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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 12

Preview
The coming round of Premier League fixtures could yet prove the most significant of 2019/20. On Friday, the division’s two lowest-placed teams meet at Carrow Road, where Norwich host Watford; on Sunday, league leaders Liverpool are at home to Manchester City.

Between then and on Saturday afternoon, Chelsea hope to continue their fine form when Crystal Palace visit them at Stamford Bridge, Burnley are at home to West Ham, and Newcastle, Southampton and Tottenham are respectively at home to Bournemouth, Everton and Sheffield United, before the evening kick-off between hosts Leicester and Arsenal.

At the same time on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United welcome Brighton, and Aston Villa visit midlands rivals Wolves. City visiting Liverpool, incidentally, may even represent a match-up of Europe’s two finest teams.

Captain’s pick

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The £9.4m Jamie Vardy has scored 10 goals in his past nine league appearances. Given five of those have been scored in home fixtures he can be expected to again pose a goal threat to Arsenal, who struggle in defence even when they are as unsettled as they are presently demonstrating, and have lost on their past two visits to the 2016 champions. His movements within the final third and potential during transitions can be expected to particularly trouble Unai Emery’s team, who have struggled to defend the wide areas Leicester’s full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell relish attacking from.

Arsenal’s defenders also have a habit of monitoring the ball, and often at the expense of their direct opponents, which is something Vardy is likely to detect and take advantage of (above). Emery favours using his full-backs in advanced areas, even though his midfield does not offer the defensive cover he would prefer. With Vardy’s speed and ability to make runs in behind Arsenal’s defence, both centrally and into the channels during moments of transition, he is likely to thrive.

Quique Sánchez Flores’ return to Watford has contributed to an improvement in their defence, in which the £4.3m Daryl Janmaat regularly features. He most commonly plays behind Gerard Deulofeu, who operates inside and attempts to drive at the opposing full-back; with that full-back isolated, Janmaat can overlap (below) and deliver crosses into the penalty area.

Opponents Norwich largely a favour a 4-2-3-1, and amid the likelihood that their wide attackers will press two of Watford’s three central defenders, Sánchez Flores’ team will have the opportunity to create two-on-ones against the defending full-backs. Janmaat’s recent performances have also been encouraging – and Watford desperately require victory.

Short-term tactics

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Analyses of each teams’ strengths and weaknesses, combined with their recent form, suggest there are likely to be few clean sheets in the Premier League during Gameweek 12. It is therefore logical to prioritise defenders who are potential goalscorers or providers of assists – the £4.8m John Lundstram, the £4.7m Erik Pieters (below), the £5.6m Chilwell and the £5.9m Lucas Digne, respectively of Sheffield United, Burnley, Leicester and Everton.

It is similarly logical to go with a back three for your fantasy team this week, instead of the traditional back four. Providing teams with greater numbers in midfield or in attack is far more likely to prove successful in a week when clean sheets may be few and far between.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 12

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Brendan Rodgers

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Quique Sánchez Flores

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