Gameweek 19 & 20 Captain and Player Picks
Holly Shand from Fantasy Football Community returns with captaincy corner and her three player picks in three positions for Gameweek 19 and 20.
It’s Christmas! The busiest time of the season is here, with two gameweeks this week alone, so the column comes as a festive double bill! Gameweek 19 looks set to be another challenging one for the armband: Leicester host Liverpool and Manchester City travel to bogey team Wolves. Gameweek 20 looks to be much easier to navigate, with favourable fixtures returning for our favoured Liverpool and Leicester assets. There’s less than 14 hours separating the two gameweeks, so rotation will be inevitable. Add into the mix, many teams chose to field full strength sides in the EFL League Cup Quarter Finals last midweek, and Liverpool’s exploits out in Qatar to lift the FIFA Club World Cup. Rotation is inevitable. Therefore, it’s sometimes wise to pick a captain who is likely to play 90 minutes, perhaps in a slightly more challenging fixture and be careful with the Vice Captain selection as you never know when they might be utilised.
The shield pick is likely to be the most captained player of the week, allowing you to play safe and keep pace with the pack. The sword pick will be a less popular selection: if they perform it can shoot you up the overall rankings, but the risk from failure is higher.
Shield Pick: Kevin De Bruyne vs Wolves (A)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 13/5
Kevin De Bruyne has been in sensational form this season. He’s the top scoring midfielder currently, ahead of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Raheem Sterling. At his current return rate, he’s projected to cross the 250 point barrier, for his best ever fantasy season and that comes at his lowest starting price. It’s no surprise to see him topping the transfers in list, with many reversing a move back from the suspended Son Heung-Min. He’s added goals to his game this season, currently second for Shots on Target over the last four with eight. Add to that his assist potential, and you’ve got an excellent all-rounder. He has two goals and two assists from his last four games, creating seven chances last weekend against Leicester. Rested in the reverse fixture, Manchester City slumped to a 2-0 home defeat, so you can bank on KDB to start this one. Will you play safe with the Shield Pick?
Sword Pick: Tammy Abraham vs Southampton (H)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 8/15
It’s been an inconsistent time for Tammy Abraham, having missed some gametime through injury and Chelsea struggling for form in general. An upwards trajectory is expected now though, with that 2-0 win away at Spurs doing much for their confidence. Abraham last returned fantasy points with a goal and an assist against Aston Villa, but has had 14 shots in his last four games. Southampton are without a clean sheet in three months, so goals look likely for Chelsea, with Tammy the most viable source. He got on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture, where Chelsea took an emphatic 4-0 victory at St. Mary’s. Are you going to take a risk in selecting the Sword Pick?
Shield Pick: Jamie Vardy vs West Ham (A)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 8/13
Since Gameweek 7, the only side Jamie Vardy has failed to deliver fantasy points against is league leaders Liverpool. During that spell, he has grabbed 14 goals and four assists at the time of writing, with the level of consistency that FPL managers can normally only dream of. The only risk here has to be of rotation, with Brendan Rodgers quoted in The Guardian last week that Jamie Vardy will need to be rested at some point over the busy festive period. Could this game be it? West Ham have had plenty of defensive issues this season, with David Martin hoping to be fit for this one: he is currently flagged with injury. If Vardy starts, you can bet on him scoring and he’s on penalties too. He has three goals and three assists from nine Premier League games against the Hammers. Will you play safe with the Shield Pick?
Sword Pick: Mohammed Salah vs Wolves (H)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 5/6
Mohammed Salah is usually dynamite over Christmas, amassing 38 FPL points last year, with double digit returns in three consecutive games. He won’t fear coming up against Wolves at Anfield this weekend: he has one goal and one assist from two appearances against them last season. The fixture is just about tricky enough for Klopp to play his best XI and a safe captain pick is worth its weight in goal at this time of year. Crucially, Salah is also on spot-kick duty, which could be another useful source of fantasy points. He has scored eight goals already at Anfield this season. Are you going to take a risk in selecting the Sword Pick?
I share my top three players for each Gameweek, selecting one defender, one midfielder and one striker. These are players that I’m tipping for the FPL Dream Team and they could also make intriguing differential captain decisions for you to consider too.
DEF: John Lundstram vs Watford (H)
John Lundstram is the FPL gift that keeps on giving, and what better time to select him than on Boxing Day. No club has kept more clean sheets than Sheffield United’s seven, and his attacking output is excellent too: with three goals and three assists this season. Watford have failed to score in a massive ten games this season, with hopes of a clean sheet in this one high. Can he provide that elusive combination of attacking return, shut-out and bonus points in this game?
MID: Dele Alli vs Brighton (H)
It’s been a disappointing spell for managers who jumped on board Dele Alli a couple of weeks ago, including myself, but there’s a warning to stay patient here as the fixtures take a significant turn for the better. He got an assist in this fixture last season and opponents Brighton are without a clean sheet in their last seven games. Spurs will be looking to bounce back after that defeat to Chelsea and with Son Heung-Min suspended, it will be down to Dele Alli to deliver the attacking threat.
FOR: Harry Kane vs Brighton (H)
Another player who loves the festive period is Harry Kane, and despite some patchy form, I’m tipping him to deliver in this game. He can provide huge hauls from nowhere, as demonstrated with those two goals and one assist against Burnley just a few weeks ago. Spurs could easily pull out another spectacular performance here: he has two goals against the Seagulls in four consecutive games. Spurs will want to make their mark on Brighton following the 3-0 away defeat earlier in the season.
DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Wolves (H)
Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold are starting to find some momentum from a defensive perspective. They kept clean sheets in consecutive games before travelling to the FIFA Club World Cup and kept another shut-out in the final to lift the trophy. Trent had three assists in four Premier League games before the break in their schedule, demonstrating clear ability to chip in with attacking returns, clean sheets and bonus points.
MID: Anthony Martial vs Burnley (A)
Manchester United are blessed by a favourable schedule this Christmas, with their away trip to Burnley spelling hopes for fantasy managers. Paul Pogba has recently returned to this Manchester United side, giving added impetus to their attack. Anthony Martial is a key figure in that set-up: he last scored in the away trip to Manchester City just a few weeks ago. He’s had twelve shots in his last four games and created five chances. He has two goals and one assist from two appearances in this fixture.
FOR: Danny Ings vs Crystal Palace (H)
Danny Ings is having a fantastic season, with those dodgy hamstrings looking like a thing of the past. In the last twelve games, he’s scored ten goals, with four coming in the last four. A home game against Crystal Palace could see more joy for attacking returns: he has two goals from three Premier League starts against the Eagles. He looks unstoppable right now, having taken ten shots on goal over his last four games.
Until next time…
Good luck and Merry Christmas!
Find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on Holly’s website: Fantasy Football Community