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Must-have pick – Eden Hazard
He may not have started the first six Gameweeks due to fitness issues from the summer, but it’s fair to say that he’s finally back to his best. With three goals and two assists in his last five Premier League games, the Belgium international has been integral to Chelsea’s recent form.
Eden Hazard currently boasts an 85% shooting accuracy and has directly been involved with 55% of Chelsea’s league goals since Gameweek 9. Of course, the next two games are spread over a few days and he may not play 180 minutes in total.
However, I would expect him to start both matches, especially considering his scintillating form and the Blues seeking to close the gap between the two Manchester clubs. Chelsea face bottom half of the table Swansea and Newcastle at Stamford Bridge this week. Expect Hazard to take every opportunity to cause havoc to their defences and morale.
Comeback pick – Charlie Austin
This may seem left field, especially considering that Southampton’s next two games are away (to Manchester City and Bournemouth) and they have scored less than a goal a game on average on the road since August. However, I think there is merit in giving a special mention to Charlie Austin.
When fit and playing regularly he is a natural goal poacher. It was only three years ago when he scored 18 Premier League goals for a bedraggled QPR team. Since then, injuries or simply not being picked by a succession of managers has affected his chances.
In spite of that, he has scored nine goals in his last 25 league appearances which is reasonable considering his lack of opportunities. He averages a goal every 158 minutes in England’s top-flight division which is not bad in the slightest. In only his first league start of the season over the weekend he scored a brace for a Southampton team that has lacked in getting goals. He may not score another brace in the foreseeable future, but he should have done enough to lead the line for the time being.
Differential pick – Aaron Ramsey
Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League games and that has primarily been due in no small part due to Aaron Ramsey’s attacking returns. In fact, since the start of the season he has been directly involved in over a third of Arsenal’s league goals (8 of 23).
What’s also interesting is that he’s averaged 2.5 shots on goal and in fairness should have netted more. If he continues this sort of attacking threat there’s no doubt that he will score even more goals. His influence and style of play is key to the Gunners at this moment in time. He has arguably matched, if not overshadowed, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez’s performances in recent weeks.
With that said, there’s always a risk that Arsene Wenger could deploy Aaron Ramsey in a deeper role against Manchester United in Gameweek 15, thus depriving him of his prowess in the final third. But there’s no reason for him to do that right now when he is doing so well and he should be given room to roam against Huddersfield in Gameweek 14.