This is the first Fantasy Football update of the New Year, incorporating a summary of the last 3 weeks of action:
Gameweeks 18-20 Review
Chelsea failed to set the new record for successive Premier League wins when they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham last time out. They are still out in front and have a 5-point lead at the top of the league, then the chasing pack are becoming tightly-bunched with only 5 points splitting the teams in second to sixth. Hull have dropped to the bottom of the table having not won in 9 Premier League games.
Tottenham’s Dele Alli has been the form Fantasy Football player over the last few weeks, having bagged a brace in each of his last three matches. He was the joint highest-scoring player in gameweek 18 when he and Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up 15 points each. In gameweek 19 Burnley’s Andre Gray helped himself to a hat trick and 17 Fantasy Football points against Sunderland, whilst in the last round of matches it was a 4-way tie between Ryan Shawcross, Leighton Baines, Dele Alli and Olivier Giroud, who all scored 15 points
Gameweek 21 Preview
After a break for FA Cup and EFL ties the Premier League returns this weekend and the lunchtime game on Saturday pits Tottenham against West Brom. Spurs are in a rich vein of form having won their last 6 games in all competitions. They’ve scored 17 times and conceded just 3 in that run, so are in good condition at both ends of the pitch. They’ll be firm favourites against Tony Pulis’ men, but it’s not likely to be a massively one-sided affair – the Baggies may have only won 3 of their last 13 away games in all competitions but they haven’t lost any of those by more than one goal. A cagey game may be on the cards, and bearing in mind that West Brom lost 1-0 away to both Chelsea and Arsenal last month a repeat scoreline is the most likely outcome. The man most likely to score that goal has got to be Dele Alli (£8.5m). He’s scored twice in each of his last 3 league appearances and now has 10 goals and 4 assists from 19 league appearances this season. At the back the likes of Hugo Lloris (£5.5m), Danny Rose (£6.0m) and Jan Vertonghen (£5.7m) should be good for clean sheet points.
From the 3pm kick-offs Arsenal look to be the standout team to which you should be looking for Fantasy Football points. They’re away to a Swansea side who’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games in all competitions and have the worst home defensive record in the league, conceding 23 times in 10 games. Coincidentally that’s the same number of goals that Arsenal have scored on their travels in the league this season, so this game is pitching the league’s most prolific away attack against its most porous home defence. Olivier Giroud (£8.6m) is in fine form for the Gunners, having scored in each of his last three games, whilst Alexis Sánchez (£11.9m) has been consistently brilliant throughout the season, claiming 13 goals and 8 assists so far in this league campaign.
Onto Sunday and there’s two massive games to finish off the weekend. Everton host Manchester City at 1:30pm, and the Toffees will be looking to extend an impressive home record that’s seen them lose just once in their last 13 league games at Goodison Park. City have lost 3 of their last 6 away games in the league, so there’s every chance that the home side can pick up at least a point here. Neither side look particularly impressive defensively, so it’s all about the attacking choices here. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku (£9.5m) has 2 goals and an assist from his last 3 league games and scored when these two sides met earlier in the season, while for the visitors Sergio Agüero (£12.8m) came off the bench to claim the winner in their last league game against Burnley and will expect to be restored to the starting line-up this weekend.
The last game of the weekend is the one everyone will be watching, as Manchester United take on bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. United are unbeaten in their last 15 games in all competitions and have won the last 9, while Liverpool had only lost 1 of their previous 23 games before losing to Southampton in the EFL Cup last night. Neither side can really be faulted on their current form, so Sunday should be an lively encounter. Again it’s the attacking players who are likely to be picking up points, with United scoring in all of their last 10 league fixtures and Liverpool in all of their last 8. Paul Pogba (£8.5m) is dominating games from midfield for United now that Mourinho seems to have found a formation that suits the world-record buy. He has 3 goals and 3 assists from his last 10 league games and has picked up bonus points in 5 of those matches. Meanwhile Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.6m) is excelling up front, banging in 9 goals and assisting 4 times in his last 9 league games. Liverpool will be without Sadio Mané (£9.2m) as he is competing in the African Cup of Nations for Senegal, but will be boosted by the return of Philippe Coutinho (£8.2m), who has 5 goals and 6 assists to his name so far this season despite missing the last 7 games through injury.
To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:
Burnley v Southampton – Jay Rodriguez (£6.3m)
Hull v Bournemouth – Junior Stanislas (£5.2m)
Sunderland v Stoke – Erik Pieters (£4.5m)
Watford v Middlesbrough – Fabio (£4.4m)
West Ham v Crystal Palace – Yohan Cabaye (£5.6m)
Leicester v Chelsea – Diego Costa (£10.7m)
Best of luck for this weekend, and we’ll bring you another update next week.