EPL | The Diamond Standard | Jan. 21/20 | GW24 Breakdown |

Quick Version

  • Bournemouth rarely loses to Brighton.
  • Watford should score at least three.
  • Pick either NEW/EVE GPP defensive stack.
  • Sheffield hasn’t conceded more than twice at home.
  • Palace defensive sharpest play of the slate.
  • Arsenal probably won’t score, nor shoot.


For the first game of the midweek slate we have a real clash of stats with Brighton making the quick trip next door to play their neighbourly rival Bournemouth.

As mentioned last post, Bournemouth is “statistically” the league’s second worst team, but arguably the league’s most out of form side; over the weekend they fell to the actual league’s worst side, so for all intensive purposes Bournemouth is probably the league’s worst team. However, the Cherries rarely lose when hosting Brighton (one loss in previous 10), and in the league Brighton has found only a single away win in what seems like forever. Not to mention their rate of scoring away from home leaves everything to be desired; Brighton isn’t scoring very often when they leave home, whether on the road, against Bournemouth (hasn’t scored in three of the previous five vs. Bournemouth), or really at all (avg. less than a goal/away game), finding a ceiling from the Seagulls is asking a lot. So, just tor recap, Brighton hasn’t been winning against Bournemouth, not away from home, not against other south coast sides, and it also turns out they’ve also lost four straight midweek games/without a result in seven straight midweek games, and they have issues scoring. Mind you, Bournemouth hasn’t scored in seven of their previous nine games, so by almost every definition we can expect a low scoring game. Despite their recent form, Bournemouth is the better option, but considering both teams haven’t scored in a game more often than they’ve scored, maybe stick to a defensive stack like Ramsdale/Rico, or chase players with floor like Ryan Fraser/Harry Wilson, that way you’re not hedging your slate on such low scoring teams. If you need to play Brighton, use whoever is on the right, as Rico is an incapable at being defensive.


In the second game of the slate we have one of the league’s hottest teams in Watford making the trip from London into north Birmingham to face Aston Villa.

It was only a month ago when these two sides met in London where Watford came out victorious 3-0. There should be little expectation towards any kind of a different result this midweek. Since taking over the Hornets, Nigel Pearson has completely changed the perspective from a relegation-bound side to a far more respectable outcome. They’ve gone without a loss in seven straight, and are scoring at a rate near two goals/game. It’s also worth noting in their previous three meetings Watford has scored just as many in each fixture, so we can expect some goals from the visitors. Deulofeu is a viable player in either format, Chalobah should be the chalkiest play of the slate, and if new signing Pussetto gets the start he could be a low-owned GPP option in a high scoring game. Hoping to get Holebas starting as well as he could have a massive ceiling as well. Villa has been alternating losses with either a draw or an unlikely win (last result was a draw), but the real concern is around their inability to prevent other teams, especially away teams, from scoring at near will. This season Villa has conceded multiple times in over half their games, and in their home games this (calendar) year they’ve conceded on avg. three goals a game, near two a home game over the season. The only DFS appeal from Villa is the defensive floor from Targett, El Elmohamady, and Guilbert. Jack Grealish continues to play at an elite rate, but if there was ever a time to fade him for a slate, it’s absolutely this one; the only upside is he’ll need to score a hatty for his team to win. Villa will need a few to draw, without an active forward that could be tough, so if there was anything to take away from this it’s Watford should score a few times (maybe even the highest scoring team of the slate) with a great clean sheet chase, and if Villa is to compete they will need to do the same as well, on both ends.


For the third game of the slate we have Newcastle United making the trip into Liverpool to face Everton.

Of all the new managers coming in this season, Carlo Ancelotti has potentially been the most effective. Everton was dealing with a potential relegation battle, now they’ve turned Goodison Park into an absolute fortress; Everton hasn’t conceded in three straight home games, and Newcastle has lost seven of their 11 away games this season. Newcastle also has a new manager, Steve Bruce, and in their own way have turned St. James Park into a successful ground, but their away games have been anything but, away from home they avg. less than a goal/game. Both Everton home games and Newcastle are producing low scoring games, less than three total goals/game, so it’s extremely unlikely to see multiple goals from both teams. Both sides are missing numerous starters combining for no less than 15 players potentially missing, so while there’s a ton of potential value it can be argued since neither team are expected to score. Outside a floor player the defensive options are best. This suggest someone like Digne is worth his DK price tag, especially if he hits a very likely clean sheet. While both defensive chases are viable, both teams offer a discounted, top-end striker. Newcastle’s Almiron has FINALLY found his goal scoring groove, and if it wasn’t for Everton’s DCL and his goal-scoring potential, Dubravka would be GPP viable as his ownership should be rock bottom. Both keepers are in a low scoring game and in solid form, however, Pickford is far more interesting and viable, with far more multi-format stacking options. Everton’s Bernard is another appealing option, despite his minutes he’s very effective, cheap option at home. Everton shouldn’t score more than a couple, Newcastle will be lucky to get one, but I’ll probably stay defensive.


In the fourth game of the slate we have two cities with two teams, ManCity travelling to Sheffield for the Sky Blues to face the Blades.

There’s isn’t much to be said that isn’t already known; ManCity is great, but this isn’t the City of the past. While City has found zero issues scoring away from home they’ve found serious issues around clean sheets, conceding in three quarters of their away games, and for_City_ travelling to Sheffield isn’t the place to test things further. One huge concern for City, the second best away attacking team, has to be United’s home defensive record; the second best home defense in the league. At home Sheffield has yet to concede more than twice, and considering Sheffield has kept with all the league’s best sides, including a 2-0 loss at City, this may not be the slate to chase City with the same vigor. If we assume City will score less than three, United’s Henderson represents incredible keeper value. Sheffield has also done an amazing job at underdog scoring, and considering City has been conceding vs. “lesser” opposition at a concerning rate, this could be another close affair. Fleck has been playing at a very high rate, and if Mousset can find minutes he could be lethal. City’s KDB continues to be the league’s planet’s best player, but outside of cash he’s a hinderance as his salary eats up everything for someone in an assumed over-owned, under scoring game. both sides should score, but of the two only Sheffield can pay off from one goal.


In the fifth game of the slate we have London club Crystal Palace playing host to Southampton.

Outside of last slate’s loss, Southampton had been one of the league’s hottest teams, which was evident by them scoring twice in that loss. They’ve won four of their previous half dozen, but it seems the tide may be starting to turn back against them, especially defensively, which is something that should be expected from their recent over-performances. The biggest concern for the Saints has to be Palace’s home record, more importantly this season’s Palace going undefeated at home vs. teams in the bottom half while conceding only two home goals all season vs. such opponents. That’s either set for regression or one of the sharpest facts of the slate. And in fairness, Palace’s form has been nothing short of excellent, losing only once in their previous 10 (which included last slate’s away draw to ManCity). So, we are getting two massively in form sides, but one has been defensively solid all season, the other looks to be slipping back into old habits. A Palace defensive stack could be viable, especially if Joel Ward gets the start (his DK floor is near 2.5x). With Milivojevic still suspended there’s a massive set pieces void, and while I like Zaha at home, I’d rather chase floor with James McCarthy, who I think is on set pieces. Southampton is equally dangerous on set pieces, and JWP’s DK salary is far too cheap. My biggest concern about this slate falls with Southampton and their obsession over rotation. They consistently use all their subs, and while Danny Ings has been a consistent threat all season, he’s extremely unlikely to score this slate and should still draw solid ownership. A Palace defensive chase is shaping up to be the sharpest play of the slate, and while both sides offer great DFS options, Palace’s Guaita/Ward/McCarthy looks like an excellent start to either format, especially if their ownership stays low.


In the final, late hammer game of the slate is a London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea.

There’s no two ways about it, Arsenal is in trouble. New manager Mikel Arteta hasn’t been able to alter the course, especially in attack, where under Arteta Arsenal has struggled both home and away. This season Arsenal has won only twice away from home, and in the five games vs. fellow top teams they haven’t won, and scored only three times/no more than once in a game. It doesn’t exactly get better defensively, neither. Away from home they concede an alarming amount of chances, and given Aubameyang, the guy who has literally scored half the teams’ goals this season, is still suspended, if Arsenal isn’t fully up to it this could get ugly. Chelsea is coming into this with concerns of their own. Most recently at home they’ve been losing, namely to Bournemouth, Southampton, and West Ham, and without allowing enough shots any likely goal ruins the Kepa. Also, be careful with Marcos Alonso, he may get the start over Reece James but is very likely to come of for each other. Tammy Abraham is one of my favourite FWD options of the slate. People may avoid him in the late game, but given he came off early vs. Newcastle he should see 90min and have an incredible chance for a ceiling. Arsenal could score once, Pepe deserves exposure, but outside a floor option an Arsenal fade is in the books. No more than a couple Chelsea players is equally advisable.

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