Following an underwhelming series of postponements that saw several FPL managers witness an unpalatable game-week 18, we shift our attention towards game-week 19 ahead of an optimistic Christmas period. With unforeseen postponement impeding the plans of the vast majority of FPL managers, game-week 18 proved to be a challenging period across the ranks.
Joao Cancelo (£6.8mn) and Gabriel Martinelli (£5.3mn) emerged as the picks of last weekend, with both players having registered double-digit hauls in an underwhelming game week. Further, Mohamed Salah (£13.1mn) registered only his first blank since game-week two against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, while proven differentials, too, were unable to deliver returns given the uncertainties of last weekend.
With the fixtures list likely to pile up alongside the uncertainty surrounding match-days over the coming weeks, FPL managers will be looking to remain calculative in their decisions whilst planning on utilizing their additional free chip in the event of mass postponements. Further, with only a handful of assets delivering consistent returns hitherto, the forward line emerges as a crucial position in contributing to one’s potential to gain ranks over the busy period of fixtures. Hence, in this article, we shortlist three forward assets most likely to increase their tally over the coming weeks whilst being a regular inclusion in the starting line-up over the demanding Christmas period.
ODSONNE EDOUARD (£6.3M) [TOT, (A)]
Having registered two assists during Crystal Palace’s latest league outing against Southampton in game-week 17, Edouard emerges as a promising option amidst a lack of reliable forward assets for the forthcoming period of fixtures. Although the Frenchman is yet to provide consistent returns, given Palace’s favourable set of ties until the turn of the year, the striker is likely to deliver decent returns over the coming weeks.
Alongside being a reliable all-around threat in the attacking third, Edouard also boasts the ability to make an impact off the bench when necessary. The striker has registered three goals and two assists in only nine starts this season and is expected to increase his tally over the coming weeks. Further, Edouard registers the second-highest number of expected goals (0.34xG) per game and remains amongst the team’s most potent threats in and around the opposition’s penalty box.
Facing a Spurs side keen on maintaining their pursuit for a top-four spot, Palace will be hoping to deliver an upset this weekend. Having been amongst their most promising performers this season, Edouard will be hoping to contribute to securing three points on boxing day.
OLLIE WATKINS (£7.9M) [CHE, (H)]
Following an impressive outing that saw Watkins bag a goal and an assist – securing a much-needed three points against Norwich City in game-week 17 – an opportunity against Chelsea offers the striker to increase his goal contribution this weekend. Having been amongst Aston Villa’s reliable performers in recent weeks, the Englishman will be keen on contributing to an improvement in results heading into a favourable set of fixtures.
Despite their struggles to find consistency this season, Steven Gerrard’s arrival is expected to gradually improve performances and results over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Watkins remains the team’s highest goal-scorer (5) in the ongoing campaign, boasting a decent number of expected goals (0.33xG) per game and registering the second-highest number of shot-creating actions (34) amongst his teammates this season.
Hosting a Chelsea side struggling to gain points in recent weeks, Villa will be hoping to capitalize on their opponent’s weak run of form this weekend. With the visitors having kept only one clean sheet in their previous six games heading into boxing day, Watkins will be keen on building upon his recent performance, starting this weekend.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (£12.5M) [NEW, (A)]
Amongst the foremost assets expected to increase his returns over the coming weeks, Ronaldo will be hoping to gain momentum when Manchester United travel down south facing Newcastle United next Monday. With the team in desperate need of points, the Portuguese striker emerges as their most coveted asset, capable of delivering substantial returns over the coming weeks.
Ronaldo remains the team’s highest goal-scorer (7) in the ongoing league campaign. Further, with the squad undergoing an optimistic transition in their style of play amidst a favourable run of fixtures, the striker is expected to significantly increase his contribution moving forward. Facing a Newcastle side having struggled to find points whilst failing to keep consistent clean sheets throughout the campaign, Ronaldo is expected to have a field day at St. James’ Park on Monday.