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Gameweek 20 Takeaways: Fantrax EPL

Every new Gameweek brings to light new information about teams and players that can influence our Fantasy decisions. Injuries, new signings, tactical shifts, new roles, and young players emerging are all essential parts of the decision-making process when a fantasy manager evaluates trades, waiver wire pickups or drops. In this new article, we aim to list everything that happened during the weekend and our takeaways through fantasy-tinted glasses.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Fantrax Takeaways Gameweek 20

Here we outline our Fantasy EPL Takeaways from the previous gameweek and how to interpret them for draft fantasy.

Key Injuries and Suspensions

AFCON & Asian Cup Contingent

Prospects: A chunk of players will be missing over the next few weeks due to major international cup competitions. For a full list of those players and their potential replacements check out our article here.

Cristian Romero (TOT, DEF)

Prospects: Romero will be out for about 5 weeks with a hamstring strain. Spurs already felt the loss of Romero shipping 4 goals against a depleted Brighton and were lucky only to concede one last time out at home to Bournemouth.

Replacement: Davies + Dier/Royal will form the CB pairing for now. Van de Ven is getting closer to a return but still a few games away. Additionally, Spurs are prioritising signing a CB, with Genoa's Radu Drăgusin heavily rumoured.

Verdict: If you need the extra space Romero is a drop.

Dominik Szoboszlai (LIV, MID)

Prospects: Szoboszlai was subbed off with a hamstring injury in the win vs. Newcastle. It remains to be seen if this injury will cause him to miss any time.

Replacement: If Szobo does miss some games expect a much changed midfield than the one we've been seeing over the festive period. With Endo off to the Asian Cup, Mac Allister should slot straight back into the DM role, with Curtis Jones seemingly a lock at LCM given his form. So we could see Gravenberch or Elliott the beneficiaries at RCM in case of Szobo's absence.

Verdict: Szobo hasn't had a great stretch of fantasy games and despite his first double digit ghost outing in a while looked poor again, especially given Liverpool put up a Premier League record of 7.5 xG. If you can trade him out to a Liverpool fan look to do so, but he is not a drop.

Pape Sarr (TOT, MID)

Prospects: Sarr was subbed off after scoring vs. Bournemouth. It seems to be a hamstring injury and there is a good chance he misses AFCON.

Replacement: Sarr was already set to miss time through AFCON, expect more minutes for Skipp.

Verdict: Sarr is a drop.

Dango Ouattara (BRE, FWD)

Prospects: Similar to Sarr, Ouattara was expected to miss time through AFCON, but could be set for a spell on the sidelines after being seen leaving the stadium in a boot and crutches.

Replacement: Max Aarons should see more time but is not worth rostering.

Verdict: Ouattara is a drop despite his promising fantasy performances recently, operating out of position at right back.

Lucas Digne (AVL, DEF)

Prospects: Digne suffered an injury in gameweek 19 and will miss roughly a month.

Replacement: Moreno is a sure fire starter with Digne out, and is worth a roster spot.

Verdict: Digne is worth a hold, and if he was dropped look to pick him up and stash him.

Tactical Discussions

Liverpool Title Favourites?

Observation: Liverpool currently sit three points clear of Villa who sit in second and five points clear of Manchester City and Arsenal, although the former has a game in hand. Liverpool only have one (contentious) loss this season to Spurs, but other than that are undefeated. Liverpool look like they should win every game, but at times they can lack that clinical finish or defensive solidity that could have turned those six draws into wins. The game vs. Newcastle is a case in point. Despite a 4-2 win, Liverpool missed way too many chances, that in a closer game could have cost them the full three points. Darwin has been good this season, but still needs to find his finishing touch on a more consistent basis, he has scored just 5 goals from 8.6 xG, which is a significant underperformance. Losing Salah to AFCON for a month will put even more reliance on Nunez to score the goals. It will be expected that Diaz, Gakpo and Jota chip in as well. Defensively Liverpool look shaky at the back but have been faced with a ton of injuries, and are currently using Joe Gomez in an unfamiliar LB role. Once they get Robertson back to full health I would expect an improvement in that department. The CB pairing of Konate and VVD have had their moments of disaster, but youngster Quansah has shown he can step up. I expect Quansah to only be used to ease the workload on Konate as Liverpool cannot afford for him to get injured. The biggest test of their title run will be on this Salah-less run. Salah could be missing up to 4 games, and Liverpool will need to try and take maximum points especially in the title-clash matchup vs. Arsenal

Verdict: Liverpool are ticking, but their assets will not be easy to trade in. If you can somehow get a piece of their front 3 or Trent/VVD without selling your entire roster look to make those moves.

Arsenal Struggles

Observation: Arsenal are currently winless in their last three games only scoring 2 goals across them as well. This does come as a surprise as Arsenal are pretty much with a clean bill of health, but just haven't seemed to click. Jesus especially has seriously struggled to find his feet this season with just 3 goals in 11 starts. Arsenal will be needing a lot more from their striker if they want to push towards a title this season. Saka is currently their top scorer with just 6 goals and Nketiah close behind with 5. The two serious title challengers ahead of them in City and Liverpool both have strikers with 10+ goals in Haaland and Salah. Arsenal's attack as a whole has only 37 goals, the only team currently in the top 5 to have under 40. Improved finishing will need to be seen especially from Jesus, but in games where Arsenal are struggling to find a goal their defence let's them down. A defence that had such a strong start to the season has failed to keep a clean sheet in 5 of the 6 last games, including a near melt-down vs. Luton Town. With a solid winter break ahead of this group before a return to PL action on the 20th, Arteta will need to hope they can start to find more consistency. When it comes to their fantasy assets the likes of Saka, Odegaard, and even Rice have consistently returned their expected value, while there are signs that Martinelli could be coming back to form. But it is Jesus that is the big disappointment, he is someone that can still hold very strong name value and can get you back a solid player or multiple players, and is someone I would look to trade out. His injury record and poor form this year makes me not want to wait until he figures it out. In terms of their defenders, despite the hot start of all of them including Ben White, I would actively be looking to ship them out or even drop them for better streaming options. Dropping them into the pool could cause your fellow managers to spend a chunk on FAB on them, which can be a great strategy as you try to deplete league funds ahead of the upcoming January window.

Verdict: Arsenal's defenders are an avoid right now, with Jesus also a trade out. The rest of their elite assets are worth holding.

Nuno is Cooking Again

Observation: Nuno's Forest have 2 wins in his first 3 games with only a loss to in form Bournemouth after Boly received an early red card. Nuno has found his feet again in the Prem with Forest getting wins vs. big clubs such as Newcastle and Manchester United. Chris Wood is loving life under Nuno, but I expect the real excitement will be when Awoyini returns in just a few weeks. Nuno will look to his pace to compliment the in-form Elanga who is making United look seriously foolish for selling him right now. Gibbs-White and Nuno seemed to have buried the hatchet and he himself is also enjoying life. Forest's defence still does concede a fair amount of chances, but when Felipe and potentially Aurier are back to full health we could see that turn. Forest should no longer be considered a team you rush to grab defenders to stream against. These guys can score and in bunches. While no Forest streamers have me excited in waivers, Elanga is the one you really want to get. He has returned in every game since Nuno joined, and has scored at least 15+ points in those outings. The former United winger should be considered a solid FWD2 with lower end FWD1 upside for the rest of the season.

Verdict: Stop streaming defenders vs. Forest, and look to trade in Elanga.

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