The fixtures just keep piling on and on in the festive period as we move into the third Gameweek in a week. After all of my picks (Kane, Salah, Morata) delivered last week, Gameweek 21’s bound to be a tricky one with the in-form Kane having no fixture.
1. Alvaro Morata (vs STK H)
Last week’s differential punt, Morata rises to the helm this week. He has the best mixture of form, fixture and minutes. Morata is as nailed on as it can get – Brighton was his first start in four games. The Spaniard has had an extended injury and suspension break, so he’s well rested. Although Morata hasn’t been at his explosive best lately, he’s still been ticking along. Last week’s strike brought him up to 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 8 starts. He hasn’t shown his injury woes to trouble him either. Since his return from his hamstring he’s scored a late winner against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup and the opener against Brighton in midweek.
The fixture is his main selling point. It’s also main reason why I go for him as first choice over others. Chelsea will take on Stoke City at the Stamford Bridge, a side depleted to the brim. They’ll be missing their 3 first choice center-backs. Captain Ryan Shawcross hobbled off last week, Bruno Martins Indi is already out and Kurt Zouma is ineligible to play against his parent club. If things could be worse for the Potters, they are. Right-back Glen Johnson is also ruled out, while left-back Erik Pieters faces a late fitness test. It’s not that they were doing any impressive anyway. Stoke have conceded 41 goals this season, more than any other side.
Morata already knows what it’s like to take on a stretched Stoke defense – and demolish them. Last time these two sides faced off, Stoke were missing a similar amount of players. Chelsea ran out 4-0 victors, Morata scoring a hat-trick. His teammate Eden Hazard is almost as good a choice if you don’t own him – it’s just that his performances haven’t been necessarily translating to Fantasy output lately.
Only in 19.7% of teams still, Morata could help you rocket up the ranks with a haul this week.
2. Mohamed Salah (vs LEI H)
Here’s a pick as safe as a bank. A regular feature in this article, I’m almost tired of talking about his ridiculous form week after week. It’s showing absolutely no signs of relent, and the Egyptian is delivering big hauls on a regular occasion. Although he didn’t score against Swansea last week, he still delivered 9 points courtesy 2 assists. This brings up his tally to 11 goals and 5 assists in the last 12 games, with only one blank in this period. Having been hauled off early last game, he’s almost certain to start this one. There is a risk that he’ll be subbed off around the 70th minute mark again if Liverpool are cruising, but if they’re cruising, Salah will likely have already contributed in some way.
An in-form Liverpool will be taking on a Leicester side who’ve had continuous problems at the back. The Foxes have shipped 11 goals in their last 5 games. They’ve also only kept 1 clean sheet in the last 10. It seems almost impossible that they’ll add to that against a fiery hot Reds attack, who have scored an insane 53 goals in their last 16 games in all competitions. At Anfield they’re even more relentless – they take a league high 20.7 shots per game at home.
At 59.5% ownership, you really can’t get a safer pick.
3. Jesse Lingard (vs SOT H) – Differential Punt
Now here’s a radical differential punt worthy of the title. A couple of months ago, if you had told me, we’d be considering Lingard for a spot in our Fantasy teams, I’d have asked you to get yourself checked. And now he’s a valid captain proposition. That’s just the fickle mistress Fantasy football is. Lingard is now in the form of his life, and it seems that all United do goes through him. He has now delivered a remarkable 60 points in the last 7 games, with 4 double digit hauls and 6 goals and 2 assists in the period. Although he was benched last game, he still came on, scored a brace and rescued United a point – just how nothing wrong he can do right now.
He’ll be taking on a Southampton side, whose defensive situation can be compared to Stoke. Fullback Cedric Soares is ruled out, Ryan Bertrand is unlikely to feature, while defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk will play no role after completing a move to Liverpool. Top goalscorer Charlie Austin is serving the second of a 3 game ban, while he has hamstring problems of his own. Their wretched defense was hammered by Spurs in midweek, shipping 5. The Saints have now conceded 12 goals in their last 5, while their last clean sheet came 12 games ago – in mid-October. With United still in top form at Old Trafford, it could be a long day for them.
At 9% ownership, he’s as crazy a captaincy differential can get. But if it pays off, if you live a little, you can end your 2017 with a Fantasy bang. This is the week to take a risk anyway, since next week we’ll all be captaining a certain mouth-breather.