Premier League Fantasy Picks: Salah can bowl over Bournemouth, Mitoma a threat to Leeds
Mohamed Salah delivered for Liverpool in the sensational 7-0 win over Manchester United last weekend – and doubtless he had many fantasy bosses celebrating too.
Two goals and two assists in the Anfield rout showed the Egyptian is getting back to somewhere near his very best for Jurgen Klopp.
Salah has Bournemouth in his sights on Saturday, and our four fantasy team selections for the weekend are players heading out on the road.
Kaoru Mitoma has been in eye-catching form for Brighton and Hove Albion, who head to Leeds United on Saturday, while World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez has four clean sheets already in 2023 for Aston Villa, who visit West Ham on Sunday.
Chelsea's Ben Chilwell returns to an old stomping ground on Saturday as the Blues travel to his former club, Leicester City.
Using Opta data, Stats Perform has looked at why these four could help you bring in useful points this weekend.
Mohamed Salah (Bournemouth v Liverpool)
It was pretty clear Salah needed a rest amid a hectic schedule, and he got it during the World Cup after Egypt failed to qualify. Since games resumed after Qatar 2022, last season's joint-top scorer has been slowly building up to the sort of display that left United in tatters last Sunday. He has totted up nine goal involvements (5 goals, 4 assists) since the World Cup, with only Erling Haaland and Marcus Rashford (11) having more in that time.
Five of Salah's eight Premier League goals against Bournemouth have come at the Vitality Stadium, netting in every appearance in the Premier League there, so he will be looking for more of the same. If he wasn't in your team last week, can you really resist him this time around?
Emiliano Martinez (West Ham v Aston Villa)
There's no denying Villa went through a rocky spell recently, shipping 11 goals in three games, but two clean sheets have followed as Unai Emery looks for resilience.
Only Liverpool (6) and Tottenham (5) have kept more Premier League clean sheets in 2023 than Villa (4). Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, Martinez is one of only six goalkeepers to have kept over 30 clean sheets in the top flight. This weekend he will try to complete three in a row for the first time since March 2022. West Ham have failed to score in 11 games this season, in case that heightens the temptation to pick Martinez.
Kaoru Mitoma (Leeds United v Brighton and Hove Albion)
Brighton's 4-0 demolition of West Ham last weekend included a goal from the twinkle-toed Japanese forward Mitoma. He has been involved in 11 goals across all competitions for Brighton this season (8 goals, 3 assists) with only Pascal Gross (12) having more involvements.
Seven of those involvements from Mitoma have come on league duty, with six goals and one assist, and it's especially good going when you consider he only made his first start in the competition at the end of October.
Leeds will need to be careful. Among all Premier League players, no one has had more take-ons in the box than Mitoma (17) in this season's competition, while only team-mate Solly March (6) has had more chance-creating take-ons than his five.
Ben Chilwell (Leicester City v Chelsea)
Chelsea could make it three wins in a row at Leicester. Successive clean sheets against Leeds and Borussia Dortmund count in Chilwell's favour, as does his attacking prowess.
Among defenders with at least 500 minutes played in the Premier League this season, only Liverpool's Konstantinos Tsimikas (133) has a better minutes-per-goal-involvement rate this season than Chilwell (237).
Granted, he has had only three such involvements so far, but having missed a large chunk of the season through injury, Chilwell is out to make up for lost time. His former club will be on guard, aware of his talent.