Freddie Keighley highlights three Boxing Day fixtures sure to be the focus of Fantasy Premier League managers.
Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town
Opportunistic FPL managers will be looking to profit from players seemingly undergoing resurgence following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and appointment of caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. As such, United’s midfielders and
United scored five goals in a match for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge of the club, with Paul Pogba (£7.9m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.8m) both shining with thirteen and eighteen points respectively.
Although Solskjaer’s United shouldn’t be judged too soon off the back of this victory against a struggling Cardiff side, a fixture against relegation candidates Huddersfield is too good to ignore for many. As a result, Pogba, Lingard, fellow midfielder Anthony Martial (£7.4m) and forward Marcus Rashford (7.0m) have already risen in price since the last gameweek.
Liverpool vs Newcastle United
Perhaps the other pick of the fixtures for fantasy managers is the visit of Newcastle to Anfield. Newcastle, despite conceding only twenty-two goals this season, find themselves in fifteenth place and facing a Liverpool side with fearsome attacking potential.
Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) – the most owned player in the game at 38.3% ownership – is in fine form, with four goals and two assists in his last four games leading to a price rise last night. However, Jurgen Klopp is likely to rotate his forwards during this game ahead of two crucial games against Arsenal and Manchester City. Daniel Sturridge (£5.7m), Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.1m) and Divock Origi (£5.0m) could all be utilised in place of Salah, Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) and Sadio Mane (9.6m).
Looking at the league leaders’ defence might be the way to go to capitalise on this fixture. With centre-halves Joel Matip (£4.9m) and Joe Gomez (£5.0m) both injured until late January, Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) offers a budget route into a back four that’s conceded just seven league goals this season. Andrew Robertson (£6.6m) and recent goalscorer Virgil Van Dijk (£6.6m) are the premium assets on offer, whilst the return of fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m) to full training is timely ahead of a difficult run of fixtures after the Newcastle game.
Leicester City vs Manchester City
Both of these teams were involved in major shocks at the weekend, with City stunned by Crystal Palace at the Ethiad and Leicester beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Manchester City are sure to be eager to bounce back after this damaging result in the Premier League title race, with premium asset Sergio Aguero (£11.2m) likely to return to the starting lineup at the expense of Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m).
A differential pick for those looking to get ahead in their mini-leagues is Kevin De Bruyne (9.7m), owned by just 4.7% of managers and announcing his return to full fitness with goals in the League Cup and at the weekend, although the latter was intended as a cross.
Leicester City shouldn’t be written off for this match, with marksman Jamie Vardy (£8.8m) proving once again that he is potent against the ‘Big 6’ teams with a goal against Chelsea, with James Maddison (£6.8m) providing the assist. Attacking assets should be targeted over defensive ones for this tie, with Manchester City conceding ten goals in their last five games but also boasting the most potent threat in the league, with fifty goals scored.