|4 (5)||Wild Things||1250|
Friday December 22
Arsenal v Liverpool
7.45pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal just about managed to win 1-0 at home to Newcastle on Saturday to move back to fifth in the table. Only City have taken more points and scored more goals at home than Arsenal. Their win last week was their first in four games and they only scored three goals in those four games.
Arsenal’s defenders have done well in recent weeks for fantasy managers, but they might not do quite so well in this game.
Liverpool won 4-0 away to Bournemouth on Sunday to keep them above Arsenal and in the top four. They have won their last four away games and scored 16 goals in the process, but only three teams have conceded more goals away from home. They’re unbeaten in nine games with clean sheets in five of those games and only the two Manchester clubs have scored more goals.
Mohamed Salah is still the star performer for fantasy managers and he is being ably assisted by Phillippe Coutinho in particular at the moment.
I think this will be a very close game which could go either way, but Arsenal might just get the better of proceedings.
Saturday December 23
Everton v Chelsea
12.30pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool
Everton came from behind to win 3-1 at home to Swansea on Monday night as they continue to move up the league. They have won their last four home games and scored 12 goals in the process with only four other teams taking more points at home. They have taken 17 points in their last eight games and scored 17 goals in those games, but only three other teams have conceded more goals.
Wayne Rooney is looking very good for fantasy managers at the moment with Dominic Calvert-Lewin a reasonably priced alternative too.
Chelsea won 1-0 at home to Southampton last week to strengthen their hold on third place in the table. Only City have taken more away points than Chelsea with only City and Liverpool scoring more away goals and only City conceding less. They have won eight of their last 10 games with clean sheets in five of them and only three other teams have conceded less goals.
Eden Hazard has to be the best fantasy option in the the Chelsea team with Marcus Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta looking good along with the rest of their defenders while Alvaro Morata has gone off the boil recently and he's suspended this week.
As good as Everton might have been recently I think Chelsea will get the better of them in this game.
Brighton And Hove Albion v Watford
3pm GMT, AMEX Stadium, Brighton
Brighton drew 0-0 at home to Burnley last week, but they’re now only theee points above the bottom three. They have only lost two of their nine home games, but no other team has drawn more games at home. They haven’t won in seven games and they failed to score in five of those games with only the bottom two clubs scoring less goals.
I can’t see any Brighton players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.
Watford lost 4-1 at home to Huddersfield last week and that defeat saw them drop to 10th in the table. Only five teams have taken more points away from home than Watford with only the top four scoring more away goals. They have only taken one point in their last five games and they conceded 12 goals in those games with only Stoke conceding more goals.
Richarlison is still the best fantasy choice in the Watford team even if his output has dropped off in recent weeks while Abdoulaye Doucoure is suspended this week.
I think this is going to be a very close game, but Watford’s goalscoring ability might just see them win it.
Manchester City v Bournemouth
3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester
City won 4-1 at home to Spurs last week and it looks like nothing can stop them winning the league even though the season isn’t even half way over. They have taken more points and scored more goals at home than any other team, but four other teams have conceded less goals at home. They have now won 16 games in a row and at the current rate they will end up with more than 100 points and 100 goals this season.
There are so many City players to choose from for fantasy managers with Kevin de Bruyne probably the best of them while David Silva (if he’s OK to play), Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi are all great choices too.
Bournemouth lost 4-0 at home to Liverpool on Sunday and they’re only one point above the bottom three. They have only won two of their nine away games and they have only scored six goals in those games. They haven’t won in six games and they failed to score in three of those games with only three other teams scoring less goals.
I don’t think there are any Bournemouth players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.
I think City should win this game with more than a few goals to spare.
Southampton v Huddersfield Town
3pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
Southampton lost 1-0 at Chelsea last week and they’re now only three points above the relegation zone. They have only won three of their 10 home games and they have conceded more goals than they have scored at home. They have only won once in their last nine games and they didn’t keep a clean sheet in any of those games.
Charlie Austin still looks like a fairly good third striker choice for fantasy managers.
Huddersfield got a very good 4-1 win at Watford last week to keep them comfortably in mid-table. No other team has lost more away games with only West Ham and Stoke conceding more away goals and they have failed to score in seven of their nine away games. They have won two of their last three games, but they have failed to score in half of their 18 games and only three teams have conceded more goals.
I’m still not sure there are any Huddersfield players to interest fantasy managers.
I think Southampton will get there badly needed points in this game.
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion
3pm GMT, bet365 Stadium, Stoke
Stoke lost 3-0 at home to West Ham last week and they’re now only one point above the relegation zone. They have only won three of their nine home games with only Watford conceding more goals at home. They have lost five of their last six games and they have conceded more goals than any other team.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been the best of the Stoke players for fantasy managers, but his return has fallen off in recent weeks.
West Brom played reasonably well at home to United last week, but they lost 2-1 and dropped into the bottom three. They haven’t won in their last eight away games with only Palace scoring less goals on the road. They haven’t won in 16 games and only Swansea have scored less goals, but they have drawn more games than any other team.
I can’t see any West Brom players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.
This is a very big game for two teams struggling at the wrong end of the table and I think it might just end with the spoils shared.
Swansea City v Crystal Palace
3pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Swansea led 1-0 at Everton on Monday night, but ended up losing 3-1 and they’re still rooted to the foot of the table as well as looking for a new manager. They have taken less points and scored less goals at home than any other team. They have only taken four points in their last 10 games and they failed to score in half of those games with no other team scoring less goals.
Despite Swansea’s league position Lukasz Fabianski is still a very good choice for fantasy managers.
Palace won 3-0 away to Leicester last week to move out of the bottom three. They hadn’t won an away game or scored an away goal before last week and no other team has scored less away goals. They are unbeaten in seven games, but only three teams have scored less goals.
This is another huge game at the wrong end of the table and I have a feeling Palace will get the better of it.
West Ham United v Newcastle United
3pm GMT, London Stadium, London
West Ham won 3-0 at Stoke last week to move out of the bottom three. They’re unbeaten in three home games with clean sheets in their last two games at home, but only Swansea and Burnley have scored less goals at home. They have taken seven points and kept clean sheets in their last three games, but only Stoke and Watford have conceded more goals.
Suddenly West Ham’s defenders and goalkeeper are looking attractive to fantasy managers and a few of them are available at a good price too.
Newcastle lost 1-0 at Arsenal last week and that defeat saw them slip into the bottom three. No other team have taken less points away from home and they have lost five of their last seven on the road. They have only taken one point in their last nine games and they failed to score in five of those games.
I can’t see any Newcastle players who might interest fantasy managers at the moment.
This is yet another huge game at the wrong end of the table and I think West Ham should get the better of proceedings.
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur
5.30pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley
Burnley could only draw 0-0 away to Brighton last week, but they’re still in sixth place and ahead of Spurs. No other team has conceded less goals at home, but only Swansea have scored less goals at home and they have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five games at home. They have won six of their last nine games and they kept clean sheets in six of them with no other team conceding less goals.
Burnley’s goalkeeper and defenders continue to impress for fantasy managers and each team should have at least one of them.
Spurs were well beaten at City last week and that defeat saw them drop out of the top six. They haven’t won in their last five away games and they only scored theee goals in those games while conceding 10. They have only won three of their last nine games and they have only kept a clean sheet in two of their last 10.
Harry Kane is still the most popular fantasy choice in the Spurs team, but he has failed to deliver in 10 of his 17 games while Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son are the form players for them.
This isn’t an easy game to call, but I think Spurs might just sneak a narrow win.
Leicester City v Manchester United
7.45pm GMT, King Power Stadium, Leicester
Leicester were beaten 3-0 at home by Palace last week to put an end to their recent good run. They have lost as many games as they have won at home and they have conceded more goals than they have scored at home. They had only lost once in 11 games before last week and they are still hopeful of closing in on the top six.
Riyad Mahrez is by far the best option in the Leicester team for fantasy managers.
United hung on for a 2-1 win at West Brom last week to stay second in the table, but they’re still 11 points behind City. Only City and Chelsea have more away points than United and they have won their last three away games and scored nine goals in the process. They have won six of their last seven games and only City have scored more goals than them with no other team conceding less.
With Paul Pogba back from suspension he has to be considered by fantasy managers along with Romelu Lukaku who has found some form again, but David de Gea and the United defenders still look like the best choices for fantasy managers.
I think United will continue their hapless task of trying to catch City by narrowly winning this game.
That's it for this week.
See you next week.