Holly Shand shares her player picks this New Year, with the aim to avoid rotation as Premier League sides play their third fixture within a week.
"Sadio Mane is in sensational form this season, having returned fantasy points, in the form of goals and assist, in eight of his last nine starts."
The Headline Pick: Sadio Mane - Sheffield United (H)
Sadio Mane is in sensational form this season, having returned fantasy points, in the form of goals and assist, in eight of his last nine starts. Despite Mo Salah's resurgence in popularity, the Senegalese striker looks to be Jurgen Klopp's key man right now, having played the full 90 minutes in all of his last three fixtures.
We saw Liverpool overcome a resolute Sheffield United defence to grab victory by a single goal at Bramall Lane back in September. Things should be easier for them on home turf, with Sheffield United fatigued from a relentless schedule, including facing Manchester City at the weekend. Sadio Mane could be the player to make the difference in this game.
Sadio Mane is now available to back at 7/2 to score two or more goals against Sheffield United this week.
The Budget Pick: Raul Jimenez - Watford (A)
Raul Jimenez has been Mr. Consistent for Wolves this season and given his place on the bench at the weekend against Liverpool, you can be sure of a start in this game. From his last four starts, he has two goals and three assists: he's failed to deliver any points on just two occasions in the past three months.
Watford could be difficult to break down in this game, having two consecutive home clean sheets. They've conceded three goals in their last two games. Jimenez enjoys visits to Vicarage Road, grabbing a goal in this fixture last season, as well as in their FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley last summer. I'm sure those performances will be in his mind ahead of this game.
The VAR Pick: Harry Kane - Southampton (A)
Harry Kane has discovered his festive consistency, having two goals in two games. He loves playing in the period past Christmas Day, we've seen these levels of returns in previous seasons, so it looks promising he can continue this run into 2020. In the reverse fixture, Kane scored one of Spurs goals in a 2-1 win for them.
Kane has an outstanding record against Southampton, with nine goals and two assists from ten Premier League appearances. You have to look back to 2016 for the last time he failed to score against Saints, with a goal or assist returned in every single game at St. Mary's. He's already converted two spot kicks this season, with opponents Southampton conceding two this season. Southampton are without a clean sheet on home turf this campaign.
You can back VAR and bet on Spurs to score a penalty against Southampton at odds of 4/1.
The Sleeper Pick: Anthony Martial - Arsenal (A)
Anthony Martial may have been going under the radar, with Marcus Rashford the go-to Manchester United attacker, but he's been excellent since returning from injury. He has three goals from his last two games, taking him up to ten attacking returns fro the season from just thirteen starts. That's fantastic value for a striker, classified as a midfielder, at under eight million pounds.
It's a good time to face this Arsenal defence: they've notably struggled in games against Leicester, Manchester City and Chelsea within the last few weeks. It's just one clean sheet in four for the Gunners, in a game where their opponents failed to register a shot on target, conceding six goals in that spell. A start for Paul Pogba as he returns from injury, could bolster this Red Devils attack.
The Wildcard Pick: Kevin De Bruyne - Everton (H)
Kevin De Bruyne created two of Manchester City's three goals when they beat Everton away earlier in the season and this game looks set to be a more intense tactical battle between managers Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti. He's delivered fantasy returns in each of his last four games, with a clean sweep of assists to add to that brace against Arsenal.
Everton have conceded two goals in their last four games, with each of those coming away from home. The Etihad will be a difficult place for the Toffees to visit. In fact, Everton are without a clean sheet on the road all season, with Jordan Pickford averaging around three saves per game as the shots pepper their goal.
Kevin De Bruyne to score is 2/1 against Sheffield United.
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