Make it stop, MAKE IT STOP! Or rather, make them start. Yet another week where only a select few showed up has seen my latest plummet down the rankings to 164,453rd, as my score of 45 was well below the average of 52. I need to find a way to arrest this slide or it’s going to be a bleak Christmas – well not really, I wouldn’t say this game will have any impact on my Christmas. Boxing day, perhaps. Anyway, week 19 is here, the half way point of this stupid season, and because of the close proximity to the Boxing Day fixtures, I’ve combined the two weeks for your amusement.
A slight change of format seeing as we’re looking at two weeks, here’s my take on the premium options in order of fixture quality
Man City – I mean, aside from the fact they win all the time and score a shed load of goals, they host Bournemouth in Week 19 and then travel to struggling Newcastle in Week 20. As usual the only question is over the minutes afforded to each player, but the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva seem certainties to start at the moment. The central striking position remains a switching feast but with rumours that Aguero is injured and annoyed, it might be time for Jesus to start. It is his time of year…
Chelsea – If you’re getting annoyed by Chelsea’s recent antics, get in the line. I’ve invested big money in Hazard and Morata and they are both flattering to deceive at the moment, though Hazard is as brilliant as ever he doesn’t seem to having much luck or help from his mates at the moment, whilst Morata is obviously troubled by an injury and now he’s got himself banned for week 19. Nevertheless, a trip to Everton is not a gimme but probably a good chance of a clean sheet if nothing else, and I base that purely on the way Allardyce approached the Liverpool game. Expect a flat back 9 and poor old Dominic Calvert-Lewin chasing shadows. They host Brighton on Boxing Day which you would expect to be a comfortable win but it’s all quite annoying this season. Young Christensen seems to have established himself as a starter at the back if you can’t afford the pricier Azpilicueta or Alonso.
Man Utd – A trip to Leicester is never easy but they are quite open and that will suit Man Utd, especially on the counter attack. Romelu Lukaku has discovered a little bit of form with 2 in his last 2 games, even if he won’t celebrate them, whilst Paul Pogba returns from suspension to add further intrigue. Burnley visit Old Trafford on Boxing Day, and as good as Burnley have been, I can’t imagine they’ll keep out Mourinho’s men for 90 minutes like they somehow did last season.
Tottenham – Burnley actually host Tottenham this weekend, which strikes me as a low scoring affair but never rule Kane out of these things. There’s no doubt Spurs are a better side than they have shown in the league this season but Burnley are so well drilled, a big factor could be James Tarkowski’s suspension. Kevin Long deputised admirably for Ben Mee though so maybe it’s not a total loss. It’s Southampton visiting Wembley on Boxing Day, another game where you’d typically expect Spurs to fill their boots but seemingly not at Wembley. Unless you’re Stoke.
Liverpool – Liverpool are off to Arsenal on Friday night, but I don’t think that will phase Klopp’s men. Liverpool rinsed Arsenal at Anfield and will gladly pick off any team who over commits, so Salah and co. will fancy their chances of scoring at the very least. Whether the Liverpool defence can keep Arsenal out is another matter. Their boxing day engagement is a much more straightforward looking affair at home to Swansea, which really could be any score on current form. Klopp’s loves a rotation, which irks me greatly, but hopefully he’s done with that now Europe is on hold until February.
Arsenal – Hosting Liverpool won’t be easy but you’d back them to score. Ozil seems in good form at the moment and Lacazette’s pace should be a factor against Lovren and Klavan. Arsenal are then off to Palace in the Week 20 fixtures, a game they should win but Palace have rallied a bit recently, so not a gimme by any means.
It’s a festive period where the clubs in real danger all seem to play each other. Swansea vs Palace, West Ham vs Newcastle, Stoke vs West Brom, Bournemouth vs West Ham. Crikey. What you would say is that West Ham and Palace are the two form sides amongst that lot and although the games are undoubtedly huge, their respective opponents obviously aren’t all that at present so the likes of Masuaku (a defender playing on the wing at present) and Wilfried Zaha (a constant source of points) would be worth looking at.
The deadline for week 19 is Friday 22nd December at 6.45pm due to Friday night football and then 11.30am on Tuesday (Boxing Day) due to a 12.30pm start in the first game of the day. Don’t miss them! It’s also worth noting that Spurs and West Ham don’t have a game in week 21 but will then play twice in week 22. Double the points, double the fun/misery.
I’d say a Man City player is a good choice for this weekend, City and Sterling in particular have a good record against Bournemouth. For week 20, Hazard or your Chelsea player of choice against Brighton looks profitable, as does Kane against Southampton and perhaps most tasty of all, Salah against Swansea. Just look out for the rotation monster.
My team, urgh. It’s not a bad FPL team but they’ve all lost form at the same time, which has obviously proven problematic. Morata’s ban has helped make my next boneheaded decision, as I need to get Man City attacking outlets in ahead of this weekend. With Gabriel Jesus playing 120 minutes on Tuesday I’m not willing to take a chance on him so I’m bringing in Sterling in midfield and downgrading Morata to Charlie Austin, as Southampton are at home to Huddersfield he’s been in good form at home
De Gea, Mee, Kabasele, Kenny, Loftus-Cheek, Sterling, Hazard, Salah, Austin, Vardy, Kane. Subs: Elliot, Monreal, Gudmundsson, Cedric (injured)
At least that’s my plan anyway, there could be team news that changes that fiendish plot but we’ll see. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you arrows are green this Christmas. All the best!