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Fantasy EPL: Week 20 Review / Week 21 Preview

Week 21 will be played with one fewer game, as the Tottenham vs. West Ham London derby, which was supposed to be played on December 30, was moved to January 4 due to concerns over train traffic and crowd safety that would’ve forced a limited seating at the stadium. That’s a devastating blow for all of you Harry Kane owners out there. Instead, I’m looking at Richarlison, one of the most impressive players of the first half of the season, to end it with a bang.


The round was marked by Kane, as his hat-trick (second consecutive) saw him break Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record for most goals scored in an EPL calendar year. With those three goals, he also overtook Leo Messi as Europe’s best scorer for the previous year. Quite the accomplishment. Other than him, Alli and Son played key roles in The Spurs’ confident 5-2 win over Southampton, both with a goal and two assists. The Saints are marching the wrong way.

The other big news during the week is also connected to them, as coveted center back Virgil van Dijk had his wish granted (at last) and will be joining Liverpool as soon as the winter transfer window opens on January 1. Maybe they’ll be able to re-invest some of that money to strengthen the squad and make it more competitive, although I believe the manager is the issue. The Reds, for their part, put five goals in the opposition net, as well. Coutinho, Alexander-Arnold, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino (x2) were the scorers, while Salah had two assists. There was one more match with more than five goals, the 3-3 draw between Bournemouth and West Ham. The Cherries came into the late stages of the affair with a 2-1 lead, but Marko Arnautovic turned the score around (81’ and 89’). Callum Wilson then saved his team a point in injury time. Gosling (1 goal and 1 assist), Nathan Ake (1 goal and 1 assist) and Marko Arnautovic came out from the match as the best fantasy performers.

There were three other tied contests. West Bromwich and Everton played a goalless draw, the second consecutive 0-0 draw for Everton, and a third clean sheet in four matches for Jordan Pickford. Tom Ince and Ramadan Sobhi were the goal scorers in the 1-1 draw between Huddersfield and Stoke. And then Burnley. Oh, Burnley! You have been truly masterful on the road this season. The same recipe worked again, as United couldn’t overcome two early goals (Barnes and Defour) and had Lingard (53’ and 91’) to thank for coming away with at least a point. Morata and Alonso ensured victory for Chelsea over Brighton, and the clean sheet only sweetened the deal. Now, The Blues are only a point behind Mou’s crew.

As for City, it’s not a question of whether they won, but by how much. This time, it was a lone goal by Sterling that made the difference. Hey, we can’t have gallons of fantasy points from every City member each round. We have become spoiled. Leicester’s run of good games has come to a halt, as they’ve now gone three games without a win. Even though Mahrez gave The Foxes the lead, Watford managed to flip the switch through Wague and a Schmeichel own goal. It wasn’t pretty for The Eagles, but it was necessary after so many things went wrong for them in recent weeks. Lastly, Arsenal won a hard fought battle at Crystal Palace on Thursday. Alexis Sanchez made the difference with two second half strikes that secured a 3-2 victory.

Week 20 highest fantasy scorers

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Ben Foster (WBA), and the rest who kept clean sheets.
Defenders: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Midfielders: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Marko Arnautovic (West Ham), Heung-Min Son (Tottenham), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Dan Gosling (Bournemouth), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Tom Ince (Huddersfield), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Alvaro Morata (Chelsea).


Bournemouth vs. Everton

– As incredible as it sounds, Everton is moving toward a spot in Europe. Bournemouth can beat anyone on any given day, but in most cases, they do not. Rooney has missed the last two games with an illness and is still questionable. His absence has definitely been felt up front. King and Wilson are the main threats to score for The Cherries. I don’t expect a high-scoring game, though.

Chelsea vs. Stoke

– Chelsea vs. Stoke should be very similar to Chelsea vs. Brighton. Zouma is ineligible to play against his parent club. Pieters, Martins Indi and Johnson are all unlikely to play, while Shawcross is questionable. In other words, the Blues could have themselves a New Year’s party on the field.

Huddersfield vs. Burnley

– Mounie starting over Depoitre boggles the mind. I guess he might have been tired. The Premier League schedule can do that to you. On the other side, with Wood out, Ashley Barnes took full advantage against Manchester United, likely earning himself another start over Sam Vokes. My instinct says Aaron Mooy could have a good game.

Liverpool vs. Leicester

– We have been fooled by Liverpool before. Multiple matches where opponents are destroyed, and we put them on the pedestal, only to be quickly shoved back down again. So, better be cautious. Leicester’s reliance on around 16 players will take its toll, making it safer to predict another Liverpool bashing. Mane should be in the starting lineup, replacing one of the forwards in the rotation.

Newcastle vs. Brighton

– Newcastle’s last two showings have been an improvement, making me think they can handle Brighton on this occasion. Overall, this encounter doesn’t have much fantasy relevance, as these are the teams with the least number of players rostered in fantasy. If I’d have to choose, Joselu (or Gayle) and Atsu as my potential goal scorers.

Watford vs. Swansea

– Watford has the perfect matchup to build on the win versus Leicester. Ricardo Pereyra exited that game in the first half and is unlikely to return in time for this one. Since Richarlison hasn’t found the net in eight games, he’s my obvious selection here. Other than him, Janmaat and Zeegelaar (if they play) can have some fantasy value. No Swansea member can be trusted at this point.

Manchester United vs. Southampton

– Two straight draws will have Manchester United’s locker room burning from Mourinho’s rage. He will want to give the fans at Old Trafford a proper New Year’s celebration. Therefore, I expect a win (and perhaps a clean sheet), and I expect Pogba to be in the thick of things. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ibrahimovic scored. Wouldn’t that be something to end the year?

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City

– Crystal Palace had to face Arsenal on Thursday, now comes back from London, and after only three days it has to face Manchester City. All the dominoes seem to be falling into place for Pep. Win No. 20 would just round up a phenomenal first half of the season. The only bad news is that Kompany injured himself again. Aguero started over Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva started over Sane in Newcastle, something that will likely change versus Palace. Mangala is the likely replacement for Kompany, and we could also see a rare start from Yaya Toure.

West Bromwich vs. Arsenal

– Despite the fact that the overall roster is not bad, WBA has a huge problem scoring. That is why they are placed lower than it should be. Motivation can play a deciding role here. Something tells me Wenger won’t turn the calendar satisfied.

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