Despite Christmas being the thing on everyone’s mind, football fans will be over the moon to see Premier League football finally return next week. After six weeks off due to the World Cup, Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur will get us back underway on Boxing Day lunchtime.
The likes of Man City, Newcastle United and Arsenal will all be hoping they can pick up where they left off after positive starts to the campaign, will a number of teams - including Leeds United and Wolves - will be eager to turn things around after the break. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s poor performance in the Carabao Cup on Thursday may give Aston Villa some hope ahead of their tie at Villa Park.
With six weeks away from top flight football, there is no doubt that FPL players will be looking to change up their team ahead of Boxing Day. With only a few days to go, we take a look at some of this week’s tips...
Alejandro Garnacho - Man Utd
If you didn’t bring Garnacho into your FPL team before the World Cup break then you definitely should now. The youngster was absolutely on fire as he was given his golden opportunity with Manchester United’s first team, scoring his first senior goal in their win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League before netting his first in the Premier League ten days later - claiming the three points for the Red Devils with a 93rd minute winner against Fulham. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho likely out for their clash with Nottingham Forest, Garnacho is almost guaranteed a spot in Erik ten Hag’s starting XI on Boxing Day and could run riot against the relegation-threatened visitors.
Erling Haaland - Man City
One name that will always make the list is Erling Haaland. The striker has had the whole World Cup off to train and recover and is likely to continue to be one of the Premier League’s biggest attacking threats - proven with his opener for Man City within 10 minutes against Liverpool yesterday. Haaland will be up against Leeds United brittle defence on Boxing Day, with the Whites having conceded three or more goals in a game on four occasions this season already. Given it will also be the Norwegian’s ‘return’ to Leeds - his birthplace - it seems even more likely that he will net against them.
Callum Wilson - Newcastle United
Despite an impressive cameo against Iran, Wilson’s game time at the World Cup was sparce and is likely to be fit enough to slot straight back into Newcastle United’s attack. The striker has scored six goals in eleven matches in the Premier League this season and will be eager to pick up where he left off against Leicester. While the Foxes looked to have slowly turned their form around last month, they have conceded as many goals as they have scored and might struggle to handle Wilson - especially once perhaps looking to prove himself after England’s campaign.
Gabriel Jesus - Arsenal
Jesus is one name that will likely have stayed in many people’s FPL teams all season so far but it is unfortunately now time to replace him as he recovers from an injury. The striker had to undergo surgery on a knee problem he sustained in Qatar and will be sidelined for a number of months - leaving a vacant gap in many line-ups. Given that Jesus goes for £8 million in the game, you will no doubt be able to get another goalscoring forward in his absence, with the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Anthony Martial and Eddie Nketiah all available for less.
Ivan Toney - Brentford
Ivan Toney has been brilliant for Brentford this season, scoring ten goals in 14 matches in the Premier League. However, his current situation is going to make it very difficult for Thomas Frank with his future team selections. The striker was charged with a further 30 breaches of FA betting rules this week to add to his original 232 he was charged with last month. While Toney has featured in the Bees’ friendlies, reports have claimed that the club are looking to bring in a new attacker in case he receives a lengthy ban. It is yet to be seen whether the 26-year-old will make the cut for their Boxing Day clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Another answer that comes as a surprise to literally nobody - Haaland, once again. A number of the usual suspects will potentially miss next week’s matches following the World Cup, while the likes of Mohamed Salah and Heung-min Son seem risky given how unpredictable their upcoming matches could be. Meanwhile, Haaland is arguably the most reliable striker in the league and, like previously mentioned, could have a field day against the Whites.