Festive Fixture Special
December is here – the busiest month in the FPL calendar has arrived.
With 8 Gameweek’s and 80 Premier League fixtures across the next 32 days managers will have their work cut out balancing their squads, form, fixtures, injuries, suspensions and rotation. 3 types of players become pivotal in this time, Steady big hitters, reliable back up and differential back up. Whereas normally you wouldn’t look at differential options because of rotation, here differential options who face rotation suddenly become appetising as most players will play 5-6 sets of 90 mins over the next 8 games.
We covered one intriguing option on our twitter page before, looking in depth at Manchester United’s Ashley Young. With rotation expected and assist potential when on the field, United’s favourable fixtures could see one of the vice-captains in the squad see significant and important game time. Our prime example then of the steady big hitter is Harry Kane who has a good fixture list, no real like for like replacement in the squad and a track record of playing most / all games that are put in from of Tottenham Hotspur. The third type of player for the festive run is the steady back up, these are cheap players who you know will play the full 90 in most games, rack up the odd clean sheet point and maybe pitch in with a goal or assist here or there. So here we see the likes of Philip Billing or Wan-Bissaka.
So in this article I am going to explore 3 differentials, 1 in each category.
Category 1 – Steady Big Hitter
Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City are simply phenomenal in the Premier League. De Bruyne is probably their best player, and will only improve the attacking fluidity of the Citizens when he returns in the next week from injury. Across his last 88 Premier League matches he has contributed 70 goals or assists. This number is truly staggering, and if the Belgian can get himself fit he could become a steady part of most FPL squads for a great price. Fixtures are somewhat irrelevant when it comes to Manchester City but he could be back in full flow for the consecutive home games against Everton and Crystal Palace, followed by the away games at Leicester and Southampton before the big match on January 3rd vs Liverpool.
Category 2 – The Steady Back Up
Sarri’s comments this week have further cemented the legacy of Jorginho into the philosophy of Sarri. With Kante being clearly removed from consideration as a deep lying playmaker in Sarri’s system only Jorginho and Fabregas have the required acumen to fit the system. While the Spaniard is a fantastic deputy, his use could be seen more in the League Cup and Europa League to offer relief for Jorginho’s expected minutes in the League. Jorginho is likely to start 7 of the 8 PL fixtures this winter and as he is currently on back up penalties behind Hazard (who is carrying knocks – and game time may be managed anyway), playing in front of (usually) a mean defence, with a great run of fixtures – he is well placed to be the best steady back up available.
Category 3 – The Differential
Again a team with a good run is Manchester United, with Southampton, Fulham, Cardiff and Huddersfield in the next few weeks we could see some points finally return to the attacking line of United. Funnily enough United have actually been quite creative in recent weeks, just with a complete lack of finishing on display. However, there are two assets in their midfield who should see game time over the winter and, if you have a steady bench, they could be real differentials as most teams rotate their players.
Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard
6.2m and 6.7m
Both these assets seem to contribute to goals and assists in what little game time they get. Mata, who sits on set pieces and as an inside creative forward stationed on the right in United’s asymmetrical attack, can ghost in and link the play between midfield and attack. While Lingard has a proven ability to be on the end of moves or taking shots from outside the box. Both these assets have great fixtures and could be differentials that catch fire with good performances, especially ahead of Manchester United’s home game to Fulham.
Until Next Time…
Make Good Choices!
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