COPA90’s FPL Festive Preview
With the festive fixtures upon us, COPA90 have decided to be kind this year. Below is our one-stop shop for everything you need to know from an FPL perspective this Christmas.

Everyone deserves a break over the holidays (even us!) so those used to receiving our weekly FPL newsletter should bookmark this page as your guide to navigating the next four gameweeks.

We’ve summarised the key injury and suspension news, taken a look at who’s in and out of form, and assessed which teams have the best fixture run. So kick back, grab a notepad and get reading…  

Injuries, Suspensions and Blanks

We haven’t listed all injuries and suspensions, just players who you may have or may be considering transferring in. Players who are flagged by FPL but have a chance of being match-fit for GW18 have not been included. 

Injuries 

Keepers

Lukasz Fabianski

Defenders

Héctor Bellerín, Kieran Tierney, Tyrone Mings, Nathan Aké, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Matip, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark, Ben Davies, Willy Boly

Midfielders

Dani Ceballos, Theo Walcott, Fabinho, Allan Saint-Maximin, Erik Lamela, Tanguy Ndombele, Manuel Lanzini

Strikers

Sergio Agüero

Suspensions

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Mamadou Sakho, John Fleck, Ryan Fredericks

Blanks

A quick heads up, if you weren’t already aware, that Liverpool and West Ham do not play in GW18. The fixture is due to be rescheduled with Klopp’s men currently enjoying the Qatari sun as they compete in the Club World Cup. 

Form Guide

We can’t cover every over and underperforming player in this list, so we’ve picked out three per position we felt either deserved a special mention or are currently struggling to excel. 

Who’s Flying?

Keepers

Alisson (£6.0m) – After a slow, injury-prone start to the season the Brazilian looks back to his best with back-to-back clean sheets in gameweek 16 and 17.

Vicente Guaita (£5.1m) – The Palace shot-stopper kept three clean sheets in a row before GW17 where he still collected 8pts after a mega nine saves against rivals Brighton.

Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m) – After a run of three cleans his form dipped slightly before a huge performance at Stamford Bridge where he kept out Chelsea for a 10-point haul.

Defenders

Virgil van Dijk (£6.4m) – Liverpool’s rock at the back scored a headed brace in GW14 and, like Alisson, has been present for both the Reds’ recent clean sheets. 

George Baldock (£4.9m) – Part of Sheffield United’s water-tight defence with a clean sheet last gameweek after a goal and assist in GW16 versus Norwich.

Martin Kelly (£4.4m) – Three cleans in the last four and a cheap route into Hodgson’s backline. He should keep his starting berth over Christmas too, given Palace’s injury woes. 

Midfielders

Mo Salah (£12.2m) – The Egyptian King is finally delivering the returns we expected of him. Three goals and an assist in his last two has put the winger firmly back on the FPL radar.

Kevin De Bruyne (£10.3m) – Three goals and an assist in his last four gameweeks including that monster performance at the Emirates makes the midfielder a must have.

Son Heung-min (£10.1m) – With the Mourinho effect in full swing, Son has amassed a staggering 39pts over the last four gameweeks. 

Attackers

Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) – The 22-year-old has been at the heart of United’s mini revival and boasts a record of five goals in his last six gameweeks.

Danny Ings (£6.4m) – The Saints frontman has been on fire, scoring in five consecutive games before blanking last time out versus West Ham.

Neal Maupay (£5.8m) – It’s three games and counting where Maupay has found the back of the net for Brighton and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Who’s Crashing?

Keepers

Tim Krul (£4.5m) – It’s now four gameweeks without a clean sheet for Norwich while Krul left the King Power last time out with an own goal to his name.

Tom Heaton (£4.5m) – It’s a similar story at Villa with Heaton not cleaning in his last four matches. The keeper only mustered one save in GW17 en route to a 2-0 loss.

Roberto (£4.4m) – There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about Roberto. The Spaniard has struggled massively to fill the void left by Fabianski and has since been dropped for Martin.  

Defenders

David Luiz (£5.7m) – Arsenal are without a clean sheet since GW8 and Luiz has watched on from the sidelines in the Gunners’ last two games as they continue to come unstuck.

Jan Bednarek (£4.4m) – You have to go all the way back to GW5 to find Saints’ last clean sheet (one of only two all season) and Bednarek has played in every match.

Kiko Femeniá (£4.2m) – The arrival of Nigel Pearson will hopefully spur Watford on. The Hornets desperately need it with Femeniá having just one clean to his name the entire season. 

Midfielders

Christian Pulisic (£7.4m) – After collecting 37pts across three gameweeks the American has now blanked for five matches in a row. 

Ryan Fraser (£6.9m) – Last season FPL favourite Fraser has just three assists and a single goal to his name all season going into the Christmas schedule. 

John McGinn (£5.7m) – A hero in the season’s early weeks is now becoming a problem for FPL bosses with no returns in the last six gameweeks.

Attackers

Callum Wilson (7.4m) – Bournemouth’s main man is without a goal since GW7 and now carries a knock heading into GW18.

Ashley Barnes (£6.2m) – The usually reliable Barnes hasn’t registered a goal or assist in his last four which has been reflective of Burnley’s form.

Wesley Moraes (£5.7m) – Villa’s big-money summer signing has seriously struggled for goals and is currently on an FPL drought which dates back to GW8. 

Christmas Run-In

There are four rounds’ worth of action coming up between the 21st December and the 2nd of January, so we’ve had a look at three teams the fixture list has blessed and three it has smited. 

Favourable Fixtures

Aston Villa – Two home games against Saints and Norwich are followed by trips to bottom of the league Watford and Burnley.

Crystal Palace – The Eagles may be on the road for three of the four, but heading to Newcastle, Southampton and Norwich doesn’t seem too scathing while they host West Ham in between.

Spurs – Mourinho’s men need to overcome a struggling Chelsea side in GW18 before taking on Brighton (h), Norwich (a) and Southampton (a). 

Frightening Fixtures

Burnley – The Clarets’ dim form may continue as they travel to Bournemouth and Everton before hosting Man United and Villa.

Leicester City – Second-placed Leicester will see their credentials tested with back-to-back games against Man City and Liverpool before trips to West Ham and Newcastle.

Sheffield United – Brighton (a) and Watford (h) are followed by away fixtures against Man City and Liverpool. 

Summary

And there you have it, a comprehensive look at the Christmas fixtures through the lens of FPL. Here’s a few key takeaways for you:

  • Be wary of Liverpool and West Ham assets who blank in GW18

  • Avoid transferring in any injured or suspended players (obviously)

  • Vicente Guaita (£5.1m) and Martin Kelly (£4.4m) look like sound picks given their recent form and upcoming fixtures

  • Having a Spurs asset – preferably Son Heung-min (£10.1m) or Dele Alli (£8.7m) – also seems sensible for similar reasons

  • It could be time to transfer out Leicester and Sheffield United defensive assets, or at least bench them for the next few fixtures

That’s it from us, we’ll be back with the next installment of our FPL newsletter ahead of GW22. Best of luck and see you on the other side!