It’s Christmas week in the Premier League! The action starts tonight with a potentially epic showdown between Arsenal and Liverpool – the first of 11 days in the next 14 when there is action in England’s top division. Here to guide you through your Fantasy Premier League selections for the first half of this extravaganza are our friends at Armchair Fancast – the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League – with their top five picks for gameweeks 19 and 20. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- David De Gea (MUN, £5.9): If there was ever any doubt that De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the league then the first half of this season has surely dispelled it. The Spaniard has kept 10 clean sheets in United’s 18 games so far this season, and with a favorable run of fixtures right up until the end of January he looks sure to add to that total. Leicester away and Burnley at home are up first, both of which look like games with such potential that this is a rare case where you can justify spending £5.9 of your budget on a goalie.
- Angelo Ogbonna (WHU, £4.4): Three consecutive shut-outs for West Ham show just how difficult to beat they have become in a very short time under the tutelage of David Moyes. Ogbonna has become a mainstay in the defense over the past 10 games and even got on the scoresheet a few weeks ago, against Man City of all teams. With the Hammers’ next two games against Newcastle and Bournemouth – both of whom are struggling badly at present – it’s a good time to gamble on one of their defenders, especially one who will only set you back £4.4.
- Wilfried Zaha (CRY, £6.9): The focal point of Crystal Palace’s remarkable revival, Zaha scored his 4th of the season last weekend at Leicester. He also looks likely to benefit from the possible return to form of Christian Benteke, with whom he could plausibly form a pretty formidable partnership at the sharp end of the Eagles’ attack. Managerless Swansea are up next for Palace, which looks mouth-watering even if the next game after that is against Arsenal.
- Raheem Sterling (MCI, £8.5): One of the world’s most talented young players in the form of his life – what more needs to be said about Raheem Sterling at present? He could have easily had 5 goals rather than 2 against Tottenham last week, and his stunning recent performances have seen him play every minute of City’s last six games – impressive stuff given Pep’s tendency to rotate. The risk is that this weekend’s game against Bournemouth might be seen as so easy that it’s a good chance to finally give the man a rest – but if he plays then you shouldn’t just pick him, you should make him your captain.
- Wayne Rooney (EVE, £7.6): If you had said a few weeks ago that Everton might be Chelsea then you would have been rightly laughed at. But they might, you know. The Toffees’ change in fortunes since the arrival of Sam Allardyce has been so dramatic that it’s hard to remember this was a club in crisis a month ago, tipped by some for relegation. Rooney has epitomized the recent shift, scoring a hat-trick against West Ham followed by goals in each of the past three games. If he keeps this run going – and he probably will for a while at least – then it could be a very merry Christmas for England’s all-time top goalscorer.
Author: Dave Bradshaw