The final round of the year, Gameweek 19, ending up being an bonanza for defenders with no fewer than 8 clubs recording clean sheets. The squad rotations and tired legs were surly a factor of some miss-firing attack lines. Lets turn our attention to 2015, a new year full of possibilities starting with Gameweek 20. Changes for Gameweek 20 need to be finalized by 11:30am (GTM) on the 1st of January. Yes there will be a full round of Premier League matches on New Years day in the UK. Gameweek 20 is also the last round before the January Wildcard opens ups. Managers will be able to use their January Wildcard after Gameweek 20 starts (1 Jan 11:30am GMT) until Gameweek 23 ends (7 Feb 11:30am GMT). This may come as a welcome relief to some Fantasy Premier League managers looking to perform an overhaul of their squad for the second half of the season. Don’t forget that some players will be unavailable during January & February due to the African Cup of Nations and the Asian Cup. (View details of which players are leaving Here) and clubs can once again buy/sell/load players. Lets analyse the top picks for Gameweek 20 for Fantasy Premier League managers:
1) Ron Vlaar £4.4m (Aston Villa)
For those managers looking for a bargain at the back, Ron Vlaar has recently returned to the Villa starting like up to add some experience and grit. The Dutch international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United once his contract with Villa expires in the summer, but his manager Paul Lambert insist he’ll be going nowhere during the January transfer window. During Gameweek 19 Vlaar let Aston Villa to a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with 14th placed Sunderland at home (with only 10 men I should add). Gameweek 20 sees Aston Villa again at home, this time entertaining 18th placed Crystal Palace. Palace are currently manager-less Neil Warnock become the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season after being dismissed by Crystal Palace mid-week. They themselves are coming off a scoreless draw away to 15th placed QPR last weekend. With both teams looking like they’ll be in a relegation battle to stay up, neither team can afford to lose this one. So expect a cagy display from Palace and a good chance of another shutout on the cards. Looking further ahead, Gameweek 21 sees Villa away to bottom of the table Leicester. So two gameweeks in a row against lower table opposition has Villa defence top of our list.
2) Raheem Sterling £8.3m (Liverpool)
For all the many, many articles published over the past 3 months about the decline of Liverpool since last season it may be quite surprising for Fantasy Premier League managers to see that, sitting on the list of midfielders with the most points, in 7th spot if Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling. Sterling has managed to stay injury free this year, unlike a lot of his fellow star midfielders. So while his performances for Liverpool have not been consistently amazing, the playing consistency has been the key to his point haul this season. Sterling has 4 goals and 5 assists from his opening 18 Premier League matches this season. (a goal or assist every other game) He’s also picked up 12 bonus points to supplement that tally. With Daniel Sturridge still out injured and Mario Balotelli yet to open his goal account for Liverpool in the Premier League, the burden of goal scoring and creativity has rested solely on him. Gameweek 20 sees Liverpool at home to last placed Leicester, which leave good odds for Sterling to pick up some points in from of goal. Gameweeks 21 and 22 see Liverpool on the road against Sunderland and Aston Villa, who both sit lower on the table and should look appetizing to Fantasy Premier League managers.
3) David de Gea £5.7m (Manchester United)
Now that we’re ready for 2015 fixtures, it’s time to jump aboard the easy fixture list train of Manchester United. As we noted in our analysis of Gameweek Fixtures 21-30, Manchester United avoid playing any of the “big four” clubs until Liverpool in Gameweek 30. A run that also includes playing all 3 newly promoted clubs by Gameweek 25 in early February. Manchester United’s defense has been a heavy rotation area due to a long list of injuries and nee manager Louis van Gaal working out what the best formation for his team is. Despite all that change, David de Gea has been the constant wall in goal, putting together a string of eye catching performances this season, making him one of the standout keepers in Europe. (To the extent that Real Madrid are rumored to be keep on getting de Gea on their books). Manchester United has conceded the 4th fewest goal this season, and managed 6 clean sheets to date. David de Gea doesn’t come cheap, but he’s a good longer term option for January and February through their easier run of matches.
Top 10 Transfers In for Gameweek 12
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