Fantasy Premier League Tips: Christmas Crackers in a double bill of Gameweek 19 and 20

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane stands out as an excellent option and captaincy selection for Gameweek 20.

Holly Shand shares her player picks this Christmas, with a busy week of action and two rounds of Premier League games but who should replace Son Heung-Min?

"Jack Grealish weighed in with another goal last weekend: he now has five in his last nine starts and the fixture doesn't get much better than this one."

Gameweek 19 - Deadline Thursday December 26 11:30

The Headline Pick: Marcus Rashford - Newcastle United (H)

Marcus Rashford has three goals from his last four games, with an enticing home fixture against Newcastle United. While Leicester host Liverpool and Manchester City travel to Wolves, the Red Devils are one of the few clubs with a favourable fixture, making Rashford a stand-out candidate.

It was surprising to see Rashford blank against Everton and Watford: he had more joy against the expansive styles of Spurs and Manchester City in the previous weeks. He has had eight shots over the last pair of games though, with five of those on target. He's also created four chances in that spell.

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Newcastle United arrive at Old Trafford with two clean sheets in their last four games, conceding just two goals. They have conceded a huge 55 shots in that period though. Marcus Rashford could well benefit from Paul Pogba's return to the side: they struck up a convincing partnership at this point last season.

Marcus Rashford is now available to back at 16/5 to score two or more goals against Newcastle United this week.

The Budget Pick: Christian Pulisic - Southampton (H)

It's been a tricky spell for Chelsea, but a convincing 2-0 win against Spurs will work wonders for their confidence and Christian Pulisic is likely to come back into the side after being rotated last weekend. He was ranked second among all players for shots prior to Gameweek 18 and has been somewhat unlucky to have not returned in his last five.

A home game against Southampton is an enticing prospect, although The Saints have found some stability in recent weeks. That being said, you have to go back to early September to find their last clean sheet, having conceded five goals in their last four games.

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Frank Lampard is likely to return to his conventional 4-3-3 formation, after a more tactical set-up seen in their win against Spurs. Fresh legs will be required after that tough performance, with Pulisic looking set to take up that mantle. Many fantasy managers will be looking to jump ship, but it could be a shrewd move to hold.

The VAR Pick: Jack Grealish - Norwich City (H)

Jack Grealish weighed in with another goal last weekend: he now has five in his last nine starts and the fixture doesn't get much better than this one. He's the main man at Aston Villa, with key injuries to Tyrone Mings and John McGinn only elevating him to talisman status.

It's likely to be an attacking affair, with both sides sharing in defensive troubles right now. Norwich have conceded seven goals in their last four games, with the reverse fixture ending 5-1 in Aston Villa's favour. Grealish got on the scoresheet that day.

Significantly, Grealish could be on spot-kick duty for Aston Villa this weekend. Norwich have conceded more penalties this season than any other Premier League side. Aston Villa have only been awarded one, in this fixture, with Wesley failing to convert. Over to you Jack...

You can back VAR and bet on Aston Villa to score a penalty against Norwich City at odds of 4/1.

The Sleeper Pick: Raheem Sterling - Wolves (A)

Raheem Sterling is going under the radar, despite a pair of convincing performances. He grabbed a goal against Arsenal, an assist against Leicester and has eleven shots and seven key passes in his last four games. Sergio Aguero's anticipated return to the starting lineup could provide more attacking intent in Pep Guardiola's side.

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It's a tough game to predict against Wolves, with them getting a 2-0 win at the Etihad, with Adama Traore stealing the headlines. Only Aston Villa have conceded more shots on target in their last four games than Wolves, with 20, so you'd expect Manchester City to get plenty of joy.

It's unlikely that Sterling will see rotation, with Pep looking set to start his strongest team in a fixture against a side that he traditionally struggles against. A moment of magic from Sterling could be the key difference here for Manchester City to take the three points home.

The Wildcard Pick: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Bournemouth (A)

It will be Mikel Arteta's first game in charge for Arsenal this, as they travel to the South Coast on Boxing Day. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the main goalscorer in this Arsenal side, having one goal and one assist from his last four appearances.

We are likely to see Aubameyang adopt the central striker role, a position which he favours. We saw at the start of the season him scoring seven goals in the opening seven fixtures, while playing as a centre-forward.

Bournemouth have just one clean sheet from their last four games, conceding five goals in that spell. They've struggled against the likes of Spurs and Liverpool in recent weeks, conceding three goals apiece. Aubameyang has penalties in his locker too.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score is 8/11 against Bournemouth.

Gameweek 20 - Deadline Saturday December 28 11:30

The Headline Pick: Sadio Mane - Wolves (H)

Sadio Mane stands out as an excellent option and captaincy selection for Gameweek 20. He's in excellent form, with one goal and three assists from his last four Premier League appearances at the time of writing. He was also allowed some rest during Liverpool's triumphant trip to Qatar.

Liverpool will need to keep their momentum going, despite a congested schedule, as they look to take the title out of reach of the chasing pack. Mane will be central to that, he traditionally favours home games for attacking returns. Liverpool have an extra days rest over Wolves before this Sunday fixture.

Sadio Mane is now available to back at 9/2 to score two or more goals against Wolves this weekend.

The Budget Pick: Neal Maupay - Bournemouth (H)

Neal Maupay had three goals in three consecutive games prior to that home defeat to Sheffield United. His underlying statistics show great promise, with 13 shots between Gameweek 15 and 20, including eight on target. Four of his seven goals this season have arrived at the Amex.

A home fixture against Bournemouth brings plenty of potential: the Cherries have a whole host of injuries in defence, most notably for their most influential centre-back, Nathan Ake. Since he left the side, they've conceded four goals to the end of Gameweek 18.

The VAR Pick: Harry Kane - Norwich City(A)

Harry Kane could be the perfect Christmas purchase: he absolutely loves this time of year, with hat-tricks a regular feature of his festive performances. He scored 39 FPL points across four festive fixtures this time last season. He enjoyed an impressive 16 point haul against Burnley a few weeks ago, with two goals and one assist.

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It's another opportunity to exploit Norwich's poor record of conceding penalties, with Harry Kane having almost a flawless record of converting in the Premier League. In just two games against the Canaries, Kane has scored four goals - a brace in either fixture back in 2015/16.

You can back VAR and bet on Spurs to score a penalty against Norwich City at odds of 10/3.

The Sleeper Pick: Tammy Abraham - Arsenal (A)

Tammy Abraham could have a resurgence in our fantasy teams, with that win against Spurs potentially bringing an upturn in form for the Blues. Injury and poor form have hampered him in recent weeks, with a goal and assist against Aston Villa the only significant return in the past month.

The Arsenal defence have plenty of struggles of their own, which are unlikely to be resolved in Mikel Arteta's first home game in charge. An unlikely clean sheet emerged in their game against Everton, with Bernd Leno not forced to make a single save.

The Wildcard Pick: Kevin De Bruyne - Sheffield United (H)

Kevin De Bruyne completes the set of Christmas crackers, with the important task of breaking down a resolute Blades defence who have kept clean sheets in Gameweek 17 and 18. He's in fantastic form, with two goals and two assist across the last two fixtures at time of publishing.

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De Bruyne has goal threat and assist potential in equal measure right now, and looks on course for his best ever fantasy season. Sergio Aguero's return bodes well for his output. He's second for shots on target of all players currently over the last four games, and leading the way for big chances created with four.

Kevin De Bruyne to score is 2/1 against Sheffield United.

Join our Fantasy Premier League mini-league competition, Betfair Battle, using the code dda1h8. Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter @FFCommunity_ and find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on the Fantasy Football Community website.

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