This next round of Premier League fixtures sees the first ‘double gameweek‘ of the season, with Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United playing twice each. On Tuesday, Tottenham face a trip to Swansea while West Ham entertain West Bromwich Albion the same day. The two London rivals then meet each other at Wembley on Thursday night.
This quick turnaround will have some fantasy managers concerned about rotation and with only two teams involved, we cannot expect this first double to be as lucrative as those to come. Even so, it would be unwise to go without at least a couple of West Ham and Tottenham players this week.
Harry Kane would have been an obvious triple captain choice but Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday that an illness may keep Kane out of the Swansea game at least. Thankfully, Tottenham’s midfield have started to pick up points in recent weeks, with Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen both decent options.
There is not much to choose between those two or our pick, Dele Alli, who has returned 23 points in his last two outings after a slow start to the season. He and Son seem like good, explosive options for the double while there is less concern about Eriksen‘s amount of playing time.
Another double gameweek midfield option is Marko Arnautovic.
The Austrian, priced at a modest £6.9m, has been fielded up front since David Moyes’ arrival at the London Stadium and so far, he is repaying his manager’s faith, with five goals in his last five league appearances.
Anrautovic’s double against Bournemouth in gameweek 20 brought a 15-point haul and while Tottenham’s defence may be tougher to crack, he certainly has the form to punish Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich, who are still without a win since August.
The similarly-priced Manuel Lanzini is another to consider. West Ham’s creator-in-chief returned a 15-point haul of his own a few weeks back in the victory over Stoke City.
Goalkeepers are always a solid choice in a double gameweek because despite the short amount of time between fixtures, they are less likely to be rotated than outfield players.
Their ability to collect save points on top of clean sheets also gives them an advantage over defenders, particularly those who carry little attacking threat – like, say, Jan Vertonghen and Angelo Ogbonna.
Tottenham’s stopper Hugo Lloris will tempt some at £5.5m but the real value is in West Ham’s Adrian at £4.3m, even if his run of clean sheets came to an emphatic end against Newcastle United and Bournemouth recently.
Adrian becomes an even better option when you consider West Ham’s upcoming schedule. Huddersfield Town (A), Bournemouth (H), Crystal Palace (H) and Brighton and Hove Albion (A) follow this double-header.
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There are other teams playing this week, though. Moving away from the double, Sergio Aguero re-emerged as a fantasy candidate on New Year‘s Eve, even if it was in unfortunate circumstances.
The Argentine has been largely forgotten by fantasy managers this season because of his limited playing time, with Pep Guardiola rotating him and Gabriel Jesus in Manchester City’s lone striker role.
Jesus is set for a spell on the sidelines, however, after picking up a hamstring injury in City‘s 0-0 with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Though it is bad luck for the Brazilian, his absence should Aguero’s place in Guardiola’s starting line-up.
After the superlative Mohamed Salah downed them at Anfield, Leicester City will look to recover against Huddersfield Town at home.
Huddersfield’s poor away record received a much-needed boost with a 4-1 victory at Watford a few weeks back but this is still a side that has failed to score on seven of their 10 days out so far.
Of Leicester’s backline, Harry Maguire is the only inviting option. The former Hull City and Sheffield United centre-half carries an attacking threat from set-pieces too, of course.
Brighton’s Pascal Groß has lost a little of his lustre recently as our midfield options have multiplied and his double-digit points hauls have dried up.
The fact remains, however, that he has the potential to consistently deliver assists and hoover up bonus points. Even better, his price has fallen back down below the £6.0m mark.
Bournemouth bring their dubious defence to the Amex Stadium on New Year’s Day and Groß assisted for Solly March in the reverse fixture back in September.