Here we’ll preview gameweek 16 game-by-game, mulling over recent stats to consider which team is likely to have the advantage.
We’ll also provide a player pick for each fixture – someone we think could haul a high points total in the upcoming gameweek.
Crystal Palace vs Leicester
Monday 28th December 15:00
Crystal Palace are normally labelled as a team who are solid at the back, but this couldn’t be further from the truth of late – the Eagles have conceded ten in their last two matches.
Leicester shared the spoils with fellow top-four challengers Manchester United in GW15 and Brendan Rodgers will be looking to return to winning ways at Selhurst Park.
Rodgers has hinted that Jamie Vardy (10.1m) may be rested on Monday evening, which would mean a start for deputy forward Kelechi Iheanacho (5.6m).
Vardy’s potential absence may mean Leicester are less effective in front of goal, so we look to their defence for the player pick for GW16. Timothy Castagne (5.7m) has returned at left wing-back and the Belgian international should be able to get at a vulnerable Palace defence – as well as be confident of a clean sheet return.
Player pick – Timothy Castagne
Chelsea vs Aston Villa
Monday 28th December 17:30
Chelsea fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium in GW15, as Frank Lampard surprised us all by starting both Reece James (5.2m) and Ben Chilwell (6.1m) – who were both doubts. Both come under risk of being rested this evening, should Lampard wish to avoid further injury issues.
Aston Villa come into this one off the back of a convincing 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, a game in which Tyrone Mings (5.4m) received his marching orders. Ezri Konsa (4.7m) will be handed a start at the Bridge – but Villa may well miss the physical presence of Mings when Kurt Zouma comes up the pitch for set pieces.
Only Ollie Watkins and Gabriel Martinelli had more shots in the box than the French centre-back in GW15, so don’t be surprised to see Zouma on the scoresheet come this evening.
Player pick – Kurt Zouma
Everton vs Manchester City
Monday 28th December 20:00
Everton got over the line with a narrow 1-0 victory at Sheffield United in GW15 – in which Dominic Calvert-Lewin blanked for the first time since GW10. The 59.1% owned forward hasn’t scored now since a trip to Burnley in GW11 – could owners be tempted to sell ahead of a difficult game up against Manchester City?
A 2-0 win against Newcastle made it five clean sheets in City’s last six – their defensive options remain great picks ahead of a run of favourable fixtures from GW18. Joao Cancelo has the highest xA of any City defender over the last six games (0.77) – and the ex-Juve man seems likely to be immune to Pep roulette after Kyle Walker tested positive for coronavirus.
Against an Everton side missing key players like Richarlison, James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne – back City to sustain their impressive clean sheet record tonight.
Player pick – Joao Cancelo
Brighton vs Arsenal
Tuesday 29th December 18:00
West Ham took social distancing a bit too far in GW15 as Brighton were allowed to dominate the first half at the London Stadium, before it finished 2-2 with a more even second half.
Things may not be so easy against an Arsenal side who looked rejuvenated in their win against Chelsea. The youthful trio of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe showed Gunners fans what they have been missing of late.
Only Ollie Watkins had more shots inside the box in GW15 than Martinelli – and the youngster could prove to be an astute differential pick this week. He is owned by just 0.4% of managers and comes at a budget price of 4.9m. It’s a risky pick – but it could just pay off against Brighton in GW16.
Player pick – Gabriel Martinelli
Burnley vs Sheffield United
Tuesday 29th December 18:00
VAR ruined the day of yet another fanbase on Monday as Burnley found themselves on the wrong end of two highly contentious decisions in a 1-0 defeat at Leeds.
Burnley and Sheffield United have scored a total of 16 goals in 29 games so far this season. It remains to be seen whether or not Amazon Prime will warn viewers not to drive or operate heavy machinery in the hour following this one.
Defenders are the obvious picks in this one. Sean Dyche has recently praised Charlie Taylor’s attacking abilities down the left hand side, after the ex-Leeds man provided an assist for Ashley Barnes in GW14. Taylor is probably the safe pick in a game which won’t see many chances.
Player pick – Charlie Taylor
Southampton vs West Ham
Tuesday 29th December 18:00
Southampton laboured to a goalless draw at Fulham in GW15 – as they suffered with the absence of several key players. Oriol Romeu (4.5m) should return to the starting line-up against West Ham, but Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard are likely to remain out.
West Ham will be looking to improve from a turgid performance against Brighton – albeit a game in which budget favourite Tomas Soucek (5.1m) scored his fourth goal in eight games. Said Benrahma (6.0m) could start after being rested in GW15.
This is a tough game to call – so it seems wise to simply back the home side. It might be a game in which set pieces prove decisive, and there’s no better man in the league on dead balls than Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse (6.3m).
Player pick – James Ward-Prowse
West Brom vs Leeds
Tuesday 29th December 18:00
West Brom treated their fans to a Sam Allardyce special yesterday as they bagged a late equaliser at Anfield. The Baggies were rather fortunate to escape with a point and they will face another stern test as Leeds visit the West Midlands.
Only Manchester United and Liverpool have scored more goals in the last three gameweeks than Leeds – and Marcelo Bielsa will be desperate for back-to-back wins for what would be just the second time this season.
Patrick Bamford (6.5m) was fortunate to not have his penalty overturned by VAR against Burnley in GW15 – but the fact the poacher is now on penalties means that the 46.7% owned forward is now even more essential.
Player pick – Patrick Bamford
Manchester United vs Wolves
29th December 20:00
Bruno Fernandes (11.1m) picked up his fifth double digit away haul of the season in GW15, as Manchester United shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Leicester.
It won’t be easy for the Red Devils this week, as they face a Wolves side who showcased their resilience in their 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Monday night.
Bruno probably remains the obvious pick however – the Portuguese playmaker is central to everything Manchester United do on the pitch and he has a knack of popping up with vital contributions to save his side. The 46.1% owned midfielder now has more points than Harry Kane – and is just 6 points off Mo Salah.
Player pick – Bruno Fernandes
Tottenham vs Fulham
Wednesday 30th December 18:00
Tottenham failed to capitalise on Liverpool’s dropped points on Monday night – as they laboured to a 1-1 draw with Wolves. GW16’s home match against 18th placed Fulham represents an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways.
Fulham shared a goalless draw with Southampton last time out but they will most likely struggle against the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son on Wednesday evening.
Harry Kane’s (11.0m) record against London clubs is outstanding. Indeed, his last two goals came up against Arsenal and Crystal Palace. Spurs have floundered of late, but a reaction will eventually come – and Kane may well punish any wavering owners who don’t choose to captain the number 9 in GW16.
Player pick – Harry Kane
Newcastle vs Liverpool
Wednesday 30th December 20:00
Newcastle were uninspiring yet again in GW15 as they fell to a routine 2-0 defeat at the Etihad. Things don’t get much easier for the Magpies as they host league leaders Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Newcastle have struggled on the left hand side of their defence of late – with Steve Bruce opting to rotate the likes of Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett with the regular choice of Jamal Lewis. Whoever plays is likely to wish they hadn’t this week – as they come up against Mo Salah (12.6m) who will look to return to his scoring ways after blanking against West Brom.
Any Liverpool option is a good pick for their trip to St James’, but in general the rule of thumb is if in doubt, go for Salah.
Player pick – Mo Salah
Best of luck gameweek 16 FPL managers!