FanDuel Premier League Matches to Target in Matchweek 21
|Saturday, December 30th|
|Leicester City at Liverpool|
|Everton at Bournemouth|
|Stoke City at Chelsea|
|Burnley at Huddersfield|
|Brighton at Newcastle|
|Swansea City at Watford|
|Southampton at Manchester United|
Only three matches have clear favorites, but the line is moving in favor or Watford after their win on Boxing Day. Two of the matches have an over/under at or above three goals.
These teams will be in action again shortly after the weekend -- 10 of them on Monday -- as they work toward an extended break after January 4. Squad rotation will come into play, so let's see what to target.
Liverpool vs. Leicester
Liverpool make the list again after a five-goal outburst on Boxing Day. They now have totaled 46 goals, second only to Manchester United. Leicester have allowed 30 goals, the highest mark in the top eight, so Liverpool's total should keep growing.
This matchup has seen a total of 14 goals in the past three Premier League contests. The September match ended in a 3-2 victory for Liverpool as a 68th-minute goal by Jordan Henderson stood up for the three points. The usual suspects of Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho were also involved in the goal scoring.
Salah had two assists on Boxing Day while Coutinho had a goal and an assist. The other mainstay in the Liverpool attack, Roberto Firmino, had two goals. It is unclear if they will all start on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp has been rotating his squad wisely. Also, Liverpool's next match against Burnley is more important in terms of a top-four finish.
If Klopp does prioritize the fixture with Burnley, then Dominic Solanke and James Milner may be among those that start for Liverpool. Sadio Mane stayed on the bench on Tuesday, so he is also in line for a start. Firmino has been the main person of the favored attacking trio to take a seat during the squad rotation. Regardless of who starts, Liverpool will still be looking to attack the vulnerable Leicester defense.
An own goal by Kasper Schmeichel sunk Leicester on Boxing Day. It was an egregious error by a generally dependable keeper. Leicester have not posted a clean sheet and have given up an average of two goals per match in their last five matches. Leicester have lost two of the last three Premier League matches after seemingly righting the ship to move into the top half of the table.
Leicester have been able to score as they have pulled their goal differential to zero. They have only been shut out once in their last nine matches. Riyad Mahrez scored the goal against Watford. It was his fourth goal in his last eight games across all competitions and he now leads Leicester in FanDuel points per match.
There have been over 2.5 goals in Leicester's last five games and Liverpool's last three games. There are sure to be goals at Anfield, but squad rotation is in order. Regardless of who starts both teams will emphasize offense, so enjoy the attack-minded contest.
Bournemouth vs Everton
At the beginning of December, things looked bleak for Everton, but they have moved into the top half of the table during the holiday season. They are unbeaten in their last eight matches across all competitions, although they have not scored in the last two. The most encouraging thing about the current run is that they've posted six clean sheets.
Cuco Martina has excelled on FanDuel despite not getting many accolades from Everton fans. Martina credits Sam Allardyce's clear game plan for his resurgence. He now averages 19.7 FanDuel points per game and has been credited for 56 clearances over the last seven matches. He only had 12.5 points in the match against Bournemouth in September, but Martina and Everton are playing much better heading into Matchweek 21.
Everton are still battling injuries and illnesses to big names like Wayne Rooney. That has opened the door for Jonjoe Kenny and Oumar Niasse, among others. Yannick Bolasie's start on Boxing Day was his first appearance in over a year. This means that there is plenty of value on the pitch for Everton in this favorable matchup, and the emphasis on defense means that almost everyone of the starting XI has a chance for defensive action points.
Despite Bournemouth's record, they average more possession and shots per match than Everton. Bournemouth scored three against West Ham on Boxing Day, with one goal scored by Callum Wilson. That was his first goal since his hat trick against Huddersfield in the middle of November. Given the team's injury news, Wilson should start as the lone striker against the also injury-riddled Everton side.
As is the case for many teams that have trouble scoring, the points per game leaders for Bournemouth are defenders. Nathan Ake and Simon Francis average around 17 points per game. Ake scored a goal in the match against West Ham while Francis was credited with four chances created. They could have similar stat lines on Saturday as Everton's emphasis on defense leads to more of a counter-attacking offensive style allowing Bournemouth to stay on the ball.
This match will go under the radar and have plenty of value plays available. There have been 12 goals scored in the last two contests between these clubs. Recent form suggests fewer goals, but still there is a chance for a volatile, sloppy match at the Vitality Stadium that equates to good FanDuel points.
Douglas Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Douglas Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username aquemini03. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.