Holly Shand shares her five transfer targets ahead of the weekend. With a significant junction in fixture difficulty, these options should return over a number of weeks...
Jamie Vardy is on course for another sensational season, following the highs of winning the Golden Boot in his last campaign.
The Headline Pick: Jamie Vardy - Fulham (H)
Jamie Vardy is on course for another sensational season, following the highs of winning the Golden Boot in his last campaign. Vardy has already grabbed eight goals in 2020/21 from eight appearances, having also missed a penalty and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Little wonder that Vardy is the 6.611/2 third favourite to win the Golden Boot.
There's some encouragement in Vardy's underlying statistics: he's had 11 shots and created four chances in his last four games. This is a significant upturn from the start of the season and Leicester have found the back of the net on six occasions in this spell. He should also retain spot-kick duty, despite that miss against Wolves.
Fantasy managers will be hoping to see Vardy absent from the Europa League squad midweek: he looked uncomfortable at the end of the Liverpool game last weekend and we know he has an on-going hip issue that needs managing. This week Leicester face a Fulham side without a clean sheet on the road this season: they've conceded a league high of 18 goals.
The Budget Pick: Diogo Jota vs Brighton (A)
Diogo Jota has been a surprise package this season: his reclassification from forward to midfielder and his transfer from Wolves to Liverpool have both increased his appeal as a fantasy asset. He was largely expected to be a squad player for the Reds this campaign, but he already has four starts this campaign.
Two of those coincided with the absences of Mane and Salah from the squad due to isolation, but his start against Manchester City alongside this pair and Roberto Firmino is significant. This could be a longer-term shift in formation or Jota could ultimately replace Firmino in that front three.
Regular starts would be significant for Jota at his price point, he's almost half the cost of Salah and Mane, yet providing similar levels of returns. He has four goals this season, including two as a substitute. He's a streaky player, so now is arguably the time to buy while he's hot property.
The VAR Pick: Kevin De Bruyne - Burnley (H)
Manchester City have a great run of upcoming fixtures, facing Burnley, Fulham and West Brom in their next four games. It's been a strange season in which us fantasy managers have largely been able to get away with not owning a City attacking assets, but the fear now is that time is over.
City have scored just three goals in their last four games, but Kevin De Bruyne has taken two assists from that spell and missed a penalty. His offensive potential is huge in the next few weeks: he's had 14 shots over the last four games alone, as well as creating nine chances.
Bringing him on board at the right moment will be crucial, especially considering the relative form of the premium midfielders around him. Manchester City have won two penalties this campaign, with opponents Burnley conceding one. This fixture has ended 5-0 in City's favour in the last two seasons.
The Sleeper Pick: Marcus Rashford - Southampton (A)
Marcus Rashford's currently sits under 10% ownership, but expect that to rise given Manchester United's upcoming fixtures and form revival. They now have two consecutive wins in the Premier League and Rashford shows promise for acquiring both goals and assists for his fantasy tally.
In his last four games, Rashford has had nine shots and created six chances for his team-mates. United are now settling into their formation, with new signings bedding in and Anthony Martial back leading the line for them. They face Southampton, West Ham, Sheffield United and Leeds United in their next four games.
A trip to St. Mary's presents an interesting challenge this weekend, with the Saints' defensive qualities difficult to predict given the variance in their results this season. Rashford could find joy against their high line.
The Wildcard Pick: James Rodriguez - Leeds United (H)
James Rodriguez completes the set as Everton look to regain their early season form, with Rodriguez and Richarlison reintegrated into the front three following absences in recent weeks. Three goals against Fulham will give them a confidence boost and yet more goals are expected in this fixture.
Rodriguez showed plenty of promise in the opening weeks of the season, delivering three goals and three assists across those early games. However, he's now failed to score or assist in his last three starts. He's a world class player so you'd expect a return to normality soon.
Back Everton to beat Leeds United at 10/11 in Gameweek 10.
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