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The 5 best FPL tips for Gameweek 21

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There is good news and bad news for Fantasy Premier League managers this weekend.

On the plus side, FPL is back after a brief pause for the FA Cup third round ties. On the downside, Gameweek 21 is spread out across 10 days due to the winter break making it extremely difficult to prepare for.

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Liverpool play against Bournemouth in the penultimate fixture of the round on Sunday 21 January, a full nine days after the deadline, which means if one of their players, say Trent Alexander-Arnold, succumbs to injury in that time, you will be unable to replace them.

Most managers will also have to make a transfer or two to plug gaps vacated by those heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) or Asian Cup. Depending on how much transfer value you have tied up in them, it could be worth hanging onto one of Mo Salah or Son Heung-min as they will be more expensive to buy back.

i‘s top scorers in Gameweek 20

  • Mo Salah – 16 points vs Newcastle: Never in doubt. At one stage, Salah was on minus points after missing a first half penalty, but a virtuoso display in the second saw him score twice and register an assist. A lovely parting gift, especially for those who captained him.
  • Phil Foden – 12 points vs Sheffield Utd: We backed Foden with the captain’s armband in our Fantasy Football newsletter and although Salah’s masterclass took a bit of a shine off that decision the Manchester City midfielder still proved to be an inspired pick.
  • Son Heung-min – 9 points vs Bournemouth: A lateish goal and two bonus points ensured that Son also signed off in style before flying off for the Asian Cup.

Includes players selected in i‘s Fantasy Football newsletter

To further complicate matters there is an earlier deadline than originally advertised as Burnley vs Luton has been rearranged for this Friday as the latter will now have an FA Cup replay against Bolton next week.

That crunch clash at the bottom of the table kicks off at 7.45pm, meaning an awkward deadline time of 6.15pm on Friday 12 January.

This is an extract of i’s Fantasy Premier League tips. Sign up here to receive the newsletter every week this season for our full 11-player team, advice on the best captain and more!

Gameweek 21 fixtures

Friday 12 January

Burnley vs Luton (7.45pm)

Saturday 13 January

Chelsea vs Fulham (12.30pm)

Newcastle vs Man City (5.30pm)

Sunday 14 January

Everton vs Aston Villa (2pm)

Man Utd vs Spurs (4.30pm)

Saturday 20 January

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (12.30pm)

Brentford vs Nott’m Forest (5.30pm)

Sunday 21 January

Sheffield Utd vs West Ham (2pm)

Bournemouth vs Liverpool (4.30pm)

Monday 22 January

Brighton vs Wolves (7.45pm)

Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

With Salah and Son jetting off to Afcon and the Asian Cup respectively, FPL managers have plenty of cash to spend and midfield slots to fill. Most bosses will have been saving those pennies for Erling Haaland, but with the Norwegian’s fitness still shrouded in mystery perhaps we should move for his fit-again teammate instead.

Kevin De Bruyne, who has apparently undergone a 90’s popstar makeover during his time on the sidelines, made his first appearance since the opening game of the season during Manchester City’s FA Cup tie with Huddersfield Town on Sunday. He didn’t take long to make his mark, setting up Jeremy Doku to score 17 minutes after coming on.

The Belgian played for just over half an hour on his return to action and will have had almost a full week to boost his fitness levels before Saturday’s match with Newcastle. De Bruyne has a great record against the Toon Army, scoring twice and providing seven assists in 12 league matches against them.

Price: £10.2m Points: 1 Gameweek 21 fixture: Newcastle (a)

Pervis Estupinan (Brighton)

A sensational end to last season meant that Pervis Estupinan was one of the most popular defenders in FPL at the start of this campaign and he is in demand again after recovering from injury. The Ecuadorian has hit the ground running since coming back, scoring twice in three games in all competitions, including a long-range screamer against Spurs.

While Trent Alexander-Arnold and Pedro Porro are template picks in defence, the third spot is up for grabs with Kieran Trippier struggling for form and Arsenal also going off the boil. Estupinan looks like the obvious one to bring in given his FPL pedigree and Brighton’s promising schedule.

Seven of Brighton’s next eight opponents are currently positioned in the bottom half of the Premier League table. Between now and the middle of March their fixtures are against: Wolves (h), Luton (a), Crystal Palace (h), Spurs (a), Sheffield United (a), Everton (h), Fulham (a) and Nottingham Forest (h). Buy, buy, buy.

Price: £4.9m Points: 37 Gameweek 21 fixture: Wolves (h)

Richarlison (Tottenham)

It will be interesting to see how Ange Postecoglou incorporates Timo Werner into his Spurs attack, but you would imagine that Brennan Johnson would be at greater risk of losing his starting place than Richarlison if the loanee from RB Leipzig manages to force his way into the starting XI.

Given Son’s absence, Richarlison’s belated discovery of his shooting boots in north London has come at an opportune time. The Brazilian has scored five goals in his last five Premier League matches, after netting just twice in his first 38 games in the competition for Spurs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Tottenham Hotspur's Richarlison celebrates scoring his side's third goal with team mates Son Heung-Min (left) and Pedro Porro during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and AFC Bournemouth at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 31, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Richarlison has a key role to play for Spurs with Son away at the Asian Cup (Photo: Getty)

The 26-year-old is listed as a midfielder in FPL but playing as a centre-forward and will get plenty of opportunities to score given Spurs are statistically the second-most creative side in the division, behind Liverpool. With Son and James Maddison currently unavailable, it’s likely that Richarlison will be on penalty taking duty too.

Price: £6.9m Points: 73 Gameweek 21 fixture: Man Utd (a)

Ivan Toney (Brentford)

Ivan Toney is back after serving his eight-month ban for breaching betting rules and will be desperate to make up for lost time with Brentford struggling towards the wrong end of the table and Gareth Southgate starting to finalise his plans for Euro 2024.

Thomas Frank would have obviously preferred to have had Toney available from Gameweek 1 rather than Gameweek 21, but his return is timely given the Bees have been decimated by injuries. According to Premier Injuries, only Chelsea and Tottenham have more absentees than Brentford and both have greater squad depth than their London rivals.

It is asking a lot of Toney to hit the ground running, but it is a different situation to a player coming back after a long-term injury. Toney has kept himself fit during his time out, which included spending time with an attacking coach in Nashville, and will be in peak physical condition to face Nottingham Forest in his comeback game.

Price: £7.9m Points: 0 Gameweek 21 fixture: Nottingham Forest (h)

Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

With Salah gone, Diogo Jota is the most natural finisher that Liverpool have and he is likely to get plenty of game time as a result. The versatile Portuguese international had made a big impact since returning to the side on Boxing Day after spending a month out with a hamstring strain.

It took Jota just six minutes to score as a substitute in his first game back against Burnley and he has followed that up with two FPL assists – including that controversial penalty incident – in the 4-2 win over Newcastle and another assist for Luis Diaz during Sunday’s FA Cup win over Arsenal.

With Darwin Nunez often looking more threatening off the left flank than through the middle and Cody Gakpo not quite firing there is a decent chance that Jota will be deployed as a central striker at Bournemouth. He scored a goal and set up another in the reverse fixture at Anfield in Gameweek 2 to earn 12 points, his highest FPL score of the campaign.

Price: £7.8m Points: 57 Gameweek 21 fixture: Bournemouth (a)

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