Duke’s EPL DFS Preview for Saturday’s three-match Boxing Day slate!!
Boy, another thing that 2020 ruined. I LOVE Boxing Day. It’s my Dad’s birthday so we usually wake up to a big breakfast, some laughs about the shenanigans from Christmas night and watch a boatload of soccer on the tele as we get ready for afternoon basketball.
In a sense, now I get to watch soccer all day but yet another tradition out the window. We are on a split slate here but at least we have two games kicking off at the same time with the big Arsenal/Chelsea match bringing up the rear. Let’s get it
To the desert…
-Aston Villa -105 2.5 (-125o/+105u)
Crystal Palace +275
-Fulham +215 2.5 (-105o/-120u)
-Arsenal +285 2.5 (-120o/EVENu)
Anwar El Ghazi. He’s been the man of late. We were in on him early and capitalized a few matches ago against Wolves. He’s bagged another two goals against West Brom. This is so key at this time of year. You can’t solely rely on Grealish (who’s been brilliant), and Ollie Watkins is going to hit dry patches throughout the season.
In order to maintain their great start to the year they needed someone to step up and El Ghazi was the man. He’s at a point of his season where he won’t want to sit down no matter how tired he feels because he can’t put a foot wrong.
In general, the good run of form continues for Villa. They sit 9th in the table as we approach Christmas and are once again favorites at home. This appears to be a winnable match.
They have two wins, three losses and one draw at home. That’s troubling form and they have conceded quite a few goals against the likes of Southampton and Man City. Does Palace fit that bill? Nah
7-0. They lost 7-0 last time out. Crystal Palace are reaching that point of the season where they need a player or two to join the club and shake things up. They are having maybe the most Crystal Palace season ever. They beat Man United and lost to Burnley.
You mean to tell me we are approaching a transfer window and Wilf Zaha isn’t performing…. Noooooooo….
Back Villa on form.
I feel bad for Scott Parker. He wasn’t exactly given a roster that can compete at this level but he’s scraping together points as he and his side figure out the level of competition.
Areola seems to have found his footing a bit as well. Can they score enough to win? Southampton are a side that can absolutely bury the bottom of the table and that’s firmly where Fulham sit at the moment. I see Fulham needing two goals for a win here and that’s iffy at best.
Southampton are 4-0-0 against the bottom five teams in the league. Fulham are the only remaining team they need to play and will be looking to win number five here.
Three points is the only goal. Combined they are up 8-1 on differential against this group with Brighton the only team to have scored. Only Danny Ings has more than one of those eight goals and he’s on two.
That’s what makes Southampton tough to project; we think/know they are going to score but who accumulates the points? We’ll figure that out below.
I was wondering what they’d do with this match. I assume there will be decent sized contests for the SD between these two but they are the ass end of this three game slate.
Typically, when we get two talented teams playing each other we expect both to score. That is how I have this game projected as well but my God is Arsenal in poor form.
Arsenal haven’t won in Prem since November 1st and they haven’t won at home in the Prem since October 4th. Add that to the recent home loss to City in the Carabao Cup and even Arteta commented that if this trend continues they are in deep shit.
Are they going to be relegated? Come on. No. They have far too much talent. They have a string of games against Brighton, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Newcastle coming up.
Arteta needs to survive this game. That’s the worry for me. Does he go all out for the win when a bad loss might cost him his job?
Thomas Tuchel was just fired from PSG. I would imagine his style of football and pedigree would be a great replacement for Arteta should the board axe him. Basically, no. A draw gets it done and that’s a result that is in play.
For Chelsea, they don’t care about home or away…they want three points. It doesn’t always come off but they’ve had more good/great performances away from home than poor showings. They’ve dropped two on the trot to Everton and Wolves away but honestly, this is a more winnable match.
I expect the three at the back with wing backs from Arsenal. Likely we’ll see the 4-3-3 from Lampard. Essentially, this game will be played in several “boxes” across the field. The benefit of the back three for Arsenal is supposedly defensive stability.
Let’s have a look at what the shape should resemble as Chelsea builds out of the back:
It hasn’t actually worked BUT with Chelsea’s insistence on keeping their wingers wide it will force some adjustments and overcommitments from their defenders. In theory this could open up the counter attack BUT, say hi Kante!
This man lives to break up a counter attack.
Chelsea should be too much for them.
- El Ghazi – AVL – $8.7k
I’ll either look back and kick myself or think this price is cheap. He’s on sets. He takes the penalty kicks. He’s shooting from EVERYWHERE. He’s in a good run of form that makes him tough to fade.
- Werner – CHE – $7.8k
Timo scores in this game. There, I said it. I don’t know that I can get here in cash but for GPPs, I’m going to have quite a bit. Assuming Reese James and Chillwell are out, Emerson becomes a near lock for cash and will work that left sideline allowing Timo to tuck in and get closer to goal. No one has blown more chances across Europe. When it all comes together he’ll have 3 goals in a match.
- Adams – SOU – $6.7k
Danny Ings hasn’t trained this week and might not get the start. That actually hurts Adams a touch as he draws defenders and provides quality next to him for quick interplay but it should increase the likelihood that Adams plays the full 90. Fulham are figuring some things out defensively but Che has been in good form and Southamton will create.
- Lookman – FUL – $6.6k
I fully expected this to have a $7 type of price. Cheap for the floor and upside. He’s been taking some sets and as I mentioned, they’ll likely need 2 goals here so grabbing a piece of the Fulham attack is fine. Cash and GPP.
- Abraham – CHE – $7.5k
He has the highest ceiling of any player at the F position on the slate in my opinion but his floor is quite low, hence the rating here. He plays between the posts so he won’t be involved much in the game but when he does get a touch it will be right in front of goal. He needs to finish his chances.
- Pepe – ARS – $5.6k
Will he play or will he quit? At times when the going gets tough he looks for a way out. He’ll quit on a challenge. He’ll act hurt and get a sub. I can’t really trust that but the price is so enticing for a player of his caliber, even in a tough matchup.
- Watkins – AVL – $7.2k
He’s been massively disappointing of late but he’s still getting in good spots to take shots and he’s playing the full 90 minutes. Outside of current form, those are the top two statistics I look at in GPP tournaments. As a home favorite he’ll have his chances.
- Benteke – CP – $6.3k
Hodgson has reverted back to massive crossing stats to the big man. It’s added up to 14 shots in December for the man who couldn’t get a game a month ago. All 3 of his goals on the year have been scored in December and if I knew he was going to get 3+ chances he’d be above Watkins in my rankings.
- Willian – ARS – $6.2k
Look, I don’t know if he’s going to be good or not. There is no rhyme or reason. I get him wrong every game. I promised I would never play him again to myself and sure enough he’s in my lineup last time killing me. If you want to play him – go nuts.
- Grealish – AVL – $10k
Much like Bruno with Telles, Grealish has taken a bit of a hit on his value as the team has evolved but unlike Bruno, he’s less goal reliant to hit value. Not only that, he’s due for a 2-3 assist game. He’s putting his teammates in great spots to finish. He’s averaging an assist every other game at the moment and I have him finding the scoresheet in some manner here.
- Ward-Prowse – SOU – $8k
Floor. Ceiling. Away favorite who has even more upside if they go down early. He’ll be in my cash lineup.
- Cairney – FUL – $5.5k
Can he find a solid role in the team? He hasn’t completed the full 90 minutes since a 1-0 loss to West Ham so even if he starts he’s likely to be subbed off but he’s a crafty lefty who will take some set pieces for a relatively cheap price.
- Armstrong – SOU – $5.2k
You know who scores goals in games like this? Freaking Stretch Armstrong. He’s one I want to play like 10 times a year and this is a spot I’ll take shots in GPP. Not a cash option. 2 shots in each of his last 2 and I expect him to play even further forward as Southampton have more possession than usual.
- Maitland-Niles – ARS – $4.2k
Assuming he starts at RWB he’ll have some value. He pushed forward far more against Everton but should have some more defensive responsibilities against Chelsea. He doesn’t project particularly well but we are limited at the position down here.
- Milivojevic – CP – $4k
Ham and egging his way to value lately. Anything over $4k makes him a no play but he’s right on the number. Obviously that isn’t “value” for the price but he’s getting forward enough in his deep lying role to have some upside. GPP only.
- Emerson – CHE – $4.7k
- Walker-Peters – SOU – $4.3k
Reasonable price for a favorite fullback who gets forward.
- Robinson – FUL – $4.2k
His price is finally back in the realm of playability. Reminder, he was $5k last slate away to Newcastle… Playing that LWB role with Lookman in front of him cutting inside gives him ample room to get forward.
- Targett – AVL – $5.3k
The fullbacks who cross are generally expensive but I’d rather pay this than Cash’s price. Obv if el Mohamady starts he’s firmly in play and likely makes my cash lineup.
- Clyne – CP – $3.4k
He isn’t getting forward a ton but neither is van Aanholt. IF, big if, Hodgson realizes this is an issue that both hurts his attacking possibilities and doesn’t help his defensive effort he’ll make a change and release the hounds. If he does, both will be cheap for their production but as of now I prefer the cheaper flyer.