Just when you thought the international break would pass without incident, along come Tottenham to chuck a great big cat among the Premier League pigeons.
Mauricio Pochettino is out and Jose Mourinho is in, but what impact will that have on fantasy football?
Will Lucas Moura come in from the cold? Can Jose put a spring back in Christian Eriksen’s step? And which defensive combination will the ‘Special One’ pick?
We’re here to help you through all the tough calls ahead of gameweek 13.
Let the dust settle
Mourinho’s Manchester United were far from spectacular, but they did provide the odd clean sheet – a quality that has been sorely lacking at Tottenham this season.
More pragmatic than his predecessor, the Portuguese is likely to make Spurs tougher to beat, making the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose more attractive than they have previously been.
Our advice is to hang fire until you see what kind of selections Jose makes in his first few games before taking the plunge.
Further forward, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min remain assets regardless but keep an eye on Eriksen and Dele Alli for signs of life as well as Erik Lamela and Moura, should they suddenly find favour under the new boss.
Mane wins points against Palace
Yes, we know, suggesting you pick the second-highest scoring player in the game hardly constitutes an expert tip. But on the off chance that you don’t yet have Sadio Mane in your side, allow us to gently suggest that this is the week to make it so.
On Saturday, Liverpool face Crystal Palace – an opponent for whom Mane has a real affection (or vendetta, depending on your viewpoint). He has scored in each of his last four Premier League games against Roy Hodgson’s side.
His broader record of seven goals in nine Premier League games against Palace is his best goalscoring record against any English top-flight opponent.
Plus, he’s the second highest scoring player in the game. Did we mention that already?
It’s… Jamie Vardy
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored in his last four Premier League games, netting six goals in total. He last scored in more consecutive Premier League games during his record run of 11 in August-November 2015.
He couldn’t, could he?
One thing is for sure, you don’t want to have ignored him or shipped him out if he does. But then, why on earth would you do that? Or indeed get rid of any Leicester players at the moment?
An away game at Brighton this weekend is followed by fixtures against Everton (h), Watford (h), Aston Villa (a) and Norwich (h).
So Ben Chilwell, Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison are worth a look. If you want a more left-field choice, how about Harvey Barnes? He’s starting regularly and looking a threat every time.
A forgotten gem?
Fantasy football is a lot like high fashion – everyone is after the latest season’s hot item. In 2019, everyone is crawling over themselves to get hold of a Sheffield United midfielder mistakenly listed as a defender.
However, the canny shopper can still find value in previous years’ most desirable garments. Currently stuffed halfway along the coat rail of Wolverhampton’s TK Maxx is one Matt Doherty – a sleek little number that ripped up the catwalks in 2018.
Injury meant the wing-back struggled to recapture his top-flight debut season form at the start of this campaign, but he is starting to threaten serious points again.
He has started Wolves’ last three games – his longest run in the side in 2019-20 – and while he hasn’t scored or assisted in that time he has had seven shots and created three chances.
His 20 touches in the opposition box is the highest of any defender in the league since 1 October and his expected goals of 0.98 is the fourth highest.
He is also part of a Wolves side that has not conceded more than once since mid-September and this Saturday faces a Bournemouth side that have scored just twice in their last five.
Callum Wilson is on a five-game drought and Joshua King is injured.
Other things to consider
- Jack Grealish could well be back for Aston Villa after missing the last couple of games through injury.
- Goalkeeper Dean Henderson is ineligible to face parent club Manchester United, which might compromise Sheffield United’s previously stellar defence.
- Tottenham’s Harry Kane has scored 28 goals in 45 Premier League London derbies – only Thierry Henry (43), Teddy Sheringham (32) and Frank Lampard (32) have netted more goals in such games. Kane averages a goal every 132 minutes in these fixtures, second only to Henry (one every 114 minutes, minimum 10 goals).
- After a run of 10 games and 26 shots without a Premier League goal, Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu has netted with two of his last four attempts and is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time.
- Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has scored more Premier League goals against Chelsea than any other player in the competition’s history (10). The Argentine has netted eight goals in his last six against the Blues, including a hat-trick in this fixture last season.