Hector Bellerin or Stephan Lichtsteiner? Riyad Mahrez or Raheem Sterling? Dean Ashton picks his Arsenal and Man City XIs with the help of Fantasy Football.
The countdown to the start of the Premier League season is on. Arguably, the pick of the opening weekend fixtures is Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City, which is live on Sky Sports. It’s been a summer of change at the Emirates Stadium with Unai Emery replacing Arsene Wenger as he leads the Gunners into a new era.
He’s made significant changes to the playing squad and predicting their starting-line up is a tough ask. That has not stopped us asking former Premier League striker Ashton to select his best XIs for both clubs ahead of the season opener.
Ashton was speaking on the new Fantasy Football Show. Make sure you all tune in every night this week at 7.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League.
ASHTON SAYS: I prefer Arsenal playing with one striker – it brings the best out of the three players in behind and the quality they show. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pips Alexandre Lacazette for me, due to his extra bit of pace and link-up play with Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He’s a box player and a player Arsenal have needed for a while. He guarantees goals.
Aaron Ramsey stats from last season are impressive. He got one more assist and three more goals than Mesut Ozil. He goes under the radar. Arsenal would be surprised how much they’d miss him – he influences games and it’s strange they haven’t signed up on a new deal.
The signing of Bernd Leno could be a snip. I’m sure he’ll start being he’s the new manager’s signing.
Hector Bellerin is great to watch but Stephan Lichtsteiner brings so much experience. He’s full of energy still. Once he gets in, then Bellerin may struggle to get back in.
Man City XI
ASHTON SAYS: In Fantasy Football, you want your players to start every game, so picking between Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus was very difficult. Aguero just gets the nod.
Raheem Sterling has a sensational season but Riyad Mahrez has come in. It’s going to be difficult for Sterling to keep his place. I just think Mahrez will improve Manchester City. However, I don’t think it will hinder Sterling too much as Pep Guardiola will be keen to rotate – it’s good to have competition in the squad.
Arsenal vs Man City
August 12, 2018, 3:30pm
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Benjamin Mendy was superb before his injury last season, he likes to attack down his wing – like Kyler Walker on the right. If he stays fit, then he could bring a lot of points for managers. Nicholas Otamendi was so good last season but I’d take a gamble with Aymeric Laporte. There’s a reason why Guardiola has taken a chance on Laporte – he could be in for a big season.