FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 17 Preview

“How is Freddie Ljungberg’s Arsenal going to fare against Guardiola’s City at the Emirates on Sunday?” (CC by 2.0 ). Image by Gavin Murdock

After a whopping 30 games in just ten days, gameweek 17 offers us a full week to plan and prepare. With three of the current top-4 playing at home against teams that are currently in the bottom-6 of the league, we might see the Fantasy Premier League template score big this week. The likes of Abraham, Pulisic, Vardy, Maddison, Pereira, Mané, Salah and Alexander-Arnold are all clear favourites to win their respective games, and to bring great fortune to the FPL forum managers that own them.

The game of the weekend will probably be the Sunday afternoon clash between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates, though. The Cityzens seem to have already lost the league now that Liverpool are 14 points ahead but they won’t be giving up. The Gunners, on the other hand, just booked their first victory under caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg against West Ham last weekend, which was also the first victory for the club after a run of nine matches without a win. The home game versus the reigning champions will be a good benchmark to see to what extent Arsenal have changed or improved since the dismissal of Unai Emery.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 17 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, December 14th.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Jamie Vardy Aston Villa (a) 13
Premium Kevin de Bruyne Man United (H) 1
Non-premium Dele Alli Burnley (H) 9
Non-premium Tammy Abraham Everton (a) 2
Differential Gabriel Jesus Man United (H) 2
Differential James Ward-Prowse Newcastle (a) 1
Captain Kevin de Bruyne Man United (H) 2

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 12th, 2019)

GK Ederson (MC), Patricio (Wol), Pope (Bur) Guaita (Cry), Schmeichel (Lei), Martin (Whu)  
DEF Van Aanholt (Cry), Tomori (Che), Aké (Bou) Kelly (Lei), Baldock (She), Evans (Lei) Injuries are a big reason for the transfers out
MID De Bruyne (MC), Sterling (MC), Pulisic (Che) Son (Tot), Alli (Tot), Maddison (Lei) Spurs & Leicester form & lack of points for high value MC players
FOR Jimenez (Wol), Aubameyang (Ars), Pukki (Nor) Rashford (Utd), Abraham (Che), Vardy (Lei) The trend for GW17 follows form and fixtures

Premium fantasy picks

Another week, another goal for Jamie Vardy (£10.1m). Or better said, another two goals for Jamie Vardy to bring his current total for the season to 16 goals in the Premier League. The Leicester striker has now scored in eight consecutive games, a stretch during which he scored 11 goals, provided 3 assists, won 14 bonus points and racked up a sweet total of 82 FPL points. With Norwich at the King Power up next, Vardy has a good chance of extending his current run to nine consecutive games in which he scored at least one goal. What’s more, he will very likely be the most popular option for the captaincy this weekend, but more on that later. For now, just be aware of the fact that Norwich have already shipped 34 goals in 16 games, and 14 of those goals were conceded in 8 away games. Leicester, on the other hand, are in outstanding form and have scored 18 goals in 8 home games so far. On paper, this looks like one of Leicester’s stand-out fixtures of the season.

While 2nd place Leicester face 19th placed Norwich at home on Saturday, current leaders Liverpool are hosting the league’s bottom club Watford at Anfield just a few hours earlier. Sadio Mané (£12.3m) put in a man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League versus Salzburg on Tuesday night after being rested in the Premier League last weekend. We expect him to be back in the starting lineup again this Saturday and we couldn’t have wished for a more favourable opponent for the occasion. Liverpool are playing against Watford at Anfield, where the Reds have yet to lose a PL game this season, and where they scored 24 goals in just eight encounters. Watford, on the other hand, are going through a horrid season that could very well end with relegation if the Hornets don’t turn things around soon. They have taken just 5 points from eight away games so far, a run over which they conceded 17 goals. Like for the Leicester-Norwich game, everything in this game is pointing towards a high-scoring win for Mané and his team mates.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17 is Chelsea’s Mason Mount (£6.6m). The young English attacking midfielder saw his stock rise quickly after his consecutive goals in gameweeks 2 and 3, but just a single goal and a single assist in the last eight Premier League games made plenty of managers move him out in favour of Leicester’s Maddison or other similarly priced midfielders. Those who kept the faith were rewarded though, as Mount turned up with a goal at home to Villa in gameweek 15. For this week’s Champions League encounter with Lille, he only came on in the 82nd minute to replace Kovacic. This makes us confident in believing that Mount will start against Bournemouth this Saturday. The Cherries have lost their five last Premier League games and no other team in the league conceded more goals than them over that period (11). With Steve Cook, Adam Smith and most likely Nathan Aké out injured for the encounter, it’s not too hard to imagine a scenario in which Chelsea run riot this weekend, with Mount at the centre of it.

For our second non-premium fantasy pick of the week, form and fixture are colliding in such a way that we can’t ignore it. Leicester’s James Maddison (7.7m) started the season relatively slow, with just a goal and 2 assists in his first seven games of the season. Since gameweek 8 though, the English playmaker has improved considerably on those numbers, with 4 goals and 3 assists. What’s even more relevant, is that in the last two Premier League, Maddison brought his owners an impressive 19 FPL points, courtesy of a goal in gameweek 15 against Watford and a brace of assists against Villa last weekend. This Saturday, one of the league’s leakiest defences is visiting the King Power Stadium when Norwich come to face the Foxes. A total of 14 goals conceded in eight games does not bode well for the Canaries, but Vardy, Maddison and the other Foxes will be licking their lips in anticipation.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Last week’s recommendation of James Ward-Prowse as a differential against Newcastle at Saint James’ Park didn’t work out the way we hoped as the Magpies snapped up a 2-1 victory, but the Saints remain in thoughts. This weekend, they are hosting an out-of-sorts West Ham side that has booked only a single victory in the last ten gameweeks. The Hammers have conceded 11 goals in 8 away games, and five of those goals came in the past three gameweeks. For Southampton, Danny Ings (£6.3m) has been the man on fire recently. The Saints striker has hit the target in five consecutive games now, which has earned his owners a fantastic 39 FPL points over that period. In total, Ings has already bagged 9 goals this season and he has also 1 assist to his name. For the upcoming game against West Ham on Saturday evening, all eyes will be on him to lead the Saints out of the relegation zone.

Our second differential pick and final fantasy pick of the week plays for a team that has scored just 17 goals in 16 Premier League games so far, but hear us out. When Rafa Benitez was replaced by Steve Bruce before the 2019-2020 campaign started, many people placed Newcastle amongst their three most likely candidates for relegation. Sixteen games into the season though, and the Magpies are in 11th, a solid seven points above the drop zone. One of the pillars of Bruce’s Newcastle is midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (£5.1m), who seems to have been dealt a more offensive role by his new manager. As a result, the ex-Liverpool man has already scored 5 goals this season, three of which came in his past three games (1 goal a piece against City, Sheffield United and Southampton). His low price tag and Newcastle’s relatively decent run of fixtures over the coming weeks (Burnley away, Palace home, United away, Everton home) make Shelvey a pretty decent candidate for the slot of fifth or even fourth midfielder in your FPL squad.

For further GW17 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy.

We touched on the subject of the captaincy earlier, because with the Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea all playing at home against weaker opposition, gameweek 17 is offering us plenty of options for the armband. The stand-out names are Liverpool’s Mané and Salah against Watford, Jamie Vardy versus Norwich, and Tammy Abraham as he faces Bournemouth. Both Mané (who was rested last weekend) and Salah played mid-week with the latter deciding the match against Salzburg, and Abraham played Champions League against Lille on Tuesday, while Vardy will have had a week to recuperate from his brace in gameweek 16 and prepare for the Norwich game. In the end, it was between Vardy and Mané for us, and we’ve gone with the former.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW17 has Vardy once again leading the way with well over 50% of the votes (unlike any of the UK’s political parties).

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 50,000 euro weekly monster. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. There’s also a free chance to win an entry into a comp over two gameweeks where the top prize is a guaranteed 30,000 euros.