. Christopher Schindler and Mathias Jorgensen have looked solid for Huddersfield but Gabbiadini is a different proposition for them and may well add to his impressive goal scoring tally in English football.

    Defoe will hope to be firing after an international call-up

    Bournemouth vs. Man City:
    The Cherries are yet to register a goal this season and may look to shake things up as a result. Jermain Defoe would be the likely change if this were the case and, with his inclusion in the recent England squad, he will be vying for a starting spot in the upcoming qualifiers and to open his account for the season would be the ideal statement. City will be attempting to ensure that isn’t the case and have a commanding record against Bournemouth, winning every Premier League encounter and scoring fifteen in the process over two seasons. Gabriel Jesus looks sharp and Sergio Agüero, when fit and firing, is a daunting prospect for any defence. Raheem Sterling could also make a greater impact following his contribution to City’s point against Everton on Monday night. They looked a much better side once he was subbed on and he will be looking for this weekend to be the stage to prove that he should be starting matches on a more consistent basis.

    Trippier showed signs of promise going forward against Chelsea last week

    Tottenham vs. Burnley:
    Burnley’s victory over the champions on the opening day was impressive but don’t expect a similar shock to occur this weekend. Although the Clarets took the game to Chelsea and far from sat back, they were helped by the fact that Stamford Bridge is a narrow pitch. When they did come under pressure they could easily get bodies behind the ball and frustrate the Blues to ambitious shots and through balls. Wembley is a notoriously wide pitch and, although Spurs hardly have the best record there so far, there were signs that they could overcome the mental barrier last weekend. Kieran Trippier in particular looked to get in behind from out wide and, with players like Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele often taking up deep lying roles, the full back could find a bit of joy. Harry Kane and the other central players can expect plenty of service throughout the match as well, using the space and the surface to their advantage with quick tempo interplay which characterises Spurs’ attacking style. Ben Mee in particular has impressed for Burnley of late, and he will have to be at his best, as will Tom Heaton in goal, if they hope to cause another upset away from home early on in the season.

    Of course, all of the above is purely speculation and the magic of the Premier League comes from its unpredictability. The only certainty is that this weekend will, as always, have all English football fans on the edge of their seats.
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    Item Reviewed: George's Fantasy Football Tips: Week Three Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Kelsey
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