The Headline Pick: Kevin De Bruyne – Crystal Palace (H) & Aston Villa (H)
Manchester City have the pick of the fixtures for the Double Gameweek from our traditional top six sides, and with the kind fixture schedule extending into the subsequent three gameweeks, it’s an ideal time to take hits to bring in their players. Kevin De Bruyne will be a captaincy favourite come the deadline and could even merit using that Triple Captain chip. Just keep an eye out for news of Manchester City’s second fixture against Aston Villa, which carries a small risk of being postponed.
De Bruyne has been in fantastic form over his most recent games, although unfortunately for his owners, this hasn’t always translated into big fantasy points. He has one goal and two assists to show from his last four fixtures, but dominates the underlying statistics for big chances (five) and big chances created (three) in this spell. He won a penalty late on against Brighton, which Raheem Sterling failed to convert: I’d expect to see De Bruyne back on spot-kicks after that incident!
Manchester City are now on a four game winning streak in the Premier League, scoring seven goals and conceding just one. Their opponents face a tall order to stop City from scoring: Crystal Palace have conceded 11 goals in their last four games at the time of writing, and Aston Villa look likely to struggle to field close to their first choice starting XI as they recover from a COVID-19 outbreak at their training ground. The stars are aligned for De Bruyne and City in the double.
Kevin De Bruyne is available to back at 6/5 to score against Crystal Palace this weekend.
The Budget Pick: Michail Antonio – Burnley (H) & West Brom (H)
The postponement of Leeds United vs Southampton in midweek has decimated the options available to fantasy managers in the budget forward price bracket for the double, leaving Michail Antonio now as the standout budget candidate. Two home fixtures against Burnley and West Brom carry bags of potential for this Hammers team, with Antonio at the spearhead of the attack. It’s likely that he will take penalties with Mark Noble’s limited minutes at present.
However, we do need to be mindful that Antonio has only just returned from a long injury lay-off, with multiple set-backs along the way. He’s played 180 minutes of football since the end of October, but his 90 minute stint against Stockport in the FA Cup last weekend does provide some encouragement. There’s just three days between fixtures here.
Antonio scored three goals in six Premier League games at the start of this season, before succumbing to injury. He scored nine goals in 14 games from David Moyes retaking the reins at West Ham at the end of the last campaign also. Opponents Burnley and West Brom have just one clean sheet between them across their last four games, with the Baggies conceding a staggering 13 goals in that time.
The VAR Pick: Mo Salah – Manchester United (H) & Burnley (H)
A pair of home games for Liverpool provides plenty of excitement, especially given Mo Salah’s outstanding record at Anfield, in what looks to be an intriguing week for the current Champions. Their clash against new league leaders Manchester United is a six point game, with Liverpool needing to rely on their star man to pick up a valuable result, prior to the visit of Burnley.
Salah has been unusually quiet in recent games, with a rare three game blank from him in the Premier League and just seven shots on goal. Liverpool have had a reasonable rest between games now though, so hopefully we will see some resurgent performances from them in the upcoming games. Salah still has penalties in his locker to boost any potential points returns. Liverpool have won five penalties this season, with their opponents conceding four and three respectively.
The Sleeper Pick: Hakim Ziyech – Fulham (A) & Leicester City (A)
Chelsea assets are going under the radar right now, with poor form and injuries in recent weeks meaning many managers have gone elsewhere. However, they do have an intriguing pair of away fixtures for this week and look to have put many of their injury issues behind them. Hakim Ziyech provides the key creativity in this Chelsea side, demonstrating glimmers of form so far.
Ziyech looks to be a mainstay in Frank Lampard’s midfield when fit, having already netted one goal and three assists from four Premier League starts in this campaign. Chelsea have scored just six goals over their last four games, but should find joy against Fulham and Leicester City defences who are struggling for clean sheets.
Back Chelsea to beat Fulham at 40/85 in Gameweek 19.
The Wildcard Pick: Bruno Fernandes – Liverpool (A) & Fulham (A)
Bruno Fernandes looked set to be a popular option for the Double Gameweek, but that has been put in jeopardy following his fourth booking of the season against Burnley midweek: should he pick up another booking against Liverpool at the weekend, then he would be suspended for the more favourable second fixture against Fulham. He still remains a credible contender, but perhaps too risky as a captaincy option.
Fernandes will be relied upon to deliver attacking returns for the big match of the weekend against Liverpool: he’s the key man in this Manchester United lineup, having bagged 11 goals and eight fantasy assists this season to date. Don’t be put off by these fixtures coming away from home: he’s blanked just once on the road in the Premier League in his career. He is also on penalties which is a valuable source of points.
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