Christmas is for the kids, so by the time you’re reading this let’s hope they’re off having fun with the latest toy or gadget. After you give and do for others, now is the time for you to receive, in the form of the picks for the Boxing Day fixtures.
Game-week 19 is highlighted by a top two clash, recent world club champions Liverpool visit ex-manager Brendan Rodgers and his surprising Leicester team. At the other end of the table, Aston Villa host Norwich in a game that could have a big impact in May; relegation is already a worry for the new boys.
It will be important in the upcoming game-weeks to try waiting until as late as you can to make transfers. Rotation will be a feature due to some teams having less than 48 hours between fixtures. With that said, let’s get to the picks.
The Carlo Ancelotti era begins at Goodison Park, I can’t predict how it will end, but I do think it will begin on a high.
John Lundstram has held his place in the picks for a long time, and now we reward the loanee for his impressive form this time around.
Much has been said about how much has been spent in defence and how long it’s been since a clean sheet has been kept. Time has come for Maguire to put in a performance worthy of his reputation and price.
Jan Vertonghen (£5.2, Tottenham v. Brighton)
The reverse fixture was a nightmare that the Spurs defenders will want to make right. The Belgian may have to play left back, which would give him more attacking opportunities.
I’m tempted to go with the goal threat of Marcos Alonso in this spot, but the budget price and security of him starting make Zouma the pick.
Budget picks keep coming: the Palace attack is very stop-and-go, but the defense has looked solid most weeks.
Joe Gomez (£5.1, Liverpool at Leicester)
It won’t be easy facing Jamie Vardy, but Liverpool will want to stamp their authority and dominance in this one.
We should expect Pep roulette over the coming game-weeks. Kevin De Bruyne is the form pick, but I will bet on Sterling being the safer player to start in week 19.
Jack Grealish (£6.3, Aston Villa v. Norwich)
Three goals in his last five indicate the form Grealish is currently in. A home game against a relegation rival is another time to step up.
Paul Pogba (£8.4, Manchester Utd v. Newcastle)
Biggest gamble in the picks this week after 26 minutes in his return. The team looked better in those minutes so I’m putting him in.
Richarlison (£8.0, Everton v. Burnley)
Carlo Ancelotti has managed many greats, while the Brazilian is no Kaka, the Italian will be happy to have him at his disposal.
Mo Salah (£12.2, Liverpool at Leicester)
World Club champion, Leicester beware.
One of the best forwards in world football has been dropping slightly deeper lately, which I’m not too enamored with. Son will be out for this game which I hope pushes him further up the field.
Mikel Arteta may consider giving Lacazette some minutes in this one. He does not guarantee goals in the way Aubameyang does so I still back him.
Tammy Abraham (£7.9, Chelsea v. Southampton)
No goals in the previous three for Abraham, he faces a team who gives the opposition chances. He will be confident of getting back on the scoresheet.
Enjoy all the Boxing Day games, I wish you green arrows. Please remember the following game week has a short turnaround time.