Gameweek 17 Preview – 17 December 2015

Gameweek 17 Preview of Fantasy Premier League, courtesy of Bet365.

No early kick-off this week, but we have seven intriguing games on Saturday followed by two on Sunday and the big one on Monday evening when Arsenal face Manchester City at the Emirates. These two sides are directly below Leicester City at the top of the league, and both will be keen to secure a positive result in their final game before Christmas. City have kept just 2 clean sheets in their last 20 games in all competitions, and in the last 6 meetings between the sides they’ve been defensively suspect, conceding 14 goals and failing to keep a clean sheet. Arsenal’s attacking options could therefore be the way to go here and there’s plenty of choice. Aaron Ramsey (£8.1m) has scored in back-to-back league matches and has 24 points from his 2 matches this month and Mesut Özil (£9.8m) is already over 100 Fantasy Football points having scored or assisted in 10 consecutive league matches. Olivier Giroud (£9.0m) has been in great form too with 9 league goals to his name already, and he’s The Gunners’ chosen penalty taker with Santi Cazorla out injured.

In the Saturday games, another that promises plenty of goalmouth action is Everton v Leicester City. This is a clash of two free-scoring teams who don’t seem to place too much emphasis on defence; Leicester are the league’s top scorers with Everton the third-highest scoring team, and at the back Leicester have the worst defensive record in the top half and the Toffees have only conceded one goal fewer than them. Both teams also have first choice central defenders missing (Jagielka for Everton and Huth for Leicester), so expect goals at both ends. With this in mind, Ross Barkley (£7.4m), Gerard Deulofeu (£6.4m) and Romelu Lukaku (£9.2m) are all safe options this week for the home side. Lukaku has 8 goals and 2 assists from his last 7 league matches, Deulofeu has a goal and 8 assists from his last 10 and Barkley has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 7. Take your pick from these! For Leicester Jamie Vardy (£7.6m) and Riyad Mahrez (£6.9m) show no signs of stopping their incredible form, with both on the scoresheet on Monday night in the win against Chelsea. Mahrez has 11 goals and 7 assists so far this term, with Vardy bagging 15 goals and 2 assists. These two seem to be the must-have players this season, and are still relatively cheap.

At Stamford Bridge there’s a huge match at the bottom of the table, with Sunderland knowing a win would move them level on points with managerless Chelsea and potentially out of the relegation zone at the Blues’ expense. It was unfeasible to think at the start of the season that Chelsea could find themselves in the bottom three on Christmas Day (and Mourinho no longer the manager) but that’s exactly the situation they could find themselves in if they lose by three goals or if Norwich and Swansea better their result on Saturday. The good news for Chelsea is that the 2 wins from their last 10 league games have come against Norwich and Villa, and they face the other side currently in the bottom three on Saturday so they’ll be hopeful of another positive result. But their last home game saw them lose 1-0 to Bournemouth, a team who were firmly in the relegation places at the time so it’s no foregone conclusion. Sunderland have scored in each of their last 3 Premier League away games and Chelsea have kept just 4 clean sheets in the league all season, so Steven Fletcher (£5.0m) or Jermain Defoe (£5.1m) could be a gamble worth taking if you want to pick up points where few others are.

The late kick-off also has ramifications for the clubs in and around the relegation zone, with Newcastle hosting Aston Villa. Villa are in real danger of getting cut off from the rest – they’ve amassed just 6 points so far this season and if results go against them this weekend they could be 11 points from safety by Monday morning. Newcastle have picked up two huge wins in consecutive matches, defeating Liverpool and Tottenham, and confidence should be high off the back of those victories. They have a great record against Villa too, winning 5 and drawing 3 of the last 8 meetings between the sides. Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.2m) came off the bench and turned the game on its head against Spurs, scoring the equaliser and assisting the winner in injury time. That performance has surely won him a place in the starting line-up on Saturday, and he could be on the scoresheet again this week.

Sunday’s highlight is Liverpool’s trip to Vicarage Road to face a Watford side who have adapted brilliantly to life in the Premier League. They sit one point and two places above the visitors, and have won their last 3 matches. Liverpool’s form on the other hand has dipped in their last 3; their 6-1 mauling of Southampton in the Capital One Cup has been followed by a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle and 0-0 draw with Sion, then they needed a 96th minute equaliser at home to West Brom to rescue a point in a game that they’d have expected all 3 from. Odion Ighalo (£6.0m) is the one to watch in this fixture. He’s scored in each of Watford’s last 3 victories and has 10 goals and 5 assists this season. He’s one of only five players who have amassed over 100 Fantasy Football points so far this campaign and has started every game since coming on and scoring in the opening day draw at Everton. The Nigerian frontman will be looking to make it a double against Merseyside clubs with a goal on Sunday.


Southampton v Tottenham

Stoke v Crystal Palace

West Brom v Bournemouth

Chelsea v Sunderland

Everton v Leicester

Man Utd v Norwich

Newcastle v Aston Villa

(5.30pm Sky Sports 1)


Watford v Liverpool

(1.30pm Sky Sports 1)

Swansea v West Ham

(4.00pm Sky Sports 1)


Arsenal v Man City

(8.00pm Sky Sports 1)