For the last few weeks on this blog, we’ve been delivering special insight on the players you need to pick to achieve success in the biggest contests on Sportito.
Well, now we’ve taken it a step further. Instead of a smattering of ‘must haves’ or left-field ‘wildcard’ picks, here is a full team to consider when selecting your XI for this weekend’s ‘Winner takes £250’.
The contest is made up of players from Man United’s home match against Swansea, table topping Chelsea’s visit to Goodison Park, Man City’s trip to Middlesbrough, Liverpool’s date with Watford and a Super Sunday encounter between Spurs and Arsenal.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
A straightforward #1 pick for our side once we had identified Manchester United’s defence as the most likely source of clean sheet points. The Spanish stopper has missed just a single league match this season, collecting 14 clean sheets including seven in 17 matches at Old Trafford.
Defender 1: Daley Blind
Having already alluded to United’s strong home record, which has seen them leak just 11 goals in 17 outings (only Spurs have a better record), we were on the lookout for a second representative from their back four. With Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo out with injury, Blind is the go-to man. Depending on Mourinho’s midfield selection, he might even be on corners.
Defender 2: Marcos Alonso
A slightly risky pick given that Chelsea face an in-form Everton side spearheaded by the league’s leading goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku. The Blues have also conceded three times on their last two league visits to Goodison Park, but we still can’t overlook the attacking appeal of Alonso. The Spaniard has five goals and five assists to his name this season. He has also hit the bar twice from direct free kicks.
Defender 3: Gael Clichy
He might not be the most fashionable pick amongst City’s back four, but Clichy had been an ever present for seven matches before succumbing to Pep’s rotation for last night’s derby. However, we expect the Frenchman to come straight back in for Sunday’s trip to Teesside, which presents a real opportunity for Clichy to build on his Sportito average of 5.22 points per game. Middlesbrough have failed to score in 47% of their league matches.
Midfielder 1: Philippe Coutinho
The mercurial Brazilian has shown signs of being back to his best in recent weeks, even if his Liverpool side have struggled without the services of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane. Coutinho has returned a healthy average of 6.85 points on Sportito, even though Klopp tends to frustrate his owners by withdrawing him early. With four goals in his last five, we’re prepared to take a chance.
Midfielder 2: Leroy Sane
Leroy Sane has so far proven immune to Guardiola’s rotation policy at the Etihad, having started his side’s last 12 league matches. Four double digit point returns on Sportito have obviously caught his manager’s eye, three of which have come on the road. In his last four away outings, the in-form Sane has returned three goals for an average score of 11.20.
Midfielder 3: Christian Eriksen
The first (but by no means the last) of Mauricio Pochettino’s men to make our XI is Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen. Quite simply, you can’t ignore a man with three goals and three assists from his last six league matches. He scored with a trademark long range strike to sink Crystal Palace on Wednesday, extending Spurs’ winning run to eight matches and picking up 12.25 Sportito points in the process.
Midfielder 4: Dele Alli
The PFA Young Player of the Year endured a rare off-night at Selhurst Park, firing wide from Kyle Walker’s cross as Spurs pressed for a winner. However, as he had recorded at least a goal or an assist in the previous seven, including him in your XI is still a no-brainer. There is one slight downside to the Spurs double up; if Pochettino rolls out a 3-4-3, Eriksen and Alli can be picked as midfielders but are classed as forwards for point-scoring, which means 10 per goal instead of 12.
Forward 1: Harry Kane
Let’s get the inevitable out of the way and ink in a man that has scored 21 times in his last 25 London derby appearances. In fact, Kane is the only player to have been directly involved in more goals than Spurs team-mates Alli and Eriksen across all competitions in 2017. England’s primary centre forward is second only to Lukaku in the goalscoring charts, despite starting just 24 of his side’s 33 matches.
Forward 2: Anthony Martial
As with the Clichy pick, there is an element of risk to this, given that the Manchester derby only took place last night. However, we expect Marcus Rashford to be rested against Swansea after Mourinho labelled next Thursday’s match in Celta Vigo as the “most important match of the season”. Wayne Rooney is likely to start, albeit as a number ten, so Mourinho will ask Tony to ‘Martial’ his side’s attack against a side that have kept just one clean sheet away from the Liberty.
Forward 3: Sergio Aguero
It is no surprise to see that our XI is rounded off by the goalscoring machine that is ‘Kun’ Aguero. The Argentine failed to score for the first time in six league matches against United, having averaged 13.05 points in the previous five. It’s worth noting that none of the top six have failed to win at the Riverside this season. Gabriel Jesus may threaten his place in the coming weeks, but given that he was afforded just five minutes last night, he is unlikely to gain a starting place just yet.