Maybe they had a really good day and Leicester an average one. Maybe winning the World Cup for Clubs gave them wings. Maybe they were afraid we had forgotten about them after a blank gameweek. Whatever it was, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Liverpool returned to Premier League action in impressive style in gameweek 19 by hammering a red-hot Leicester side 0-4 at the King Power. The Reds are now an incredible 13 points clear at the top and they still have a game in hand. Assuming they win the rescheduled away game against West Ham on Wed 29 January, Jurgen Klopp’s men are now in a position where they can lose five of the remaining nineteen games and still be leaders. Just let that reality stir for a moment.
Gameweek 20 of Fantasy Premier League is promising to be one full of rotation, as the first game is kicking off about 16 hours after the final game of gameweek 19 has kicked off. It’s also due to this extremely short turn-around that we have had to write this piece before the Wolves-Man City game that takes place tonight. As a result, we have not included any of their players in our picks. Wolves play away at Liverpool this week, so we wouldn’t have recommended any of their players anyway, but City are at home to Sheffield United on Sunday, which could offer some interesting options. Even though they won’t be in our list, we do recommend to include them in your thinking for GW20 so in the meantime check out our FPL Forum. For the rest we have taken the elevated rotation risk for this week into account by focusing on players who we feel are entering the weekend with a combination of a decent fixture and at least acceptable form, and a very high chance of starting.
Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, December 28th.
How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?
|Premium||Harry Kane||Brighton (H)||8|
|Premium||Kevin de Bruyne||Wolves (a)||(still to play)|
|Non-premium||Dele Alli||Brighton (H)||8|
|Non-premium||Tammy Abraham||Southampton (H)||2|
|Differential||Jack Grealish||Norwich (H)||6|
|Differential||John Fleck||Watford (H)||2|
|Captain||Harry Kane||Brighton (H)||16|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 27th, 2019)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Henderson (She), Pope (Bur), De Gea (Utd)||Ramsdale (Bou), Henderson (She), Schmeichel (Lei)||A positive fixture swing for Bournemouth and Leicester, combined with a negative swing for Burnley.|
|DEF||Robertson (Liv), Pereira (Lei), Dunk (Bri)||Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Baldock (She), Van Dijk (Liv)||Alexander-Arnold’s 24-point haul, Liverpool’s return to PL action and Liverpool’s clean sheet.|
|MID||Son (Tot), Mount (Che), Pulisic (Che)||Grealish (Ast), Martial (Utd), Alli (Tot)||Chelsea’s disappointing/unpredictable form, Son’s ongoing suspension, in combination with returns from several non-premium midfielders in GW19.|
|FOR||Abraham (Che), Mousset (She), Pukki (Nor)||Ings (Sou), Greenwood (Utd), Rashford (Utd)||Non-performing strikers being switched out for in-form strikers and/or strikers with decent fixtures.|
Premium fantasy picks
Liverpool don’t have the easiest of fixtures coming up in gameweek 20, but if their 0-4 victory over Leicester showed us anything, it’s that the Reds are fixture-proof this season. Despite the ridiculously crowded schedule, we feel this encounter is just tricky enough for Jurgen Klopp to field his strongest starting eleven and particularly his strongest front three. Seeing as Mo Salah (£12.3m) was taken off after 70 minutes on Thursday, while Firmino and Mané played the full 90 minutes, we’ve gone with the Egyptian forward as our first premium fantasy pick. He has been overshadowed by some of his teammates lately (Sadio and Trent, please stand up) and he didn’t return anything in gameweek 19, but before Liverpool’s World Cup for clubs adventure, Mo scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist in the two games. Of his 9 goals so far this season, 8 have come at Anfield, and last season, he scored one goal and created another in two games against Wolves. Add to all this his penalty duties and we’ve got ourselves not just a promising premium pick, but a serious candidate for the armband in GW20 as well.
Our second premium pick for GW20 is Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (£10.1m). Since gameweek 7, the English striker has failed to deliver a return on just two occasions: in GW8 against Liverpool at Anfield and in GW19 against Liverpool at home. In the other eleven games in this run, Vardy scored 14 goals and provided 4 assists, with 106 FPL as a result. That’s an average of 9.6 FPL points per game. Up next is West Ham away and the Hammers have already conceded 17 goals in 8 home games. There is a real risk that Vardy will be rested by Brendan Rodgers this weekend, as the Scotsman stated that his striker will need some rest at some point during the festive football season, but we can imagine he would like to start his star man one more time against a leaky West Ham side after coming off two consecutive losses versus City and Liverpool. Keep an eye on team news from the Leicester camp, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Vardy pick up where he left off in GW18: scoring goals and hauling big.
Non-premium fantasy picks
Spurs didn’t play well against a resilient Brighton side in gameweek 19, that’s a fact. What’s also a fact though, is that Jose Mourinho’s won the game, and Dele Alli (£8.9m) scored the winning goal. To stick with the facts: in the seven Premier League games under Mourinho’s reign, Alli played at least 78 minutes per game, and scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists for a total of 49 FPL points over that stretch. That’s an average of exactly 7 FPL points per game. On Saturday, Spurs are rolling up to Carrow Road to face the Premier League’s leakiest defence (if we ignore Southampton’s 0-9 home loss against Leicester), as Norwich have so far conceded 22 goals in 9 home games. Tottenham have not been particularly impressive under Mourinho so far, but they have at least been booking victories and scoring goals. Alli looks to be central to the Portuguese manager’s plans and he could well be on the scoreboard again his weekend although he did seem to be struggling for fitness towards the end of the Brighton match and may have a groin muscle injury.
Our last three picks for gameweek 20 are all players with an ownership of less than 3.3%, so we’re starting out with the most-owned of the three, Newcastle’s Jetro Willems (£4.7m). The Dutch wing-back has a current ownership of 3.2% and is facing Everton at Saint James’ Park on Saturday. It’s a bit of a punt, because Everton are a bit of an unknown entity at the moment due to the very recent arrival of manager Carlo Ancelotti, but hear us out. In terms of away games, the Toffees are currently ranked 18th in the league with just 5 points from nine games. In those games, they scored a total of just 9 goals and conceded a worrying 18. The Magpies, on the other hand, are seventh in the league when it comes to only home games. Steve Bruce’s men have taken an impressive 16 points from nine home games, scoring just 10 goals, but also conceding just 7. As far as Willems goes, he is a mainstay in Newcastle’s backline and we can see him getting an attacking return (he already has 2 goals and 2 assists to his name) on top of a clean sheet this weekend.
A differential fantasy pick or two
If Jetro Willems wasn’t differential enough for you yet, how about Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m, ownership: 2.1%)? Under Nigel Pearson, the Hornets seem to be slowly climbing out of the enormous slump in form that has led to their current place in the relegation zone. The new manager has taken 4 points from his first three games in charge, including a shock home victory over Man United in gameweek 18, and Deulofeu completed the 90 minutes in each of these games. Gameweek 19’s encounter with Sheffield away from home saw the Spaniard score his first goal under Pearson, his first goal since gameweek 12 and his third goal overall this season. Besides that, he currently also has 2 assists to his name. In other words, he is definitely a gamble, but one that we feel can pay off against Aston Villa at home on Saturday. No team in the league has performed worse on the road than Villa have so far, as Dean Smith’s men have taken just 4 points from nine away games, conceding 19 goals in the process. It could very well end up being a tightly contested encounter between these two sides fighting for Premier League survival, but Deulofeu has match-winner potential for this one.
Our final fantasy pick for gameweek 20 is also the biggest differential of the lot, at least in terms of overall ownership. Brighton’s Neal Maupay (£5.8m) has gone a bit under the radar this season, which is underlined by his current ownership of just 1.9%, but he is having a more than decent debut season amongst England’s footballing elite. The Frenchman has established himself as Graham Potter’s starting striker (but was benched against Spurs presumably to allow extra rest for the next match), which isn’t so strange if you consider the fact that he has already scored 7 goals for the Seagulls. His current total of 73 FPL points makes him the highest-scoring striker in the category up to £6.2m and what’s possibly even more telling is the fact that he is currently the fifth-highest-scoring striker in the category for strikers up to £8.7m. In other words, Maupay represents some serious value for money, and with games against Bournemouth (home), Chelsea (home) and Villa (away) up next he has the opportunity to improve his value further.
After Liverpool’s convincing win over Leicester at the King Power in gameweek 19 and their confidence-boosting victory against Flamengo at the World Cup for clubs last weekend, we’re placing the armband on Mo Salah‘s arm this weekend for the home game against Wolves. The Egyptian was subbed off in the 70th minute against the Foxes, just a few minutes before the Reds were given a penalty (which Salah would have probably taken), so we’re confident he will start this weekend. Eight of his 9 goals have come in front of the Liverpool fans this season, so Mo is probably one of the least risky captaincy picks for gameweek 20.
The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW20 also indicates Salah will be captain for many.
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 Boxing Day weekly monster. FISO members could win free ‘Weekly Monster’ entries (worth 20 euros) via their weekly FISO newsletter. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks.