As we head into GW7 of the rebranded English Premier League, expectations regarding the top performers of the season have somewhat settled down, translating into consistent point returns for FPL managers. The final Gameweek before the upcoming international break features some interesting matchups, namely Spurs taking on Manchester City at White Hart Lane. It is undoubtedly the fixture of the week as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to derail City’s 100 percent winning record in the league.
London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal will travel to Hull and Burnley respectively, with the Blues hoping to end their 3-match winless streak, while Arsene Wenger’s men is high on confidence after their resounding 3-0 win against Antonio Conte’s side last week. Meanwhile, defending champions Leicester City will host Southampton at the King Power Stadium as they look to get another positive result after the morale-boosting win over Porto in the Champions League. A resurgent Manchester United side who thrashed the Foxes 4-1 last week will face bottom-dweller Stoke City at Old Trafford.
Here are the 5 shortlisted candidates for top point returns this week:
Sunderland vs Salomon Rondon (West Bromwich Albion)
The big Venezuelan striker has been a talisman for Tony Pulis’ side with 3 goals to his name so far, after back-to-back strikes against West Ham United and Stoke City. It is a significant improvement as he only reached the same tally on October 31 last season. It might still be early days to gauge his potential as a cheap striker option, but it’s very likely that he’ll maintain his current form against a rock-bottomed Sunderland side that failed to produce any shut-outs so far.
Juan Mata (Manchester United) vs Stoke City
Most FPL managers would never think of acquiring the Spaniard midfielder after it was confirmed that Jose Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager, considering their cold relationship in the past. Rumours were rife that Mata might be sold, but he ended up staying and such a twist might prove to be United’s gain. A return to the Red Devils’ starting XI last week in his preferred no. 10 role paid its dividends as he notched a goal and an assist in the 4-1 thrashing over Leicester City. It was a much-needed improvement after prior defeats and the playmaker could be set to retain his role against Stoke City at the expense of Wayne Rooney.
Leicester City vs Charlie Austin (Southampton)
The former QPR striker has been handed only a single start in the first five GWs, but his recent form suggests that he deserved more attention from Claude Puel. Having scored five goals and getting an assist in his last four appearances across all competitions, Austin’s predatory instincts in the box have been vital to the Saints’ improvement. With Shane Long having yet to score this season, the confident Englishman is most likely to spearhead the attack against a Leicester defence which has conceded 11 goals in six league matches so far.
Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) vs Manchester City
Much was expected from the South Korean winger when he joined the Lilywhites from Bayer Leverkusen in a 22 million pounds deal, making him the most expensive Asian player. His dismal first season (4 goals, 1 assist) prompted him to request a transfer, but Pochettino turned him down and gave Son another opportunity to fight for his place. The chance was well seized as he is currently their top goal-scorer with 4 strikes to his name, despite appearing in only half of Spurs’ league games this season. Coupled with his ability to dribble past players effectively (most dribbles per game in Europe this season) to help Spurs counter-attacking approach against City’s possession football, the north London side might stand a real chance to end their opponent’s perfect start to the campaign.
Burnley vs Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The former Southampton youngster was touted as a promising talent when he made the move to north London, but it’s fair to say that he hasn’t lived up to expectations. Having only reached double figures in goals and assists in one season (12/13), it is surprising to see that Walcott still features in Arsene Wenger’s plans. With that said, he has repaid his manager’s faith by producing a scintillating start to the campaign, notching five goals and two assists in seven appearances across all competitions. Alexis Sanchez might be the more popular choice for FPL managers, but the Englishman can be a huge asset as well with a budget price of 7.6 million. Not to mention Arsenal’s next four fixtures look promising for huge point returns, beginning with Burnley this week.