Gameweek 18 kicks off on Boxing Day with a slate of delicious holiday football. Fantasy Premier League managers will saviour the action, but will also pay close attention to all the fantasy ins and outs during the festive period.
Last weekend’s fantasy dream team saw Patrick van Aanholt tally 15 points. Meanwhile, our favourite Cesar Azpilicueta also made the week’s best XI.
Of course, if you’re putting together your Fantasy Premier League side based on form, they are both musts for gameweek 18.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea
Games: 17; Clean sheets: 10; Total FPL points: 89
Azpilicueta has been a constant in our top five defenders lists each week. The Spaniard is coming off of his best points total in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace.
It was Chelsea’s third consecutive clean sheet and the team’s ninth in 11 fixtures.
Antonio Conte’s top of the table Blues face off against Bournemouth and Stoke next before travelling to White Hart Lane to play Spurs on January 4. Can you say, clean sheets?
Ben Gibson – Middlesbrough
Games: 17; Clean sheets: 5; Total FPL points: 63
Ben Gibson and Middlesbrough have quietly kept five clean sheets this term. The defender’s eight point performance against Swansea at the weekend was another positive day out.
Gibson is a cheap option at the back and what makes him such an intriguing gameweek 18 pick is Middlesbrough’s upcoming fixtures. Burnley, Leicester, Watford, West Ham and West Brom are up in the coming weeks.
Middlesbrough will be good value to win those fixtures and could very well keep more shutouts. The only thing is, you may want to bench him against Manchester United in gameweek 19.
Gary Cahill – Chelsea
Games: 17; Clean sheets: 10; Total FPL points: 82
Gary Cahill’s stats are nearly identical to Azpilicueta. Of course, they should be with the way Chelsea’s defence has played all season.
The Blues’ back line has given up the fewest goals of any team in the Premier League and having both Azpilicueta and Cahill in your side yields Fantasy Premier League points.
Averaging 7.3 points in his last three matches, Cahill is a perfect gameweek 18 addition. If you have both Chelsea defenders from our list, you should reap rewards this week.
Danny Rose – Tottenham
Games: 12; Clean sheets: 5; Total FPL points: 61
Danny Rose’s fitness in 2016 has kept him from being one of Fantasy Premier League’s top five defenders.
Every time Rose begins to get some games under his belt he falls prey to injury. Correctly listed as 75% likely to play in gameweek 18, Rose could be a tremendous defensive asset if he actually makes the Tottenham starting XI.
Southampton and Watford are up next for Spurs. Keep in mind, the team’s defence have still only given up 12 goals this term.
Patrick van Aanholt – Sunderland
Games: 16; Clean sheets: 2; Total FPL points: 56
After starting the season in dreadful form, Sunderland have improved drastically. The Black Cats have won three of six, including last weekend’s 1-0 win over Watford.
Van Aanholt was stellar as he picked up 15 points. It was his best performance in fantasy football since his gameweek 12 haul of 10 points.
At just £5 million, Van Aanholt is a solid selection for gameweek 18. Well, that is if Sunderland weren’t away to Manchester United.
If you’ve got a place on your bench, Van Aanholt is a good selection. Put him in against Burnley, Stoke and West Brom, three teams Sunderland play in the next five matches.
Gameweek 18 isn’t the time to get him in your starting XI.
Simon Mignolet – Liverpool
Games: 7; Clean sheets: 2; Total FPL points: 29
Simon Mignolet was completely written off five weeks into the Premier League season. Yet, in Liverpool’s last two fixtures, Mignolet has been resurrected like Lazarus from the dead.
The Belgian has now kept two consecutive clean sheets for Liverpool as Mignolet has collected 13 points combined. Mignolet is a great pick for gameweek 18. Although Liverpool have a set of difficult fixtures coming up.
In fact, of Liverpool’s next 12 matches, the Reds will alternate between playing top of the table teams and mid to lower position clubs.
He may seem like a gamble, but the goalkeeper is in good form currently.