Fantasy football is back ahead of a busy Premier League schedule


Erling Haaland will be hoping to continue his form for Manchester City

Fantasy football will return on Boxing Day as the Premier League season resumes.

Arsenal will continue their bid to become champions while Manchester City will look to reclaim top spot thanks to the magic of Erling Haaland.

Players have been given the freedom to make changes to their squad with unlimited transfers permitted until the 11am deadline on December 26.

We cover everything you need to know before Gameweek 17.

Check for injuries
With the World Cup squeezed in the middle of the domestic season, it’s no surprise that a number of players have been injured in Qatar.

Fantasy football sites will let you know if any of your squad is likely to be in doubt or confirmed injured, but it’s worth checking in any case.

The likes of Rodrigo Bentancur and Tyler Adams are already suspended so will miss the festive fun but the former picked up an injury on duty for Uruguay and could miss more than one game.

In addition, there were high-value stars who were injured before the break and will still be missing a lot of game time, including Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.

Those who make it to the final stages of the winter tournament are also likely to miss out, with clubs given a long period of rest to recover from the heavy workload they have been under.

This will include the likes of Cristian Romero, Ivan Perisic, Alexis Mac Allister and Raphael Varane, who have all featured in either the semifinals or the final.

Solve jams

Tottenham’s Richarlison picked up an injury while on duty for Brazil
The Christmas season is always busy and 2022 will be no different.

With the first Premier League match set to kick off just over a week after the end of the World Cup final, there has been no rest for some of Europe’s top athletes.

Teams will play three games in nine days and the manager will have to capitalize on squad depth to prevent further fatigue and injury.

There are several heavyweight fixtures also taking place in the upcoming Gameweeks – Arsenal face West Ham and Newcastle, while Chelsea face Liverpool and Manchester City in January.

Some of the clubs that saw games postponed or moved at the start of the season will fill in the unplayed fixtures, including Chelsea, Fulham, Tottenham and City.

As always, there has been an atmosphere of unpredictability around England’s top flight on the return – big breaks always give lower-level clubs a chance to upset before teams reach full flow.

Read more: King of the Three Lions Maguire looks to restore his dignity at Old Trafford
Top scorer so far

Harry Kane will be hoping to bounce back from missed penalties in the World Cup quarter-finals
It’s important to remind ourselves that we start work at the start of the season, so players can decide if they want to make any changes to their current crop.

Haaland sits comfortably at the top of the list with 123 points, with Harry Kane sitting second on 96 – the two players share a lucrative bond on Boxing Day as City travel to Leeds and Spurs take on Brentford.

Newcastle duo Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron finished third and fourth – both of whom are likely to feature when the Magpies visit Leicester on the 26th.


Nick Pope was the highest scoring goalkeeper with 70 points but Dean Henderson provides a cheaper option and has just three points less.

If you’re on a tight budget, it might be worth avoiding high-priced buys like Bruno Fernandes, Raheem Sterling and Darwin Nunez, all of whom have less than 50 points.

Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham have all struggled at the start of the 2022-23 season and it may be worth keeping one of their high-value players if they fail to thrive in the new year.

Who runs the easiest?

Arsenal will have to make do without Gabriel Jesus after the forward was injured for Brazil
The City and Arsenal of the world would fancy themselves against any Premier League opponent but it would be unwise for players to enter a packed schedule unaware of the tough fixtures to come.

Fantasy football ranks each team’s kit from one to five based on their difficulty, with five being the hardest one can get.

In the following five Gameweeks, Fulham endured their toughest matches, including games against Chelsea, Newcastle and Spurs.

Southampton have an easier match on paper, with four of their next five games marked in green and their home game against Brighton ranked third.

For the rest, it is a mixture of matches against top and bottom teams, with Arsenal as the top six team with the toughest run.

That said, there are no easy games in the Premier League and it is very likely that some surprises will emerge on the return.