The Independent have teamed up with daily fantasy football game www.oulala.com and together we have analysed the key stats to identify four players that simply must be in your fantasy football team this weekend.
Oulala's extensive database of statistics, which comprises of 70 different criteria sourced straight from Opta, is the perfect tool to identify which players are currently enjoying a purple patch.
Christian Eriksen is one player worth gambling on. Tottenham’s tricky Dane is in a decent run of form, netting three times and providing two assists in nine appearances since the turn of the year. During that spell, Eriksen has consistently laid on scoring opportunities for his teammates, 37 to be exact, which works out at just over four chances created a game. He has managed 29 shots in the league in 2016, with a shot accuracy of 77 per cent during that period. Tottenham play host to Arsenal this weekend, with both teams looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats in the midweek fixtures.
Diego Costa has been inspired under Guus Hiddink since the Dutchman took the reins at Stamford Bridge, displaying the sort of form that saw him take the league by storm last season after moving from Atlético Madrid. He is averaging over a goal or assist a game in 2016, having scored six and set up a further four goals. Having set up just three goals in the entirety of the 2014/15 season, fantasy managers should take note of Costa’s proficiency in setting up teammates this campaign. He, like Eriksen, has managed 29 shots in nine appearances this calendar year, though he’ll be looking to better his shot accuracy, which currently lies at 43 per cent, converting just over a fifth of his shots. Whilst Costa has always been a physical player, and not one to shy away from contact - he has shown a controlled aggression in his play, something which Hiddink has played a big part in. Chelsea benefit from his strength in the air and ability to hold the ball up, with the Spaniard having won 13 aerial duels in the last nine league games. The Blues face Stoke City at Stamford Bridge this weekend, with the Potters looking to continue their good run.
Virgil Van Dijk is a no-brainer pick for any fantasy manager looking to upgrade their defence. We’ve referenced Costa’s strong aerial ability, but this pales in comparison to the Saints centre-back, who has won an astonishing 35 aerial duels in the league in 2016, at a success rate of 70 per cent. It is this mastery in the air that makes Van Dijk a constant threat from set pieces. At the other end of the pitch, however, is where the Dutch defender’s true value can be found. In the previous nine league games, Southampton have conceded just five goals, keeping six clean sheets in that spell. Van Dijk is equally adept when the ball is on the ground, having made 18 tackles at a 58 per cent success rate, 33 interceptions, six blocks, and a staggering 79 clearances during that period. Southampton are at home to a Sunderland side this weekend that has conceded seven goals in their last three away trips in the league, earning just one point.
Roberto Firmino is our final pick this week, and with good reason. The Brazilian, like many foreign players coming to the Premier League, had a quiet start to the season, but has found his feet in recent months. In his last eight appearances, Firmino has scored six and created a further four goals for his Reds teammates. Averaging over two chances created per match in that period, Firmino has linked up well with his compatriot Coutinho when they’ve both been on the pitch and the two pose a constant threat to the opponent’s goal. The no.11 has made 34 successful passes per game at a 76 per cent completion rate, firing off 23 shots at a 47 per cent shot accuracy in that time. Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace this weekend, and you’d fancy the Brazilian to continue his fine goal scoring form against an Eagles side who have conceded five goals in their last two league games.
Stats supplied by daily fantasy football game www.oulala.com
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