Gameweeks are coming thick and fast in December, with just over a week left of 2020 and still 20 games to cram in. Gameweek 14 was a roaring success for anyone that captained Liverpool’s attackers, but those who thought Spurs would be the team to put the pressure on the Reds this season may have been left empty-handed as Jose Mourinho’s side lost 2-0 to Leicester City at home. Hopefully everyone’s favourite Gameweek of the season, the Boxing Day fixtures will be packed full of goals to give Fantasy Football managers a Christmas treat. So here we go with our Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks for the Christmas fixtures
Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks
Anwar El-Ghazi (vs. Crystal Palace)
After a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, it is hard not to captain an in-form player against Crystal Palace. One player who is flourishing at the moment is Anwar El-Ghazi, who is enjoying a new-found freedom in the Aston Villa attack.
Dean Smith’s tactical change in playing Jack Grealish in the centre forward role just off of Ollie Watkins has opened up plenty of space on both wings, allowing El Ghazi to drift into the pockets of space and create chances. The Egyptian scored twice in Gameweek 14 against West Brom, and he could have bagged himself a hat-trick if he was more clinical – the former Lille playmaker register six shots on target. The winger is also Villa’s nominated penalty taker and sometimes takes their free-kicks too, which are, obviously, great goalscoring opportunities.
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace crumbled on Saturday, with his side’s defence unable to cope with the intensity of Liverpool’s style and the speed of their counter-attack. It would be absurd to put Villa’s attack in the same bracket as Liverpool’s, however they are similar in terms of the high-press and possession-based style; this means that without immediate improvement the Eagles may fail to keep out the West Midlands side. With a potentially goal-filled meeting on the cards, El Ghazi could be a great addition to our Fantasy Premier League captain picks.
Mohamed Salah (vs. West Brom)
Another Egyptian features in this week’s Fantasy Premier League Captains Picks but this time it is a more regular inclusion – Mohamed Salah. The winger was on the pitch for just 33 minutes against Crystal Palace but still managed to bag himself a brace and an assist, including an unsavable curling effort into the top left corner form 25-yards out.
After being rested for most of Gameweek 14, Salah will be hoping to feature more prominently on Sunday up against West Bromwich Albion. The former Chelsea player has scored 13 goals and assisted three in 12 appearances this season, and with a game against the 19th placed Baggies on the horizon, he definitely should be adding to those tallies.
A shock sacking of Slaven Bilic has caused unrest amongst the West Brom faithful, especially with the appointment of Sam Allardyce. The former England boss didn’t have an immediate impact at his new club and lost 3-0 to West Midlands rivals Aston Villa, but that may have come too soon for him to have any sort of impact. However, I don’t think that Allardyce has the tools to be able to keep out one of the best attacks in Premier League history, which therefore makes regular goalscorer Salah an obvious FPL Fantasy pick.
Patrick Bamford (vs. Burnley)
Leeds United were handed their biggest defeat of the season against rivals Manchester United, losing 6-2 in a match that was over before the 25 minute mark. Two early goals from Scott McTominay (2nd and 3rd minute) and a 20th minute goal from Bruno Fernandes put the game to bed fairly early on, before Victor Lindelöf, Daniel James and Fernandes put the icing on the cake in what was a emphatic performance by the Red Devils.
However, in Gameweek 15 I am expecting Leeds to bounce back to form at home against Burnley. Marcelo Bielsa’s team have settled well into Premier League life and should have no problems returning to form against a poor Clarets side, with goals from Patrick Bamford looking probable. The English target man has been the Elland Road outfit’s main source of goals this season, scoring nine goals in his last fourteen PL appearances.
Burnley are slowly picking up points this season after a dreadful start, with the return of the Ben Mee and James Tarkowski partnership being central to that. But the pair can only do so much, and the free-flowing, attacking style that Leeds play could easily pull the defence apart and leave Nick Pope vulnerable. Bamford is a presence in the air, has a brilliant poachers’ instinct and is capable of tucking the ball away with either foot, even if chances are scarce for the ex-Middlesbrough striker you’d still expect him to score from any clear-cut opportunity.
Kevin De Bruyne (vs. Newcastle)
When will Manchester City assert themselves as genuine Premier League contenders?
City have been a shadow of their former selves this campaign, taking just 23 points from a potential 39 and leaving Pep Guardiola’s team sat in seventh-place heading into Christmas. In defence of the 2018/19 Premier League winners, they haven’t been particularly poor in any departments, they just simply aren’t scoring any of their chances – topping the table for big chances missed with 22.
One player who is reliable in front of goal is Kevin De Bruyne, who will be hoping he can be the man to help City return to the side that used to score for fun. KDB is one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the Premier League and his unbelievable range of passes makes him a joy to watch, especially when he is given free rein to drift around the centre of the pitch and drive forward with the ball.
City’s 1-0 away win against Southampton was a brilliant result for the side, but it was less than convincing. However, it should definitely be enough to see off Steve Bruce’s Newcastle. The Toon Army are slowly slipping into the relegation scrap and their 1-1 draw with Fulham really consolidates that, with a lack of clinical finishing and midfield organisation letting them down massively.
The Magpies have a habit of inviting pressure against the top six and putting plenty of bodies behind the ball, which could be a disastrous idea as it will allow Belgian playmaker De Bruyne plenty of possession and time to unpick the defence and pocket himself some FPL points. It would be disappointing not to see a crushing display from City on Boxing Day, and if they do perform to expectations then KDB could be a very fruitful final selection in our Fantasy Premier League captain picks.