As much as I love the Euro’s and the World Cup, international breaks in the middle of the season kill me. Right now as a Chelsea fan, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. With Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in my fantasy squad, I need them to stay on form and not come back with any injuries when this break is over, which looks like it will happen. Luckily league play is back this weekend with some fantastic fixtures in the Premier League, I’m going to highlight three that I think fantasy managers should focus their resources on.
Liverpool vs. Southampton- Saturday has 3 of the top title contenders in matches, 4 if you count Manchester United, though I’m skeptical of their challenge credentials. Liverpool have been in absolutely rampant form recently and Klopp has made them into an offensive dynamo. Their tireless running and plethora of attacking talent has the potential to bring Merseyside a long overdue title. They face Southampton who are not by any means pushovers, on their day Southampton are a quality side. That being said, Liverpool will be too much for the Saints to handle and Klopp’s men will walk out of St. Mary’s with 3 points and probably a handful of goals as well. If you don’t already, it would behoove you to take a close look at freeing up space in your team for Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane. Both have been revelations for the Reds this season and Klopp seems set on making Firmino his most advanced attacker, a faith that the Brazilian has paid back thus far. Liverpool’s defense still seems a little shaky, so I’d avoid choosing too many players from their back line but you’re going to be in the goods if you choose any of their 3 or 4 most attacking players.
Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace- Manchester City went through a bit of a stumble for a few weeks there but they seem to have regained their mojo after a decisive victory over Barcelona in the Champions League. City travel to Selhurst Park to face off against a struggling Crystal Palace and one would expect Guardiola to have this match under control. You’re really not going to go wrong picking any of City’s starting 11 and you’re going to get your money’s worth if you go for De Bruyne or Aguero, even if they are a bit expensive. Another good pick up could be Willy Caballero in goal. With Claudio Bravo looking like he’ll be out for an extended period of time, Caballero is expected to slot right in. His price right now in the official premier league fantasy site is very low and you’re probably going to save some money if you put him in your squad.
Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough- Chelsea have been on an absolutely fantastic run since they got demolished by Arsenal in what was the lowest point of Conte’s short reign. They’ve scored 16 goals in the last 5 matches and have conceded 0 as their new 3-4-3 is looking like the tactical decision of the season thus far. Aside from that, they’ve had very impressive victories of Manchester United 4-0 and most recently Everton 5-0. In all 5 of the matches Chelsea never looked like losing and looked almost as unlikely to concede which should give fantasy managers something to think about. The Blues travel to Middlesbrough to take on the newly promoted side and it would be hard to imagine Chelsea’s unbeaten streak will be broken. A lot of managers probably already have players like Hazard or Diego Costa in their teams since the beginning of the season, but the new tactical set up has given rise to players who were at one time on the fringe at Stamford Bridge. Victor Moses who has spent more time away from Chelsea than with them since being signed a few years ago is a new man, contributing to both offense and defense and being a constant threat as wingback. Marcos Alonso, the questionable summer signing, has been fantastic scoring his first goal for the club against Everton and constantly looking to put crosses into the front three. A few key pickups from Chelsea this weekend can add a new dimension to your squad.