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Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 18

Is your FPL team ready for the Boxing Day games?

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

While footballers world over celebrate Christmas Day with much gusto, the ones in the English Premier League are working as their Boxing Day loom large.

For Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, that means extra head-scratching and some head-banging as dilemmas can literally swamp you.

Not to worry, as The Statesman will help to make the right moves on the FPL with a comprehensive article on who to buy for the coming gameweek.

The indicators are:

Teams in BOLD are top four contenders.

Prices marked with a (+) indicate an increase in Base Price.
Prices marked with a (-) indicate a decrease in Base Price.

Goalkeepers
Tom Heaton
Team: Burnley
Fixtures: Middlesbrough (H), Sunderland (H), Man City (A), Southampton (H) and Arsenal (A)
Price: 4.8 (+)
Score: 68
Ownership: 14.2%

Why yes: Officially the second best keeper in FPL, Heaton has been impressive in 2016. The next two fixtures are at home and against sides who will be flirting will relegation this season. A worthy second-choice at the least.

Why no: Burnley aren't exactly covering themselves in glory and their recent form is pretty poor indeed. Fixtures after Sunderland are quite tough.

Defenders
David Luiz
Team: Chelsea
Fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Stoke (H), Spurs (A), Leicester (A) and Hull (H)
Price: 6.1 (+)
Score: 58
Ownership: 3.6 %

Why yes: If you don't have a Chelsea defender in your team, seriously consider quitting FPL this year. Yes, their defence is that good (At least, in terms of FPL points) and at least one defender is a must-have. Luiz is the cheapest starter and the one with most differential potential. Might just score from the odd free kick as well.

Why no: Luiz is notoriously unreliable, preferring a high-risk strategy which sometimes backfires spectacularly. Chelsea are firing in every department at the moment, so picking Luiz from your quota of three is definitely a gamble.

Hector Bellerin
Team: Arsenal 
Fixtures: West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Bournemouth (A), Swansea (A) and Burnley (H)
Price: 6.4 (-)
Score : 55
Ownership: 16.12%

Why yes: Back to full fitness, Bellerin is a must-have considering the fixtures that await Arsenal. After back-to-back losses, the Gunners will take their frustration out on any side that comes in front of them. The speedy Spaniard is quite handy on both ends of the pitch, a trait which justifies his high price.

Why no: Nacho Monreal is a more cost-effective option and should one have Petr Cech or any Arsenal defender, picking Bellerin would be a risk for sure.

Midfielders

Paul Pogba
Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H), West Ham (A), Liverpool (H) and Stoke (A)
Price: 8.3 (-)
Score: 59
Ownership: 9.4%

Why yes: If Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores, Paul Pogba is almost certainly behind it. The £100 million signing is finally coming good as he begins to stretch his legs. If you don't have any United player in your side, Pogba is a pretty safe bet.

Why no: Ibrahimovic is undroppable at the moment, especially with Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa suspended. Having both Pogba and Ibrahimovic would be akin to putting all your eggs in one basket.

Adam Lallana
Team: Liverpool
Fixtures: Stoke (H), Man City (H), Sunderland (A),  Man Utd (A) and Swansea (H)
Price: 7.4 (+)
Score: 89
Ownership: 17.7%

Why yes: Lallana has officially outperformed the more expensive Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho this season. Considering his recent form and the fact that the Reds are almost always in free-scoring mode, it is difficult to not pick him.

Why no: Games against the Manchester clubs loom large and with a busy festive fixture list, Lallana might be given some rest in the near future. Should you have either Sadio Mane or Firmino, having Lallana as well would be a risky choice.

Forwards

Andre Gray
Team: Burnley    
Fixtures: Middlesbrough (H), Sunderland (H), Man City (A), Southampton (H) and Arsenal (A)
Price: 6.1 (-)
Score: 30
Ownership: 2.7%

Why yes: While Sam Vokes gets a lot of the attention, his strike partner Gray is a very good striker as well. Upcoming fixtures are against teams who don't exactly run the tightest of ships, which makes Gray an intriguing pick. Burnley score maximum goals at home, and with two fixtures on their own turf. Gary might just be a massive differential.

Why no: At this price, don't expect a hatful of goals. Gary is a very high-risk option and at best, a third choice striker for the long-term.

Islam Slimani
Team: Leicester City
Fixtures: Everton (H), West Ham (H), Middlesbrough (A), Chelsea (H), Southampton (A)
Price: 8.3 (-)
Score: 47
Ownership: 1.0%

Why yes: With Jamie Vardy suspended, Slimani is in line to start the next couple of games at least. He has delivered when given an extended run and with Leicester looking to get back to winning ways, this is the perfect time to pick the Algerian.

Why no: At Slimani’s price point, there are plenty of alternatives, who are crucially their sides main strikers. Unless the Algerian goes on a barnstorming display, expect Vardy to slot back into the line up for the Chelsea game. 

 

PS: The Gameweek  deadline is 11.30 am GMT/5 pm IST, so make sure all transfers are completed before that!