What is the safest FPL strategy over the festive period?

The Christmas period guarantees three things; food, drink and frantic FPL planning. 

As matches come thick and fast, Gameweeks also come and go, making transfer decisions more frantic and impulsive.

As a result of the period’s frantic nature, injuries and squad rotation become a threat to all FPL planning. Therefore, it is best to go with tried and trusted regulars, rather than punts, at this busy period of the season.

Here are some players to consider in the busy festive period when considering fixtures, form and risk of rotation.

Vladimir Coufal – Defender – West Ham – £4.6m

West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal has started every game since his arrival at West Ham. The Czech defender has recorded three assists in FPL and points returns in six of his eleven outings.

At 4.6m, Coufal is an excellent budget defender. He’s recorded 1.6 key passes per game which highlights an attacking intent. He has good crossing ability from the right flank and is particularly useful in attack when David Moyes opts to play with a back five.

Coufal is a reliable pick to play all three matches over the festive period. Additionally, looking ahead to a Double Gameweek 19, West Ham play home matches against Burnley and West Brom. These fixtures could represent an excellent opportunity for Coufal to pick up a good points haul at a low price. At 3.5% ownership, he’s an excellent pick of reliability and low ownership.

The West Ham defender has been a mainstay for The Hammers this season and provides a steady if unspectacular FPL pick for the medium-term.

Charlie Taylor – Defender – Burnley – £4.5m

Another excellent budget option at the back is Burnley’s, Charlie Taylor. Taylor has started all 14 of Burnley’s Premier League matches in 2020/21.

He registered his first assist since the opening day during the Clarets’ 2-1 win over Wolves last time out. The main points returns for Taylor, however, will be defensive. Burnley’s defence have shut the opposition out four times in the last seven matches. This defensive record has underpinned an upturn in form for Sean Dyche’s side.

With home fixtures against Sheffield United and Fulham over Christmas, owners of Charlie Taylor should realistically expect a clean sheet or two from this period. Taylor is another reliable selection in a period of uncertain FPL planning.

Mohamed Salah – Midfielder – Liverpool – £12.5m

It’s not a particularly innovative or ground-breaking choice but Mohamed Salah just has to be in your squad over Christmas.

The Egyptian sensation has 13 goals in 13 Premier League appearances, including a double off the bench against Crystal Palace. Having been rested, in part, against Palace, Salah should be raring to go for the festive fixtures.

Fixtures against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton are inviting. Liverpool have more rest than anyone over this period, so Salah shouldn’t be at risk of rotation in the same way other stars could be. Salah was recommended in the last FPL preview and should be top of the priority list ahead of the festive period.

Tomas Soucek – Midfielder – West Ham – £5.1m

The second West Ham player here, Tomas Soucek is surely the best low-budget midfield option in the game this season.

West Ham’s fixtures and upcoming Double Gameweek are inviting for any FPL managers with West Ham assets. Soucek in midfield is a player to target for that upcoming Double Gameweek, while acting as a reliable option over Christmas due to his certainty of selection.

The Czech midfielder has scored three goals from 14 appearances and at £5.1m, provides the option of enabling premium assets whilst performing a reliable job as a fifth midfielder, whether that be as first sub or starting.

Soucek is an excellent choice at a low price. He provides reliability and flexibility for all his owners. A must-have selection for anybody choosing a Wildcard in upcoming weeks.

Harry Kane – Forward – Tottenham – £11.0m

Like with Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane is not a ground-breaking, left-field choice. However, he will play every minute of every game and that reliability is crucial in this period.

Nine goals and 10 assists in the Premier League is a remarkable return for Kane thus far. Most appealing with Kane in this particular period, however, is the prospect of home matches against Fulham and Leeds. Kane and his teammate, Son Heung-Min, are must-haves going into these two appetising fixtures.

The Kane-Son double-up is as reliable a strategy as you’ll find in FPL this season with points hauls a near guarantee. Going into the festive fixtures, you have to find a place for Kane and Son, even if it’s at the expense of other premium assets. It is probably worth taking a points hit to do so.

While the five players listed above would be definite choices in my squad if I were wildcarding, there are plenty of other players worth considering.

These include the likes of; Eric Dier, John Stones, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin de Bruyne, Jarrod Bowen, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Patrick Bamford.

It is crucial not to panic-buy between gameweeks during this period. Having a structure is vital to not making rash decisions and wasting opportunities for points. Reliable selections rather than short-term punts should be the aim of any FPL planning over Christmas.

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