The Premier League title may seem like a foregone conclusion with Manchester City miles ahead of the chasing pack, but there’s plenty still to play for in the English top-flight and its virtual counterpart— Fantasy Premier League (FPL).

For the race for the top-four is still very much on, as is the battle to avoid relegation and everything in between.

And as we approach the final fixtures of 2017, one can be assured that Gameweek 21 will be a manic one.

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The aforementioned line will bother FPL managers, but The Statesman ensures you get bang for your buck ahead with an incisive article ahead of every gameweek.

The indicators are:

Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.

Prices (in £ million) marked in Green indicates a rise in Base Price.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Red indicates fall in Base Price.

Goalkeeper

Robert Elliot

Team: Newcastle United
Fixtures: Brighton (H), Stoke (A), Swansea (H), Man City (A) and Burnley (H)
Price: 4.1
Score: 57
Ownership: 23.4%

Why yes: Elliot seems to have beaten Matt Darlow to the starting spot between the sticks, at least for now. Rafa Benitez’s men have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and the Magpies will look to get back to winning ways against a Brighton side that have scored just five times on the road. Elliot is a thrifty back-up keeper, if nothing else, for there will be times when your first-choice has a tough game.

Why no: Newcastle have lost four of their last five games and they really need to start delivering results. They struggle to score, which puts added pressure on their defence as a result.

Rob Elliot, Newcastle United F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Elliot was a major reason why Manchester City scored only one in mid-week! (Photo: Newcastle United F.C.)

 

Defenders

Marcos Alonso

Team: Chelsea
Fixtures: Stoke (H), Arsenal (A), Leicester (H), Brighton (A) and Bournemouth (H)
Price: 7.2
Score: 110
Ownership: 21.2%

Why yes: With two goals and an assist in his last three games, Alonso’s offensive output would make most forwards proud. The Spaniard is back to his rampaging best and with an inconsistent Stoke side visiting, the Blues could win by a massive margin in Gameweek 21. Their issues at the back seem to have been sorted, which would mean points from both ends. At this point, having several Chelsea defenders isn’t the worst strategy.

Why no: The most expensive defender in FPL, Alonso isn’t much of a differential. Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.9m) and Victor Moses (£6.4 m) are going great guns as well. If you stock up on Blues defenders, the likes of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard will remain unavailable. Antonio Conte’s men have a tough opponent (Arsenal away) in Gameweek 22.

Marcos Alonso, Chelsea F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Alonso is likely to end the season as the highest-scoring defender! (Photo: AFP)

 

Phil Jones

Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Southampton (H), Everton (A), Stoke (H), Burnley (A) and Spurs (A)
Price: 5.6
Score: 71
Ownership: 11.9%
 
Why yes: United have been uncharacteristically sloppy in their past two games, but expect the Red Devils to get back to their stingy best against the goal-shy Saints. Not only did Southampton get hammered by Spurs in Gameweek 20, their star striker Charlie Austin is suspended and without the burly Englishman, their attack does look quite blunt.

Why no: Keeper David de Gea (£5.9m) and the returning Marcos Rojo (£5.4m) are worthwhile options too. While it’s tempting to have several of United’s backline, you stand a chance of missing out on their in-form midfielder—Jesse Lingard— as your max quota of 3 players from a club could get exhausted.

Premier League, Manchester United FC, Phil Jones
Jones has been extremely consistent for the Red Devils this season! (Photo: AFP)

 

Midfielders

Bernardo Silva

Team: Manchester City
Fixtures: Crystal Palace (A), Watford (H), Liverpool (A), Newcastle (H) and West Brom (H)
Price: 7.4
Score: 43
Ownership: 0.6%

Why yes: Looking for a Manchester City player with a massive differential? Look no further than their Portuguese wizard. With David Silva’s participation uncertain due to ‘personal reasons’, the other Silva is set to thrive. The former Monaco man has been in fine fettle of late and is a cost-effective option from the Sky Blues’ midfield. City have, largely, routine fixtures ahead.

Why no: With the kind of form Kevin De Bruyne (£10.3 m), Raheem Sterling (£8.8m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.6m) are in, it will be hard to justify Bernardo Silva’s inclusion over them in your FPL team. A wildcard pick purely because of the fact that he’s not a confirmed starter yet.

Bernardo Silva, Manchester City F.C., Premier League, Bernardo Silva, Fantasy Premier League
Silva (R) has been coming into his own after a difficult start to life as a City player! (Photo: AFP)

 

Richarlison

Team: Watford
Fixtures: Swansea (H), Man City (A), Southampton (H), Leicester (A), Stoke (A)
Price: 6.5
Score: 92
Ownership: 18.0%

Why yes: Watford were bound to break out of their funk sooner, rather than later and their win over Leicester was the perfect response after losing four games on the trot. Richarlison has been one of the signings of the season and against bottom-ranked Swansea, expect the young Brazilian to shine.

Why no: The Swans have just signed a new manager and their players will be fired up to prove their worth to Carlos Carvahal. Teammate Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.3m) is a cheaper alternative.

Watford F.C., Premier League, Richarlison
Richarlison (L) has plenty of pace and is thriving in Watford’s 3-4-3 system! (Photo: Facebook)

 

Forwards

Romelu Lukaku

Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Southampton (H), Everton (A), Stoke (H), Burnley (A) and Spurs (A)
Price: 11.4
Score: 98
Ownership: 29.9%

Why yes: Lukaku may continue to get flak each time he doesn’t score, but the hulking Belgian has been putting in the hard yards of late. Southampton, as mentioned earlier, will be smarting and expect United to storm back to winning ways at Old Trafford. The Red Devils’ £75 million-man will be in the thick of action and is an ideal captain pick  and is an excellent shot-term replacement for Harry Kane (Spurs and West Ham United aren’t playing in Gameweek 21).

Why no: Jesse Lingard and Paul Pobga are solid midfield picks from United and while Lukaku will certainly make points, is he truly cost-effective?

Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Lukaku is bound to score against a struggling Southampton side! (Photo: AFP)

 

Roberto Firmino

Team: Liverpool
Fixtures: Leicester (H), Burnley (A), Man City (H), Swansea (A) and Huddersfield (A)
Price: 8.9
Score: 106
Ownership: 32.9%

Why yes: Those who slated Firmino for not having enough of an end-product have been forced to eat humble pie as the Brazilian has scored five times and provided an assist in his last three ties. Games against Leicester are always entertaining and don’t be surprised if the Reds are involved in a goal-fest.

Why no: Considering you can only play a maximum of three forwards, Firmino has intense competition from all around and since one-third of FPL managers have him already, he may not appeal to the rest. Teammates Mohamed Salah (£10.1m), Philippe Coutinho (£9.2m) are in sensational form as well and only the most ardent Liverpool fan would stack their FPL team with Reds players.

Roberto Firmino, Liverpool F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Firmino has started to score and is a likely candidate to pick up maximum Bonus Points as well! (Photo: AFP)

 

PS: The Gameweek deadline is 1400 GMT/19.30 IST.

Previous articles in the series:

Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 20

Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 19

Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 18

Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 17