Welcome to another edition of the FPL picks, friends. We’re back and ready after the third round FA Cup fixtures. Game-week 22 begins with a Friday night game at Bramall Lane, where the 8th place team faces the team in 16th. At the start of the season, if you had to guess who would be in 16th in January with a new manager I wonder what percentage of you would have bet that it would be West Ham? Sheffield United have been a top half team all season, and it would be a fantastic achievement if they finished there in May.
Eyes will be on recently appointed managers this week, and not just David Moyes. Mikel Arteta takes Arsenal to south London to face Crystal Palace, hoping to build on the result against Manchester United last time out in the league. Carlo Ancelotti on the other hand, should be happy to be facing Brighton at home after he had to go against Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in the league and cup. Fantasy managers would like to see him turn the fortunes of the team around and get the Everton assets producing consistently.
Here are the players who can be key performers this week:
Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5, Chelsea v. Burnley)
I think Chelsea will start picking up more clean sheets in the new year.
Rui Patricio (£5.2, Wolves v. Newcastle)
This team has gotten better as the season has progressed, fixtures like this should see it continue.
Andrew Robertson (£7.0, Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur)
Spurs are woeful defensively; the left flank should bring joy for Liverpool because of, how do you say, er, Serge Aurier.
Djibril Sidibe (£5.4, Everton v. Brighton & Hove Albion)
I just may sign him. Ancelotti has been using him higher up the field, which is very appealing.
Caglar Soyuncu (£5.1, Leicester City v. Southampton)
With the finances used in the picks thus far, let’s go with the cheapest way into the Foxes back line.
George Baldock (£5.0, Sheffield United v. West Ham United)
Hard to look away from the Blades despite the four goals West Ham scored last time out.
Craig Cathcart (£4.3, Watford FC at AFC Bournemouth)
The Hornets have clean sheets in each of their last three home league games. I’d feel safer with this pick if the game was at Vicarage Road. Bournemouth have scored only two goals in the past five which gives me confidence that Cathcart just might lead the defence to a road clean sheet.
Riyad Mahrez (£8.4, Manchester City at Aston Villa)
He did not win the recently awarded African Player of the Year, but on current form be might have a good chance to get the next one.
Willian (£7.2, Chelsea v. Burnley)
The departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid has increased his importance, so Frank Lampard will rely on him to secure a top four place.
James Maddison (£7.7, Leicester v. Southampton)
Rumors about a bid from Manchester United have been making the rounds, but Brendan Rodgers will surely hold on to him for now.
Sadio Mane (£12.3, Liverpool at Tottenham)
It’s hard to look away from the recently crowned African player of the year, even with a difficult fixture.
Ismaila Sarr (£6.2, Watford at Bournemouth)
This would have been unthinkable a month ago, but we have a second Watford player. Sarr showed lots of potential at Rennes, but he has taken awhile to get going in England.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.9, Everton v. Brighton)
Zlatan went to Milan, which means that DCL will be leading the line. He is having his best season, and Mr Ancelotti will hope for more.
Marcus Rashford (£9.1, Manchester United v. Norwich City)
Scored in the cup, has been scoring in the league. Rashford will be a good captain option this week.
Raul Jimenez (£7.5, Wolverhampton v. Newcastle)
Still available at a great price, the wonderful Mexican forward should be on your radar this week.
That’s it, those are your picks for game week 22. No Jamie Vardy included, but he should make his return this week so keep an eye on that situation. Who are you expecting to put in a double digit performance this week?