Duke’s EPL DFS Preview for the New Year’s Day two-match slate!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The boys are back with two more games on New Year’s day. What an all-time hungover sports day.
We have the Peach Bowl kicking off at noon and Everton v West Ham starting just a half hour later. That’s followed by the College Football Playoff all night but not before a big TOP 6 (!!!) battle between United and Villa.
There are story lines everywhere so let’s dig into it.
To the desert…
Everton get the benefit of a little extra rest after their game with Manchester city was canceled on the 28th of December meaning they haven’t played since Boxing Day.
Meanwhile West Ham will be playing their third game in five days! They are coming off a streak of three draws from four with the fourth game being a loss to Chelsea 3-0.
It was a welcome break for Everton who are facing injuries all over the field. They hope for the return of James Rodriguez but the manager confirmed he’s still out. Sigurdsson will remain on set-pieces and it looks like Richarlison will be back on the left-wing following his absence from a head injury suffered in their game against United.
Lucas Digne is still out so Godfrey should stay at left-back and Holgate has more than proven himself a worthy right back in this system. Don’t look now but Everton sit fourth in the table on 29 Points with a game in hand. If they pick up a point here they’ll move to third and a win vaults them to second.
West Ham sit in the middle of the table which is appropriate for their team. They welcome back Antonio from a lengthy absence. Surely they’ll look towards his goalscoring exploits in this match.
Jarrod Bowen has struggled for form and some mixture of Lanzini and Fornals has been used to create chances in the final third but most of their struggles come from the lack of a recognized goalscorer. Antonio can provide that edge.
This is an interesting matchup tactically as both teams will line up in a 4-2-3-1. Defensively West Ham have gone with Ogbonna and Dawson as a centre-back pairing and have used their fullbacks in an attacking fashion.
That is how Everton used to play but with injuries to both full-backs the manager has gone for solidity at the back versus attacking verve. It’s all the front four for Everton and if Calvert-Lewin can get service they can bury West Ham in this game. It’s not a huge edge but Everton will be small favorites to win this match
(singing) We’re going top of the league, we’re going top of the league!!
It’s been ages since a Manchester United fan could say that but with a win in this game against Aston Villa Manchester United would go joint top of the Premier League.
The form has been impressive for Ole’s side but the wins have not come easy. They needed a late winner from Marcus Rashford to bury Wolves 1-0 after an extremely lackluster performance. Conversely, they seemingly had the game in hand against Leicester before a late own-goal took away two points from United.
The 6-2 win over Leeds was a perfect storm of a willing opponent who attacked relentlessly leaving massive gaps for Man United to exploit. If it sounds negative, it’s because the mood and the football have been average, but the results can’t be disputed.
Manchester United have not lost a game since November 1st in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal that they could come to massively regret as we head towards the new year and close out the season in May
Aston Villa are the surprise team of the Prem and it’s a great story. Jack Grealish Looks like a top 5 player in the league and his decision to stay at Aston Villa this summer is being rewarded with great result after great result.
Ollie Watkins has certainly added a new dimension to their attack but the damage has come from the wings and through Grealish. Bertrand traore and el Ghazi have been tremendous in the Trident of el Ghazi, traore and Grealish.
Can this Manchester United back line handle the attacking exploits of villa because they’ve been solid at the back and at times devastating in the attack?
Oddly enough, it’s the home form that’s preventing Villa from moving further up the table. Away from home they have wins over Arsenal, Wolves and Leicester and a draw against Chelsea that finished 1-1.
This isn’t a team that’s beating up on the bottom of the table to stay alive, this is a team that’s competing with the best of the best and have stayed in essentially every single game except for the 3-0 loss to Leeds
Manchester United Drew 2-2 with Villa in this home fixture last season, but then in July once the players came back from the covid-19 break, smashed Villa 3-0.
The 2-2 draw seems more reasonable considering how the teams are playing today but a Manchester United win gets 2021 off on the right foot and buys Ole some more time as United go joint top of the Premier League. Let’s go boys!
- El Ghazi – AVL – $8.9k
I mean….I guess this is cheap? I said in the chat last game that el Ghazi is NOT THIS GOOD but he’s in the form of his life. I’ve had these periods in my career. Every misshit pass finds your teammate wide open on the back post for an easy tap in goal. Every shot takes a wild deflection and wrong foots the GK. The key? Just keep playing. Keep shooting. It won’t last forever!
- Martial – MU – $7.1k
I LOVE Martial in this spot. The CB pairing of Ngoyo and Hause kept Giroud relatively in check but even he bagged a goal against them. Martial provides a completely different challenge and he can turn the big CBs inside out. Even though Mings is back in, it doesn’t hurt him much if at all. Cavani has also picked up a suspension that will leave United short of Forward options. Tony could get all 90 minutes.
- Calvert-Lewin – EVE – $7.8k
With James and Digne I don’t love playing him but West Ham are having some issues at the back and we just saw Tammy bag 2 against them last week. I like DCL to get 3-4 chances and he’ll bag at least 1.
- Rashford – MU – $8.3k
He’s floor has gone to 0. It’s actually wild and has a little bit to do with how United play and how many games and minutes Rashford plays. He essentially saves all of his energy for darting runs forward to impact the game in the final third. He literally hasn’t registered a cross since November 29th… He doesn’t have penalty kick responsibilities. This is purely a GPP play but I prefer Martial for the price.
- Traore – AVL – $7k
Leverage GPP option. He loves to shoot but can disappear from games. If Luke Shaw starts at LB he’s out of my pool but if Telles gets the start I’ll have some shares.
- Sigurdsson – EVE – $8k
I knew it. I knew we’d get $8k Gylfi again. He paid it off easily last game. That’s now 4 straight starts in double digits and as long as James and Digne are out he’ll make my cash lineup. The short break from the canceled game will help the old legs of Gylfi tremendously.
- Fernandes – MU – $10.8k
Man United have struggled at home and battled to a 2-2 draw at home last time these teams played. They won the reverse fixture 3-0. The difference? Bruno Fernandes. After he joined in January the team was transformed and Bruno bagged a goal and assist when they met again. His floor is getting lower so he’s less of a cash game lock but always in consideration. He’s certainly a first name in your GPP lineup type of guy. High ceiling.
- Grealish – AVL – $9.3k
He’s taken a back seat to Traore and el Ghazi in goal impacts but continues to have the floor from shots and fouls drawn alone. He really struggled to create chances against Chelsea which ruined his final points talley. Grealish needs goal impact for upside. Before the Wolves shut out, United had conceded 2 goals in 3 straight matches.
- Fred – MU – $3k
Min price on a slate where we can use some price breaks? Sure. He’s taken on that OLD Kante type of role for United that was so effective at Leicester. He’s in there to break up play and give it to the playmakers.
- Soucek – WH – $5.5k
Another game, another shot for Soucek last game. 29 shots in 16 appearances. The key for Soucek is where his shots take place. They are all between the posts and inside the box. That leads to the highest xG. He’s still and will always be GPP only but he and Yerry Mina will be an epic battle on set pieces.
- McGinn – AVL – $5.6k
At home he tends to sit a touch more than he does when they are playing away from home. It sounds ass backwards to me but the stats lead us in this direction. He’s a touch expensive for his lack of floot but is cheap enough to be in the pool.
- Johnson – WH – $3.3k
Was the youngster just rested last game or was that truly just a shot in the dark thanks to squad rotation? I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t get another chance here with the quick turnaround.
- Rice – WH – $3.1k
With how congested the middle of the park will be, I can see Rice getting to 2x on defensive stats alone here.
- Telles – MU – $5.8k
Cash and GPP option but not a must play. He has the highest ceiling on the slate at the position in my projections. If Shaw starts he slots into this spot as well.
- Coufal – WH – $5.5k
He doesn’t have set piece shares but has been putting up similar crossing numbers to Creswell and his have had more of an impact on goal scoring opportunities. His shots assisted/chances created stats are crazy for someone without sets! He was rested against Southampton in favor of Fredericks so he should jump back in or even play with Fredericks here.
- Fredericks – WH – $4.6k
Speaking of which..I’m a game late jumping back on this bandwagon to be completely honest but I wanted to see his fitness before grabbing shares. He’s still reasonably priced and comfortably finished the full 90 last time out. This is quick turnaround but he’s perfectly viable for this price range.
- Godfrey – EVE – $3.8k
They’ve been clean sheet machines which really boost the logs. Defensively solid.
- Wan-Bissaka – MU – $4.4k
He’s finally priced in a playable range for a short slate. If this were a 4 game slate I can’t imagine considering him but he’s better than most CBs on the slate and FBs for the price.
- Hause – AVL – $2.7k
1 shot in 3 of his last 4 and United struggle on set pieces. CHEAP and worth the risk.
- Fabianksi WH – $4.3k
I can’t get myself to pay up for Pickford so I’ll take the other side of this game that should be lower scoring.
- DeGea – MU – $5.5k
They are the biggest favorites and at home. He looked great against Wolves making several key saves.
- Martinez – AVL – $4.1k
What a steal he’s been for Villa. Good shot stopper but United don’t shoot enough from distance to go all in on this spot. The chances United take are usually relatively high xG shots.