FanDuel Premier League Matches to Target in Matchweek 21
The crazy festive-season schedule is behind the Premier League teams, and they can now focus on the second half of the season in earnest. Matchweek 21 kicks off Saturday at White Hart Lane. Seven of Saturday's eight games will be featured on the FanDuel slate, excluding the first match of the day.
The seven games feature only two of the top five teams and include a couple of relegation battles. There is only one match with an over/under above 2.5 goals, and that game is where we'll focus first.
Swansea City vs. Arsenal
The Gunners' upcoming schedule provides plenty of opportunity to move up the table, and it starts against a Swansea club which has conceded the most goals over the last four matchweeks.
Arsenal has scored in all five previous Premier League games against Swansea, netting a total of 10 goals. They are unbeaten in their last three league matches, including a furious comeback against Bournemouth. Olivier Giroud ($11,300), who has scored in his last eight starts, including the goal of the season so far, is a big reason for the recent success.
Giroud with arguably the greatest goal to grace the premier league! Enjoy pic.twitter.com/R6w1H78Zxj
— Arsenal's Voice🔴⚪️ (@ArsenalsVoice) January 1, 2017
The last time these teams met, Arsenal was able to hold onto a 3-2 victory despite a Granit Xhaka red card in the 70th minute. Theo Walcott scored two goals just seven minutes apart in the first half. Walcott could be out for this match, meaning Aaron Ramsey will likely start in his place. Ramsey is only $7,000 and could exploit a weak Swansea defense.
Despite the odds favoring Arsenal, this is Paul Clement's first league game in charge of the Swans, and he just made a great appointment with the hiring of Claude Makelele. The duo could shake up the Swansea City lineup. They will have to make at least one change as Neil Taylor is out.
Angel Rangel replaced Taylor in the last league match and scored the game-winning goal. Rangel is $4,700 and should be busy with Arsenal likely holding possession. He could rack up defensive action points, much like Kyle Naughton has been doing all season for Swansea. Naughton is averaging over 19 FanDuel points per match, and he scored 23.5 points against Arsenal the last time out. He also has back-to-back games over 20 points. Naughton is $5,300 this week.
Arsenal only has two clean sheets in their last 16 matches across all competitions, but Gylfi Sigurdsson at $8,600 is likely the only Swansea offensive threat worth gambling on. The safer strategy is to target Arsenal's big guns and hope for points from a hard-working Swansea back line.
Hull City vs. Bournemouth
This is not a headline matchup, but Hull City is desperate. They suffered a 2-0 road defeat in the first leg of their EFL Cup semifinal tie and are dead last in the standings. There is no more time to delay the furious battle to avoid relegation. New manager Marco Silva must find a way to string together positive results.
Hull has won once in their last 18 league matches, but they did get a shutout victory over Swansea in the FA Cup last weekend. They will be without Ahmed Elmohamady, who tallied an assist in Hull's last league match. Andrew Robertson or David Meyler, both under $5,500, will be in line to replace Elmohamady. Meyler played right back in the EFL Cup game.
Regardless of who fills in at outside midfield, the Hull offense still runs through Robert Snodgrass. He is averaging 23.5 points per match. Snodgrass has two goals in his last pair of matches and continues to be the go-to player on set pieces. He has also been involved in more than half of Hull's goals this season.
The bigger ceiling likely belongs to Bournemouth players. They scored six goals in the fall against Hull and an in-form Junior Stanislas may allow the Cherries to get a similar result. Stanislas had two goals and two assists in the 6-1 Bournemouth win back on October 15th.
It is not just Stanislas who is a good target for Bournemouth as Hull's poor form puts several Cherries in play. The Tigers have not earned a clean sheet at KCOM Stadium, meaning that other Bournemouth attackers are likely to have chances to score. Benik Afobe will be available after withdrawing from the African Cup of Nations. Afobe scored in his last two starts and is only $6,400. If Afobe is not starting, Callum Wilson and Joshua King are also intriguing plays.
Nathan Ake returned to Chelsea, but the best pick on the Cherries' defense lately may be Charlie Daniels. Daniels scored nearly 44 FanDuel points against Arsenal, and that was only his third-best performance this season. Daniels has assists in consecutive league games and has provided more assists than any other Premier League defender since the beginning of last season.
Clearly this matchup favors Bournemouth, but it should be noted that the contrarian play is to look for value on the Hull City back line if you believe defensive action points will be plentiful. Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies could both be out, so Harry Maguire will likely be called on to handle the pressure. Maguire is $5,300.