FPL Gameweek 20 – The Fixtures

Merry Christmas, everyone! Felipe Anderson (£7.3m) punished his 135,000 sellers by scoring a brace at Southampton, signalling the season’s halfway point. Now we’ve passed Gameweek 19, the suspension threshold has been moved to ten yellow cards and unused Wildcards need using by Saturday – the start of Gameweek 20. With such short gaps between these festive fixtures, we assess the teams with promising runs that spill over into 2019.

GW20 FIXTURES

Saturday 29th December

Brighton v Everton (15:00)

Fulham v Huddersfield (15:00)

Leicester v Cardiff (15:00)

Tottenham v Wolves (15:00)

Watford v Newcastle (15:00)

Liverpool v Arsenal (17:30)

Sunday 30th December

Crystal Palace v Chelsea (12:00)

Burnley v West Ham (14:15)

Southampton v Man City (14:15)

Man United v Bournemouth (16:30)

CHRISTMAS SON-SHINE

There were concerns over Tottenham and Everton, who had the shortest inter-fixtures gap of all 20 Premier League sides over the four Christmas games. Firstly, they faced each other in a surprise 6-2 romp for Spurs, before both registered heavy Boxing Day victories over Bournemouth and Burnley respectively. With 11 goals in under 72 hours, Mauricio Pochettino’s side made a huge statement by overtaking Man City into second place.

Son Heung-min (£8.7m) has starred by bagging four goals, two assists and 34 FPL points over these two games, hitting some incredible form before he leaves for the Asian Cup after Gameweek 22. He’s not alone, with Lucas Moura (12pts, £6.9m), Christian Eriksen (19pts, £9.3m) and Harry Kane (21pts, £12.5m) joining in the fun. As well as superb form, Spurs have an enticing set of fixtures that are mostly at ‘home’ because of the ongoing delays with re-opening White Hart Lane. Surrounding a trip to Old Trafford are games against Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham, Watford, Newcastle, Leicester and Burnley, suggesting that owning one Tottenham player is borderline-essential.

Everton, on the other hand, recovered well to thrash Burnley 5-1 and accelerate the Lucas Digne (£5.1m) bandwagon. Whilst Richarlison (£7.0m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) have been on FPL radars all season, the left-back has produced some phenomenal underlying attacking statistics. From the first 19 matches, he ranks highly amongst defenders for Expected FPL Involvements (1st), Big Chances Created (1st), Penalty Area Actions (2nd) and Attempted Assists (1st). Alongside Jose Holebas (£4.8m), he consistently ranks ahead of Marcos Alonso (£6.9m), Matt Doherty (£5.2m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.6m) in these areas. The Toffees face Brighton, Leicester, Bournemouth, Southampton, Huddersfield and Wolves in a strong set of six games.

POGBA GETS GIFT FROM MOURINHO SACK

Ignoring the forced pun for a moment, it is remarkable how quickly Man United have improved since Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties. It truly is. Simply by not being Mourinho, interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has removed the poisonous atmosphere that surrounded the club and the biggest recipient of this has been Paul Pogba (£8.0m). It became clear that the World Cup winner had fallen out with his manager, who has been relentless at proving his point in their 5-1 and 3-1 Christmas victories.

He followed a trio of assists at Cardiff with two goals for himself on Boxing Day, scoring a combined 28 FPL points. Those who couldn’t afford Pogba and instead selected team mate Anthony Martial (£7.4m) weren’t quite as cheerful, as he missed out with an unannounced illness. With Solskjaer stating that Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) and Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) will be back in his team within the next couple of games, there’s an uncertainty over starts for Martial and Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) but Pogba should be immune from such rotation as the Red Devils approach an encouraging set of fixtures: Bournemouth, Newcastle, Brighton, Burnley, Leicester and Fulham are six of their next seven.

HAVE YOURSELF EMERY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

‘Aubamemania’ continued with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s (£11.5m) brace against Burnley followed up by a goal versus Brighton, taking him up to 13 for the season. He has gained over 1.3 million managers since his Gameweek 14 derby heroics, is the league’s top scorer and is now the fourth most-owned player in the game. Manager Unai Emery is frustrating many with his substitutions - in eight of the past ten league games he has made at least one change by the start of the second half. Whilst some were taken off due to injuries, eight subs were tactical and often involved Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m).

However, Aubameyang has played 90 minutes in all recent games and, even if Emery decides it’s his star man’s turn to play musical chairs, who can forget the consecutive two-goal cameos against Fulham and Leicester? After Saturday’s tricky trip to Anfield, Arsenal’s following eight games include home meetings with Fulham, Cardiff, Southampton and Bournemouth, making the Gabonese striker a prime captaincy choice. Selecting any of his attacking colleagues has to be classed as a huge risk.

ZANKA CLAUS IS SCORING FOR TOWN

A traditional FPL dilemma is when a bad team has a great set of fixtures – do you ignore them or is your mindset that they’ll have to win occasionally and these are the most likely times to do so? If you’ve been convinced by the form of highly-priced assets like Kane, Aubameyang, Eden Hazard (£11.0m) and Mohamed Salah (£13.2m), they need to be accompanied by cheaper talents, the likes of whom play for Huddersfield and Burnley.

With 12 goals, Huddersfield are the lowest-scoring side with not a single goal by a striker and just five from midfield, so consider Alex Pritchard (£4.8m) and Philip Billing (£4.5m) at your own peril. Their defence has scored six times though, three of which come from Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen (£4.4m). Up next is Fulham, then Burnley and Cardiff – presenting a great chance to add to their two clean sheets. Sean Dyche’s side, meanwhile, have massively fallen from last season’s seven-placed finish. Their 41 goals conceded is already more than the whole of 2017-18, with Joe Hart (£4.5m) making the most saves of any goalkeeper and preventing even further calamity. So it’s a definite risk to plump for Hart’s saves or Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s (£5.6m) set pieces even though West Ham, Huddersfield and Fulham present an interesting trio of immediate opponents.