Mig’s 12 Differentials for Christmas

20/12/2018 Planet FPL

Christmas is the time of giving, spending time with loved ones, and spreading festive cheer. Well supposedly anyway. We all know that on the Planet of FPL, the Christmas fixtures are a time to make ground on mini-league leaders, fending off your mates in the race for the cash kitty, or surging up the Overall Ranks after a slow start to the season. A way of getting ahead of your rivals is having the blend of highly owned (well-performing) players most would have, with some differentials thrown in to make up those point gaps.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the gameweeks from the pre-Christmas Day GW18 up to and including the New Years GW21, before the break for the FA Cup Third Round weekend.

So, in the spirit of the season, here are 12 players with ownership of under 10% who could help your team over the holiday period.

  1. GK – Jonas Lössl

Total Points: 45

Price: £4.4m

Ownership: 1.6%

Fixtures: Southampton (h), Man United (a), Fulham (a), Burnley (h)

This is a pick more for financial purposes. Lössl is one of only a few goalkeepers who are the number one for their teams, and happen to be below the £4.5m price tag. Although he’s only had 3 clean sheets so far this season, Huddersfield as a side are improving, they have conceded 19 goals in the last 15 gameweeks, having seen 9 hit the back of the net in the first two matches. The Terriers have proved a difficult side to breakdown, only losing by the single goal in each of the last 4 gameweeks. Lössl will not be your first-choice keeper, but with home games against the likes of Southampton and Burnley, as well as an away trip to strugglers Fulham, he could provide ample cut-price backup to the likes of Alisson and Ederson.

  1. DEF – Lucas Digne

Total Points: 56

Price: £5.0m

Ownership: 4.8%

Fixtures: Spurs (h), Burnley (a), Brighton (a), Leicester (h)

After stepping in for the injured Baines in GW4, grabbing an assist on his debut, the Frenchman has not lost his place since. He has gone on to become one of the important players in the Everton side, helping them to 4 clean sheets, and contributing a further assist and goal, both in the last two gameweeks. It’s tricky to predict how he’ll cope in his first season playing over the busy Premier League winter fixture list, but as he’s now owned by nearly 250,000 FPL managers, and it will only keep climbing, he is fast becoming one to own, especially coming up against defences like Burnley and Leicester. He has taken over Baines’ mantle as the set piece taking left-back, grabbing his goal with a superbly struck free-kick against Watford, so could he provide a cut price alternative to the likes of Trippier and Alonso?

  1. DEF – Christopher Schindler

Total Points: 51

Price: £4.4m

Ownership: 3.5%

Fixtures: Southampton (h), Man United (a), Fulham (a), Burnley (h)

Now I know what you’re saying, “Mig, another Huddersfield player?”. Yes, another Huddersfield player. I don’t know why, but I feel that the Terriers will have a good Christmas period, and because they’re struggling for goals, it’s the defence that I’m looking at. To go along with Lössl, you could save some pennies in defence by going for Schindler at a bargain price. He’s played the full 90 minutes of every game this season, bar GW7 when he played 70 minutes against Tottenham. He may have only got the one goal, a single assist, and just the 3 clean sheets, but that’s the same amount of attacking returns as premium assets like Laporte and David Luiz (yes, they have more clean sheets), and more clean sheets than Man United. So, for someone to keep on your bench and bring on for a tasty home game, say like the ones over Christmas, you’d be hard pressed to find better than Schindler.

  1. DEF – Ben Davies

Total Points: 39

Price: £5.6m

Ownership: 2.6%

Fixtures: Everton (a), Bournemouth (h), Wolves (h), Cardiff (a)

This place was between Ben and his teammate Vertonghen, and although the big Belgian is traditionally more nailed on to start games in the Spurs backline, he is currently a doubt with a thigh injury, so Ben it is. Davies has only recently seen a serious interest from managers after he missed gameweeks 5 to 8 (played 2 minutes in GW8) through illness. Returning in GW9, he has gone on to complete the full 90 minutes in 7 of the following 9 games, missing just the home win against Southampton after going off early in the North London Derby. There is always a risk of rotation with the Tottenham fullbacks, with Davies facing competition with Danny Rose, however, Ben seems to be the favoured one, at least on the evidence of the current season (although Rose has been injured). And, with assists in back to back games in December so far, and Trippier only just returning, the lower priced, and far less owned Davies could prove quite the differential to his fellow Spurs teammate.

  1. DEF – Sead Kolasinac

Total Points: 25

Price: £5.1m

Ownership: 4.1%

Fixtures: Burnley (h), Brighton (a), Liverpool (a), Fulham (h)

This one I’ve had to alter as I, along with many others, was not expecting him to miss the last game against Southampton with an injury. A late tightness in the thigh kept him out of the defeat away at the Saints that ended Arsenal’s 20+ unbeaten run. However, he is expected to return to the squad ready for the Christmas fixture list that reads rather favourably for the Gunners. With a tough away trip to Anfield sandwiched between games in which Arsenal should be looking to increasing their number of clean sheets, currently sat at a disappointing 3. But are you really buying a player like Kolasinac for his clean sheet potential? No exactly. You’re buying him for his marauding forward runs and attacking threat, and looking at the fragile backlines he’ll be up against, you’d fancy him to grab a couple attacking returns over Christmas.

  1. MID – Lucas Torreira

Total Points: 53

Price: £5.1m

Ownership: 8.7%

Fixtures: Burnley (h), Brighton (a), Liverpool (a), Fulham (h)

Much like Kolasinac, the diminutive Uruguayan has a very tasty set of fixtures to look forward to over the next couple of weeks. After having a reasonably quiet start to the season as he tried to adjust to the Prem and cement his place in the Arsenal side, he has burst in to the spotlight for fantasy managers with his 3 attacking returns in the last 4 gameweeks. Goals against Huddersfield and Spurs, and an assist against Manchester United, have created a very promising FPL prospect in the £5.1m midfielder. Priced below the likes of Richarlison, Maddison, and even ‘bargain’ midfielders like Schürrle and Deulofeu, he provides a starting spot that is pretty much nailed on in a top six side, with set-piece potential, and an attacking threat that is not often seen in a ‘defensive mid’. The only drawback to jumping on Torreira is the fact he’s currently sat on 4 yellow cards, so he runs the risk of missing a game through suspension. Saying that, the milestone for suspension with yellow cards increases to 10 as of GW21, so he only has to survive until New Year’s Day.

  1. MID – Heung-Min Son

Total Points: 52

Price: £8.5m

Ownership: 7.7%

Fixtures: Everton (a), Bournemouth (h), Wolves (h), Cardiff (a)

Now for someone who I personally bought in to my FPL team because I’m excited about what he can do over the Christmas period, and that’s Heung-Min Son. One of the more dynamic assets that Pochettino possesses in his ranks at Tottenham, Son has the potential to run riot in any game. Some will say that his minutes are never that consistent, that he always gets taken off, but he certainly makes his minutes count. In the 6 games prior to his cameo off the bench last time out against Burnley, he scored 3 goals and got 3 assists playing just 388 of the possible 540 minutes. The four sides he comes up against next have an average goal conceded rate of nearly 1.5 goals a game, with Wolves being the most stringent on 1.12, and Cardiff the open at 1.94. So, you’d certainly put your money on Spurs getting a hat-full of goals over Christmas, especially if Kane replicates his back-to-back hat-tricks of last year, and Son will be there to dish out assists like they were Christmas cookies.

  1. MID – Riyad Mahrez

Total Points: 65

Price: £8.5m

Ownership: 3.5%

Fixtures: Palace (h), Leicester (a), Southampton (a), Liverpool (h)

The Manchester City midfield is a minefield of potential rotation, a double-edged sword that can provide substantial returns but can also cut deep when they fall victim to ‘Pep-Roulette’. Whereas the likes of Raheem Sterling (21.8%), Leroy Sane (16.1%), and Sergio Aguero (22.8%) are all over the 10% mark, Riyad’s ownership is still pretty low at just 3.5%. Now, this is because maybe Sterling and Sane are more favoured than Pep, or because Sane wasn’t that more expensive than Mahrez until recently, and most probably because he simply doesn’t play as much as the others. However, he has started in each of the last 3 games, grabbing a goal and an assist against Watford in the process. Much like Son, he is a dynamic midfielder, he loves to cut onto his left foot, and has the ability to score from pretty much anywhere. He could easily start in most of the games over Christmas, and with the level of the defences of some, he could pocket a few goals. I mean, who doesn’t like scoring against their former teams? Eyes will also be on returning De Bruyne, but at £1.2m cheaper, Mahrez could prove the better short-term option, as De Bruyne warms up.

  1. MID – Jesse Lingard

Total Points: 32

Price: £6.7m

Ownership: 2.2%

Fixtures: Cardiff (a), Huddersfield (h), Bournemouth (h), Newcastle (a)

Now, I had to rewrite this after the events this week. Lingard has been one of the successes of the Mourinho regime, cementing his place in the first team squad last season with his 8 goals and 6 assists, and making the England squad too. Saying that, he hasn’t had the best season so far, registering his only 2 goals of the season in the last 3 games, but in important matches against rivals Arsenal and Liverpool. United have one of the best festive fixture lists, at least on paper, and now with the sacking of Mourinho, what could be better than a run of victories over Christmas to rejuvenate a struggling club. Jesse had a great Christmas last year, scoring a brace against Burnley on Boxing Day and a goal on New Year’s Day in the win over Everton. Could Jesse be poised to get similar returns this year? He’s certainly in the scoring form to grab a sack full of points.

  1. FWD – Chicharito

Total Points: 48

Price: £6.4m

Ownership: 7.6%

Fixtures: Watford (h), Southampton (a), Burnley (a), Brighton (h)

Many have already jumped on to Chicharito, after the injury to West Ham’s talismanic striker Marco Arnautovic in GW15. He has since rewarded those managers with 14 points in the last two gameweeks. His ownership has increased from 62,668 in GW14 to now having more than 440,000, yet this still means that he’s owned by only 7.6% of FPL managers. Much like Manchester United, West Ham have a great run of fixtures over Christmas, at least on paper, and are in terrific form, winning all of their last four matches, scoring 11 and only conceding 3 in the process. Chicharito looks to benefit from the increasingly impressive form of the West Ham wide-men Felipe Anderson and Robert Snodgrass, who have contributed a combined 5 assists in those four games, as well as grabbing 4 goals for themselves. Looking at the ‘Form’ (points per game in the last month) of similar priced forwards, Chicharito is currently coming out on top with 6.0 points a game, ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford (5.2), Raúl Jiménez (5.0), Aleksander Mitrovic (4.6), and Callum Wilson (4.2). I can only see the Mexican increasing his points tally over the festive period, and helping the Hammers climb up the table.

  1. FWD – Joshua King

Total Points: 59

Price: £6.3m

Ownership: 3.1%

Fixtures: Brighton (h), Spurs (a), Man United (a), Watford (h)

All the attention from FPL managers when looking at Bournemouth assets this season, have mainly been on the pair of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser, and with the returns that both have been putting in, why wouldn’t it be. However, with their ownerships being at 36.0% and 28.8% respectively, they are way out of the differential bracket, but the same cannot be said for their teammate Joshua King. Now, this may seem like a nonsense pick, looking at their fixtures and the fact that King has not had a return in the last four gameweeks, but that’s why it’s a differential. The Cherries haven’t done great against the big sides this season, but if it’s one thing that Bournemouth do better than most in the league, it’s the threat they carry on the counter attack, and with visits to Wembley and Old Trafford on the horizon, there will be plenty of opportunities for that. Now, they may not win the games, but when you own a budget forward, you’re not really expecting the team to be winning game after game, just as long as your striker gets a goal or two. Looking at the second half of the festive fixtures, King has grabbed 2 goals against Manchester United and even better are the 5 goals he’s scored against Watford in the 6 games against them. So, if you’re looking for something different to Wilson (who is currently a doubt), then his strike partner King could be an option.

  1. WILD CARD – James McArthur

Total Points: 55

Price: £4.8m

Ownership: 2.2%

Fixtures: Man City (a), Cardiff (h), Chelsea (h), Wolves (a)

And now for the wildcard pick, and who would I be if I didn’t, unbiasedly, squeeze in a Palace player in to this list? Only Aaron Wan-Bissaka (29.6%) and Wilfried Zaha (11.5%) are above the 10% ownership mark, although Julian Speroni is actually pretty close at 9.5% for some reason, so everyone else is up for grabs. But I’m going to go for one of the budget options, and that’s £4.8m rated James McArthur. The former Scottish international has started every game this season, and has recently been contributing to the goals tally too. He has netted twice in the last four games, albeit the only two he’s got this season. He’s not a massive goal scorer, but at his price point, he’s only been outscored by David Brooks, Cardiff’s Josh Murphy, and Stuart Armstrong, all of which have 3 goals this season. What James provides you, is a reliable hand to rely on when you need someone to come off your bench in this time of heavy rotation, and imagine that feeling when McArthur comes off your bench after scoring the winning goal against Manchester City when your City asset didn’t play. No? Well you never know.

Well, there are 12 differentials for you to consider for your team over this busy festive period. There are obviously many more you could go for, and in an act of shameless self-promotion, I will be putting together a thread on my @FPLJournalBlog Twitter page attached to a retweet of this article, with some of the other players that didn’t quite make it into the 12 listed above. So, once you’re down reading this article, and the others on the Planet FPL website, make sure you check that thread out too.

I hope you all have a great holiday period, and hopefully it’s a green one for everyone!