After a mixed bag of results in Europe this midweek it’s back to all eyes on the Premier League. Christmas has come early for fans with two sets of games in quick succession, which gives you less chance to tinker with your FPL squads. There’s a flurry of derby games this weekend followed by a full programme of midweek games. The picks this week are to cover both sets of games but first, the details…
It’s important to note there’s a Friday night game, so the GW14 deadline is 7pm Friday. You’ve then got just enough time to gather your thoughts before the GW15 deadline which is 6.45pm on Tuesday. With the administration out of the way, let’s get to scouting.
1) Eden Hazard (Chelsea, Midfield, £11.1m)
Injury ruled Hazard out of Chelsea’s Europa League commitments this week but Maurizio Sarri seemed confident his talisman will be fit for Sunday’s game against Fulham. That’s enough for me to put him in the number one slot this week because Ranieri or not, Fulham are the only club out of the 92 football league clubs who are yet to keep a clean sheet. Hazard should be well set to add to his 7 goals and 4 assists, though it is 5 weeks without a goal now. Surely he is due?Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea are heavy favourites to win anyway and it’s Wolves away on Wednesday. That was a banana skin a few weeks ago but Wolves’ form has totally tailed off and even if Chelsea looked a shambles against Tottenham on Saturday, neither of these teams are the quality of Spurs. The temptation is to sell him for one of the Man City stars but we’ll come on to that shortly. It could of course come to pass that he isn’t fit for this weekend but…just make sure you have a decent first sub.
2) Leroy Sane (Man City, Midfield, £9.3m)
I hate what Pep Guardiola has done to FPL. It never used to be this difficult. Man City host Bournemouth on Saturday and once again you’d expect them to continue their unbeaten start and probably win handsomely. I’ve opted for Leroy Sane, which might seem mad having bemoaned Pep’s rotation policy so often.
Sane is yet to start back to back league games but the injury to Benjamin Mendy seems significant. When Mendy has been sidelined, Sane and Sterling have started all four games. Whilst the huge number of games in December will threaten that statistic, it’s all we have to hold on to for now.Embed from Getty Images
Sergio Aguero should be the obvious pick, though he’s in the doghouse for a lot of people after blanking at the weekend. Gabriel Jesus picked up a training ground injury which ruled him out of City’s Champions League game in Lyon and it is not yet clear if he will recover in time for these two games, which is why I am quite confident of Aguero playing against Bournemouth but I fear he may be rotated for the Watford away game. Why? Well it’s Chelsea away next Saturday and I think Aguero will be back in for that one. Better men than me have tried to predict Pep though and I might be way off.
3) Marko Arnautovic (West Ham, Forward, £7.1m)
Arnautovic is expected to recover from injury ahead of this weekend’s trip to Newcastle and the Hammers are about to embark on an excellent run of games. Despite the Magpies’ recent upturn in form they can still only boast one clean sheet at home which must have Arnautovic owners confident of a points return this weekend. If not, West Ham welcome Cardiff to the London Stadium on Tuesday ahead of a home game with Palace next weekend and with clashes against Fulham and Watford to follow this month it looks like the perfect time to invest in Arnautovic.Embed from Getty Images
4) Mo Salah (Liverpool, Midfield, £13m)
I’ve been saying for a while that Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are due a rest. With a vital Champions League game to come a week on Tuesday it would make more sense to rest one of them next weekend but it was Salah who took the rest at this time last year away at Stoke, though he still appeared from the bench to score twice. If we’re using that as the guide for Klopp’s thinking then this is a flawed pick but a home game with Everton followed by a trip to leaky Burnley should be enough to maintain your interest in Liverpool’s attacking talents.Embed from Getty Images
5) Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace, Defender, £5.4m)
In the punt slot is Patrick van Aanholt. Crystal Palace are at home to Burnley this weekend and then away to Brighton on Tuesday and whilst it is hard to predict Palace racking up the goals after their recent form, you could see them getting some clean sheets. Van Aanholt often finds himself as one of Palace’s more advanced players despite being at left back and therefore his potential attacking returns make him a potential bargain this week. A more budget option is Aaron Wan-Bissaka at £4.2m who offers the same clean sheet potential but perhaps not as much in the attacking third.Embed from Getty Images
Some of us had a rather terrible GW13 but well done to Derek Smith who extended his lead at the top. That was even with 19 points trapped on the bench and captain Richarlison only picking up 6 points. Strength in depth very apparent there.
That’s it for this FPL double header but I’ll be back next week to inspect the damage after it’s all over. Good luck with your teams!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798