Gameweek 18

Goalkeepers:

Sunderland’s super budget friendly custodian, Pantilimon (4.4), has been in terrific form for the Black Cats, and has picked up an impressive 20 points in just his last 3 games. Sunderland should have no trouble getting another shut out victory against a shabby Hull side, who have failed to score in their last 3 games.

Alternatives: Swansea’s Fabianski (5.2) is our alternative pick for the week, as he takes on Aston Villa at home. The Swans put on a good defensive display against Hull last week, and look likely to keep a clean sheet against Villa too.

Defenders:

Manchester City’s Zabaleta (6.5) makes a return to our team, after a stunning performance against Crystal Palace last week. City have now racked up 3 clean sheets in their last 3 games, and will be looking to make that 4 in 4, when they take on West Brom at The Hawthorns. Swansea’s Taylor (4.8) and Sunderland’s O’Shea (4.4) are part of our budget friendly contingent, who have relatively easy fixtures on the cards for Boxing Day, against Villa and Hull respectively.

In spite of their difficult fixture against West Ham, Chelsea’s Terry (6.3) picks up a spot on our team. Chelsea have been in superb defensive form with 5 clean sheets in their last 6 games, and that along with the home advantage, tips the scales in their favour in our view.

Southampton’s Alderweireld (5.0) gets the last slot in our defence, after their impressive thumping of Everton last week. We have a feeling this might be the beginning of their return to form, and expect another clean sheet against Crystal Palace this week.

Alternatives: Our alternative picks for this week are Spurs’ Fazio (5.2) and Manchester United’s Jones (5.2). Both have decent fixtures, and could get you a potential clean sheet.

Midfielders:

Manchester City’s Toure (10.9) and Chelsea’s Hazard (10.5) both get an automatic call back for GW18, after their brilliant performances last week. Toure has stepped up massively in the absence of their top strikers, netting 2 in his last 3 games, and with easy home games on the horizon for City, the Ivorian giant is a good investment to consider for the coming weeks. Hazard, who should be able to shake off a minor injury and start against West Ham, has been in terrific form for the Blues, scoring 2 and assisting 2 in his last 4 games.

Arsenal’s Cazorla (8.2) is another player who has been in red hot form, and has picked up a whopping 28 points in his last 3 games, courtesy of 3 goals and an assist. Cazorla and company will take on QPR at home, in what we expect will be an exciting goal fest, as both their defences have been anything but solid in the past few weeks.

Our last 2 picks in midfield are Everton’s Barkley (6.8) and Manchester United’s returning star Di Maria (9.5). Everton will be looking to bounce back from their 3-0 thrashing from last week, and will have their hands full with Stoke at home. With Mirallas out injured, we expect the young midfielder Barkley to be in the thick of things. Di Maria, who made a full return from injury last week, is our differential pick for the week. The explosive Argentine will be raring to get on the scoresheet, and end the year on a high, after missing the better part of the month with injury.

Alternatives: Swansea’s Sigurdsson (6.8), who was rested last week, will slot right back in the hole for the Swans, and will be likely to be involved in goals as they take on Villa at home. Another budget friendly option to consider is Sunderland’s Johnson (6.0), who has picked up a goal and assist in his last 2 games, and will face off against the defensively shabby Hull at home.

Forwards:

With Aguero out injured and Costa in a temporary slump of sorts, we turn our attention towards other inform strikers this week. Arsenal’s Giroud (8.3) has netted 3 in his last 2 games, and will be sure to get on the scoresheet against the defensively frail QPR. Spurs’ budget friendly striker Kane (5.2) has also been in impressive form, netting 2 in his last 2 games, and will cause all sorts of trouble to bottom placed Leicester in their Boxing Day clash.

Our last pick for the pick is Swansea’s Bony (8.6), who in spite of his goal scoring streak, has still been picked up by only 15.6% of fantasy managers. The Ivorian has netted 4 and assisted 1 in his last 5 starts, and will be raring to get back on the scoresheet after coming off the bench last week against Hull.

Alternatives: QPR’s hattrick hero Austin (6.1) is our obvious first choice in the alternatives section. The in-form striker has now scored 5 in his last 4 starts for the Rangers, and has the potential to trouble a shaky Arsenal back line, who have conceded 6 in their last 3 games. Another option to consider is Manchester United’s Van Persie (12.6), who take on Newcastle at home.