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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 25

Preview
The midweek Premier League fixtures threw up a whole bunch of surprises, with four of the big six dropping points in games they would have expected to win. Only Arsenal, at home to Cardiff, and Tottenham, with a late turnaround against Watford, managed to take the full three points, while we all know what happened to Manchester City at Newcastle and Chelsea at Bournemouth. Plenty of reliable Fantasy Prem sorts – Mo Salah, Eden Hazard, Marcus Rashford – failed to really trouble the scorers.

Straight on to the weekend, however, and a tricky bunch of games to call. Bottom club Huddersfield travel to Stamford Bridge, which in any normal week would be screaming for a Chelsea fantasy captain – but what to expect from Maurizio Sarri’s men in these odd times? A still under-strength Tottenham host buoyant Newcastle in the early game on Saturday, while Liverpool travel to inconsistent West Ham on Monday night. And then there’s Manchester City, whose continued progress in all competitions is already taking a toll on their fixture list – so it’s two matches for them in the gameweek, at home to Arsenal and then away at Everton in midweek. That, then, is where we look when choosing our fantasy skipper for the week…

Captain’s pick

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 12-point haul for Arsenal against Cardiff in midweek justified our faith in him as our fantasy captain, but it is impossible to look beyond the Gunners’ next opponents, two-game Manchester City, for our next skipper.

Sergio Aguero was quick off the mark in his team’s shock defeat at St James’ Park on Tuesday night, so it’s hard to look past the prolific Argentine for the fantasy armband. A visit from Arsenal before a trip to face Everton on Wednesday doesn’t represent the most attractive double-header of all time, but the opportunity to pick up a double helping of points is too hard to turn down.

Value selection

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At a bargain-basement £5.1m, Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho comes in cheaper than the likes of Willian, Xherdan Shaqiri, Dele Alli, Riyad Mahrez and Jesse Lingard – and he’s outscoring them all. The Portuguese international has bagged four assists in his last two games, and the reason we think he would be good value this weekend is simple: set-pieces.

Moutinho is Wolves’ chief taker of set-pieces, both at corners and free-kicks, and has some reasonable aerial targets to aim for in the middle. Their weekend opponents are Everton, who struggle to defend set-pieces from all directions. Unless they’ve cured all their defensive ills in the past week, our guess is that the Toffees could provide Moutinho with another high-scoring fixture.

Medium-term prospect

Burnley are quietly one of the Premier League’s form horses. They are unbeaten in five and have conceded only four goals in that run, having shipped 12 in the five before that – and their back-to-fitness, back-to-form centre-back James Tarkowski has been a central figure in that run. The 26-year-old has a strong positional sense and is developing a knack of getting himself in between the ball and his own goal – witness goalline clearances in recent games against Watford and Fulham (below).

The Clarets have a sympathetic run of fixtures coming up; their next five opponents are Southampton, Brighton, Tottenham, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, so there is the potential for clean sheets. Throw in Tarkowski’s ability at the other end – he has three goals so far this season, although only one since August – and he could prove a smart fantasy addition through February.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 25

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