Just past the halfway mark in the Premier League, it's fair to say your fantasy football leagues should be shaping up ahead of the New Year.
Not top yet? Friends and colleagues writing you off early? Never fear. We're back with our fantasy football tipster ahead of gameweek 20 to try and ensure that you get the upper hand this weekend.
If you are one of the vast minority yet to bring in the league's joint-top scorer Michu, you may be able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Spaniard looks unlikely to shake off an ankle injury in time to face Fulham, so for those of you that do need a replacement for this season's must have signing we've got options all other the pitch for you as we pick our suggested XI in a 3-4-3 formation this week.
Stoke's Asmir Begovic is almost as popular as the aforementioned Swansea star in the fantasy football stakes this season, and it isn't hard to see why. He leads the league's goalkeepers in terms of clean sheets this season with 9, and to describe Stoke's defence as well-drilled would be an understatement. Though they will be without captain Shawcross and Cameron in front of the Bosnian this weekend, the Potters face a Southampton side that have netted just 3 goals in their last 5 games.
The first of our back three this week is Chelsea's David Luiz, chosen not only because he has been deployed in midfield in recent weeks, but also as the Blues are tipped to score a long shot in the WhoScored match forecast vs Everton. Currently receiving defensive points and given the opportunity to get forward, Luiz has even more chances to score highly right now, and after a sublime free-kick against Villa last week who's to say his attacking input will diminish anytime soon.
We've opted for Daniel Agger to join the Brazilian in our backline as Liverpool look to bounce back from defeat at Stoke when they visit bottom club QPR on Sunday. Brendan Rodgers’ side are deemed likely to score from a set-piece situation in the match forecast and we've opted for the Dane ahead of partner Martin Skrtel due to the fact that the Reds are also considered likely to score a long shot. If the centre-back can wind up that left foot of his he could be on the scoresheet this weekend.
Completing our backline is Spurs' Kyle Naughton, enjoying a run in the side in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Tottenham have kept four clean sheets in their last 5 games, with the young full-back playing no part in the game in which they did concede in that run (2-1 vs Everton). His form could mean the aforementioned Cameroon international has to be patient as he regains his fitness, and after a first assist of the season at Villa Naughton will hope for a run in the team and could be a good cheap option for your XI.
Moving into midfield with a mixture of bargain buys and big money moves, and starting with the former, we're backing Zoltan Gera to continue his impressive form this season despite facing Manchester United this Saturday. The Baggies make the trip to Old Trafford on the back of consecutive victories and Gera has shipped in with 4 goals in just 13 starts this season. With the visitors tipped to score from a wingplay situation the Hungarian could help Albion break a United backline that have been breached by far weaker opponents this season.
Our second budget option in the midfield four is Villa's Brett Holman, whose side play out one of the key games this weekend, at the bottom of the table at least, as they host Wigan. We've chosen the Australian as the hosts are tipped to strike from distance and the summer signing has scored from outside the box against both QPR and Norwich already this month. A third goal for his new club could be the most crucial he will score all season if it came in a win this weekend.
We've picked David Silva to be the key to unlocking Norwich's defence when City make the trip to Carrow Road this weekend. The Spaniard has looked back to his best in recent weeks, picking up two assists in his last three games, which is a tally he managed over his appearances against the Canaries last season. Mancini's side romped to 5-1 and 1-6 victories against their opponents last season and though Hughton has organised the defence since then, Norwich may feel the wrath of a City side who must win to stay in the title race.
Rounding off our midfield is Gareth Bale and it's no surprise after the Welshman's second half hat-trick tore Villa apart in midweek. The winger was at his imperious best and will fancy his chances of continuing that form against Sunderland in order to add to his 9-goal tally this season. With Spurs tipped to score as a result of individual skill in the match forecast we needn't look further than Bale this week.
Our attack would be a force to be reckoned with, starting with the league's joint-top scorer Robin van Persie. The striker has two goals and an assist to his name in his previous 3 appearances against West Brom, with the Baggies making the trip to Old Trafford this weekend. League leaders United are deemed likely to score from a direct free-kick in the game and also to add to their league high tally of goals from set pieces. With the Dutchman standing over all of their dead ball situations he could add to both his 13 goals and 6 assists for the season.
Sergio Aguero joins his cross-city rival in our line-up having netted in both games against Norwich last season, scoring 3 over the two matches in total. If Silva can find his South American teammate in the box the chances are Aguero will bury any opportunities that come his way in an attempt to add to his reasonably meagre 6-goal tally thus far. The Argentine is more likely to keep his place than compatriot Tevez this weekend and if he does, and City continue their devastating record against Norwich, Aguero may well be on the scoresheet.
Completing our line-up this week is Arsenal's Lukas Podolski who, after a strong start to the season, has gone relatively unnoticed of late, despite netting 8 goals and registering 6 assists in the league and Champions League combined. We're tipping the German to return to form this weekend when Arsenal host a depleted Newcastle side, with the hosts touted to score from both a wingplay situation and an opposition error in the match forecast.