The holiday weekend is here with Boxing Day matches set for gameweek 18. As mentioned in this week’s predictions, there are several players that will be out injured or suspended, which means that many FPL teams will need to make changes to be prepared for this.
The week 18 Premier League predictions focused on some matchups to target for week 18 so that is a good place to start followed by some FPL selections for these coming holiday fixtures.
Swansea City v West Ham: This match really looks like the one with the most goals in it for Boxing Day. Swansea has continued to struggle and has allowed a league high 37 goals scored against them. West Ham hasn’t fared much better with 31 scored against them and they have just 1 win on the road this season.
This looks like the best possible match for attacking options on both sides. For West Ham picking up Dimitri Payet (9.1) and Michail Antonio (6.7) are great options. If you’re looking for more of a differential Manuel Lanzini (6.4) is just 0.3% owned while Mark Noble (6.2) is 1.4% owned and is West Ham penalty taker.
For Swansea the two best options are Gylfi Sigurdsson (7.5) and Leroy Fer (5.0) who have played a part in 16 of the Swans 20 goals this season. A bigger gamble would be to add Fernando Llorente, but at 6.3 he’s not exactly a bargain forward.
Manchester United v Sunderland: In David Moyes’ return to Old Trafford, despite most United supporters being in denial about him having ever managed there, it’s hard to see anything other than a United win. Statistics are weighted fairly heavily in United’s favor. Just one loss in their last 12 matches including an eight match unbeaten run and three wins in a row. In the same 12 matches Sunderland has done better than the start of the season with 4 wins, but they have also lost 7 and drawn 1 in this time. More recently they have managed to pick up 4 wins and 3 losses in their last 7 matches including keeping 2 clean sheets like the one last weekend against Watford.
United’s goal difference is exactly outstanding at +7, but it is certainly better than Sunderland’s -14. In the last 6 games Manchester United have a +4 goal difference with two clean sheets while Sunderland have a -2 goal difference and also have 2 clean sheets.
One of the problems with recommending Manchester United players in FPL is that their price tag is rather prohibitive combined with the rotation at key positions for many players. With that said, there are three players that I would tip for gameweek 18.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the fifth highest points scorer at 95 points and third in terms of form. He has scored 10 goals in United’s past 9 matches and 5 goals in the last 6 Premier League matches. In fact, even at 11.4 he’s my top recommendation for this holiday period, especially with Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero out.
David De Gea (5.4) is always going to be a solid pick as a goalkeeper, just so long as you don’t mind the high price tag. For me, he’s not worth it since I would rather spend high in attacking areas and pick up a cheaper GK.
In defense Phil Jones (4.8) and Antonio Valencia (5.4) are two of the best picks. Jones has been playing regularly and getting points since his return and at 4.8 his price tag puts him in the solid bargain category. Valencia is certainly a higher priced option, but his attacking threat is what has made this so.
The last several picks to look at for gameweek 18 include:
Alexis Sanchez (11.8) MID: If Arsenal have any chance of unlocking West Brom’s sturdy defense, it is going to involve Sanchez.
Christian Eriksen (8.6) MID: Eriksen’s recent form has seen him score 5 goals in Spurs’ last 5 matches including 8 bonus points in that time.
Sadio Mane (9.4) MID: In the last five matches Mane has put up 6, 11, 8, 3, and 10 points putting him at 102 points total this season which is fourth best behind FPL stalwarts Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, and Alexis Sanchez.
Marcos Alonso (6.4) or Cesar Azpilicueta (6.5) DEF: If you have the cash to spend on either of these two, then you should take advantage. Additionally you could look at the, slightly, lower priced Gary Cahill (6.3) since Chelsea has kept 10 clean sheets this season including 3 consecutive. They are playing Bournemouth at home where they have allowed just 4 goals all season while also allowing just 11 goals in all Premier League matches.
Lee Grant (4.3) GK: He’s not the top goalkeeper in FPL, but he’s one of the cheapest starting GK’s out there. The only other starting GK at his price is Jordan Pickford. Neither one has a great fixture this weekend, but Stoke’s recent form has been good enough to warrant a pick here. They have 3 clean sheets in their last 6 matches
Week 18 Captain Pick: There’s only one option for me for gameweek 18 and that is Zlatan. You could look elsewhere for a differential like maybe Michail Antonio or Christian Eriksen, but Zlatan has everything going for him to make him the best captain pick this weekend.