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Fantasy Premier League Primer: Actionable items for Gameweek 21

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FPL Gameweek 6, Mo Salah

After a brief festive break, we’re back; packing a few extra Christmas kilos but with lots of football to catch up on before the Premier League returns.

Here’s what you need to be across, as we build up to FPL Gameweek 21.

When does FPL Gameweek 21 start?

Saturday 14 January, 10:00 pm AEDT

Chelsea host Fulham in an intriguing London derby. Just four points separating them, who have been equally inconsistent. Fulham beat Arsenal on New Year’s Day but preceded that with losses to Bournemouth and Burnley, while Chelsea’s form needs no introduction.

In Raul Jimenez (£5.2 I 1.5%), Fulham seem to have found a striker capable of finally replacing Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Mexican has scored four of his five league goals in the last month, but was also sent off against Newcastle. Around him, Andreas Pereira (£5.3 I 1.0%), Willian (£5.3 I 0.6%), and the AFCON-absent Alex Iwobi (£5.3 I 0.8%) form a devastating trio on their day.

Chelsea’s season has been hit-and-miss. Key injuries have ruined any chance of finding flow and form, but for a large part of their recent victory over Luton Town, they were in control and showing signs of being a competent, top side. They’ll need to emulate that if they want to collect the three points here.

FPL Gameweek 21 notes

How impactful will AFCON and Asian Cup be?

We’ve been banging this drum for some time now, so excuse us for going at it again. But it would be remiss not to flag it once more that both the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the Asian Cup are running concurrently this January and early February. Meaning some of the Premier League’s biggest stars are away for at least a few crucial games.

In mid-December, our analysis concluded that Nottingham Forest was most impacted by the tournaments. From an FPL perspective, there are additional impacts to be felt during this period.

Mohamed Salah (£13.2 I 42.6%), Heung-Min Son (£9.8 I 34.6%), and Hwang Hee-Chan (£5.7 I 8.9%), three of the game’s top scorers will all be out for some time, as will Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma (£6.4 I 153.%) and Andre Onana (£4.8 I 13.1%), although he’ll surprisingly feature for United against Spurs this week, just 24 hours before his AFCON campaign kicks off.

There is a wildcard available if need be, though this would mean it cannot be played at a later date, for example at the end of the January transfer window or when both tournaments end and the stars return.

While it will be hard to match the output of some of the absentees, there are several stars putting their hands up to fill Salah, Son, and the other absentees’ shoes from FPL gameweek 21 onward.

Mohamed Salah, AFCON, FPL wildcard, Premier League
Just how badly will Liverpool miss Mohamed Salah’s goals and experience? FPL gameweek 21

Anything we missed over the break?

Erling Haaland (£13.9 I 53.7%) sustained a foot injury which has him out for an unknown time. Christopher Nkunku (£7.4 I 3.7%) made his Chelsea debut, and impressed, while Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2 I 4.8%), James Maddison (£7.8 I 7.8%) and Micky Van de Ven (£4.4 I 1.1%) edge closer to much-awaited returns.

Both Cristian Romero (£4.9 I 7.4%) and Lucas Digne (£4.6 I 3.9%) suffered significant injuries over the festive period and are expected to be out until the end of January at least.

Rasmus Hojlund (£6.8 I 3.1%) bagged his first Premier League goal against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, but an injury-depleted Manchester United still look like they can’t buy a goal, while Newcastle United continue looking like they can’t buy a clean sheet. Arsenal, however, can’t seem to score or defend much at the moment, with their form in the attacking box spurring calls for striker reinforcements to arrive in January.

Ivan Toney’s (£7.9 I 0.4%) Premier League return is pencilled in for the middle of January, a much-needed boost for Brentford, who’ve lost Yoanne Wissa (£5.7 I 5.6%) to AFCON and Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8 I 7.0%) to injury.

FPL gameweek 21
A mystery foot injury has kept Erling Haaland out for much of the festive period I FPL gameweek 21

Who to captain this week?

If at the start of the season, you asked anyone to select the five safest FPL captain options for this season most would’ve selected Salah, Son, De Bruyne, Maddison, and Haaland. As it stands, all five are missing FPL gameweek 21.

You can either wallow in pity that these guys, and their likely large points tally, are out this week and scratch your head about who to select in their wake. Or, you can listen here and we’ll give you some options for FPL gameweek 21, and perhaps beyond.

Naturally, Julian Alvarez (£7.0 I 35.1%) is a great option. Not only does the Argentine benefit from the City chance-creation machine that’s fed Haaland’s record-breaking start to Premier League life, but the Argentine is far better creatively. Manchester City face a struggling Newcastle, meaning goals could be aplenty for Alvarez and co.

Ollie Watkins (£8.9 I 54.7%) has been another standout performer this season, with 20 goal involvements already, and could be an intriguing option if not for the fact his opponents this week, Everton, are as defensively resolute as they come.

Cole Palmer’s (£5.6 I 29.3%) clash with Fulham also puts him in the frame, as does Bukayo Saka’s (£9.0 I 59.5%) with Crystal Palace, although Arsenal’s recent poor scoring form could be a deterrent.

Jarrod Bowen (£8.1 I 33.2%), who plays Sheffield United, is arguably the best bet. A potentially unheralded selection, not only could Bowen score big against Sheffield United, but he could also provide a strong point of difference at a time when points will be hard to come by.

Jarrod Bowen image
In the absence of the big guns, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen might be the safest captaincy bet I FPL gameweek 21

Transfer targets under 15% ownership

DEFENDER: Malo Gusto (£4.2 I 6.7%)

MIDFIELDER: Diogo Jota (£7.7 I 2.8%)

FORWARD: Joao Pedro (£5.4 I 11.7%)

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