The Premier League’s big boys have established control of the title race this season. Memories of Leicester’s run to glory now seem a distant memory as Claudio Ranieri’s men are now battling the drop at the wrong end of the table. Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea appear to be locked in the quest for the crown for the long haul, with the festive period proving to be a crucial time in deciding the outcome of the fight for the title.
All four sides will need their marksmen to be on top form throughout the next month. Chelsea’s Diego Costa and City’s Sergio Aguero share the lead at the top of the scoring charts, although in the latest betting odds with 32Red.com, the former is backed at 9/4 to secure the Golden Boot.
Their form is also crucial in the world of fantasy football, and here are the reasons you should have these two, plus Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe, signed in your fantasy football team.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
The Argentine has arguably been the best striker in the Premier League since his move to City in 2011, firing them to their two Premier League triumphs. He has scored 20 goals in his past two campaigns, and is on course for another high-scoring season with 10 strikes already this term.
Aguero highlighted his importance to Pep Guardiola’s men with a match-winning brace against Burnley when City were far from their best. The 28-year-old continues to be a predator in and around the box, finding the net from all angles.
His salvo at Turf Moor proved the value of the out-and-out striker as both were untidy finishes, needing awareness and quick feet to beat Paul Robinson. City will need all his qualities over the next few weeks as they face huge matches against Chelsea and Arsenal, and also clashes against Leicester, Watford and Hull City.
Aguero should at least hit the target when he faces the struggling side making him an essential player for any fantasy team, while Guardiola’s side are backed by 32Red at 11/10 to defeat Chelsea which would see the Argentine play a crucial role in any victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
The 27-year-old enjoyed an excellent debut campaign in the Premier League, notching 20 goals in 26 games to help guide Chelsea to the top-flight crown. However, he suffered a setback in his second season as the Blues struggled under Jose Mourinho, enduring an underwhelming start to the term before he finished strongly with 12 strikes.
Under Antonio Conte, Costa has bounced back to his predatory best in front of the net and has scored 10 goals in his 12 Premier League appearances. He has been alert in and around the box and has forged a strong partnership with Eden Hazard in the final third, while the service from the wide areas by Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses has been impressive.
The Blues have a good run of fixtures after their clash against City, including four on the spin against sides currently in the bottom half of the Premier League. Should Costa maintain his form he will likely add a plethora of goals to his tally, which should make him a permanent fixture in your fantasy team.
Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)
Even at the age of 34 Defoe continues to be one of the best marksmen in the Premier League. His 15 goals for the Black Cats last term played an integral part in keeping the club in the top flight, especially towards the end of the campaign.
Can Jermain Defoe’s goals keep #SAFC up?
A win tonight and they’re safe.
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) May 11, 2016
Sunderland’s poor start has seen them backed as one of the leading contenders for the drop to the Championship with bookmakers 10Bet (2/5) and 888.com (11/25), and once again the North-East outfit will need Defoe’s goals to save them from relegation.
The former England international has enjoyed a strong start to the season with seven goals this term. David Moyes’ men have a run of crucial fixtures over the festive period, facing sides in and around them in the table. To get positive results Defoe will need to fire and it would not be a surprise to see him produce again and guide the Black Cats towards safety. Placing him in your fantasy team would be a prudent move and one that could present excellent value for money.