Saints on the march
Pete Hall tips Southampton's English contingent to amass plenty of Fantasy Football points this weekend.
By Pete Hall - @PeteHall86
Last Updated: 06/03/14 5:20pm
After a successful week for two of Southampton's England squad representatives against Denmark, the stage is set for Saints' World Cup hopefuls to stake further claim for a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup plans by amassing plenty of Sky Sports Fantasy Football points this weekend.
Club captain Adam Lallana impressed most with a thrilling second-half showing against the Danes and contributed the assist for the winner, headed in by Daniel Sturridge.
At just £5.9million, the 25-year-old winger represents somewhat of a bargain considering he boasts 135 points so far this season - the fifth highest scoring midfielder.
Lallana is also £2.9million less than Mesut Ozil, who has 17 less points, and with seven assists already this campaign, the Saints skipper's fellow counrtymen up front will be hoping to capitalise on the service he provides at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Southampton are slight favourites in the Sky Bet match market to earn victory over relegation candidates Palace, and with the potent strikeforce of Rickie Lambert (£8.7m) and Jay Rodriguez (£7.9m) thriving, the Saints could inflict only the Eagles' third home defeat in their last ten matches.
The forward pairing have 18 goals between them this campaign, and despite taking on a very resolute Palace, Saints possess the firepower to cause serious problems.
Three Lions debutant Luke Shaw (£5.3m) is another player in fine form and looked assured on his international bow. The full-back would be a great addition with Palace lacking goals against the Saints, having failed to notch in the previous four meetings between the sides.
Elsewhere, Manchester United will be looking improve on their recent inconsistency when they travel to West Brom on Saturday - an opponent Wayne Rooney (£9.6m) relishes facing.
The England hitman has six goals in his last five against the Baggies and will be hoping to help United get over their surprise defeat to Saturday's opponents earlier in the season.
The pressure is mounting on the Premier League champions' new boss David Moyes after a run of just three wins in their last eight games, seeing the Red Devils falling behind in the race for the top four.
Juan Mata has been threatening to kick-start his United career, with three assists in his five starts since the Spaniard's big-money move, and will be fresh after a long break since his last appearance against Palace two weeks ago.
Down at the wrong end of the table, the Premier League's bottom two Cardiff and Fulham face-off at the Cardiff City Stadium with both sides in dire need of points that will see them move closer to survival.
Goals could be at a premium, with the Bluebirds failing to score in four of their previous six home games, and Fulham lacking options up front, but if the visitors are to capitalise on an out-of-form Cardiff, then Steve Sidwell could be the man to snatch a vital three points.
The experienced midfielder is the Cottagers' top scorer this season, and has netted some vital goals on the road, and could be the main threat for the visitors on Saturday.
Defensively, Chelsea will fancy their chances of a clean sheet against Tottenham in the Saturday Night Football, having not conceded a goal in their last four home encounters.
Their solid rearguard owes much to the blossoming partnership of Gary Cahill (£6.9m) and John Terry (£7m) at the heart of the Blues' defence, with both offering goalkeeper Petr Cech the best possible protection.
With no win on their previous 26 visits to Stamford Bridge, Spurs will be certainly up against it, and just getting on the scoresheet maybe a step too far for Tim Sherwood's improving side.