The festive period is here and for us fantasy football managers, it means plenty of football and plenty of chances to win some money in the daily fantasy football games, with a total of 3 gameweeks over the break. The question is, who are the “must haves” and the “must nots” over the break, and more importantly, for Gameweek 18 starting on Monday?
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Boxing Day sees a few matches where there are favourable fixtures for defenders; Chelsea vs Bournemouth, Arsenal vs West Brom, Man United vs Sunderland and Hull v Man City are the standouts. That being said, there are a few must-have defenders this week. Marcos Alonso has been brilliant for Chelsea and one of the signings of the summer. The Chelsea left back was unlucky not to find himself on the scoresheet last week, hitting the side netting and the underside of the crossbar. This week he could be one to take a punt on as they play Bournemouth.
Arsenal have kept 4 clean sheets this season and it could quite easily be 5 come Boxing Day so we are tipping Hector Bellerin to be one to bring into your daily fantasy teams. Bellerin won’t just provide a solid defensive cover, but he also finds himself high up the field in offensive positions, with 3 assists in 14 games so far.
It’s been a while since we would value Man United as solid at the back, but with 2 clean sheets in their last 3 games, Mourinho’s men are starting to lean towards becoming a must-have. Out of the defensive coverage from Manchester United, Antonio Valencia would offer the best prospects as not only does he fulfil his defensive duties, but just like Bellerin, but he often finds himself high up the pitch and with a game against Sunderland, he could just find himself picking up a few points on Boxing Day.
Everton and Seamus Coleman have no clean sheet in 7 but their opponents, Leicester, are leaking goals and Coleman has been getting very high up the field, bagging himself an assist in that much-needed win against the Gunners. Everton seem to be showing some potential, unlucky to come out of the Merseyside derby without anything to show for it after their first half performance, so we would be confident in backing an Everton defender in the upcoming gameweek, especially considering the fact that Leicester are missing Jamie Vardy.
West Ham are starting to find some form after their tough start to the season. Players such as Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio should be ones to watch out for this week as they play Swansea on Boxing Day. That being said, we fully expect there to be goals in the fixture and Swansea’s key man Gylfi Sigurdsson could also be one to bring into your fantasy teams. All 3 of these playmakers often find themselves high up the pitch and have 14 goals and 14 assists between them in the 17 gameweeks.
With their main man strikers ruled out for our next 2 sides, they will be turning to their midfield options for goals. For Man City, it will be the Belgian wizard Kevin ‘Big Kev’ De Bruyne. He always pulls the strings and can show glimpses of genius whenever he feels like, just as he did for his hand in Sterling’s goal last weekend against Arsenal. 2 assists in his last 2 games, he will be looking to increase that tally and maybe even add goals to his game. The second team turning to their midfield options and Belgian wizard will be Chelsea, with Diego Costa ruled out through suspension. Step up Eden Hazard, as he is bound to be given an even more attacking role when Bournemouth visit the Bridge. He hasn’t returned anything in his last 2 games but he will be looking to right that on Boxing Day.
Arsene Wenger has been playing Alexis Sanchez up top, leaving both Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez on the bench. He has been rewarded, just like many fantasy managers have, with plenty of goals and assists this season and he will be looking to continue this form when Arsenal host West Brom.
This week’s key man in many fantasy football teams will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With a fixture against Sunderland, the Swede should find himself bagging a goal or 3 in this fixture, with 11 goals in his 16 Premier League so far. Crystal Palace may have sacked Alan Pardew, but the team will want to impress new manager Sam Allardyce, and so Christian Benteke will be one to watch. Benteke has been one of the few bright sparks in the Palace side this season and will want to try and impress as Palace visit Watford on Boxing Day. Another man to mention in this fixture is Watford’s Troy Deeney, who has been looking for his 100th Watford goal for some time now. Palace have been very suspect in defence and there is every chance that Deeney could tuck home goal no. 100!
Swansea this season cannot stop shipping goals, conceding 6 in their last two! West Ham could find themselves scoring a few this week, and therefore the likes of Neil Taylor and Jordi Amat should be avoided.
Bournemouth are another team struggling for clean sheets, conceding 3 goals at home to Southampton, and although Nathan Ake is currently loving a goal, he cannot play against his parent club and it wouldn’t be advisable to bring in any other Bournemouth coverage with the form that Chelsea are in.
A final definite no-no will be Hull defender Curtis Davies. The man has 1 clean sheet all season and up against a hungry-for-points, title-chasing City side, we can only see that statistic staying exactly the same.
Arsenal’s loanee, Jack Wilshere, finally found an attacking return last week, with his assist being his first offensive return of the season! This week, Bournemouth travel to Chelsea and it is very unlikely that the English midfielder will provide any fantasy football value.
Leicester City and Riyad Mahrez have really struggled to find any of the form they possessed last season and with a tough fixture against Everton, it is unlikely that this will change. Mahrez may also have his mind on the African cup of Nations, which will see him and team mate Islam Slimani jet off to play for Algeria.
This season it could be argued that West Brom are overachieving, and with them sitting 8th, its quite hard to understand how they have snuck up the table with the team they have when you compare it with the likes of West Ham (13th) or Leicester City (15th). Salomon Rondon has scored 7 times this season, but should be one to avoid this week with a tough game against Arsenal.
With the Chelsea team enjoying 11 wins on the bounce, 9 of those wins ending with a clean sheet, Callum Wilson is one to avoid. No return in 3 games and up against a rampant and extremely defensively organised Chelsea side, we can’t see his luck changing anytime soon.
Our last must-not for this week is City striker Kelechi Iheanacho. Even though he has a very favourable game against Hull, he is not guaranteed the game time despite Sergio Aguero being suspended, so the young Nigerian isn’t worth the risk. City will rely on performances from their midfield over the forwards as they have many more options in this area of the field.
With special thanks to the guys across at FPL Updates: http://fplupdates.com/