We’re nearing the halfway mark and most of the players that we’d picked out over the past few weeks have returned well, including Fabianski, Kolasinac, Snodgrass, Lacazette, Mitrovic, and Trippier etc all providing returns. This has given us confidence to try and come out with more such reports. Hopefully, our luck continues.
With the most intense part of the season coming up with 40 games in 11 days, we look at some budget picks to get ahead of the curve and some players free of rotation.
Goalkeepers are likely to not get rotated over the festive period so almost all of them are safe from rotation barring any injury. While there are no standout 4M options as yet, Button of Brighton could be an option in the coming weeks when Matty Ryan travels away for Australian international duty. Brighton’s fixtures are not great but we do love a budget option.
The other stand out option in goal barring the obvious Lucasz Fabianski is Lossl of Huddersfield. While the Terriers haven’t been great, only Manchester City have really torn them apart this season, and Lossl has only let in one against Arsenal and Liverpool and two against Spurs. His next 4 include games against Burnley, Southampton and Fulham. A lot of managers need that extra 0.1M to sneak in Salah or Sane or any big hitter for that matter and Lossl could be a viable alternative. He averages only 3 points a game and is not very high on the saves or bonus system, so we are skeptical. Recommended only if you’re on your WC.
The rotation free options are more in defense with the Chelsea fullbacks being top of the list. Alonso got rested midweek for the EFL Cup game and looks set to start all the games over the festive period. With Sarri appearing like a coach who prefers a settled system and Azpilliicueta missing only 281 minutes of action over the last 3 seasons, it appears the Chelsea fullbacks are top of the queue. With Liverpool’s centre-back problems worries, Dejan Lovren looks like a very safe option at 4.9M. The fixtures, however, are not the greatest. At 4.3M Issa Diop has started every game since he arrived and also kept his second clean sheet in the last 4. With West Ham having the best fixtures, he appears to be a cheap route into their defense.
EADF pick of the week – Lucas Digne at 5M is our pick of the week in defence. He has an amazing set of fixtures on the horizon after playing Tottenham at home. He ranks behind only Matt Doherty on the ICT index and is now sharing set-piece duties with Gylfi Sigurdsson. Everton have tightened up at the back, with Manchester City being the first side to score more than 2 against them since West Ham did in GW5. Digne’s star is on the rise with goalscoring contributions in his last 2 matches including a late freekick against Watford which helped him get all 3 bonus points a trend that could follow.
In midfield, most of the defensive midfielders have been ever-present in their side but the attacking midfielders have often been rotated so it is difficult to pick out the few that might buck the trend.
With David Silva’s injury, and Kevin de Bruyne just returning to fitness and Guardiola not dipping Foden into the deep end just yet, Bernardo Silva seems to be a sensible pick under 7.5M with City’s fixtures. Gylfi Siggurdson has started all of Everton’s games and played more than 65 minutes on all occasions except when Phil Jagielka got sent off. He ranks 5th on the ICT index and has less than 7% ownership.
After the Tottenham game, his fixtures look good and looks like a smart gamble. Paul Pogba will thrive on more minutes post Mourinho’s departure and especially given that Solskjaer has worked with him intensively in the reserves and stated that a team can be built around him. Whilst we usually wait a week or so before gauging the impact of the new manager, it might be advisable to jump on the Pogba train a little in advance.
EADF Pick of the week – Doucoure from Watford at 5.9M could be the budget 4th midfielder we have been searching for. He has 3 goalscoring contributions in his last 3 and has played every minute of football for Watford this season. He is also only owned by 2% of all managers. He makes late runs into the box and offers a very capable extra body in the box. Watford’s fixtures are quite tidy and with Doucoure’s ICT ranking ahead of the likes of Martial, Eriksen,and Son, he could be a player worth putting your money on.
Harry Kane got only a substitute appearance midweek in the cup which means he is ready to go for Spurs’ next 4 games. With both Janssen and Llorente very much in the background, Kane would appear to be nailed on to start. Mitrovic has only missed 50 minutes of action this season and is likely to lead the Fulham line over the festive period. With the striker being the seventh highest point scorer this term and ranking 3rd on the ICT index he is sure to have several goal-scoring opportunities and hopefully contributions.
EADF Pick of the week – Danny Ings scored twice on his return to Premier League action against Arsenal and looked good as well. With the new manager saying that he prefers a 4-2-2-2 system and Austin and Ings appearing to be the two strikers he has taken a liking to, we could see them deployed together over the festive period. Whilst the fixtures are slightly erratic, at 5.4M Ings seems to be a very cheap 3rd striker option and offers you a change in shape as well.
Digne image via Goal
Doucoure image via Evening Standard