Riyad Mahrez: Manchester City sign winger from Leicester for £60m

Manchester City have broken their club record to sign winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for £60m.

The 27-year-old has signed a five-year deal to become the Blues' first recruit since they won the Premier League.

They walked away from a potential deal for the Algerian in January after being put off by Leicester's valuation.

Mahrez said the club's style of play is "perfect" for him and he wanted to be part of a club which is "redefining the English game".

"Watching them from afar has been a pleasure," said Mahrez.

"Pep Guardiola is committed to playing attacking football, and City's performances last season were outstanding.

"I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep's management."

An end to a transfer saga

Mahrez scored 48 Leicester goals, with 39 of them coming in the Premier League

Mahrez was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year during Leicester's surprise Premier League triumph in 2015-16, and leaves the club having scored 48 goals in 179 appearances.

The Foxes said Mahrez had "played his way into the hearts" of supporters during four and a half years with the club.

"His moments of magic will live long in the memory as the club and its fans continue to build a long-term legacy for the success delivered by the teams to which Riyad so memorably contributed," a Leicester statement read.

Mahrez handed in a transfer request in January but his move broke down with Manchester City not prepared to pay a £95m package demanded by Leicester.

He stayed at the King Power Stadium - scoring 12 league goals in 36 games as the Foxes finished ninth in the Premier League - and admitted he had "regrets" over a dispute with the club which saw Professional Footballers' Association offer to mediate.

Manchester City were thought to have offered £50m at the time, but the final fee exceeds the £57m they paid Atletico Madrid for defender Aymeric Laporte in January.

The deal represents a profit in excess of £59m for Leicester, who signed Mahrez from Le Havre for £400,000 in 2014.

'He beats defenders' - what do Manchester City get for £60m?

Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: "Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space.

"Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League's most exciting players. We're sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad."

Mahrez in numbers

Mahrez met manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City's training ground on Tuesday

Source: BBC NEWS

Man City many years from Barcelona level - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are "many years" away from being at the same level of former club Barcelona.

He won his first trophy as City boss in the Carabao Cup, and they are four wins away from the Premier League title.

City have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals, holding a 4-0 advantage before Wednesday's last-16 second leg at home to Basel.

"To think about joining these kinds of teams [like Barcelona], you have to be there a long time," Guardiola said.

"We won one title but it is not good for us comparing with that team. They dominated the last decade - 15-20 years with different managers, different players. Every season they won a lot of things."

During his time with Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, Guardiola won 14 trophies, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League successes.

City are still likely to be without midfielder Fernandinho and forward Raheem Sterling for the return leg against Swiss team Basel at Etihad Stadium.

The pair are only just back in training after hamstring injuries but could be back in contention for Monday's Premier League trip to Stoke.

Fabian Delph could return at left-back against Basel, having served a three-game domestic suspension.

"We start again from zero. We have to be focused not to make a mistake - just be focused on what we have to do, offensively and defensively, to control the game and go through. That is the target," Guardiola said.

"Champions League games are something special and you have to be focused. Of course we are delighted with the result we have done [in the first leg] but in football everything can happen."

City have only progressed past the round of 16 once in their last six consecutive Champions League appearances, eventually losing to Real Madrid in the 2015-16 semi-finals.

Match Stats

Source: BBC NEWS

Manchester City want to beat United to Espanyol's Aaron Martin - sources

Manchester City are interested in signing Espanyol left-back Aaron Martin after sending scouts to watch him in Monday's 1-0 win over Real Betis, sources close to City have told ESPN FC.

Martin played the full 90 minutes and City boss Pep Guardiola is ready to make a move to sign him in January as he wants to bring in a left-back to replace the injured Benjamin Mendy.

Mendy is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury and Guardiola has been forced to play midfielder Fabian Delph in a left-back role in the Frenchman's absence.

The City boss has admitted he may be forced into the transfer market when the window reopens in January and sources have told ESPN FC that Martin has emerged as his top target after watching him in action on several occasions in the last few weeks.

Last month, sources told ESPN FC that Manchester United had an interest in Martin, but City are now ready to beat their rivals to the 22-year-old's signature.

Martin is regarded as one of the best young full-backs in Europe after catching the eye at Espanyol since breaking into the first team last October.

He was handed a new contract until 2020 soon after making his Espanyol debut, is a Spanish U-21 international and has also represented the Catalonia senior team.

Source: http://www.espnfc.com/story/3259190/manchester-city-want-to-beat-united-to-espanyols-aaron-martin-sources

Man City's Kevin De Bruyne Explains Half-Time Outburst During Napoli Clash

Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has lifted the lid on his half-time outburst in their clash against Napoli on Tuesday night - playing down the situation which at the time looked quite intense.

De Bruyne has been in immaculate form this season, and proved his ability again against Napoli; setting up Raheem Sterling to take the score to 2-0 to the Citizens.

However, just before half time, the Belgian was booked for dissent, which appears to be the reason behind his anger as the whistle was blown at the halfway point. Being dragged away from the fourth official by David Silva and Fernandinho, De Bruyne is heard shouting 'Let me talk!' three times as he heads towards the tunnel:

 

 

However, the 26-year-old took the time to discuss the incident after the match - which City eventually won 2-1.

​"No, I think we had a little discussion at the time, it happens." De Bruyne said after the game, via Metro.

"There’s nothing wrong, after one minute then it’s over.

 

FBL-EUR-C1-MAN CITY-NAPOLI

 

"I think at home I also get into some arguments with my wife, I think it’s normal.

"I think it’s necessary. But now everything is okay.

"It’s just what happens sometimes, you have a collision of words, there was nothing big about it."

Despite their strong attacking ability - which was once again shown in the opening stages at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, City will be putting most of their praise on goalkeeper Ederson Moraes after their victory.

The Premier League leaders gifted Napoli two penalties during the Champions League tie, and despite conceding the second, Ederson managed to save the first spot kick that came his way - which played a huge role in City's win.

Source: 90Min.com

Barcelona and Man City Set to Compete for Signature of Coveted Borussia Dortmund Star

​Barcelona and Manchester City have been tipped to go head to head in pursuit of talented Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl, which may come as no surprise given that he is a player media reports have dubbed the 'new Sergio Busquets'.

According to AS, Barcelona intend to strengthen the base of their midfield and see 22-year-old Weigl as the perfect fit to ensure that Busquets can be rested and the team not suffer. In that sense, he would offer better relief than Andre Gomes or Sergi Roberto.

Barça are said to have been following the German international since last season and that there is excitement at Camp Nou because few others around Europe are seen to have his degree of fluency on the field.

But the Catalan giants are expected to face stiff competition from a former son in Pep Guardiola, who has apparently urged Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain, another former Barça hero, to bid for Weigl at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola, AS declares, is 'in love' with Weigl as a player and wants him in Manchester.

It is also noted that while Barça can rival any club in the world when it comes to offering an attractive place to play football, they cannot compete with City on a financial level.

Were a move to City to materialise, Weigl would strengthen the existing central midfield unit of Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan. It would given Kevin de Bruyne a freer role, and would likely coincide with the departure of veteran star Yaya Toure, who will turn 35 years of age in May.

Source: 90min.com

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football Game Week 6

It is Game Week 6 in the Premier League and it is currently shaping up as the battle of Manchester, with Manchester City and Manchester United topping the table. After five games both sides have identical records (13 points, 16 goals For/2 Goals Against), which is a very bright start for both clubs.

Both sides won comfortably last weekend, with City winning 0-6 away to previously unbeaten Watford whilst United beat Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Chelsea sit just 3 points behind on 10 points and are starting to find their feet once again and with the Diego Costa situation now finally resolved, The Blues can focus on their title defence. They were involved in a very competitive match with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last weekend, with the away side putting in one of their best defensive performances in a long time, to nullify the Chelsea attack. Pedro went close on one occasion but took too long to get the ball out of his feet after being sent through on goal by Cesc Fabregas. Aaron Ramsey also went close for The Gunners, hitting the woodwork, before Alexandre Lacazette blazed the rebound over the bar.

All three clubs at the top of the table won in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday with Chelsea and United winning comfortably against Nottingham Forest (5-1) and Burton Albion (4-1) respectively, whilst City had a tougher time despatching West Bromwich Albion. They eventually did thanks to Leroy Sane who added his second goal of the game in the 90th minute to seal a spot in the fourth round.

Manchester City host strugglers Crystal Palace, who managed to score their first goal and secure their first win of the season against Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night. Chelsea and Manchester United travel to Stoke City and Southampton respectively, with the home sides looking to frustrate to title contenders.

The fixtures for Game Week 6 can be found below:

Saturday 23/09

12:30 pm

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur

3:00 pm

Burnley v Huddersfield

Everton v Bournemouth

Man City v Bournemouth

Southampton v Man United

Swansea City v Watford

Stoke City v Chelsea

5:30 pm

Leicester City v Liverpool

Sunday 24/09

4:00 pm

Brighton v Newcastle

Monday 25/09

8:00 pm

Arsenal v West Brom

Here are this week’s picks in each position.

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

Ederson (£15)

Ederson will be looking for his fourth clean sheet of the season as City hosr Crystal Palace, a side that are still winless in the league.

Had he not have gone off injured half-way through against Liverpool, the Brazilian may well have had another clean sheet to his name but then again Sadio Mane would still have been on the field so the game may have been a more even contest.

Either way, Ederson has so far shown City were right to fork out the £34.7m they spent on him, as he looks the keeper Pep Guardiola has been after. Guardiola has always wanted a keeper that not only keeps well but looks assured on the ball, in order to launch attacks from the back. Ederson so far has provided this and looks to have settled into English football well.

Whilst Palace finally got their first goal and win mid-week against Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup, Rot Hodgson’s side still has plenty of work to do and City will not be the challenge they need whilst still in this transition.

A clean sheet is definitely on the cards for Ederson who has conceded just 2 league goals this season and as such looks a safe play this week.

The Value:

Heurelho Gomes (£13)

Despite conceding six goals against Man City last time out, there is still every chance that Gomes can keep his third straight away clean sheet in the league this season as Watford travel to Swansea.

Swansea have been solid defensively but far from prolific going forward and as such may well frustrate the away side without putting too much pressure on Gomes’ goal.

Being the home side you will hope Swansea create some attempts on goal for Gomes to keep out and as a result accumulate some fantasy points. Despite conceding six, Gomes produced his highest amount of saves last week (4) and will look to build on that this week.

At £13 I think it is worth chancing that this plays out as a 0-0 bore draw, making Gomes’ counterpart a viable option in fantasy also.

The Alternative:

Lukasz Fabianski (£14)

Apart from their 0-4 home loss to Man United in week two, Swansea have looked fairly solid defensively and will be hoping for back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season.

Fabianksi has kept three clean sheets in Swansea’s first five league games and whilst they have conceded five goals, four of those came against United so it looks as though Swansea can keep less prolific teams at bay.

They proved this in fine fashion last week, frustrating Tottenham at Wembley last weekend with Fabianski making an impressive 8 saves. This led to a 20-point outing for the Polish goalkeeper, which is his outstanding game of the season so far.

15 saves in his last two games suggest Fabianksi is in fine form and whilst Watford have won both of their away games 0-2 this season, Swansea should put up a better fight defensively than both Bournemouth and Southampton did in those two wins for the away side.

There is a danger that Watford come out with a point to prove after their embarrassing defeat last weekend but Swansea are unlikely to roll over and let their visitors run riot. Watford have enough about them to get shots in on goal, as Newcastle did in the last game at the Liberty Stadium and this provides Fabianski with a chance to score fantasy owners some vital points.

Defenders

The Stud:

Marcos Alonso (£17)

It has been a few weeks since Marcos Alonso has featured in these previews but I am ready to put my faith back into the Spanish wing-back.

Chelsea will be looking to find the net as they travel to Stoke this week after drawing a blank against Arsenal at home last weekend and their superior wing-back play will be a vital part of that.

Stoke are a notoriously difficult side to break down and Alonso is the sort of player that can pop up with a vital assist or goal at an opportune time.

With Alvaro Morata such a threat in the air, Chelsea should be a consistent threat from crosses this season, unlike last year where they ranked 20th in cross completion. Alonso can deliver a good ball in, as can Davide Zappacosta, but such is the uncertainty of who starts on the right-hand side between Zappacosta and Victor Moses, Alonso is the safer option.

Chelsea are starting to look like the championship-winning side of last season but will need to make up ground on the Manchester clubs soon, so these potential banana-skin games are must-wins already.

The Value:

Nacho Monrael (£13)

Nacho Monrael has played very consistently in his new role as one of three central defenders, whilst Sead Kolasinac is operating in Monrael's previous role at left wing-back.

Monrael is averaging over 7 points a game so far this season but has posted two 9+ point games in his last two league starts, thanks to clean sheets against Bournemouth and Chelsea.

Arsenal are hosting West Brom on Monday night and the away side have laboured to a 3-1 away loss to Brighton and a 0-0 draw with West Ham in their least two games.

The Gunners have looked very solid defensively in their last two league games which is somewhat out of character for them, but Arsenal Wenger will be hoping it continues and the new system continues to work.

The central-midfield pairing of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka is helping provide cover for the defence and Monrael is benefiting in fantasy terms as a result.

At £13 you are getting a player that is part of an in-form Arsenal defence who could well claim another clean sheet Monday night.

The Alternative:

John Stones (£15)

Whilst we cannot expect Stones to keep scoring goals (2 against Feyenoord), he is part of a defence that looks to have settled after a shaky start, conceding just 2 league goals this season.

City shouldn't face too much of an attacking onslaught from Palace who may well look to tighten up at the back, rather than attack as they transition to Hodgson's style of play.

Although his 10.55 point average this season is bloated by the 31.55 point showing against Feyeenord, fantasy owners can fully expect Stones to still get near the 10-point mark this weekend.

At £15 Stones is worth coupling with Ederson in your line-ups in the hope the pair keep another clean sheet between them, without even considering the possibility that Stones gets a goal at the other end.

Midfielders

The Stud:

Kevin De Bruyne (£26)

De Bruyne is the most expensive midfielder this week but for very good reason. The Belgian playmaker has picked up exactly where he left off last season, recording four assists in his last three games across all competitions.

With the potent attack of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne has quality finishers to supply and given his proven set-piece ability, there is every chance he can match or even better the 18 assists he posted last season.

Palace are a fragile side at the moment and look like they can be taken apart, especially given City’s effort on the road against Watford last time out and a similar result is by no means out the question.

Palace’s defence will be bolstered by the return of £30m signing, Mamadou Sakho at centre-back which may well improve his side, but City could still prove too good going forward even with the Frenchman in the heart of defence.

Both Manchester sides have been running riot this season and City have scored 11 goals in their last two league games without response so you wouldn't bet against them scoring a couple this weekend.

Should this match run to form, De Bruyne will have ample opportunity to not only keep up his current fantasy scoring (12.3 point average) but possibly eclipse the 18.55 point showing against Liverpool which is his highest output so far this season.

The Value:

Pascal Gross (£15)

Pascal Gross has been essential to Brighton’s chances of scoring this season and has actually been directly involved (2 goals, 2 assists) in all four goals Brighton have scored in the league this season.

Gross scored 2 goals and assisted the other in Brighton’s 3-1 home win over West Brom and chalked up another assist in their 2-1 loss to Bournemouth last weekend.

With another home game for him to get his teeth into there is a good chance Gross keeps up this good run of form, and he will be hoping to be involved in another goal this weekend.

Home form will be key to Brighton’s survival chances this season and with Newcastle potential relegation candidates as well there is no playing down the importance of this game. As such, Brighton will be looking to Gross to get the job done again, and will hope he finds the ball at his feet more often than not Saturday afternoon.

All the time he is available at such a modest price it is worth taking the chance on Gross, as he has quickly established himself as the key player in a side that will be looking to put their slow start behind them.

The Alternative:

Matt Ritchie (£18)

Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie is starting to come into his own once again this season and has now recorded four assists in his last three games, including two last time out against Stoke.

The Scotland international has generally been involved in anything good about Newcastle this season, proving a reliable set-piece taker and will no doubt chip in with some goals as the season goes on. A visit to Brighton this weekend will provide Ritchie with another chance to star in what looks to be an improving Newcastle side.

Ritchie’s crosses in open-play still come under scrutiny and he has proved to be very one-footed (left) at times, but should he improve on this over the course of the season he can become even more integral to his side’s campaign.

As nominated penalty taker there is always a chance he can find himself on the scoresheet that way, but for now it is his ability to provide chances for others that we should rely on.

Whilst he has averaged 11.8 points a game over his last three league outings he has still only peaked at 13.95 points, so there is still room for improvement in terms of fantasy and a game against weaker opposition may provide him with that opportunity.

Brighton have kept just one clean sheet this season, when drawing 0-0 with Watford in week 3 but will look forward to playing at the Amex Stadium once again after winning 3-1 in front of their own fans against West Brom two weeks ago. A 2-1 loss to Bournemouth followed last weekend but this was on the road and Brighton should be much better at home. They have only played at home twice so far, losing 0-2 on the opening day against Manchester City before getting that win against West Brom.

Newcastle broke down a resilient Swansea side on the road three weeks ago, which was the start of their current three-win run, so whilst Brighton should put up a good fight and a close game can be expected, there is a good chance the away side breakthrough. A set-piece may be the difference between Newcastle scoring or not and as Ritchie is so involved in those, he looks to be the player to have from The Magpies.

Forwards

The Stud:

Sergio Aguero (£29)

Like De Bruyne there is no real surprises here but Aguero looks the best pick this week given the current form of the Argentine striker.

Aguero has now scored 6 goals in his first 7 games in all competitions this season, with a hat-trick and two assists in his last showing against Watford.

Despite suggestions the two couldn’t play together, Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have formed a formidable strike partnership so far this season and both are greatly benefitting from the other’s performances.

With the likes of De Bruyne and David Silva constantly feeding balls through, there is no worries about whether Aguero will get chances and all City need to worry about is keeping these four players fit in order to stand a clear chance of winning the league this season.

At £29 you are looking at not just the most expensive forward but the most expensive player overall which will take up a large chunk of your salary cap. Both Aguero and De Bruyne can be put in the same line-up if you make use of the value picks elsewhere though and as a result they look must-starts against a desperate Palace side.

The Value:

Laurent Depoitre (£14)

After a 7-minute cameo appearance against West Ham United two weeks ago, Laurent Depoitre made his full Premier League debut against Leicester City and made an immediate impact for his new club, scoring the opening goal in the 1-1 draw.

The striker, who was used sparingly by Porto last season (2 goals in 13 apps) has been subject to fitness concerns this past week, with fatigue cited as the issue and that had fans worried. This makes sense given his lack of playing time last season but he has now had plenty of time off, after being left out of the squad for Huddersfield’s Carabao Cup tie with Crystal Palace and is expected to start this weekend.

Burnley look a decent defence and are generally expected to play well at home, as they did so often last season but despite their best efforts they have only kept the one clean sheet so far this season and that was against Crystal Palace. They defended well to keep Palace at bay that game, as the away side had 23 shots but only 4 were on target. Palace were the better side that day and had it not have been for a poor back pass from Lee Chung-yong the result may well have been different.

The Belgian striker should get some opportunities to score and if he can take a chance as well as he did against Leicester on his full debut, a goal could well be on the cards again here.

With Steve Mounie out through injury, Depoitre should be the focal point of Huddersfield’s attack, as they look for another impressive result to start their season. They looked average away to West Ham two weeks ago but that was The Hammers’ first home game of the season, leading to a more inspired performance from them.

At £14 Depoitre has the potential to be a very useful Utility player or second Forward, saving you salary that you can spend effectively elsewhere.

The Alternative:

Jermain Defoe (£17)

Jermain Defoe got his first goal since his return to Bournemouth, as his side brushed aside relegation and South-Coast rivals, Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 last weekend.

Bournemouth travel north to play Everton, who have been struggling no-end this season and do not look like picking up in a hurry. Everton did get their second win of the season, beating Sunderland 3-0 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night but their form in the league and in Europe has been woeful so far.

Since beating Stoke on the opening day of the season, Everton have drawn 0-0 to Manchester City before losing three straight league games, either side of their 3-0 loss to Atalanta in the Europa League.

Everton have played City, Chelsea, Tottenham and United in their last four league games so couldn’t expect an awful lot points-wise, but it is the manner of their last three defeats (9 goals conceded, 0 scored) that has raised concern.

Defoe is exactly the sort of striker that can feast on a shaky defence and Everton look exactly that at the moment, so the English international looks a good bet to double his tally this season.

Bournemouth will be hoping to keep the momentum going after winning their first league game last weekend and adding another win against the same opposition in the Carabao Cup Tuesday night.

 

Sadio Mané - Red Card Interpretation

The Barclays Premier League is the one that keeps on giving, week after week. No sooner have we gotten over one problem when another one comes hurtling along the line. Last weekend was no different and thanks to referees Jon Moss and Mike Jones we had plenty to chat about in the bars and clubs around the length and breath of the country. It was not the fact that these officials had been at the centre of controversy over the weekend, but in the way everyone interpreted their decisions.

https://youtu.be/W9FLJXE6Qs8

Jon Moss took control of arguably the biggest game of the weekend between Manchester City and Liverpool and the fall out from his decision to send off Liverpool's Mane for a challenge on the Manchester City goalkeeper is still going on. As a rule I very rarely have much time for the opinions of ex footballers when it comes to refereeing decisions as in my opinion they have not got an idea about applying the laws of the game. So when Jon Moss sent off Mane, cue the usual moaning as to what most of them saw as a bad decision. In fact this is where there is a strange twist to the story, as in my opinion on the day Jon Moss got it drastically wrong as well. As I was watching the game live on TV like most fans I thought to myself that it was a terrible decision to show a red card. In my opinion the player was only going for the ball and if we can not challenge for the ball anymore we may as well just pack the game in, I actually felt at the time that at worst it deserved a yellow card. The difference with this decision was that the challenge had endangered the City goalkeeper,s safety and that is why Jon sent off Mane. The Liverpool player must surely have felt hard done by, but that is the way the modern game has gone and in fairness we have to be thankful as it gives players better protection. A good friend of mine who is a former referee in South Africa, Errol Sweeney, got slaughtered on social media in the aftermath of the game when he posted that he thought it should only have been a yellow card as well. The laws of the game are laid down in front of people who play the game, but the most important thing is how to apply them. Jon Moss got it spectacularly correct on Saturday, not like quite a few of us who got it wrong or maybe it was our interpretation that was wrong.

If you fast forward from the incident that happened on Saturday and look at the one that happened in the Swansea and Newcastle game on Sunday you will see a totally  different outcome for a similar challenge. The referee in charge of this game was Mike Jones and in my opinion he is an accident waiting to happen every time he enters the field of play. Over the years Mike has given us some great entertainment with the decisions he has got horribly wrong. On Sunday, Mike had a tricky incident to deal with when a high boot by Newcastle,s Matt Ritchie caught a Swansea player around the head area, but it was only punished with a yellow card. The challenge was very similar to the one involving Mane on Saturday but on this ocasssion the colour of the card was different. The fact that the Swansea defender did not hit the ground or indeed need medical attention probably had a huge impact on Mike making his mind up as to what to do. I am not saying on this occasion that Mike was wrong but I also feel he was not correct either.

Both of these games brought about different outcomes for similar decisions, something that needs to be sorted out. Interpretation of the laws of the game are vital if the officials are to become more consistent and the only way they can get these big calls correct is to discuss them at meetings and work shops so as everyone is singing from the same songbook, but this will take a great deal of work and understanding. I do not see consistency improving anytime soon.

By David Meier

English clubs splashed out more than £1billion on international summer transfers

Clubs in England spent more than £1billion on cross-border transfers in the summer window - more than twice the amount spent by clubs from any other country, according to figures from FIFA.

Manchester City were the biggest spenders in the international market, shelling out more than £200million, but Manchester United and Chelsea invested more than £100million each.

In total, English clubs brought in 526 players from foreign clubs over the summer but made more than £350million in international sales.

Under FIFA rules, all moves involving clubs in different countries must be logged on its International Transfer Matching System, and these numbers come from its annual analysis of transfer activity in the so-called 'Big five' - England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Overall, 7,590 international transfers were completed worldwide between June 1 and September 1, and global spending reached a record £3.56billion, which is almost as much as clubs spent in all of 2016.

Most of those moves, though, were either loans, free transfers or for very small sums, and the vast majority of the serious shopping was done by the 'Big five', which explains why they accounted for only one in five deals but nearly four fifths of the total spend.

Looking at those five alone, there were 1,608 incoming transfers, up more than 6 per cent on last summer, with £2.77billion spent, up more than 31.7 per cent. The big increase in expenditure - three times the amount spent five years ago - is hardly surprising in a summer when Paris St Germain splashed out £200.6million on Neymar alone.

After English clubs, Spanish sides were the next biggest spenders on 480million, although they actually brought in £565million in sales and were the only ones among the 'Big five' to post a profit on international trading.

Buoyed by PSG's trolley dash, French clubs spent more than £450million, nearly three times as much as their total outlay in 2016. Germany and Italy, on the other hand, did less cross-border business than last year, spending under £400million apiece.

Source: PA



Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.Source: Football.co.uk

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football Game Week 4

It is Game Week 4 in the English Premier League this week and things are starting to take shape early. After three impressive victories, scoring 10 goals and conceding 0, Manchester United are the early favourites to land the trophy this season.

Defending champions, Chelsea have returned to form after losing 2-3 at home to Burnley on opening day. Two wins have followed, the first a 0-2 away victory v Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, before hosting big summer spenders Everton at Stamford Bridge, and brushing them aside 2-0.

Tottenham have made an indifferent start to the season, beating Newcastle United 0-2 on opening day, before losing at their make-shift home the following week. A draw with Burnley, again at Wembley means they have accrued 4 points from their first three games but will hope Harry Kane puts August behind him and start firing.

Despite starting the season unbeaten with two wins and a draw, Manchester City have been far less convincing than their neighbours, relying on a Raheem Sterling winner deep into extra-time to beat Bournemouth last time out. After facing two relegation candidates in Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth in their first three games, it was only going to get tougher for Pep Guardiola’s side and a visit from Liverpool this weekend will provide a sterner test. If they can overcome that obstacle with a big performance, they can send a strong message to their fellow title challengers, proving they mean business.

Liverpool have looked strong themselves so far, winning twice on the bounce at home, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 and Arsenal 4-0 the following week. The 3-3 draw with Watford on the opening day of the season will leave a sour taste in their mouth but with Watford unbeaten in their first three starts (1 win, 2 draws) it may not seem that bad of a result as the week’s progress.

The 4-0 loss to Liverpool in their last game has left Arsenal fans reeling and calls for Arsene Wenger to step down are ringing around North London again. Since overcoming Leicester City in a 4-3 thriller on opening day, Arsenal have now lost their last two, with the other loss coming at the hands of Stoke City, at the bet365 Stadium. The Gunners will look for a successful return from the International Break, as they host Bournemouth this week. Keeping Alexis Sanchez may well be key to their season, should the Chilean be in the right mind-set to help his current employers. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of course departed for Liverpool, but getting £35m for a want-away player in the last season of his contract looks good business. The Englishman has thus far failed to reach his potential and has a long way to go to prove he is worth the significant money paid for him.

Elsewhere, Huddersfield Town (2 wins, 1 draw), West Bromwich Albion (2 wins, 1 draw) and Southampton (1 win, 2 draws) are all unbeaten. Southampton have played out two bore-draws against Huddersfield and Swansea City, whilst Huddersfield and West Brom have both been more impressive in their two victories.

Huddersfield are the clear surprise package so far this season, keeping three straight clean sheets during their unbeaten run. Whilst any game was expected to be a tough affair for the Yorkshire-based club, we will only find out how good they really can be when they player a bigger opponent. That might have to wait another week though, as they travel to the capital to play West Ham, who are playing at the London Stadium for the first time this season.

West Ham sit alongside Bournemouth and Crystal Palace at the foot of the table, with all three sides sitting on 0 points. Brighton are the other side without a win, although they did get a draw and their first clean-sheet of the season against Watford last time out.

Here are three players in each position that I believe can impress in Game Week 4.

 

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

David De Gea (£16)

Until proven otherwise, the Manchester United defence looks extremely solid, with a rejuvenated Phil Jones partnering Eric Bailly in the centre-half roles, whilst Daley Blind and Antonio Valencia occupy the full-back/wing-back roles.

Stoke City are not the most prolific of scorers but Jese Rodriguez may just provide enough of a threat to force countryman, De Gea into a couple of saves this weekend.

After keeping a clean sheet away to Leicester City in their last game I see no reason why United cannot repeat that and make it four straight games without conceding. Jones looked assured once again for England in mid-week and no other member of that back-four has looked like putting a foot wrong so far either, so it is going to take a huge effort to be the first team to break them down.

The start his side has made will delight Jose Mourinho, who has always prided himself on his team’s ability to defend well and he will hope that continues against Stoke this weekend.

I can see De Gea being called into action enough to accrue some points for saves and he will hopefully add another clean sheet to make him worth the significant outlay.

The Value Play:

Ben Foster (£14)

At £14 West Brom stopper, Ben Foster looks a steal this week as his side face relegation favourites, Brighton. Brighton have still failed to find the net this season and whilst they will have home advantage, West Brom are always a tough side to break down no matter where the game is held.

Tony Pulis has always been a defence-first type manager, following the logic that if you can keep a clean-sheet, you stand a chance. Whilst this is often criticised as a negative mind-set, it often yields results and it has certainly worked so far this season.

Foster and co. kept a clean sheet against both Bournemouth (Home) and Burnley (Away) and Brighton offer less going forward than both sides.

Brighton failed to strengthen up-front before the window closed, missing out on a number of targets and until they prove otherwise, their current crop of strikers do not look up to Premier League standards. It looks set to be another frustrating afternoon for Chris Houghton’s side, and West Brom's unbeaten league run can stretch to four games.

The Baggies have had a very successful transfer window adding talent in key areas, especially defensively with Kieran Gibbs another solid signing from Arsenal at left-back. Gibbs adds further talent to an already serviceable defence, whilst on-loan PSG midfielder Gregorz Krychowiak offers further protection in front of the back-four as well. All in all, these two signings should ensure Pulis’ side become even tougher to beat this season, making Brighton's job even harder this weekend.

The Alternative:

Lukasz Fabianksi (£14)

Swansea have kept two clean sheets this season, against Crystal Palace and Southampton and they will look to do the same when they host Newcastle United this weekend.

Newcastle did run out 3-0 winners’ last time out but that was against a struggling West Ham United and Swansea themselves have looked fairly solid so far.

With Newcastle buoyant from their last win, they will look to take the game to Swansea as they travel to Wales, but Paul Clement’s side will try their best to remain solid.

Manchester United put four past The Swans in their match-up in Game Week 2, but they have been steamrolling through most opponents and Newcastle are nowhere near the same level.

A plucky effort from the away team should see Fabianski called in to action on occasion but hopefully his side can hold firm again, and add their third clean sheet in four games.

Defenders

The Stud:

Daley Blind (£17)

The aforementioned, Daley Blind has put in some impressive performances at left-back this season and as such has become a reliable fantasy option.

The Dutch international is averaging just shy of 10 points so far this season, recording 9+ points every game. He is also averaging three successful crosses each game, and eventually one of those is going to translate into an assist.

Whilst not a typical pacey wing-back, Blind clearly operates well in his new role and has become an enticing fantasy option since making the move from defensive midfield. A good passer of the ball, Blind can be just as useful in the attacking third as he is defensively and that means more fantasy points.

Should United keep up their good form defensively and keep yet another clean sheet, Blind should approach the 10-point mark again and could exceed that should be have his hand in a goal for the first time this season

The Value Play:

Davide Zappacosta (£13)

Davide Zappacosta was brought to the Premier League by Chelsea for around £25m on deadline-day and the Italian will add some much needed depth to the right side of the defence.

Victor Moses has played pretty well in Antonio Conte’s formation, however Zappacosta may well get the nod from now on. With Zappacosta more natural in the role, as opposed to Moses who has made the transition since Conte come in, the manager may well prefer his fellow countryman.

Zappacosta joined up with the Italy squad after his transfer and despite only playing the second half against Israel on Tuesday night, was named Man of the Match.

He has been in training today for his new team and will be in the squad against Leicester City, although it yet to be seen whether he or Moses will start.

Should Zappacosta play 90 minutes, he could well prove a bargain at £13, as he looks to have the same effect as fellow Serie A recruit, Marcos Alonso has had since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Zappacosta is known for his deliveries into the box and with Alvaro Morata a convincing aerial threat, he could well have a similar impact to Alonso from a fantasy perspective. He averaged a key pass every 56.9 minutes last season and put in an impressive 167 crosses. Of his crosses 28.7% were successful and this will be incredibly helpful for a Chelsea side that ranked dead-last in the Premier League for successful crosses last season (15.9%). Zappacosta provided more assists from crosses than any defender in Italy’s top league last season, which is no small feat.

There is a good chance Conte leaves him on the bench this week as he lets the new signing settle in, but at £13 he is worth consideration. If he proves to be the sort of player he is expected to be in Conte’s system, which expects a lot from his wing-back’s, he may not be £13 for much longer.

The Alternative:

Matthew Lowton (£13)

Burnley are yet to keep a clean sheet this season but a home match up against a struggling Crystal Palace side may well provide them with a chance to secure one.

If that is the case full-back, Matthew Lowton may well outscore his price this week, given his tendency to get involved offensively as well.

He's already got an assist to his name this season ( v Chelsea) and he may well get the chance to get forward again this week.

Lowton made 4 interceptions last time out, to double his tally for the season and if he can get near that number this week, in addition to keeping a clean sheet he could put together a seriously good fantasy week.

Until Palace show any signs of improvement, it is worth picking players from the defences they face this season.

Midfielders

The Stud:

Paul Pogba (£24)

Paul Pogba has perhaps the easiest match-up of the top midfield options this week and given his form in the first three games you'd expect him to play well.

Pogba received a lot of criticism last season, despite playing solidly throughout. With two goals already to his name in the first three games, it appears the Frenchman is keen to prove to the doubters he is worth his weight in gold.

There is no doubting his abilities and when he goes on the marauding runs everyone know he can, he often looks unstoppable. This combined with his ability to shoot from long range makes him an exciting fantasy option each week.

Stoke are a hard team to break down, especially at home but with so much talent in this year's Manchester United side, it is impossible to contain everyone.

Pogba has taken 9 shots over the first three games in the league this season and although he fired five against Leicester last week without hitting the target, he surely won't be so wasteful again.

At £24 I think Pogba is the best value at the top of the list in midfield.

The Value Play:

Nathan Redmond (£16)

Nathan Redmond scored 7 goals in his debut season for Southampton and he will be hoping for an even better output this time around.

Redmond has not opened his account yet this term, but can get off he mark against Watford this weekend, in what should be a close encounter.

Redmond took 3 shots last time out against Huddersfield and 2 in each of his starts before that, so it is clear he still has an eye for goal.

The winger already has one assist to his name this season, which matches his total for the whole of last season and he will be hoping to improve in that area during this campaign.

At £16 it is worth chancing that Redmond gets forward and gets himself on the scoresheet for the first time this year, in a decent match-up at home.

The Alternative:

Tom Ince (£19)

Tom Ince was always influential in the Championship, most recently with Derby County and while he may not yet have reached the heights expected of him, he has shown promise so far this season.

Heavily involved in all three of Huddersfield's first three games, Ince will be hoping to translate his good form into goals and assists, which will in turn elevate his fantasy potential.

A constant threat to defences on his day, Ince can open his account against a very fragile looking West Ham side. The winger will relish the chance to spoil the occasion, as West Ham play in front of their home fans for the first time this season, where nerves will no doubt creep in.

At £19 he is certainly not the cheapest option this week, but if he can keep showing promise and find the goal scoring touch he showed on a consistent basis in the Championship, he may well end up reaching those lofty expectations and goals surrounding him.

Forwards

The Stud:

Harry Kane (£25)

What’s that? Oh it’s September calling, which means Harry Kane can put the supposed curse that hits him in August behind him and start scoring some goals for Tottenham.

He got two goals for England V Malta last Friday and whilst he drew a blank against Slovakia, he was starved or service, something that shouldn’t be the case with his club side.

With the likes of Christian Eriksen and Deli Alli in behind him, he is always likely to have at least a half chance during a game and given his goalscoring ability, he will soon start to take them.

Tottenham visit Everton this weekend and whilst the latter should be tough opponents, it should be an open game which will play into Kane’s hands.

At £25 it is worth plugging Kane into your side, in the hope that he can get finally open his Premier League account for the season this weekend.

Even without scoring, Kane managed to score 14.00 fantasy points against Burnley last time out and a goal will open the floodgates to some much better scoring.

Kane has won the Premier League Golden Boot for the last two consecutive seasons, so it surely won’t be long before he gets off the mark, as he looks to make it three-in-a-row.

The Value Play:

Chris Wood (£19)

Chris Wood made his Premier League debut for Burnley when they faced Tottenham last time out, with the New Zealand international introduced to the game for the last 33 minutes.

In the short time he was on the field, Wood managed to make an impact for his new side, scoring the equalising goal in added time.

It has already been reported that this could be a make or break game for Frank de Boer, needing a win to save his job so nerves are bound to run through this Palace side. Regardless of the position the manager finds himself in, Palace would still need to improve greatly on their first three performances in order to go to Turf Moor and take all three points.

Palace have conceded six goals in their first three games and I cannot see their fortunes changing this week, so a clean sheet for the away side looks unlikely. With this in mind, having Burnley’s record signing and main focal point of attack in your line-up seems wise.

Should Wood continue to adapt quickly to the Premier League and impress in the same way he did in the Championship in the last two seasons, he will be a valuable player to have in fantasy.

The Alternative:

Alvaro Morata (£23)

Whilst it was reported in the pre-season that Alvaro Morata may struggle to adapt to life in the Premier League, the Spanish striker seems to have found his feet ok.

Morata came on for the last half hour in Chelsea’s season-opener against Burnley and scored a goal and also added an assist, but it was too little too late as the away side took the spoils.

A blank v Tottenham Hotspur saw him score just 4.55 fantasy points but a week later Morata put in a performance very similar to that of his debut, scoring a goal and again adding an assist.

In two of the three league games he has played so far, Morata has exceed 16 points twice and a goal against Leicester City this weekend would see him put up similar numbers once again.

At £23 you are getting one of the league’s most talented strikers at what looks to be a discount price. Leicester are no pushovers but the 2015/16 champions conceded three away to Arsenal in week one, and two at home to Manchester United last time out, so there’s a good chance Chelsea will find the net this week.

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football Game Week 3

It is game week 3 and the first two games of the season have already given some early indications of what we can expect. Manchester United run out 0-4 winners again, this time away to Swansea City and they look like the early favourites.

Chelsea got their season right back on track, as the defending champions beat last year’s runner up 1-2 away to Tottenham Hotspur last week, who still seem to be adjusting to life at Wembley. Elsewhere the other top-4 contenders endured mixed fortunes. Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 1-0, but still have some work to do whilst Arsenal lost 1-0 away to Stoke City. Manchester City and Everton played out a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Monday Night to round off the week 2 fixtures.

Newly-promoted, Huddersfield Town once again impressed, keeping a second consecutive clean sheet, beating Newcastle United 1-0 at home. Fellow promoted-side, Brighton & Hove Albion made the now tough trip to Leicester City and failed to find the net again losing 2-0 to the 2015/16 Premier League Champions.

Two more away wins came in the form of Watford beating Bournemouth 0-2 whilst West Bromwich Albion kept their 100% record and another clean sheet, beating Burnley 0-1.

Southampton remain unbeaten, improving on their 0-0 draw in week 1, beating West Ham United 3-2. The Hammers were down to 10-men after 33 minutes as Marko Arnautovic was given his marching orders, but it was West Ham’s other summer signing, Javier Hernandez who almost saved his blushes. Hernandez scored on the stroke of half-time and scored again in the 74th minute to make it 2-2 before Charlie Austin ruined the afternoon scoring a 90th minute penalty for the home side, their second of the day.

Stand-out performers in Gameweek 2 include striker Hernandez (26.05 points), Sadio Mane (22.1 points), Marcos Alonso (23.6 points) and Jack Butland (19 points).

Mane and Alonso were both mentioned as stud options last week whilst value play, Jonas Lossl scored a very respectable 17.50 points as he kept another clean sheet in the Huddersfield goal.

Onto this week and who you should be putting into your line-ups ahead of Gameweek 3.

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

Thibaut Courtois (£15)

Thibaut Courtois looks set to busy again this week, as Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge and the Belgian will be looking to keep his first clean sheet of the season.

Last week he made six saves and conceded once against Tottenham Hotspur which was enough for him to accrue 11.00 fantasy points.

Should Chelsea tighten up at the back this week and keep their first clean sheet, Courtois could well be the highest scoring keeper this week, as Everton will no doubt get some efforts in on goal even if they can’t score.

At £15 he is available at a discount in comparison to David De Gea (£17), Ederson (£16) and Hugo Lloris (£16) and may well see the most action of the four, increasing his point-scoring potential.

The Value Play:

Lukasz Fabianski (£13)

Swansea travel to London this weekend to play Crystal Palace and whilst they haven’t been in the best form themselves their opponents are really struggling.

Palace got their season off to a terrible start, losing 0-3 at home to Huddersfield before travelling to Anfield where they lost 1-0 to Liverpool. Whilst that is to be expected away to a top-4 contender, it was the manner in which they lost that raises concern.

Wayne Hennessey had to make 12 saves at Anfield to keep the score respectable and going forward they lacked any real quality. They did improve on their showing against Huddersfield, at least defensively but they still only took 4 shots, with 1 on target. Christian Benteke squandered a good chance to score after linking up with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the Belgian is off to a frustrating start to the season.

Whilst I expect Palace to improve on their first home performance, I still think they are getting used to life under Frank De Boer and with the influential Wilfried Zaha still rehabbing from his knee injury, Palace’s attacking problems will continue going forward.

It may be hard to see Swansea keeping a clean sheet after losing 0-4 at home to Manchester United last week but they kept one against Southampton on the opening day and will be hoping for another at Selhurst Park, with Palace still looking for their first league goal of the season.

Both sides won in the cup this week, with Palace securing a 2-1 home victory against Ipswich Town, however Swansea secured a 1-4 win on the road against MK Dons and with both Jordan Ayew and Tammy Abraham getting on the scoresheet, their confidence should be higher coming into this game. If Swansea can put Palace under pressure, they could get an early goal and then shut up shop, and mark danger-man, Benteke out of the game.

Swansea have lost just one of their last twelve games against Crystal Palace, providing them with a mental edge that may just see them pick up their first win of the season.

The Alternative:

Heurelho Gomes (£14)

Heurelho Gomes and Watford have got off to a good start in the league, taking four points from a possible six and he will be looking to keep a clean sheet against a Brighton side who have failed to score a goal in the league so far this season.

With Watford the home side, you would expect them to be on the front foot and unless Brighton really take the game to them, it could be routine for The Hornets, in front of their own fans.

The last game at Vicarage Road saw them concede three goals in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool, but Liverpool are a potent attacking force whereas Brighton seem to be far from that at this level. Brighton could of course come out all guns blazing, after defending so much against Manchester City and Leicester but it remains to be seen whether they have attacking players who can really perform in the top-flight.

Watford did well to keep a clean sheet when they travelled to Bournemouth last weekend and will be hoping to do the same on home soil this week against what appear to be inferior opposition.

Defenders

The Stud:

Marcos Alonso (£18)

Until he stops totting up serious points from defence, he is a must-start for me. Whilst a clean sheet may not be expected this week, as Chelsea face a visit from Everton, Alonso should still put points up on the board.

Scoring two goals last week seriously bolstered his points tally but I still think he gives you a safe floor score, even if he doesn’t go near that 20-point mark again this week. He is such a threat in the final-third that he looks a good prospect for a goal or an assist each week, taking the pressure off a good defensive performance, at least in a fantasy sense.

Whilst Everton are a good side and Wayne Rooney has been in good form in front of goal, scoring in each of the first two games, Chelsea are still the superior side and may well welcome Eden Hazard back to the fray this week, which improves them further.

If Hazard does miss out again then like last week, Alonso will be a big feature in the final third once again, thus adding to his scoring potential further.

The Value Play:

Andrew Robertson (£14)

Liverpool kept their first and only clean sheet of the season against Crystal Palace last week and Andrew Robertson started at left-back in that game, playing well on his league debut for his new club.

Alberto Moreno has played the other three games this season, when Liverpool have conceded three against Watford and three goals over their two-legged Championship League qualifier with Hoffenheim.

With Moreno struggling again in mid-week, now is surely the time to implement Robertson into the side on a regular basis. If he starts v Arsenal he will look to get at Hector Bellerin and the rest of the Arsenal defence and get some crosses into the box for the likes of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to feast on.

Robertson put up 13.65 fantasy points in Liverpool’s home win v Palace last week and whilst it may be harder to add another clean sheet, he should offer plenty going forward again, in what should be a free-flowing attacking game.

Whilst it is a battle of two unsettled defences and goals are expected, Robertson should have the chance to chalk up some points once again even without a clean sheet. Arsenal are unlikely to go two weeks in a row without scoring, with Stoke frustrating them last week, so a clean sheet isn’t a safe assumption here, but with Robertson likely to be busy all game, his scoring potential is high.

The Alternative:

Kieran Trippier (£15)

Kieran Trippier completed his return from injury, playing 89 minutes in Tottenham’s 1-2 loss to Chelsea at Wembley last week and should now become a fantasy favourite once again.

Tottenham are now playing with a back-three in the centre, with Trippier and Ben Davies/Danny Rose in as wing-back’s on the either flank, giving Trippier a license to roam forward.

Trippier has always been known for his crossing ability and as he should now be in the starting line-up every week, thanks to the departure of Kyle Walker, he should continue to grow and impress for the rest of the season.

With the potential up-side of a clean sheet against a Burnley side who don’t travel well, Trippier has a good chance to score some good points both in an attacking and defensive sense this week.

Burnley had an awful away record last season, winning just once and losing a staggering 14 times, and on away form they finished 19th in the table. Their excellent home form ensured they finished 9th in the home table, thanks to their 10 home wins and 3 draws in their 19 games. They finished 16th in the table overall, but this just proves how much better they were at home last season and with a tough away game this week I expect them to revert back to the form of last season as they find themselves on their travels again.

At £15 Trippier is cheaper then Davies (£17) on the other flank and has every chance of being as effective now that he is injury-free.

Midfielders

The Stud:

Christian Eriksen (£27)

Despite rife speculation of a move to Barcelona, Christian Eriksen is still part of this very impressive Tottenham Hotspur side and whilst his side suffered a setback last week against Chelsea, I think they can get back to winning ways against Burnley this weekend.

Tottenham have of course got to get over the Wembley hoodoo but that will come the more they play there and I don’t want to get too hung up on them losing last week. Chelsea always raise their game against Tottenham, such is the rivalry and this week the latter will be hoping to prove they are too good for Sean Dyche’s men.

Burnley of course got that huge win at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, beating Chelsea 2-3 but they were however brought back down to earth when they hosted West Brom last week, losing 0-1.

Eriksen played brilliantly on the opening day of the season against Newcastle, setting up two goals, whilst taking five shots of his own (3 on target) and hee can repeat this sort of effort this week against Burnley.

The Danish international scored 12 goals in all competitions last season and he can get off the mark in this new season, in a nice match-up this week.

 

The Value Play:

Nathaniel Chalobah (£11)

Nathaniel Chalobah was named in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man England squad for the next two games, and will hope to get the nod in one of the fixtures to earn his first England cap.

With the England news the youngster should be in a buoyant mood as his side host Brighton, who have failed to make an impact on the Premier League so far this season.

Watford have secured 4 points in the first two league games, with Chalobah playing a large part in both games. Whilst he only managed to put up 2.45 points against Liverpool in 90 minutes he did enough to secure 6.50 points against in Bournemouth in the 89 minutes he played and he can greatly surpass that this week.

Chalobah took 5 shots against Bournemouth, two of which were on target and it would have been more had Harry Arter not shouted “leave it”, leading Chalobah to believe one of his team-mates wanted the ball when he was just about to pull the trigger himself.

A home game against Brighton should give Chalobah a license to get more involved in the final-third and if he can’t get on the scoresheet himself, hopefully he will be able to provide an assist. At £11 he can certainly secure you some vital points for a bargain price.

The Alternative:

Henrik Mkhitaryan (£25)

Despite showing flashes of brilliance last season, it was by no means plain sailing for Henrik Mkhitaryan in his debut season with Manchester United but the early signs this season are largely positive.

Often played out wide last season, a positional change in the opening two games has seen him play in the No.10 role behind Romelu Lukaku, as he did behind Pierre Emerick Aubameyang when playing for Borussia Dortmund. Although we are still just two games in the new season, it looks as though the Armenian is flourishing in his new role for his current club so it is time to take notice of him from a fantasy perspective.

In their opening two Premier League games this season, United have run out 4-0 winners both home and away and Mkhitaryan has been a big part of that. He has provided four assists (two in each game) so far this season, so it looks like he will be heavily involved in Manchester United’s attacking-play in his second season with the club.

He will be hoping to turn from provider to scorer this week and get himself off the mark against Leicester City, as he looks to improve on the four goals he scored last year. Primarily the focus though will still remain on his creative side, as he looks to supply £75m-man, Lukaku.

Leicester are United’s toughest test this season, with the 2015/16 season champions bouncing back from their narrow 4-3 opening day defeat to Arsenal, with a 2-0 home win against Brighton last weekend, so the home side will need to be on top of their game to ensure a third straight league victory.

With the opponents in mind, Mkhitaryan will hopefully find another gear from his opening two games and improve again, making him a valuable fantasy option.

Forwards

The Stud:

Javier Hernandez (£25)

West Ham’s biggest signing this window got off the mark last week, scoring two against Southampton and he can do the same this week when they visit Newcastle.

Newcastle have got off to a dismal start this season, conceding three goals over the first two games without scoring and they also lost 2-3 in extra-time to Championship side, Nottingham Forest in the week.

With such a leaky defence on show at the moment, Hernandez should be able to exploit this weakness and ensure he keeps his goal-scoring efforts, on this tough away run for West Ham. The Hammers have not played at home yet this season due to the athletics at the London Stadium and won’t play there now until they welcome Huddersfield on 11/09.

West Ham desperately need to steady the ship and get a result before the club becomes more unsettled and calls for Slaven Bilic’s sacking ring around East London again.

Hernandez gives West Ham that spark they have been lacking for so long and he is genuinely one of the best strikers in the division, when in-form and should show that against a very fragile Newcastle side.

The Value Play:

Shinji Okazaki (£15)

Shinji Okazaki has been a nuisance for defenders since he arrived in the Premier League and he has got off to a good start the campaign, scoring against in both games against Arsenal and Brighton.

Whilst Okazaki has been subbed off in both games and aside from his goal in each game hasn’t offered much fantasy-wise, he is worth chancing this week at a bargain price.

The Japanese forward has scored with both his shots on target this season and has only taken four shots in total. If he can get some more efforts on goal, he could rack up a decent points tally, especially if he adds a third goal of the season.

At the lower-end of the salary cap there are not many striking options this week, but Okazaki at least provides you with a player who has found the net twice this season, even with limited chances.

The Alternative:

Anthony Martial (£22)

Just like Okazaki, Anthony Martial has taken advantage of his limited shots on goal, the difference being Martial has only been on the pitch for 25 minutes over the first two games.

Martial came on for the last ten minutes against West Ham in week one and provided a goal and an assist in that time, as he looked to force his way into the starting XI. A week later, the Frenchman found himself on the bench again, with Jose Mourinho opting for Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata in the wide areas instead.

Despite finding himself on the bench again, Martial came on as a sub and in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch once again found the net for his second goal of the season.

He is making Mourinho’s life very difficult at the moment, almost forcing his manager to give him the nod from the off this week and if he does get handed a start, it would provide him with a chance to prove his worth once again.