FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 20 preview

28 goals in 6 games. Ah, Boxing Day, ye big beautiful beast, you did it again! In a period in which traditions play an especially important part of daily life, the Premier League did not disappoint and delivered the usual Boxing Day goal bonanza. A goal and 2 assists for Iheanacho, a brace for Saka, a brace for Jorginho, a couple of City players hauling big after their 6-3 (that’s six and three) victory over Leicester, and at the time of writing, gameweek 19’s most popular captain Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t even played United’s away game at Newcastle yet. FPL points galore for popular assets and differentials alike.

Considering the fact that gameweek 20 is kicking off tomorrow at 15h00, we’ll be moving straight on to our fantasy picks for this mid-week round. Just a final note for the legendary few: IF you still have your first Wildcard, you have until GW20 to deploy it. If you don’t, it’ll be lost, lost forever, so our advice is to activate ASAP if this is your case.

The Blanks Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and blanks. For GW20, at the time of writing, two games have been postponed so far:

GW20 blanks(as of 27/12, 15h00)
Wolves – Arsenal
Leeds – Aston Villa

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, December 28th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 27th, 2021)

GKRamsdale (ARS), Martinez (AST), Foster (WAT)De Gea (MUN), Lloris (TOT), Ramsdale (ARS)
DEFJames (CHE), Mings (AST), Tomiyasu (ARS)Reguilon (TOT), Cancelo (MCI), Tierney (ARS)Mings suspension, TOT fixtures
MIDESR (ARS), Bilva (CITY), Raphinha (LEE)Moura (TOT), Saka (ARS), Maddison (LEI)Moura & Maddison form
FORWatkins (AST), Vardy (LEI), Jesus (CITY))Antonio (WH), Dennis (WAT), Broja (SOU)Vardy lack of returns, Antonio’s return

Premium pick

Living FPL legend Mo Salah (£13.0) missed out in gameweek 19 as Liverpool’s enticing game against Leeds was postponed. This opened up the captaincy playing field for the first time in a long time this season, but with the Reds back in action on Tuesday night, the Egyptian will most likely dominate the captaincy debate once again. He will be facing a Leicester side that has been defensively suspect this season and that just conceded six at the Etihad just a day ago. On top of that, no team in the league allows for more conceded chances from the left flank, which just happens to be Salah’s favourite hunting ground. Add to that the facts that Liverpool got an unplanned rest while Leicester are visiting Anfield not even 48 hours after an intense encounter with England’s reigning champions, and we can’t do anything but recommend Salah as the stand-out premium fantasy pick once again.

Non-premium pick

With a favourable run of fixtures extending all the way to at least gameweek 26, and with both Salah and Mané missing most of January’s game while they are at the AFCON, Diogo Jota (£8.1m) should probably be a set-and-forget option in your team for the foreseeable future. The Portuguese international combines good fixtures with consistently good form, which is underlined by his 10 goals and 1 assist from just 1,212 Premier League minutes this season. He started the last two league games for the Reds and scored a goal in each of those games for a total of 14 FPL points. A leaky Leicester side that just conceded six goals against Manchester City is up next and it could turn into another high-scoring affair. Perhaps not “6-3 high-scoring”, but we’re expecting a few goals for this one and Jota could end up playing a big role in the whole thing.

The budget enabler

This round’s budget enabler is a temporary fantasy pick, but one that could reap serious rewards over the coming two gameweeks. Kostas Tsimikas (£3.7m) is currently the cheapest player in the entire game and he will be starting as Liverpool’s left-back during Andy Robertson’s absence as the result of a red card in GW18 against Spurs (he’s suspended until 15th January). The Greek international has deputised for Robertson from the start on four league occasion so far this season, allowing him to amass a more than decent 28 FPL points (4 clean sheets, 1 assist). From those appearances, we also know that, when he’s on the pitch, Tsimikas carries part of the dead-ball duties, which only furthers his appeal as the ultimate short-term budget enabler. Free Hitters in gameweeks 20 or 21 in particular should have the Liverpool defender high on their watchlists when compiling their best possible squad. Liverpool’s fixtures are not the easiest with Leicester away on Tuesday followed by a tough visit to Stamford Bridge, but as far as budget fantasy picks for FPL go, you’re unlikely to find better than Tsimikas at the moment.

The differential

So, Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m). In cases such as his, it’s best to just cut to the chase: 3 consecutive starts, and a goal and an assist in each of those three games. That makes 3 goals and 3 assists in the last three league outings, plus 2 clean sheet points and 3 bonus points for a total of 35 FPL points over that same period. That’s just over 11 points per game on average. If that’s not good form, we don’t know what is. Next up for Manchester City are Brentford away and while Pep Roulette remains a very real and scary factor when it comes to City assets, Mahrez nonetheless kind of looks too good to ignore right now. To increase his fantasy appeal even further, he is also currently owned by just 3.6% of all managers and he is available at a decent non-budget price. If you’re desperate for an exciting differential, Mahrez should be top of your list.

The captaincy

As far as we’re concerned, there is no need to look further than Mo Salah in gameweek 20 (surprise, surprise). He is back after a rest against a Leicester side that… well, we’ve said it a few times before already. Basically, we feel that Liverpool could heap some more misery on the Foxes after conceding six times against City.

Still, if you’re willing to go the differential way or want to make sure you get a decent Vice Captain, there are a few good options besides Salah. Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku could return away at Brighton, while Man City are visiting Brentford on Tuesday. Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne are all appealing prospects in terms of the captain’s armband. The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo at home to Burnley. If you really feel Christmas lucky, why not take a punt on Dominic Calvert-Lewin as he is likely to return from injury at home for Everton against Newcastle on Thursday.