The first Premier League round in 2019 could very well be the game of the season. Manchester City greets Liverpool to the Etihad. With Liverpool 7 points ahead, this is a game that Manchester City has to win if they want to catch Klopp’s men for the Premier League title. The battle plays out as the only match on Thursday.
Gameweek 21 is a little bit modified for daily fantasy enthusiasts, as the big competitions only include 7 matches. We skip the three fixtures on New Year’s Day and start on January the 2nd. The benefit of doing it like this is that we get to see the line-up for six matches rather than only for one. There will still be a little fantasy football on New Year’s Day of course. Everton vs Leicester (13:30), Arsenal vs Fulham (16:00) and Cardiff vs Tottenham (18:30) each will have a 5-a-side tournament with their name on it. It will be a nice warm-up to the matches on Wednesday and Thursday.
A real tough task for Guardiola men
Bookies have Manchester City as the clear favorite at equal odds, but Pep Guardiola is clearly suspecting a difficult match on Thursday. “We have to accept that Liverpool could be the best team in the world right now, the Manchester City manager said and added: “The other team is fantastic”.
We agree wholeheartedly. Although the blue team from Manchester is not so bad either. It seems like Guardiola’s team is not in its best form, while Liverpool is very close to its top level, so we think the odds are a little bit too high on Liverpool. It could be a game with many goals since it is the only game that we will not know the line-up for, it is risky to pick players, especially from Manchester City. There is no doubt that Pep will put his best starting eleven, but it is not obvious which players he will pick. SERGIO AGUERO (10.9M) is not in his best shape, but we think he will start the game. DAVID SILVA (10.8M) should be pretty secure pick on the left side of the midfield. BERNARDO SILVA (10.2M) seems to be a fairly certain starter as KEVIN DE BRUYNE (10.5M) has had a small injury.
On the red side of the field, we will be shocked if the usual suspects in attacks do not start the match. MOHAMED SALAH (9.5M), ROBERTO FIRMINO (8.8M) and SADIO MANE (9.2M) should all be trustworthy picks. Firmino scored three times against Arsenal and had previously shown signs of a growing form from before that match. He seems cheap at 8.8, and we like the price of Salah too. If Klopp continues with the 4-2-3-1 system he has used sometimes this season and did use with great success against Arsenal, XHERDAN SHAQIRI (7.2M) will for sure start, and offer very nice profit at this price. Unfortunately, it is unclear if Klopp will keep the system or go back to 4-3-3 that he has employed for a majority of the matches this season.
The Solskjær effect gets the Manchester United train rolling
Experts of Manchester United have pointed out that the opponent was weak in the three matches they played since Ole Gunnar Solskjær came and that Mourinho would have won those matches too. Nevertheless, we think they are wrong. The team looks completely changed and if you cannot see that, you need to sharpen your glasses. The departure of the wet blanket Mourinho was a huge boost for the spirit in the squad and did a few smart moves as well. We think the progress will continue. Newcastle can put up a very firm defense on a good day, so perhaps we cannot expect four goals for the away team, but there will be some for sure. PAUL POGBA (12.2M) is a clear choice once again. Two goals and one assist in the last game, and once again, he was the best player on the pitch. He looks better than ever, even better than his Juventus days. MARCUS RASHFORD (11.5M) was better against Bournemouth than in the earlier matches. Usually, we would add him to our team. Sadly, he has injury doubts for this game. If he starts, we will pick him.
Can Wolverhampton keep a clean sheet?
We have two teams that stand out with great defenders. Chelsea certainly is the safest pick, but we struggle to find room to the rather pricey backline in our fantasy team. A more reasonably priced alternative is Wolverhampton. Wolves should have a good chance on keeping a clean sheet against Crystal Palace, even though they have conceded goals in 11 of their last 12 matches. The form is great, however as they come directly from a shocking away win over Tottenham. In Crystal Palace, Zaha is playing poorly and has in fact not scored in 13 straight games. So, let us look at the choices. MATT DOHERTY (7.7M) is the clear first choice. The right wing-back is regularly producing chances for his team, and could surely get some attacking points in addition to the clean sheet. As for the other two spots, it is tight, but we like the cheaper CONOR COADY (6.8M) and RYAN BENNETT (6.5M).
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The author of this article has been playing fantasy football for real money extensively for several years and is considered an expert in the field.