Fantasy football: Tips for picking your Premier League team

Premier League
Are Aymeric Laporte, Roberto Firmino and Shane Duffy already in your team? Should they be?

Coasting at the top of the league? Stuck in mid-table and desperate to make a push? Scrapping around at the bottom and losing enthusiasm?

Wherever you are in the fantasy football table, you are always looking for those differentials that can boost your team's performance.

Here are a few things to think about before you select your team for this weekend's Premier League fixtures...

Premier League fixtures - week 11
SATURDAY
Bournemouth v Man UtdWest Ham v Burnley
Cardiff v LeicesterArsenal v Liverpool
Everton v BrightonWolves v Tottenham
Newcastle v Watford
SUNDAY
Man City v SouthamptonChelsea v Crystal Palace
MONDAY
Huddersfield v Fulham

Firmino Gunner get you some points?

While some Arsenal fans are getting excited about their run of eight league matches unbeaten under Unai Emery, the more cautious have pointed to the quality of the opposition they have faced.

That will change on Saturday when they welcome Liverpool to Emirates Stadium.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane may have worn your captain's armband already this season and could be worth another go this weekend with Arsenal still prone to conceding.

Salah has scored in all three of his Premier League games against the Gunners - one for Chelsea and two for Liverpool - while Mane found his form with two goals against Cardiff last week.

With the Reds having scored at least three goals in each of their past five league games against the Gunners, you would not back against that duo grabbing more points.

But, with Salah and Mane among the most-owned players, is it worth taking a punt on Roberto Firmino?

The Brazilian may have started the season slowly by his high standards - he has scored only twice and provided two assists - but he has both scored and assisted in each of his past three league games against Arsenal.

Whatever you decide, Arsenal and Liverpool defenders might be worth a wide berth... the past five league meetings between the sides have produced 27 goals (5.4 per game).

Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool's third goal - and equaliser - in last season's 3-3 draw at Arsenal
Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool's third goal in last season's 3-3 draw at Arsenal

Another City clean sheet?

Every week you have the same problem as a fantasy football manager. Should you pick a particular Manchester City player and run the risk of him not playing because of Pep Guardiola's squad rotation?

Only two City players - thus far - have proved safe bets: goalkeeper Ederson and defender Aymeric Laporte, who has yet to lose a league game he has played in since joining the club (17 wins and two draws).

Although Laporte may have slipped under the radar somewhat compared to his much-picked team-mate, the Frenchman has played every minute for the Premier League leaders this season, and has been raking in the points.

That's because City have kept six successive clean sheets. Another against visitors Southampton on Sunday will make it the first time the Blues have had seven straight shutouts in the Premier League.

Southampton, by the way, have failed to score in their past five league games...

Most PL minutes played by Manchester City players
Aymeric Laporte900
Ederson900
Fernandinho884
Bernardo Silva782
Kyle Walker720
Sergio Aguero719
Raheem Sterling682
David Silva675
Benjamin Mendy630
John Stones556

Ditch Bournemouth defenders and bring in Lukaku?

Bournemouth defenders have provided great value for fantasy football managers this season, with the likes of Steve Cook, Nathan Ake and Adam Smith helping the Cherries keep four clean sheets so far.

Only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have stopped the opposition scoring in more matches.

So why might it be time to stick Cook, Ake, Smith or their colleagues on the bench this weekend? Because Eddie Howe's side don't have a great recent record against Manchester United, having lost four and drawn one since they won the first Premier League meeting between the sides in December 2015.

Also, Bournemouth have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of those six matches. United have won their past two Premier League visits to the Vitality Stadium by an aggregate score of 5-1.

But should Jose Mourinho (and you) bring in Romelu Lukaku? The Belgian has scored six goals in his past three Premier League meetings with Bournemouth, including netting in both matches for the Red Devils last season.

United won without Lukaku against Everton on Sunday, so picking him might be a riskier selection for you than it would be for Jose...

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku started Sunday's win against Everton on the bench - will he stay there at Bournemouth?

Clarets sinking? Seagulls rising?

If you haven't already, it might be time to get rid of your Burnley defenders.

The Clarets have conceded 21 goals in their 10 Premier League matches this season - it took them 24 games to ship the same amount last term.

So where are the cheap alternatives? Worth casting your eye over the Brighton squad.

The Seagulls have kept three clean sheets in a row, meaning keeper Mat Ryan and defender Shane Duffy - who also poses a threat at set-pieces in the opposition box - could be worth a punt.