We’re at the point in the season where things start to get a bit complicated. There are only nine fixtures in Gameweek 21 this weekend, so if you’re playing Fantasy Premier League you need to make sure you don’t put any Tottenham or West Ham players in your starting XI, because those teams won’t play. But in Gameweek 22 both of those teams play twice, so you want to fill your team with as many of them as possible. This kind of manoeuvring is going to take some excellent use of transfers and the subs bench, and here to help you are our friends at Armchair Fancast – the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League – with their top five picks for the tricky few days ahead. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- Jonjoe Kenny (EVE, £4.5): Everton’s stunning defensive improvements under Sam Allardyce continue to turn heads, with Boxing Day’s goalless draw against West Brom the fifth clean sheet for the Toffees in seven games. Jonjoe Kenny is now entrenched at right back, at least until Seamus Coleman returns, and he’s even managed to grab a couple of assists during those past 7 games. Everton visit Bournemouth next – a side that hadn’t scored in three games until that bizarre 3-3 scramble against West Ham on Boxing Day – and then host a Man United team that sometimes seems more concerned with holding their back line than pushing forward when they go on the road against decent opponents. There is scope in both of those games for more Everton clean sheets.
- Jesse Lingard (MUN, £6.1): Alternatively, if you’re of the opinion that United will turn on the style at Goodison Park then your best attacking option from Mourinho’s men is undoubtedly Jesse Lingard. He’s cheap at £6.1, he’s still owned by less than 8% of fantasy teams for some bizarre reason, and he’s scored 6 goals in the last 7 games. A home game against Southampton prior to the Everton match seems nicely set up for him too, but there is one reason to be wary: for all of his recent success, Lingard is still yet to complete a full 90 minutes for United in the league this season.
- Jack Wilshere (ARS, £5.4): Unbelievably, when Jack Wilshere completed his fourth consecutive 90-minute appearance against Crystal Palace last night it was the first time in four years he had managed such a streak without injury. Arsenal fans will be praying that the good fortune continues because he has looked electric since he returned, and his assist for Sanchez yesterday was world class. The England international is the spark that the Arsenal midfield has needed for most of the year, and he could do some real damage at West Brom on New Year’s Eve. He might even surprise some people in the huge London derby against Chelsea three days later too.
- Harry Kane (TOT, £12.9): If, like 41% of fantasy teams, you have Harry Kane leading your line then it might be tempting to transfer him out during Tottenham’s idle weekend and free up almost £13.0 to spend on others. Do that if you want, but you absolutely must buy him back straight afterwards. In Tottenham’s double gameweek they play Swansea and West Ham. That’s a prospect so good that you need to not only play Kane, but seriously consider using your triple captain chip. We wouldn’t bet against yet another hat trick in one of those two ties.
- Roberto Firmino (LIV, £8.9): Liverpool have scored 12 goals in their last 3 games, and Firmino was directly involved in half of them (4 goals and 2 assists). As either a replacement for Kane this weekend or (preferably) as a partner for him in the longer run, the Brazilian looks like a very solid pick. Liverpool host Leicester this weekend and then visit a Burnley side who, having not conceded more than one goal against any team other than Man City all season, managed to let in 3 against Tottenham and 2 against United this week. This may be the ideal time for Jurgen Klopp’s attacking forces to maraud into Turf Moor.
Author: Dave Bradshaw