Monday's fixture list for Game Week 19:
Everton v. Stoke City
Norwich City v. Aston Villa
Watford v. Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal v. Bournemouth
Manchester United v. Chelsea
West Ham United v. Southampton
A hectic Boxing Day had the referees at the forefront with five penalty kicks awarded, though two of those were missed (and hilariously so in slapstick fashion by Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and Chelsea's Oscar). The top of the table got more crowded as first place Leicester City was shut out for the initial time this season and number two Arsenal gave up its most goals since March 2014, while third place Manchester City and number four Tottenham earned comfortable victories.
Slightly further down the table, Louis Van Gaal's seat got even hotter as Manchester United fell to Stoke, slipping to sixth place (with Crystal Palace moving up to fifth) as it lost for the third straight time and is without a victory in its past five games. Meanwhile, Liverpool, Southampton and Swansea all triumphed following recent struggles. Have they righted their ships or will those squads return to choppy waters?
Tottenham's Harry Kane and Southampton's Shane Long each notched a brace, but Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne stood out as the clear fantasy stud with a goal and two assists translating into a whopping 50 points in Togga Perfect XI, 29 in Fantrax and 16 in Official BPL. Elsewhere, Southampton's Cuco Martina and Stoke's Marko Arnautovic each launched long range beauties while Everton's Tom Cleverley staged the week's biggest drama with an injury time header winner at Newcastle, providing fun fodder for the highlight reels. Did you have any of them in your teams or did you miss out?
A laundry list of players including Sergio Aguero, Christian Benteke, Yohan Cabaye, Gael Clichy, Gerard Deulofeu, Bafetimbi Gomis, Eden Hazard, Son Heung-Min, Arouna Kone, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wayne Rooney, Danny Rose, Jonjo Shelvey, Scott Sinclair, Dusan Tadic and Kurt Zouma did not start (or play at all in some cases) on Boxing Day. Which of them and others should earn recalls this game week? Given the short turnaround from Saturday and with more games coming soon again this weekend, who do you expect to be rested?
My fantasy teams (named Stallone Wall) at the moment:
Hennessey / Alderweireld, Bellerin, Ward / Barkley, De Bruyne (V), Mahrez, Ozil (C) / Kane, Lukaku, Vardy [Official BPL]
Hennessey / Baines, Ivanovic, Shawcross / Cabaye, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Veretout / Aguero, Kane, Lukaku [Fantrax]
Hennessey / Baines, Evans, Moreno, Ward / Coutinho, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Ozil / Aguero, Vardy [Togga Perfect XI]
Good luck everybody in what promises to be an exciting day but will likely also bring plenty of frustration in terms of managers' line-up choices. Which games will you have your eye on and what players are you expecting to bring fantasy spoils? Join in the chat!