What day is it? Who really knows. What we do know is that tomorrow is the start of another round of Premier League games and that means more fantasy football decisions to be made. With two rounds of games in quick succession once again we’ll be doubling up for this preview as we look ahead to gameweeks 20 and 21. But first, let’s review what happened in the last week.
GW18 saw us score 64 points, narrowly beating the average of 55 and securing us a green arrow in the process. GW19 was similar, my score of 68 also just about beat the average of 59. All of that has seen my overall rank move to 20,486th. I will take that at the halfway stage for sure. But what of this weekend and the New Year’s day round of games?
Leaders Liverpool have enjoyed the festive period so far. It’ll be a severe test of their metal in these two gameweeks though as they welcome Arsenal and then travel to Man City. What you would say is that it means rotation is unlikely for Klopp. Both opponents have shown vulnerability defensively recently which shouldn’t deter you from their premium attackers. Even defensively, both fullbacks are capable of attacking returns and both centre halves scored in the previous two gameweeks. Tough games but their form is incredible.
Arsenal make the trip to Anfield on Saturday evening with their own men in form. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the league’s top scorer and has three goals in the festive period so far. Fulham visit the Emirates on New Year’s Day which makes Auba a very attractive option with the Cottagers having just one clean sheet to their name so far this season. If you’re going to invest, GW21 could be the time.
Manchester City have gone from title favourites to third since we last spoke. The season of good will has been taken all too literally by defenders in light blue and defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester have been damaging. Sergio Aguero is back in the fold whilst Sterling and Sane have played both games. A real Christmas miracle. Whether Pep rotates ahead of the Liverpool game remains to be seen but they are now desperate for a win so I expect the strongest possible team.
Mendy’s injury was a problem and now his replacement Delph is banned for three games. That will most likely open the door for Zinchenko or the return of three centre backs. The trip to Southampton is not an easy as it looked a few weeks ago though and with plenty of time between this and the Liverpool game, it should be full strength from City.
As predicted, Man Utd have enjoyed a new lease of life with Mr Negative replaced by Mr Positive. Rashford, Lingard, Pogba and Martial have all had positive returns since Solskjaer‘s arrival. A home game with Bournemouth followed by a trip to Newcastle would suggest there’s plenty more to come. Pogba seems the most secure of minutes with Lukaku’s impending return bound to have an effect on the minutes of somebody. Their opponents shipped a combined 9 goals on Boxing Day so whoever plays is likely to have some joy.
Tottenham find themselves in second place having scored 11 goals in the past two rounds. Son is causing FPL headaches for everybody. He’s key to everything good about Tottenham at the moment but he’s due to head off to the Asian Cup in the middle of January. As long as you accept him as a short term love, you’ll be fine. Dele Alli picked up a knock in the dismantling of Everton which might alleviate a selection headache. Wolves at home and Cardiff away are a reasonable pair of fixtures and there’s no reason to believe the goals will stop flowing.
Chelsea had a mixed bag. A blank against Leicester was followed up with an Eden Hazard masterclass in the 2-1 win over Watford. Clean sheets are becoming rarer for Sarri’s men but that might change away at shot shy Crystal Palace. That’s followed by a home game against Southampton, both very winnable games and I’d say having at least one Chelsea asset is vital.
As we’re back at the start of the fixture list (but in reverse, obviously) it’s back to a good time to have Everton players. Lucas Digne (£5.1m) is looking better every week whilst Calvert-Lewin (5.3m) seems to have got the nod to start up front.
Leicester have ran the gauntlet in recent weeks and now have four reasonable fixtures to come, starting with Cardiff at home. Jamie Vardy isn’t really a bargain at £8.8m but James Maddison at £6.8m is still reasonably cheap. Marc Albrighton (£5.1m) netted against Man City if you think he’s worth a punt.
So many premium FPL players are in form. Kane, Salah, Aubameyang and Hazard have all enjoyed returns and the only team to really be a let down have been Man City. It’s hard to see that continuing but whilst the rotation threat is not new, a lack of form is a new worry. Players hungry for goals will thrive against tired defences, take your pick from those 4 mentioned above and you should be fine.
I’ve reached a point where I can’t really tinker much, I have nothing in the bank but a few dead weights to shift. Zaha was a panic buy to try and get some cheap points as I attempted to steal a march on my cup opponent. Despite his shortcomings, I have made it through to round 4. Gundogan is hanging on to his place by a thread and is seemingly in the Fernandinho position whilst Laporte has been an expensive flop so far.
Fabianski, Robertson, Duffy, Laporte, Robertson, Salah, Hazard, Richarlison, Zaha, Kane, Wilson. Subs: Begovic, Gundogan, Neves, Doherty.
Wolves being at Tottenham pretty much rules those two out and I’m not overly keen on having two Palace players against Chelsea. Mitrovic for Zaha ahead of Fulham vs Huddersfield is an option. I’ll have a tinker.
The deadlines are Saturday 29th December 2pm and then Tuesday 1st January 11.30am. Keep an eye on players disappearing off to the Asia Cup – Ryan, Ki and Son are just some of the players who will be heading off, although Neil Etheridge won’t be and Aaron Mooy is injured.
That’s all from me this week and indeed this year. Thanks for putting up with me and for one final time in 2018 I wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles!