We are now well and truly in the countdown to Christmas as we navigate through the first full week of December, but for avid Fantasy Premier League managers there is only one countdown on their minds – and that is the countdown to game week 16 which kicks of on Saturday 9th December and with a further round of FPL games to be played on Tuesday 12th and then Saturday 16th there might be more rotation concerns as we head towards the weekend.
We are going to take a quick look back at the highs and lows of GW15 before casting our eyes over the big GW16 fixtures.
GW15 saw Chelsea comfortably despatch Newcastle and as predicted it was the Morata and Hazard show with the latter making a claim for being an indispensable midfielder for serious FPL managers after he pretty much ran the show. With West Ham away the next game on the calendar (after Champions League fixtures) there will be some decent captain options there for GW16.
We also saw Liverpool continue to outscore opponents with Firmino and Coutinho the stars in the game against Brighton, whilst Spurs struggled against Watford as they vindicated our decision to omit Harry Kane from the top three captain picks.
Man Utd made a serious statement with a convincing 301 win at Arsenal, whilst Man City made hard work of a 2-1 win over West Ham, but with the Reds missing suspended Paul Pogba this week it could be a tough game for Mourinho’s men.
Everton looked solid in victory to Huddersfield who continue to struggle away from home and Swansea again fell in defeat to Stoke. Crystal Palace made it no goals in 10 Premier League away games as they played out a goalless draw at West Brom. Charlie Austin made it 3 goals in 2 starts as Southampton managed to earn a draw at Bournemouth.
Game Week 16 Tips
It’s always tough going in with tips so early in a game week and these opinions may change once we have seen the final round of Champions League group stage fixtures played out. That is why our final article of the week (for members) is so important so be sure to check ‘The Last Word’ on Saturday morning.
That being said, we can have a fair idea of which basket we want to put our eggs in as we start our game week 16 preparations.
West Ham Vs. Chelsea
West Ham were much improved against Man City and could have snatched a draw late on. However, they still came away empty handed and this will be a tough encounter against an efficient Chelsea side. This game will very much depend on how Chelsea approach their midweek game against Athletico Madrid and although they don’t need to win to qualify they will want to top the group.
Either way, Eden Hazard has looked like he is back to his imperious best in the last few games and he will relish his chances in this game. Regardless of his chances in this game, he looks like he is a must have player going in to the next period of the season thanks to some VERY favourable fixtures over the next two to three months.
Morata is another who is probably going to score big over that period and whilst he has done it in fits and starts so far he is the top points earning striker at this moment in time and we expect this to still be the case as we head in to January 2018.
Don’t put these two players in at your peril!
Burnley Vs. Watford
Burnley’s form has been pretty good this season and despite a blip at Leicester at the weekend, this will be a tough game for Watford – who have themselves looked pretty solid this season.
Burnley have only conceded 3 goals in 7 games at home this season but they have only scored 5 – which is second lowest in the league with only Swansea having worse home scoring form than Sean Dyche’s team.
This looks like it will be a low scoring affair and if we were pushed for a prediction we would be going for 1-1 – sitting well and truly on the fence. Watford have Crystal Palace away from home next so if you are still hanging on to Richarlison it might pay to wait for that game before dumping him if that is in your mind.
Spurs Vs. Stoke
This game is almost impossible to predict with both of these sides being in pretty indifferent form. One week they win, one week they lose – but one thing we haven’t seen for some time is a clean sheet and we have to go back to 4th November to see the last time either of these two kept a clean sheet.
Spurs simply have to win this game, but the one benefit they have is that they can completely rest their team for their midweek Champions League game.
Harry Kane blanked against Watford and has now failed to score in 9 out of 14 Premier League games this season – severely testing the patience of his managers – it might be premature to drop the England striker though and we are suggesting you stick with him for now at least. I wouldn’t be banking on a clean sheet though for either side.
Southampton Vs. Arsenal
Arsenal were unlucky to some extent against Manchester United and despite being at fault for the goals they conceded, they should have scored more than 1 but an inspired David De Gea was there to keep them at bay.
It is hard to watch Arsenal at times, particularly as an FPL manager as you feel they can do more. Southampton have looked very ordinary this year and much will depend on how much they can keep Arsenal at bay. You certainly don’t see them going and scoring 4 like they did against Everton.
Sanchez is still the main man for Arsenal but I’d certainly prefer Hazard over him – even more so with the run of games Chelsea have coming up. Lacazette still looks like he’s not ruthless enough to score 2 or more goals on a regular basis and that leaves Mesut Ozil – who is brilliant one week and poor the next. Arsenal could well keep a clean sheet in this game, although if Charlie Austin were to start he could be dangerous. It is more likely that Southampton will start with Shane Long as they look to expose Arsenal for pace at the back though. 2-1 to Arsenal is our prediction.
The Liverpool and Manchester Derby Games
Probably the most difficult games to predict at the final two of game week 16, the Liverpool derby and the Manchester derby. Liverpool and Man City would appear on paper to be the victors in these games but everything goes out of the window when it comes to a derby and these games could go either way.
That being said, Liverpool should have far too much fire power for Everton and despite them having some top budget defenders they are unlikely to keep a clean sheet on their visit to Anfield. Liverpool do not keep too many clean sheets themselves and this is likely to be a high scoring win for Liverpool.
Man United will be tested without star player Paul Pogba and it will be interesting to see how Lukaku fairs in a big game of this nature. Jesse Lingard scored two against Arsenal but it’s a bit premature to put him in your side and this might be a game to try and avoid in terms of stocking up on FPL players. Jose might not have parked the bus against Arsenal but he will have to park it to some extent in this game – especially now he is missing Pogba.
We are going 1-1 for the Manchester derby.