In Depth

De Gea, Martial, Fabregas and Zouma make team of the week

Man Utd, Chelsea and West Ham all contribute two players to this week's selection as promoted strikers also make the cut

A dramatic weekend of Premier League action saw Man City beaten by high-flying West Ham, Chelsea do a job on Arsenal yet again and Man United come from behind to beat Southampton.

City lost their 100 per cent record but remain top of the table, two points clear of Mancunian rivals United. West Ham and Leicester are also in the top four – for now – with Arsenal in fifth.

Chelsea are still in 15th place but are only three points behind the Gunners, while these are grim times in the North East, with Newcastle and Sunderland propping up the table.

But who were the stars of the weekend? Here's The Week's pick of the experts' picks this week:


David de Gea (Man Utd)

A fine display against Southampton helped earn United three points and send them second in the table. "He produced a string of magnificent saves during the match but how he managed to pull Saints defender Jose Fonte's header out of the net when it appeared to be past him – while United were leading 2-1 – I will never know. One of the best saves I've seen in years," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.


Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Winston Reid (West Ham), Albert Moreno (Liverpool), Russell Martin (Norwich)

Zouma was a controversial choice for Chelsea, as John Terry was relegated to the bench, but he "performed brilliantly to keep the Gunners at bay, then capped things off with a fine header", says ESPN. "The imposing youngster has been gradually introduced into the Chelsea first team, but soon the debate might be not who partners Terry at the back, but who partners Zouma." He was also the top scoring player on Fantasy Premier League this week with 15 points to his name.

West Ham defender Reid was outstanding against Man City. "In total, he made 21 clearances in east Manchester, which is four more than any other defender has made this term," says Sports Mole.

Moreno was restored to the Liverpool team for the game against Norwich and "took his opportunity," says the Daily Mail. "The Spaniard created six goalscoring chances... the highest number of any defender on matchday six."

Martin, who was up against Moreno at Anfield, also makes the Mail team, after scoring the Canaries equaliser hours after becoming a father. "The 29-year-old has now scored as many goals (three) in his last five Premier League games as he managed in his previous 86 appearances in this competition."


Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Fabregas set up Chelsea's opener on Saturday and, like Chelsea, seems to have shaken off his early season rust. "The Spanish playmaker has looked a shadow of his old self for much of the past year, but against his former side on Saturday, he seemed closer to the man who ran games for Chelsea in the first half of last season," says ESPN. He also makes Harry Redknapp's XI in the Daily Telegraph.

Alongside Fabregas are this season's two top scoring Fantasy Premier League midfielders, Payet and Mahrez. Payet has been a "revelation" at West Ham, says Garth Crooks. Against City, "Payet was easily on a par with the likes of Yaya Toure and £55m new signing Kevin de Bruyne".

Meanwhile Leicester star Mahrez "dragged the Foxes back into the game having scored from the penalty spot [against Stoke]", says the Mail.


Anthony Martial (Man Utd), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Odion Ighalo (Watford)

This attacking trio all made Redknapp's team of the week, and Martial was a unanimous choice. Two weeks ago he was an "expensive folly" says ESPN. "Now he looks the real deal, scoring two goals with a poise that belies his years."

Watford's Nigerian striker Ighalo was "was too hot to handle as he put Newcastle back into crisis mode", says the Liverpool Echo. His 13 fantasy points make him the second highest-scoring forward this season.

First place goes to Wilson of Bournemouth, who scored only seven points this week, but dominated Younes Kaboul. "The Cherries striker's fifth goal of the season epitomised how far this lad has come in such a short space of time," says Garth Crooks. "A year ago he was dreaming of playing in the Premier League, now he's scoring goals in the toughest league in the world. What's he dreaming of now, an international call-up? At this rate it wouldn't be out of the question."

Stones, Cazorla, Martial and Blind star in team of the week

14 September

The Premier League returned with a bang this weekend as league pace-setters Man City extended their 100 per cent record with victory over Crystal Palace, Manchester United beat old rivals Liverpool, Arsenal overcame Stoke and Chelsea's dire start to the season continued with a shock defeat to Everton.

But who were the players who made their mark on the pitch this weekend? Here's The Week's pick of the experts' picks.


Jack Butland (Stoke)

He might not have kept a clean sheet but the Stoke stopper kept things respectable for the Potters at the Emirates as Arsenal were restricted to just two goals. "He faced 29 efforts on goal at the Emirates and made phenomenal saves from Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and plenty of others. Minus him, it would have been seriously ugly," says ESPN.


Ritchie de Laet (Leicester City), John Stones, Brendan Galloway (both Everton), Daley Blind (Manchester United)

Last season the Foxes escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, but so far this season they are riding high and a 3-2 win over Aston Villa keeps Leicester in second place in the table. One of the goals in the dramatic comeback came from defender De Laet, and website Caughtoffside hails "a fine attacking performance".

Everton's win over Chelsea was the most eyecatching performance of the weekend, and two of the triumphant back four make the team of the week. Stones, a Chelsea transfer target during the summer, showed the Blues what they are missing with a commanding performance and is included in Harry Redknapp's team of the week for the Daily Telegraph. Alongside him is Everton's second string left back, Galloway. "Filling the shoes of Leighton Baines is a big task but the 19-year-old has excelled," says ESPN.

The final berth goes to Man United defender Blind, who appears to be adapting to life as a centre back. He scored a wonderful set piece from a free kick and caught the eye of Garth crooks of the BBC. "His performance against the Reds was extraordinary," he says. "The way Blind put his body on the line was the best defending I've seen this season."


Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Ryan Mason (Spurs), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Norwich City midfielder "simply ran the show" against Bournemouth, says Crooks. He set up one goal and scored another in the Canaries' 3-1 win. He was also the second-highest Fantasy Premier League points scorer of the week.

Leicester star Mahrez turned in yet another match-winning performance with two assists against Villa. Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph describes the summer signing as the "No 1 bargain in Premier League football... He is a €450,000 game-changer: a miracle, by today’s inflated standards."

Spurs' 1-0 win over Sunderland came courtesy of Mason, and "the 24-year-old ran the show for Spurs... linking defence and attack and sticking the boot in when necessary," says ESPN. "He also finished off a magical team goal." And another north Londoner also gets the nod this week. "With another assist and all-round silky display in midfield, Santi Cazorla shone for Arsenal," purrs Caughtoffside.


Steven Naismith (Everton), Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

A shoo-in and a bolter up front this week. Everton's hat-trick hero Naismith registered a massive 17 Fantasy Premier League points and featured in every pundit's selection this week. "Not for the first time, he stole the show from bigger name players around him," says Gab Marcotti of ESPN.

A more surprising choice is Man United's £36m teenager Martial, who scored a sublime goal on debut after coming off the bench against Liverpool. "What a start to an already promising career at Old Trafford," says Garth Crooks of the BBC. "Now let Rooney and those boys around you make you a star."

Fantasy football dream team: Costa, Pedro and Mahrez star

24 August


In goal, the two Manchester stoppers Joe Hart and Sergio Romero are out in front, with neither having conceded a goal so far this season. However, two keepers from less fashionable teams also scored well over the weekend. Heurelho Gomes of Watford also kept a clean sheet for the second week running, but Newcastle stopper Tim Krul, who kept Man United at bay at Old Trafford was the most successful keeper this week with 11 Fantasy Premier League points.

Pick of the week: Tim Krul (Newcastle)


Vincent Kompany led Man City to another clean sheet, but he failed to find the net this week. However, his team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov picked up the goal-scoring mantle with a strike against Everton, and he earned an impressive 13 points on The Sun Dream Team.

City and United defenders have been the heaviest scorers this season thanks to the two clubs' defensive records but Scott Dann of Crystal Palace picked up some useful points after he found the net against Aston Villa, while Watford's defenders also did well thanks to a second consecutive clean sheet. Whether they can continue their form remains to be seen.

Pick of the week: Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Scott Dann (Crystal Palace), Allan-Romeo Nyom (Watford)


Eden Hazard has been virtually anonymous this season, and website Fantasy Football Scout notes that many managers have been moving to ditch him. But they might not have to look far for a replacement. New Chelsea signing Pedro "made an instant impression on his debut, grabbing a goal, an assist and maximum bonus points to underline his potential as a premium priced midfield option", says the site. He scored 15 points on Sky Fantasy Football.

Riyad Mahrez continued his stellar start to the season with another goal for Leicester, and he now has four to his name after just three games. Bizarrely he still only features in 7.4 per cent of teams in the Telegraph Fantasy Football League, while Hazard features in more than half despite having 11 points to Mahrez's 26.

James Morrison scored twice for West Brom against Chelsea, although he does not have a great scoring record. If you are looking for a midfielder from an "unfashionable" team, Nathan Redmond might be a better bet, after the Norwich man provided another assist for the Canaries in their draw with Stoke. Bakary Sako shone for Palace with ten FPL points thanks to his goal against Villa and a bonus.

Pick of the week: Pedro (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), James Morrison (West Brom), Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace)


Diego Costa finally came to the party for Chelsea this week with his first goal of the season plus an assist, but the man of the weekend up front was the rather less glamorous Callum Wilson, whose hat-trick against West Ham earned Bournemouth their first points of the season. He scored a mammoth 22 points for his managers playing Sky Sports Fantasy Football, and is now the top scoring forward in the league.

Pick of the week: Diego Costa (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Fantasy football dream team: Lukaku, Silva and Kompany star

17 August

After two weeks of the season, who would have expected Leicester to be second and Chelsea 16th? Jose Mourinho's problems also mean trouble for many fantasy football managers who have invested heavily in last season's champions.

Those who saw value in Leicester players, though, will be reaping the rewards, while Man City stars who looked jaded last term have rediscovered their sparkle. Everton have also enjoyed a good start to the season and those three clubs provide the top scoring players in all forms of the game at this early stage of the season.

Here's the run down on who impressed this week and who managers should be looking at in the transfer market.


Honorable mentions to Sergio Romero of Man United and Joe Hart of Man City this week, who have yet to concede this season and sit at the top of the overall keeper points list, but Boaz Myhill was the star performer of the week, keeping a clean sheet for West Brom against Watford and making five saves in the process. His performance earned him ten points on Fantasy Premier League.

Pick of the week: Boaz Myhill (West Brom)


Chelsea defenders proved very popular at the start of the season: 30 per cent of FPL teams fearture Branislav Ivanovic and he also appears in 21 per cent of Telegraph Fantasy Football teams. Unfortunately after two weeks of the season he has only one FPL point and a big fat zero on the Telegraph game after Chelsea's dire start to the season continued with a 3-0 defeat to Man City.

Talking of Man City, Vincent Kompany is the stand-out defender so far this season. He has seven more points than his nearest defensive rival (Chris Smalling of Man United) after two weeks of the season on The Sun fantasy game. A clean sheet and another goal at the Etihad earned him an impressive 12 points.

Other defenders to find the net this week included Eric Dier of Spurs, Steven Whittaker and Russell Martin of Norwich, and Joel Ward of Crystal Palace. His team mate Damien Delaney also put the ball in the net, but at the wrong end to give Arsenal victory. Scoring goals is one thing, but clean sheets are just as valuable, which is why Seamus Coleman of Everton also earns plaudits thanks to an assist in a 3-0 win over Southampton. Luke Shaw also looks good value at Man United, and avoided a booking this week, unlike his fellow full back Matteo Darmian.

Pick of the week: Vincent Kompany (Man City), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Joel Ward (Crystal Palace), Luke Shaw (Man United)


Last week Riyad Mahrez won plaudits thanks to his performance for Leicester, and the Algerian was at it again in week two, adding another goal to the two he scored last week. It makes him the highest-scoring midfielder in Sky Sports' fantasy game with two man of the match performances. The only concern might be the fact that he has been substituted in both games he has played so far.

Mahrez might be top of the tree over at Sky Sports, but in the Daily Mail David Silva is the main man. He has started the season in sparkling form, and his two assists in the win over Spurs earned him nine more points this week.

Everton star Ross Barkley is the main man on the Telegraph game, level with Mahrez on 19 points after two games, thanks to another goal and an assist in the 3-0 win over Southampton. He is also in the running to take all the Toffees' set pieces so could be a good buy.

Andre Ayew, mentioned in despatches last week, impressed again with another goal for Swansea and West Ham creator Dimitri Payet also produced a fine performance in defeat and scored the Hammers' consolation goal against Leicester. Nathan Redmond of Swansea also continued his impressive start fo the season, and he is worth consideration thanks to a modest price tag of £5.5m on FPL.

Pick of the week: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), David Silva (Man City), Ross Barkley (Everton), Nathan Redmond (Norwich)


Some of the big guns came to the party this week, as Olivier Giroud and Sergio Aguero both found the net, but other popular picks, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Diego Costa and Saido Berahino are yet to find the net this season. Christian Benteke will get the chance for Liverpool against Bournemouth tonight and could make hay.

Anyone who took a punt on Everton's forwards this season will be laughing after Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Southampton. It means that he is the number one striker in all the fantasy leagues, while his sidekick, Aruna Kone, is also flying after another good week in which he provided an assist.

Yet another Leicester man, Shinji Okazaki, announced himself with an excellent goal against West Ham and with a cheap price-tag might be worth condsideration as a squad player. Swansea forward Bafetimbi Gomis was on target for the second week running and Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke also found the net. The problem with these forwards is their contribution when they are not scoring. None of the three is listed as a set-piece taker for their club.

Pick of the week: Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Sergio Aguero (Man City)

Fantasy football team of the week: Gomez and Ayew star

10 August

The opening weekend of the Premier League season was a chastening experience for managers up and down the country. While the likes of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho were less than impressed, so too were thousands of fantasy football managers who watched as their well thought-out plans were ripped up before their eyes.


Almost two thirds of teams in Fantasy Premier League featured either Thibaut Courtois or Petr Cech in goal at the start of the season, which means that almost two thirds of managers would have been cursing their luck after Courtois was sent off against Swansea and Cech endured a nightmare debut.

Those who failed to offload David de Gea before the start of the campaign were also disappointed as he was left out for Manchester United.

Although there were clean sheets for the likes of Simon Mignolet and Brad Guzan of Aston Villa, West Ham stopper Adrian was the big winner of the weekend, top scoring on both Fantasy Premier League and the Daily Telegraph.

Pick of The Week: Adrian (West Ham)


The most popular defender defender in the country was new Liverpool signing Nathaniel Clyne, the perfect defender for the fantasy manager, mobile, attacking and playing for a big club. And he lived up to his billing as Liverpool kept a clean sheet, and a rating of eight from The Sun earned him an impressive 13 points in their fantasy game.

Man United defender Chris Smalling also won 13 points from the Sun, that's seven more than any other defenders managed, and picked up a man of the match award from Sky Sports Fantasy Football.

The surprise package of the weekend was Joe Gomez, the new Liverpool signing who joined from Charlton for £3.5m this summer. His assist for Liverpool's winner at Stoke meant he was the top scoring defender in the Fantasy Premier League the Telegraph game.

Winston Reid's man of the match performance for Sky Sports earned him an impressive 12 points in that league, although he won only six points on Fantasy Premier League, but a win at Arsenal is not to be sniffed at.

Pick of The Week: Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Winston Reid (West Ham)


Eden Hazard, chosen by more than half the FPL players, made a subdued start to the season and the second most popular player, Memphis Depay, chosen by 25 per cent of players, managed a meagre three points. Instead it was unfashionable Leicester who dominated, thanks to four goals against Sunderland.

Mark Albrighton, with two assists and one goal, and Riyad Mahrez, with two goals, were the top scoring midfielders the FPL, Telegraph and Daily Mail leagues. It is worth taking note of Mahrez, who appears to be the Leicester penalty taker and is the "sort of shoot on sight player that works well in FPL", according to Fantasy Football Geek website.

Those two were also in the top three for the Sun and Sky, along with new Crystal Palace signing Yohan Cabaye, who marked his debut with a goal against Norwich.

Philippe Coutinho scored a fine winner for Liverpool, but Andre Ayew announced himself for Swansea in fine style with a well-taken goal against Chelsea and costs a lot less than the Brazilian.

Pick of The Week: Mark Albrighton, Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Andre Ayew (Swansea City)


Again the big names failed to fire on the opening weekend. Christian Benteke, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane were easily the most popular FPL picks, but only Rooney came close to scoring, before Spurs defender Kyle Walker nicked the ball off his toe and prodded it into his own net.

Instead Everton's unsung striker Arouna Kone was the star of the week up front, top-scoring on the FPL, Sky and Mail. Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse is the man to partner him thanks to the easiest of tap-ins and an impressive performance against Southampton.

However, Rudy Gestede of Aston Villa announced himself with a fine header against Bournemouth. He appears in fewer than one per cent of teams, but could offer serious value this season if he can nail down a starting berth at Villa Park.

Pick of The Week: Arouna Kone (Everton), Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United)


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