Merry Christmas from FiT – Boxing Day Preview

December 24, 2015 12:40 pm RomeluLukaku_3014333

It’s Chriiiiisssstttmmmaaaassss!

And you know what that means – plenty of football on the box!

Premier League teams will take to the field on Saturday and then again on Monday, in what will prove to be a defining week for the likes of Louis van Gaal and Jurgen Klopp.

Manchester United will be trying to arrest their slump and save the manager’s job, while Liverpool are in dire need of a win to get their top four ambitions back on track.

Here’s our guide to who you should bring in or leave out this weekend…

Key injuries/ suspensions

Alexis Sanchez holds his hamstring after injuring himself

Despite now being favourites for the Premier League title, Arsenal remain the team most depleted with injuries to their senior stars. Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla are among those still on the sidelines.

Jamie Vardy is currently a doubt for Leicester, which will alarm a host of fantasy managers. He very much has a 50/50 chance of playing against Liverpool – will you be taking the gamble?

Another big name in a host of teams is Yohan Cabaye, who may miss out again for Crystal Palace.

Liverpool will be without James Milner once again, as the midfielder continues to struggle with a niggle.

Favourable match-ups of the week

Sergio Aguero warms up

Manchester City have a point to prove following their loss to Arsenal last week – and they have just the opponents they could have wished for in Sunderland on Boxing Day.

The Black Cats are leaky at the back and City have immense fire-power, as well as Sergio Aguero back available for selection.

With a point to prove it might be worth stocking up on City players in your team, as this one could be a cricket score.

Also worth keeping an eye on Tottenham vs Norwich. Spurs are bang in form while Norwich will likely suffer somewhat of a comedown from their heroics at Manchester United last week.

Big names/bandwagons to avoid

It might finally be the end for Leicester and their remarkable run at the top of the Premier League. Although a trip to Anfield is not quite as scary as it once was, Liverpool offer a stern test.

With Jamie Vardy a doubt and Jurgen Klopp determined to turn Liverpool’s form around, a home win could well be on the cards.

Elsewhere, goals at the Britannia Stadium for Stoke vs Manchester United could be few and far between. Both teams are solid at the back, so Bojan, Rooney and Martial could all have a quiet day.

Bargain corner

Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie in action with Manchester United's Daley Blind

With one of their key players in Yohan Cabaye out, a trip to Bournemouth seems a tricky prospect for Crystal Palace.

The Cherries are riding the crest of a wave as it stands and a trip to the south coast is likely not what Palace would want right now.

Therefore, the likes of Matt Ritchie, Dan Gosling and Glenn Murray could be the men to turn to on Boxing Day if you want some unexpected points.

Who should be my captain?

Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring the first goal for Everton

Once again, it’s hard to look past Everton goal machine Romelu Lukaku.

Although the Toffees’ opponents Newcastle are experiencing a resurgence, the Belgian is too hot to handle for any back-line with goals in each of his last eight appearances.

The partnership that he has forged with Gerard Deulofeu is ruthlessly effective and the winger splits defences in two with pin-point through balls for Lukaku to latch onto.

Looking ahead…

Chelsea Manager Guus Hiddink in 2009

Jose Mourinho’s dismissal and Guus Hiddink’s appointment means a change of playing style for Chelsea is in the pipeline.

Hiddink is renowned for favouring attacking football so the Blues’ forwards such as Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas could all come back into fantasy contention if the Dutchman manages to haul Chelsea out of their slump.

Last season’s fantasy heroes could be coming back to save your flailing seasons.

Injuries, doubts etc.

Here’s a round up of those who have been ruled out this weekend or face last-minute battles with injury niggles.


Out: Cazorla, Coquelin, Wilshere, Rosicky, Zelalem, Welbeck, Sanchez

Doubts: Arteta

Aston Villa

Out: Amavi, Cole, Gardner

Doubts: Richards


Out: Mings, Elphick, Gradel, Atsu, Wilson, Stanislas, King

Doubts: Tomlin


Out: Falcao

Doubts: Hazard

Crystal Palace

Out: Sako, Gayle, Wickham, Cabaye

Doubts: Jedinak, Sako


Out: Jagielka, Browning, Hibbert, Oveido, Pienaar

Doubts: McCarthy, Naismith

Leicester City

Out: Schlupp, Drinkwater, James

Doubts: Vardy


Out: Gomez, Flanagan, Rossiter, Ings, Skrtel, Milner

Doubts: Mignolet, Sturridge, Lovren

Manchester City

Out: Nasri, Evans, Barker

Doubts: Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernando

Manchester United

Out: Shaw, Rojo, Valencia, Lingard, Wilson

Doubts: Darmian


Out: Krul, Steven Taylor, Haidara, Williamson, Good, Obertan, Aarons, Bigirimana, Armstrong, Riviere, Toney, Cisse

Doubts: Lascelles


Out: Wisdom, Andreu, Jarvis, Hooper

Doubts: None


Out: Forster, Gardos, Isgrove, Rodriguez

Doubts: Stekelenburg


Out: Pritchard, N’Jie

Doubts: Rose, Kane, Mason

Stoke City

Out: Given, Muniesa, Odemwingie, Crouch, Ireland, Cameron

Doubts: None


Out: Larsson

Doubts: Cattermole


Out: Tabanou, Lopes

Doubt: Rangel, Routledge


Out: Ekstrand

Doubts: Prodl

West Brom

Out: Foster

Doubts: None

West Ham

Out: Reid, Burke, Henry, Payet, Lanzini, Moses, Samuelsen, Sakho

Doubts: Carroll

This post was written by Fantasy iTeam