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Harry Kane‘s back-to-back hat-tricks for Tottenham took the Premier League by storm over the last couple of rounds and made it a very merry Christmas indeed for those who captained him in Fantasy Premier League.
However, 2017’s undisputed leading goalscorer is not in action this time around.
Here are a few pointers to guide you ahead of Gameweek 21.
Kane was the captain pick last week and he didn’t do too bad at all, just about justifying his selection. Only the three goals and maximum bonus points for the league’s top scorer then, taking his tally for the GW to 17, doubling to 34.
Unfortunately, the Englishman doesn’t feature in GW 21 with Tottenham and West Ham out of actions, although they will enjoy a Double Gameweek in the following round (maybe keep that Triple Captain chip handy).
So for this week, we’re turning to a man who makes a case for the armband literally every GW. Mohamed Salah should start for Liverpool at home to Leicester City after being subbed off against Swansea City with over 20 minutes to play.
He picked up two assists in that match as well. In fact, he’s failed to deliver a goal or assist just once in his last 10 outings. The Egyptian is easily the safest bet around for the captain’s armband.
ROBERTO FIRMINO (8.9m), like Salah, was also subbed off with over 20 minutes to play against Swansea, meaning he’s likely to start against Leicester as well. The Brazilian is in great form, managing double-figure tallies in three consecutive GWs (12, 11 and 13 points ) coming into this fixture.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (10.3m) is the only City outfield player to start every single league game this season and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. He picked up an assist against Newcastle last time out as well. He’s now delivered returns in seven of his last 10 GWs.
MARCOS ALONSO (7.2m) is on his way to becoming a greater FPL asset even from an attacking perspective than Eden Hazard, unless the Belgian turns a corner soon. With two goals and an assist, he’s managed attacking returns in three of his last four outings and is currently on a run of three clean sheets as well. Facing Stoke City at home, a clean sheet at the very least seems to be on the cards for the Spaniard again.
JESSE LINGARD | MANCHESTER UNITED | 6.1M
At a great price, Jesse Lingard is proving to be United’s shining hope in what has been a difficult few rounds for the Red Devils. Sent on a rescue mission at half-time against Burnley, his brace to salvage a point a point means he’s now provided returns in five of his last seven GWs, including four double-figure tallies in that time.
SCOTT ARFIELD | BURNLEY | 4.9M
If you’d like to go against the flow and opt for someone other than Tom Carroll, Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Andrew Surman as your budget midfielder, then Scott Arfield may be your man. At jusy 4.9m, the midfielder has bagged 27 points over the last five GWs.
ROMELU LUKAKU| MANCHESTER UNITED | 11.4M
With only three goals in his last 13 games, it’s safe to say Romelu Lukaku hasn’t lived up to his billing. With the likes of Firmino racking up the points, the Belgian struggles to justify his inclusion.
TAMMY ABRAHAM | SWANSEA CITY | 5.7M
Having been THE budget striker in FPL early on in the season, Tammy Abraham has dropped off in a big way. He hasn’t scored a goal in the last 12 GWs and has only two assists in that time. With the way Swansea have been playing as well, there’s little hope of a resurgence.
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Premier League clubs bid farewell to 2017 with games across Saturday and Sunday as the hectic festive schedule continues.
Here Press Association Sport details what to look out for during this weekend’s round of fixtures.
The Premier League’s most recent managerial appointment was a surprise given Carvalhal departed Sheffield Wednesday on Christmas Eve following a seven-game winless run.
The Portuguese has been parachuted into a top-flight relegation battle as his new team are five points from safety ahead of a trip to Watford.
City coasted to an 18th successive Premier League victory on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory at Newcastle where the hosts’ tactics were criticised.
Gary Neville claimed the Magpies showed “no ambition” and were “embarrassing” but Rafael Benitez defended the way he set his team up to ensure City did not shred them apart.
Palace, thumped 5-0 by Pep Guardiola’s outfit earlier in the season, are fully aware of how that can be done, though Roy Hodgson may be a bit more adventurous in light of a recent improvement.
It is fair to say Jose Mourinho’s Christmas was far from merry. A Carabao Cup defeat to Championship side Bristol City was followed by disappointing draws with Leicester and Burnley as Manchester City extended their lead over United to 15 points.
Mourinho’s moans about an inadequate transfer kitty and his players being “childish” has only added to the gloom.
Fortunately, Southampton are the next visitors to Old Trafford and their poor spell has lasted far longer, with Mauricio Pellegrino’s side without a win in seven. It would seem a perfect chance for Mourinho to end 2017 with a modicum of joy.
Mark Hughes’ Potters have suffered defeats to Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham this term, conceding 19 goals in the process.
Furthermore, they are visiting Chelsea without three centre-backs – Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and Kurt Zouma – and Erik Pieters may not be fit to feature at left-back.
Hughes’ side could therefore be forced to play two 18-year-olds in the full-back spots along with midfielder Geoff Cameron in central defence. Alvaro Morata will be licking his lips.
It is possible that both Bournemouth and West Brom can finish the calendar year outside the bottom three, though in the case of Alan Pardew’s side they would need to snap their dreadful winless run against Arsenal.
It is 18 top-flight games since the Baggies last had a win to celebrate and Pardew is still yet to toast three points in six attempts.
Bournemouth, who entertain Everton, have gone eight matches without a victory but perhaps Callum Wilson’s late equaliser against West Ham could be a turning point.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Arsene Wenger admits he is no nearer to establishing where Arsenal’s Chilean star Alexis Sanchez’s future lies.
Wenger praised the 29-year-old’s two-goal display that helped secure a 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on an evening where the French manager equalled Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson’s Premier League record of 810 matches in charge.
Sanchez’s commitment has been questioned this season following his failure to reach agreement with the north London club about an extension to his current contract that expires at the end of this season.
Wenger believes the player’s performance at Selhurst Park showed there has been no let up in the player’s effort, but with the January transfer window about to open, has no idea about the player’s next move.
Sanchez scored his first goal in the 62nd minute but not all his team-mates celebrated the strike with him.
“First of all nobody knows what will happen really,” said Wenger.
“It’s difficult to speculate. At the moment we are focused on short-term, that means the next game (against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday) with the players committed and ready to fight.
“It’s not a guarantee of how long you stay somewhere. As long as you are somewhere, you give your best.
“I felt he was very good tonight from the first minute on, focused on the game. This kind of Sanchez is a great football player, as we know. That’s the kind of performance we want from him.”
Jack Wilshere — starting his fourth successive match his longest run in several years — is also in the final year of his contract and Wenger believes he too showed his remains committed to the cause.
“They are questioned, always, when people don’t have long contracts,” said Wenger.
“The best way to show they are committed is to give that kind of performance.
“Jack is coming back in competitive shape. He gives something to the team at the moment, and gave a good final ball for the third goal.”
Wenger said Arsenal and Wilshere are due to open talks in January.
“The situation is that we need to sit down with him. Beginning of January, it’s planned. There is no delay.
“I said we would sort out his situation in December, end of December, and so I told him we want to meet and sit down with him to talk about the future.
“Now we play today, we play on Sunday, we play on Wednesday. At the moment the focus has to be on the games.”