Liverpool and Tottenham players key to fantasy success this week
Riyad Mahrez (£7.9m) went goalless in November, but made it into double figures for the season with a hat trick at struggling Swansea for table topping Leicester.
The Algerian is now 20 points clear at the top of the midfielders’ table. Just over a third of fantasy managers have him in their side, making him the most popular midfielder in the game. The surprise is that he’s not owned by more, although the Foxes have Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to come before the year is out.
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (£7.8m) hit his second goal and recorded his first assist of an injury-hit season in the 3-1 win over Sunderland. His points haul coincided with a move into central midfield, where the Welshman is traditionally at his most dangerous.
If the Arsenal man can stay fit, he’s almost certain to feature heavily over the busy Christmas period — the Gunners have no fewer than six big-name midfielders out injured, many of them for the long haul.
Stoke winger Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) bagged both goals in the 2-0 win over Man City, propelling him into eighth place for midfielders.
He had Xherdan Shaqiri (£6.5m) to thank for both assists as the Potters impressed up front, while continuing their excellence at the back — the clean-sheet was their eighth in their last 12 fixtures in all competitions.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp seemed to get his priorities all mixed up, putting out a hungry Capital One Cup side that destroyed Southampton and then making six changes for the league trip to Newcastle.
The result was a disjointed team that slumped to a 2-0 defeat. Christian Benteke (£8.4m) and Roberto Firmino (£6.8m) started and failed to gel. They were replaced at half-time by Adam Lallana (£7.1m) and Daniel Sturridge (£8.6m), who provided more penetration and artistry but couldn’t break down a newly-resolute Magpies backline.
Klopp favours utilising a ‘false No. 9’ as part of an attacking unit that presses high up the field — a formation that gets the best out of Philippe Coutinho (£8.7m) but not, so far at least, Benteke. The return of the Brazilian from a hamstring injury could hold the key for the Reds.
Newcastle also made changes and it worked a treat. Siem De Jong (£4.0m)was recalled, while Ayoze Perez (£7.0m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m)were dropped to the bench as Newcastle out-fought and out-ran Liverpool across the park.
Georginio Wijnaldum (£7.2m) continues to carry the major goal threat for the Magpies, netting for the seventh time in the league this season, and Newcastle have now kept three clean sheets in the past five Gameweeks.