Premier League Fantasy Picks: New Year fireworks on the cards for Arsenal and Newcastle

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As a year like no other in football draws to a close, a feast of Premier League action is on offer and presents a chance to pick up some crucial fantasy points.

With others potentially focused on New Year’s resolutions or shifting their turkey-belly from Christmas Day, there is an opportunity to get ahead of the curve with your fantasy line-up before rivals catch on.

Navigating such a congested fixture schedule is never easy, made even more problematic by the late returns of many players following the World Cup in Qatar and the likely rotation on the mind of managers across the league.

Fortunately, Stats Perform is here to help, delving into the Opta data to find four players who could be shrewd additions for your team ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Nottingham Forest v Chelsea)

The Chelsea stopper is enjoying a rejuvenation in Graham Potter’s side this season, reclaiming a starting spot and picking up four clean sheets in seven Premier League appearances this term.

Four saves in the midweek win against Bournemouth helped Chelsea return to winning ways in the Premier League and he will certainly fancy his chances of another clean sheet against a Nottingham Forest side who have scored just 11 times this season – only Wolves (10) have fewer goals.

An average of four saves per 90 minutes this season and 0.62 clean sheets per 90 both stand as the Spaniard’s highest in a single Premier League campaign.

Eddie Nketiah (Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal)

A World Cup injury to Gabriel Jesus threatened to derail Arsenal’s push for the Premier League title but Eddie Nketiah proved his worth in the comeback victory against West Ham, scoring in the 3-1 win.

Nketiah has six goals in his last eight Premier League starts, including in each of the last two, while his record in all competitions stands at 11 goals in 11 starts for the Gunners from just 16 shots on target.

Since the start of the 2021-22 season, no Arsenal player has a better minutes-per-goal ratio than Nketiah (176).

Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United v Leeds United)

Newcastle United are mounting a serious push to qualify for continental football next season and Miguel Almiron is playing a significant part, already scoring as many goals this term (nine) as he did in his four previous campaigns combined (nine goals in 110 games).

Against Leeds United, he could become only the fourth different player for Newcastle to be directly involved in a Premier League goal in seven consecutive league fixtures – where he would join Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Ruel Fox with the accolade.

Leeds have conceded 29 Premier League goals this season, the fourth-worst defensive record in the division behind Southampton (30), Nottingham Forest (33) and Bournemouth (34).

Ollie Watkins (Tottenham v Aston Villa)

Unai Emery suffered defeat for the first time as Aston Villa boss on Boxing Day against Liverpool but can turn to Ollie Watkins, who scored in the 3-1 loss, for inspiration ahead of the trip to face an under-pressure Tottenham.

The striker has scored in each of his last two away games against Spurs and could become the first away player to score in each of his first three visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League.

Since the start of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, Watkins is the third-highest scoring Englishman in the top-flight with 28 goals – only Jamie Vardy (31) and Harry Kane (53) have more.

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