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|3 (3)||Brisbane City FC||1110|
Tuesday December 12
Burnley v Stoke City
7.45pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley
Burnley won 1-0 at home to Watford on Saturday and they're still only outside the top six on goal difference. They have only lost two of their eight home games with no other team conceding less goals at home and only Swansea scoring less. Only the top two have conceded less goals and they have seven clean sheets so far, but they are the lowest scorers in the top half of the table.
Burnley's defenders and goalkeeper have done very well for fantasy managers and there's no reason to believe that will change in this game.
Stoke were beaten 5-1 at Spurs on Saturday and they're only three points above the bottom three. They have only won once in eight away games with only West Ham conceding more goals on their travels. They have only won once in their last six games and they conceded 15 goals in those games with no other team conceding more goals so far.
Despite Stoke's poor form Xherdan Shaqiri is still doing quite well for fantasy managers.
There aren't too many goals in games at Turf Moor, but I think Burnley should get enough of them to win this game.
Crystal Palace v Watford
8pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London
Palace would almost have moved out of the bottom three with a win at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, but they let the lead slip and had a settle for a point after missing a late penalty. They're unbeaten in five home games and have scored 10 goals in those five games, but only Watford and Stoke have conceded more goals at home. They're unbeaten in five games, but they have drawn four of those games and they need to turn some of those draws into wins if they're going to avoid the drop.
I'm not so sure there are any Palace players doing enough to make an impression for fantasy managers at the moment.
Watford lost 1-0 at Burnley after going down to 10 men in the first half of the game and that defeat saw Leicester move above them. Only two teams have won more away games than Watford with only City and Liverpool scoring more away goals and the defeat at Burnley was the first time they failed to score at least two goals in an away game this season. They have only taken one point in their last three games with only three teams conceding more goals so far.
Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure had both done very well for fantasy managers until recently and the fixtures over the next few weeks might well see that form return.
I think this will be a very close game and the chances are it will end with the spoils shared.
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
8pm GMT, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield
Huddersfield put an end to a bad run of results with a 2-0 win at home to Brighton on Saturday. They have won three of their last four home games and have kept clean sheets in four of their eight home games. Their win last week ended a run of four defeats and they have failed to score in nine of their 16 games with only the bottom two scoring less goals.
I can't see any Huddersfield players who are consistent enough to recommend to fantasy managers.
Chelsea lost 1-0 at West Ham on Saturday and missed the chance to join United 11 points behind City. Only City have taken more away points than Chelsea despite losing to two teams in the bottom three with only City and Liverpool scoring more away goals and only City conceding less. Their defeat last week brought a very good run of 19 points from seven games to an end and only three teams have conceded less goals.
Despite Saturday's defeat at West Ham I still think Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata are very good options for fantasy managers.
I think Chelsea will put Saturday's performance behind them and win this game with a couple of goals to spare.
Wednesday December 13
Newcastle United v Everton
7.45pm GMT, St. James's Park, Newcastle
Newcastle lost yet again on Saturday when they went down 3-2 at home to Leicester and they're now only two points above the relegation zone. They have lost their last three home games and failed to score in two of them. They have only taken one point from their last seven games and they conceded 15 goals in their last five games.
I can't see any Newcastle players to remotely interest fantasy managers at the moment despite Dwight Gayle hitting some form recently.
Everton got a very good point at Liverpool on Sunday and it looks like they have eventually remembered how to defend again which I suppose is down to Big Sam. They're one of four teams without an away win, but no other team has drawn more away games with only three other teams conceding more goals away from home. They have only lost once in their last six games and they scored 13 goals in those games which has moved them into the top half of the table.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks like the fantasy bargain in the Everton team to me while Wayne Rooney has impressed in recent weeks too.
I think Newcastle's woes will continue with Everton emerging with a narrow victory.
Southampton v Leicester City
7.45pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
Southampton led for almost the whole game at home to Arsenal on Sunday, but they had to settle for a point after a later equaliser. They have won as many home games as they have lost and they have failed to score in four of their nine home games. They have only won four of their 16 games and only one of their last seven and they have failed to score in six of their 16 games.
Charlie Austin is looking increasingly like a good buy for fantasy managers as long as he can keep clear of injuries.
Leicester won 3-2 at Newcastle on Saturday to move up to eighth place. They have only lost two of their eight away games and they're unbeaten in their last six games on the road, but they have drawn four of them. They have won their last three games and have only lost one of their last 10.
Riyad Mahrez continues to prosper for fantasy managers and it's pretty hard to ignore him at the moment.
I think this will be a very close game and the chances are it will end all square.
Swansea City v Manchester City
7.45pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Swansea got a much needed win at hone to West Brom on Saturday and those three points moved them off the foot of the table. They have lost more home games and scored less home goals than any other team, but they have taken four points and kept clean sheets in their last two games on their own patch. Their win last week was their first win in eight games and they failed to score in five of those games, but they have conceded less goals than both Liverpool and Arsenal while no other team has scored less goals.
Swansea's defensive options continue to impress for fantasy managers despite their precarious position in the league.
City won yet again on Sunday when they took all three points at second placed United to move 11 points clear at the top of the table. They have won all eight of their away games and no other team has scored more or conceded less goals away from home. They have won their last 14 league games and they're the highest scorers with no other team conceding less goals.
There are so many City players to choose from for fantasy managers with David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi the pick of them at the moment, but that can change at any time.
I think City will be too strong for Swansea and will continue their incredible winning streak with a few goals to spare.
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion
8pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool could only draw 1-1 at home to Everton on Sunday, but that point was enough to keep them in the top four. They're one of only two teams still unbeaten at home, but they have drawn four of their eight home games and no other team has conceded less goals at home. They have taken 17 points from their last seven games and scored 20 goals in those games with only the top two scoring more goals.
Mohamed Salah is still the must have Liverpool player for fantasy managers, but Juergen Klopp's continued squad rotation makes life tough for owners of other outstanding choices like Phillippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane.
West Brom lost 1-0 at Swansea on Saturday and they're now only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They have only won once in their eight away games with only Palace and Huddersfield scoring less goals away from home. They haven't won in 14 games, but they did draw half of those games and they have failed to score in seven of their 16 games.
I can't see any West Brom players to interest fantasy managers in the next two games in particular.
I can't see anything other than a comprehensive Liverpool victory in this game.
Manchester United v Bournemouth
8pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester
United were outplayed at home to City on Sunday and the 2-1 defeat saw them fall 11 points behind their local rivals at the top of the table. They have won seven of their eight home games with only City scoring more goals at home and no other team conceding less. They had won four in a row before losing to City, but they have kept only one clean sheet in their last six games with only City scoring more goals and no other team conceding less.
United's defenders haven't done so well for fantasy managers in recent weeks and neither has Romelu Lukaku, but it's still hard to look past David de Gea as the best scoring goalkeeper.
Bournemouth drew 2-2 away to Palace on Saturday and they're still only three points above the bottom three. They are unbeaten in their last four away games and they kept clean sheets in two of those games. They have only lost one of their last six games and have kept clean sheets in three of those games.
Andrew Surman has done very well for fantasy managers in recent weeks and at a very good price too.
I think United should bounce back from last week's disappointment with a good win in this game.
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton And Hove Albion
8pm GMT, Wembley Stadium, London
Spurs strolled to 5-1 win at home to Stoke on Saturday and they made up ground on all the teams above them except for City. They have taken 13 points and scored 12 goals in their last five home games as they appear to have come to grips with playing at Wembley. That win last week was their first win in five games and they have only kept one clean sheet in their last eight games.
With Toby Alderweireld injured the Spurs defenders haven't done too well recently so it's back to the tried and trusted Harry Kane as the best fantasy choice in their team.
Brighton lost 2-0 at Huddersfield on Saturday and they have started to slide towards the wrong end of the table in recent weeks. Only West Ham and Huddersfield have lost more away games and they have lost their last two on the road without scoring. They have only taken two points in their last five games and they failed to score in three of their last four.
Pascal Gross has done very well for fantasy managers this season, but the points have dried up in recent weeks.
I think Spurs should have too much for Brighton and should get their second comprehensive win of the week.
West Ham United v Arsenal
8pm GMT, London Stadium, London
West Ham got a much needed and very surprising 1-0 win at home to Chelsea on Saturday and they're only in the bottom three on goal difference. They have taken 10 of their 13 points at home, but had conceded eight goals in the three home games before beating Chelsea. That win against Chelsea was their first win in nine games with only Stoke conceding more goals so far.
Despite their win over Chelsea it will take a lot more to convince me any of the West Ham players are worth considering for fantasy managers.
Arsenal left it very late on Sunday, but they somehow managed to get a 1-1 draw at Southampton. They have only won two of their eight away games, but they have taken seven points from their last four away games. They have only lost once in their last five games and they kept clean sheets in three of those games despite the defensive issues they have had in recent weeks.
With Aaron Ramsey injured it looks like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette could be the best fantasy options in the Arsenal team, but none of them come cheaply.
I think West Ham will give Arsenal a scare, but Arsenal will just about take the three points.
That's it for this week.
See you next week.