After a week of for the FA Cup third round, which came with its own fill of shocks and excitement, the Premier League returns this weekend for round 22. Round 21 saw Liverpool’s run as the last unbeaten team ended by City in a result that keeps the title race interesting.
PlayON are back for the round as always with their Daily Fantasy offerings given you the chance to turn your fantasy nous into cash prizes.
To help with the chances of taking home the cash, I have attempted to pick out my best plays for each of the days games from a DFS perspective, starting with a six game slate on Saturday.
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Brighton v Liverpool
After their unbeaten start came to an end, Liverpool followed up with a cup exit at the hands of Wolves, meaning the league leaders are winless in 2019. Brighton drew with West Ham in round 21, to go unbeaten in three in the league before a cup win over Bournemouth.
This one looks a good chance for the Reds to get back to winning ways, having won all three the Premier League meetings with the Seagulls by an aggregate 10-1. All visiting players for your sides then.
So that I don’t keep rambling on about Salah, I am going for Roberto Firmino (£15m) as my gun pick this week.
As I said last round, my main worry with the striker is the consistency, but he followed up his hat-trick against Arsenal with another goal against City, taking him to eight goals, five assists for the season and a PlayON average of nearly 1400.
With the Seagulls missing their first choice ‘keeper, look forward to Firmino filling his boots here.
No changes in the value pick though. With nine clean sheets and a couple of goals and assist boosting the average to almost 1100, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) remains the go-to play for the Reds. Expect him to push forward here in search of more attacking stats.
Burnley v Fulham
A loss to Arsenal last out ended a three game unbeaten run for Fulham and keeps them in the drop zone. Burnley managed a second win in a row to move themselves further away from the bottom three.
The three previous matchups between the sides have seen a draw and two wins for the Cottagers, including a 4-2 triumph in the reverse fixture this season.
With both sides conceding a few goals, I don’t trust the defenders, so opting for forwards on both sides for DFS purposes.
The average is rubbish, but two goals in the last two means it looks like Chris Wood (£8.8m) is back! He also bagged a cup goal on the weekend and what better way to continue the form than to face a defence conceding bucket loads…
Making an instant impression on coming into the team, Dwight McNeil (£5.6m) followed up a goal in round 20 with an assist in round 21, taking his average over 1160.
Absolute steal and a must have while he sits at this price.
If you fancy Burnley for the win, or look at the average under 1000 with price pushing $10m, you might overlook Ryan Sessegnon (£9.4m).
However, the winger had found his way to two goals and five assists for the season, including a goal and two assists in his last three. If this game is as open as I expect, he could be set for a good score.
Cardiff v Huddersfield
No points to see across the last five for Huddersfield and just two wins for the season, they sit rock bottom on the table. Not too much better on Cardiff’s side, with just one win in the last five, they hover just above the relegation places, making this a big game for the sides.
Just the one game to go off at this level. That was the one back in August that finished goalless. I make the hosts slight favourites for this one, so it would be their players over the visitors’.
Carrying a knock, but also carrying his team with two goals and an assist in his last five, Víctor Camarasa (£9.2m) seems to be the main man to make something happen for the Bluebirds.
Not overly expensive for the average above 1100 either.
Three penalty saves in 21 games cannot be a fluke. Making seventy nine saves for the season also shows how good Neil Etheridge (£7m) can be, or at least how busy he is!
Averaging over 1200 so far and a good shout to grab another clean sheet here.
Crystal Palace v Watford
After a slow start, Palace have three wins and a draw from their last five. Watford started well, dropped a bit and have come back of late, with just one loss in five themselves.
The top flight history consists of seven matches. Of those, the Eagles have three wins to the Hornets’ two, but one of those two was the game back in August.
Best play for me here is both teams scoring, so I am looking at attacking players on both sides.
Mr. Watford, Troy Deeney (£10.2m) gave everyone a reminder of what he can do with two goals and an assist in the 3-3 draw last out.
Five goals for the season now and the average is heading the right way, pushing towards the 1100 mark. If he can keep going in this, he shapes as a good prospect.
Three goals in his last five, the average of Luka Milivojevic (£11.9m) being around the 1500 mark means he is value even at the higher price.
The main man pulling strings in the middle, and in charge of set pieces. If he goes again here the score could be huge.
A 695 average doesn’t scream “pick me” but something is pulling me towards Patrick van Aanholt (£7.8m).
Maybe it’s the assist last out, maybe it’s the fact he has popped up with a few goals in the last few seasons. Either way, if he nabs some attacking points here, those points are likely to only be in a few PlayON teams.
Leicester v Southampton
A mixed bag for Leicester in the last few. Big wins over City, Chelsea and Everton but losses to Cardiff and Palace. Southampton took a good point at Chelsea last out, but remain in the bottom three.
These two have been around the Premier League a bit, so have played each other 25 times before. Of those, the Foxes lead 10-6, including a 2-1 victory in August.
Foxes to get the win here for me. I did think the Saints would also find the net, until I saw Ings and Højbjerg are out. So all home players it is then.
Netting his seventh of the season in the win over Everton, Jamie Vardy (£13m) continues to prove his worth as a goalscorer.
The average is moving closer to 1200 and he could hit well above that with another good showing here.
Ricardo Pereira (£8.1m) continues to be the standout defender for the Foxes, as much for his attacking prowess as anything else, with two goals and four assists to go with the seven clean sheets.
Another assist last out, watch him push forward again and keep up his DFS form.
Chelsea v Newcastle
Closing out the day with the later game, Chelsea host a Newcastle side who are winless in four. The Blues were held by Southampton last out themselves and have a loss to Leicester in their last five, but remain in the top four.
These two have faced off 47 times at the level. Chelsea have won 23 of those to Newcastle’s 12, including three of the last five.
Newcastle did run out 3-0 winners in this fixture on the last day of last season, but on current forms I cannot see that happening again and have to back the hosts in for the win and my PlayON player picks.
A quiet few games, but ten goals and nine assists for the season, and a PlayON average of 1565, shows just what Eden Hazard (£16.6m) can do.
A home game against a side struggling for form, you wouldn’t bet against the Belgian finding his touch again here.
The numbers say most of the value sits in the Newcastle players, due to their low prices, but not in this one. Instead, I’m looking at N’Golo Kanté (£9.8m) for the Blues.
Averaging over 1100 so far, the holding midfielder has three goals this season, triple his return from each of the three previous terms.
Facing a side who will sit back and allow him to advance, he could be in for goal number four, or at least assist number three. If he does, the resulting score will go through the roof.
That draws Saturday to a close, but there is still plenty of action to be had across the Sunday and Monday games, so I will be back for those.
In the meantime, make sure you head to the lobby to enter your PlayON teams for the Saturday games.