By Neil Leverett
- Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool host Wolverhampton Wanderers in Gameweek 20
- Arsenal entertain Chelsea, Manchester City face Sheffield United whilst Manchester United travel to Burnley
- Southampton play Crystal Palace, whilst relegation rivals Watford and Aston Villa meet at Vicarage Road
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – With the festive period moving into top gear this weekend, who do you need in your squads for Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 20?
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As we enter the second set of Premier League games in a matter of days over the Christmas period, the installation of Carlo Ancelotti into the Everton dugout has seen the first major tweak of the Everton set-up, with Djibril Sidibe at the heart of it.
The French full-back has already featured in our must-have picks over the past few weeks and months, but now it appears the potent Toffees man could soon become indispensable for Fantasy Premier League managers, looking now to be utilised as a wing-back in a 3-4-3 system.
Before Boxing Day, Sidibe had already racked up three assists and two clean sheets since his deputising for Seamus Coleman, and now the roaming defender looks set to be deployed ahead of the Irishman – much like his teammate was during spells of the David Moyes era.
Sidibe again made the difference in a 1-0 win over Burnley at Goodison Park, again supplying the assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s winner, with Sidibe grabbing the maximum bonus points.
Everton look a fair stiffer test in defence now under the two-time UEFA Champions League winner, and as Everton make the trip to Newcastle United in Gameweek 20, the visitors will look to collect their third clean sheet on the bounce. Regardless, Sidibe, still only owned by 0.6% of managers at 5.3 looks set to be a huge figure in the rest of Everton’s season, in particular from an attacking view point.
Tottenham Hotspur continue their uncertain start to life under Jose Mourinho, but as the Lilywhites make the trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City this weekend, Harry Kane is just beginning to hint at his traditional mid-season goal surge.
As a former loanee with the Canaries in 2012, Kane sustained a broken metatarsal in Norfolk to cut short his spell in East Anglia, but as Spurs make the trip from North London in Gameweek 20, the England man is in a very different frame of mind.
Having scored four goals under Mourinho in seven games, Kane is far from in a dry spell, but has comparatively hit a wall in front of goal. However, after scoring the opener against Brighton & Hove Albion a few days ago, Kane’s return to Carrow Road could be a fruitful one.
With Son Heung-min still suspended for the visitors, Kane will be looking to be the Spurs talisman once more, and having seen a second strike ruled out for offside, the game Canaries could play into Spurs – and their number ten’s – hands in handsome style here.
The 2019/20 season has until recently been a tale of frustration for Roberto Firmino, however after a week which the saw the Brazilian score Liverpool’s winning goal in the Club World Cup in Qatar, his brace against Leicester City on Boxing Day could be a sign of things to come for the Reds’ indiposable front man.
As the European and now World champions extended their league lead to thirteen points, there may now be no stopping Jurgen Klopp’s men, and whilst Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has again been in the goals regularly this season, Firmino’s brace against the Foxes to his league season tally to just six goals.
Having become perhaps the perfect foil for the Red’s prolific triumvirate, Firmino may now be ready to pick up the reins himself – with up until Boxing Day holding more assists than goals to his name this term.
The Brazilian international has been adept at finding the space to operate and often being Johnny on the spot, but until now Firmino has been something of a wallflower in terms of a goal-getter. That may be about to change and as Wolves play top-three opponent for the second time in three days, Firmino may just be the key man on show.
Southampton’s lot suddenly seems a more optimistic one, having firmly consigned memories of their 9-0 drubbing against Leicester City two months ago – or so it seems. On a run a form that has seen the Saints win four in six league games, we are backing to improving form of Nathan Redmond to continue in Gameweek 20.
Recording a impressive 2-0 win away to Chelsea, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men now find themselves with a three-point cushion to the bottom three after and after netting five goals in their last two wins, Southampton return to St. Marys’ to host Crystal Palace this time around.
After a spell in and out of the starting line-up, Redmond’s decisive second goal at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day capped another superbly-planned game-plan for the Saints, who will now look to make it three-in-a-row with home comforts in mind.
Redmond – like Southampton themselves – has been a confidence player and despite having notched just two all season, with the Saints in their current pique of form, the visiting Eagles may present the midfielder with further opportunity for goals, and indeed points.
The seeds of life have very much been sewn of the rather more fertile soil in Hertfordshire for Watford, and after a taking four points from their last two games, our outside pick for Gameweek 20 is Kiko Femenia.
Normally more versed at right-back, the Spaniard has been deployed on the opposite side of the field under new boss Nigel Pearson – taking Jose Holebas’ place – and after picking up a clean sheet at home against Manchester United, and after picking up an impressive point away to Sheffield United, the Hornets’ boss may now utilise a more cautious approach at home to relegation rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.
It hardly seems possible – or indeed sane – to pick a Watford defender after such a horrific season to date, but where Femenia’s values lies is his distribution and eye for delivery.
As a regular contributor from the right wing from a assist stance, the Spaniard often found space in wide areas under Javi Gracia and as we have seen in the past when Watford hit a run of form, that usually means clean sheets. With a threat to boot and with a value of just 4.2, a short-term recruitment of Femenia could just be a very canny move for fantasy managers.
Premier League Gameweek 20 begins on Saturday, as Brighton & Hove Albion entertain AFC Bournemouth, kick-off 12:30 UK time.
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