Boxing day fixtures distinguish the Premier League from other leagues. While many prefer the winter break, only those who have witnessed the drama of the Christmas period over the years will truly understand the beauty of this congested fixture list. Just like the players, Fantasy Premier League managers have little breathing space and gameweeks and deadlines come thick and fast.
The first step for FPL managers is knowing different gameweeks and its deadlines. It's sometimes hard to bifurcate between gameweeks with matches happening almost every day. If you get that right, the next step is predicting how managers plan to rotate their troops and pick the best possible XI.
Boxing Day 2018 is going to be no different. With the need to manage squads paramount, expect the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery to use the depths of their squad. That puts some of the big guns' participation in GW 19 in doubt. Players that are more at risk of being rotated are Liverpool's talisman Mohamed Salah. The Reds welcome Arsenal at the weekend before travelling to Manchester City on New Year's Day. Klopp would believe his side would have enough to negotiate a home game against Newcastle United without the Egyptian.
Another top player who could be rested is Arsenal's hitman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who hasn't missed a minute for the Gunners recently. Emery who takes his side to Brighton would love to hand his chief marksman a rest before the big clash at Anfield.
Tottenham have had a tough week. So man of the moment, Son Heung-min, who has started back-to-back matches, could be held back for the visit of Bournemouth. Dele Alli's injury reduces the options for Pochettino but handing his South Korean forward a well-deserved rest could be on his mind. Harry Kane only came on as a substitute against Arsenal in the League Cup and hence should start against Bournemouth. The England captain is thus an excellent bet for the captain's armband this week.
Guessing what goes in Guardiola's mind is a job hard enough. Doing so after his side suffered a shock defeat is even tougher. Expect Kevin de Bruyne to start for City after he made useful contributions in his last two appearances. In the absence of David Silva, City have missed a creative spark in midfield and De Bruyne provides exactly that. Expect the Belgian to get on his act straightaway and perhaps it's the best time to pick him with his price at £9.7m. He is still the 10th most purchased midfielder this week. The Belgian is still not attracting the faith of FPL owners, but it's always better to be an early bird.
With Chelsea losing against Leicester in their previous game, Eden Hazard will be the first name on the team sheet for the Blues. Olivier Giroud may come in at the centre-forward position. Willian is the likely player to be sacrificed if Maurizio Sarri decides to go with a conventional centre-forward. Another FPL big gun who could miss out on Boxing Day action is left-back Marcos Alonso. The full-back was unlucky to hit the upright in his last two games, but his defensive displays have come under criticism from the fans lately. So Sarri might opt to start with Emerson Palmieri at left back and gives Alonso a break. With Chelsea's defence showing cracks, it's best for most FPL managers to do away with Alonso and invest that money in other areas of the squad.
Manchester United players are in demand. The post-Jose Mourinho honeymoon period is well and truly on and a generous fixture list sees the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba been transferred in in large numbers. With United looking to build under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, expect some continuity in their line-up making the Red Devils stars very safe options.
Top buys for GW 19
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham): Mitrovic is going through a goal drought and hasn't found the net in six games. However, Fulham who kept their first clean sheet of the season are showing signs of settling under Claudio Ranieri. Fulham have a lot of quality in their ranks and expect them to produce better results sooner rather than later. The next two games against Wolves and Huddersfield present Fulham with a perfect chance to begin their revival. Mitrovic is a natural goalscorer and expect him to be among the goals in the coming week.
Gerard Deulofeu (Watford): Deulofeu had a dream start to life at Watford against Chelsea last year as he netted twice in a 4-1 win for the Hornets. The Blues, fresh off a home defeat, just like the last time they visited Vicarage Road, are vulnerable to the in-form Watford forward. With a fine fixture list to come, Deulofeu could be a very hand purchase at £5.4m
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City): De Bruyne is back and there are few players better than him when on song. With two goals in his last two appearances, it's time for you to make a place for him in your squad. A swap with Sterling might be a decent deal with the move also releasing some funds.
Nathan Redmond (Southampton): Redmond was Southampton's top player in their win over Huddersfield last week. The midfielder has picked up form just at the right moment for the Saints and thus could be a good option at a price of just £5.2m,
Captain's conundrum: The risk of rotation has made this choice a tad tougher. Hazard and Kane are the best bets with the latter just getting the edge due to his consistency. However, one can take the risk of captaining Salah as it may pay off if the Egyptian starts and bags a truckload of goals.
Updated Date: Dec 25, 2018 11:09:35 IST