In a reverse of game week 13, Manchester United host Tottenham in a full programme of fixtures on New Year's Day
With Christmas now gone for another year, thoughts turn to work, to taking down the decorations, to the January detox. And, of course, to the culmination of the football season.
After gorging ourselves on the surfeit of football available over the festive season, it is not just our waistlines which are bulging but also our fantasy football accounts.
We are past the halfway point: 19 games down, 19 games to go. So much has happened, so much can happen.
As we sail past the end of 2013, we welcome the advent of 2014 with a full programme of English Premier League fixtures. Game week 20 is that odd round of matches which mirrors game week 13, played on the last weekend of November.
A Liverpool side who are giddy with title aspirations will hope to avenge the 3-1 defeat which Hull inflicted on them. Manchester City, in second, will hope that they do not incur the wrath of a Swansea team who have been insipid of late.
Can Tottenham, with former player Tim Sherwood now steadying the ship, end Manchester United's four-game win sequence?
At the bottom of the table, fans of Crystal Palace will hope that Tony Pulis can help the Eagles fly higher after they escaped the relegation zone. A home game against Norwich may help them to spread their wings.
Let's now take a look at the players we should take forward into 2014 and those who we can leave behind in 2013.
Fantasy football stats from Fantasy Premier League.
Opponent: Cardiff City (H)
Fantasy Price: £9.6 million
Fantasy points so far: 61
In each of the last four seasons, the team which has been atop the English Premier League when the new year begins has gone on to win the title. As the clock nears midnight on December 31, Arsenal are numero uno, one point clear of Manchester City.
Whilst there are still another 19 games to go, capturing the league title would be an incredible way for the Gunners to end their eight-year trophy drought.
Like all title winners, though, they will have to deal with bouts of misfortune. Key wins over West Ham and Newcastle have proved to be Pyrrhic victories: crucial points which have come at the cost of personnel.
As the Guardian reports, Arsenal have suffered a glut of injuries during the high concentration of games over the festive season, namely to key players such as Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud.
Whilst Theo Walcott has, similarly to Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, suffered a knock, manager Arsene Wenger will gift him as much time as possible to prove his fitness.
And, in the absence of 11-goal striker Giroud, Walcott could prove to be Arsenal's source of firepower.
Since returning in late November from a two-month absence through injury, Walcott has contributed four goals, three assists (one of which provided the vital goal in Sunday's 1-0 win over Newcastle) and two clean sheets.
At £9.6 million, he is the fourth most expensive midfielder (behind teammate Msut Ozil, Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Manchester City's Yaya Toure). But whilst he is costly, he is a rare breed: a midfielder who predominantly plays as a striker.
With him in your team, you effectively have four strikers.
As Arsenal prepare to welcome a manager-less Cardiff side who are only two points above the relegation zone, this is exactly the kind of game where Walcott can run riot. With the opposition low on confidence, there will be a lot of space for the pacy England international to exploit.
Opponent: Hull (H)
Fantasy Price: £5.2 million
Fantasy points so far: 47
Although they may have suffered consecutive 2-1 losses in recent crunch games against Manchester City and Chelsea, Liverpool have looked an exciting and entertaining proposition.
With 44 goals, they are the league's second-highest scorers (behind City). This success has come about through their expansive and quick-touch game. Raheem Sterling succinctly exemplifies this.
Similarly to Walcott, Sterling can be a real asset to your team: Whilst he is classified as a midfielder, he is often deployed as a secondary striker, resulting in more fantasy football points.
During the last four games, having played the full 90 minutes of each, Sterling has accrued 21 points. Alongside teammate Phillippe Coutinho, the two have formed the wider prongs of a trident, spearheaded by the potent Luis Suarez.
Still aged only 19, the player who was bought from QPR from February 2010 has already made more than 50 appearances for Liverpool, scoring five league goals.
A call-up to the England senior team last season, as he made his debut against Sweden, capped an astronomical rise, and one which may continue with him being included in Roy Hodgson's squad for next summer's World Cup.
The only caveat with Sterling is—as he experienced last season—he can suffer from fatigue.
With Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers favouring a frenetic, fast-paced game, Sterling's style is superbly matched to this, but he may be used sparingly in the second half of the season.
Club: Hull City
Opponent: Liverpool (A)
Fantasy Price: £4.8 million
Fantasy points so far: 61
To complete our triumvirate of in-form English players, Hull City's Tom Huddlestone is someone you should highly consider transferring in.
Riding high in 10th, Hull began the month with an impressive 3-1 home win over Liverpool and, in their seventh game of December, ended it with disembowelling Fulham. Whilst there were losses to Arsenal and Manchester United, the Tigers are looking strong.
One of the primary factors for this has been the steely determination and raw power that Huddlestone brings to the side. Signed from Tottenham for £5 million in August, the 26-year-old has played 90 minutes of all but one of his team's 19 games.
Given the remit of marauding through the midfield and to break up play as to instigate an attack, he is clearly thriving when trusted with this responsibility even if he is not the most mobile.
Against an embattled Fulham side who are mired in the relegation zone, he was irresistible.
With Hull 1-0 to the good going into half-time, the floodgates opened in the second half as Huddlestone et al ran riot. Peppering the opposition goal with 21 shots, they won 6-0.
Central to this destruction was the big-haired Huddlestone. But the man-mountain midfielder will savour this win as he ended a 32-month goal drought by scoring a well-placed effort from the edge of the area. It was also his birthday.
Having not cut his hair since his last goal—against Arsenal in April 2011—the former Derby player has raised more than £30,000 for Cancer Research UK (you can find out more and donate here).
As is the case when an English player has a good run of form, his potential inclusion in the England squad is mooted. It has been no different with Huddlestone.
Whilst the player himself played down his chances, his club manager Steve Bruce stated that the former Spurs player should be included in Roy Hodgson's squad for next summer's World Cup as "there are not many producing as well as he is" (as reported by the Mirror).
Opponent: Hull (H)
Fantasy Price: £5.5 million
Fantasy points so far: 74
Faced with the daunting proposition of away games at Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of three days, Liverpool had arguably the toughest run-in of the all EPL clubs.
With Manchester City being the only team to boast a 100 percent record at home and Chelsea having never lost a league game under Jose Mourinho (a run which, including his previous reign, now stands at 70 games), this was to be a real acid test for Liverpool's title credentials.
Top of the table for Christmas Day, the Reds had cause for confidence. With a sturdy back line bolstered by the return of Daniel Agger, a phalanx of firepower in midfield and Luis Suarez in attack, this was a side who were playing with belief.
Six days and those two games later and it's a case of what could have been: Consecutive 2-1 defeats have seen Liverpool drop to fifth, six points behind leaders Arsenal.
Whilst they can look at the refereeing decisions which did not go their way (an ill-judged offside call at Manchester City and a clear-cut penalty call at Chelsea), they were also hindered by poor goalkeeping from their Belgian stopper, Simon Mignolet.
Signed from Sunderland in the summer for £9 million, the 25-year-old has proven a shrewd investment. Five clean sheets (three of which were consecutive in the opening games) and a string of impressive saves has justified his purchase.
Against City and Chelsea, though, he made costly mistakes. First, at the Etihad, he opted unnecessarily to palm an otherwise tame shot from City's Alvaro Negredo, tipping the ball back and into the net for what proved to be the winner.
This prompted former players (albeit of rivals Manchester United) Edwin van der Sar and Gary Neville to chastise Mignolet over Twitter.
Then, against Chelsea, the Belgian's poor positioning led to a tame save as Samuel Eto'o's close-range effort trickled over the line.
A home game against Hull may look straightforward, but the Tigers defeated Liverpool in the reverse of this fixture earlier this month and are fresh from vanquishing Fulham 6-0.
Club: Manchester United
Opponent: Tottenham (H)
Fantasy Price: £6.4 million
Fantasy points so far: 78
Whilst he may be the fifth-highest points-scoring defender, Patrice Evra is not the magisterial defender he once was.
In their 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday (United's fourth consecutive victory), Evra was a passenger for much of the game. Too often, opposition players would ghost past him: Robert Snodgrass, Russell Martin and Wes Hoolahan all highlighted his lack of mobility.
This lethargy has obviously not gone unnoticed by the United management team.
As the transfer window prepares to boom open, Jamie Jackson of the Guardian reports that a left-back is top of David Moyes' shopping list: Southampton's Luke Shaw or Everton's Leighton Baines (a trusted lieutenant of Moyes when the Scots was manager at Goodison Park, of course) are those in his cross-hairs.
Linked with a return to his native France last summer (as reported by David McDonnell of the Mirror), it looks likely that speculation may become a reality next offseason, particularly with his contract due to expire.
This has been wholly reinforced by comments made in October to French television station Telefoot that it has been his "personal" choice not to renew his contract (as reported by Sky Sports), thus suggesting this may be his final season at Old Trafford.
There is no doubting Evra's quality. And the fact that he has amassed 78 points and missed only one game is impressive. But as the season wears on, Evra may wear out.
Club: West Brom
Opponent: Newcastle United (H)
Fantasy Price: £5.1 million
Fantasy points so far: 26
We shouldn't take too long to dwell on this one as it's straightforward for many reasons.
During West Brom's 3-3 draw against West Ham on Saturday (in a game which should be termed "El Westico"), this was a match which should have been a real advert for the EPL: end-to-end and high octane action, both teams taking the lead, early and late goals.
Instead, it will forever be remembered for when Nicolas Anelka—a player who can count Juventus, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Paris Saint-German and Arsenal as his former clubs—celebrated a goal with a quenelle salute which was purportedly favoured by the Nazis and has anti-Semitic interpretations.
When informed of the impending furore, Anelka immediately took a defensive stance, stating he did not mean to cause any harm and that it was a gesture of support to his friend, the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala who is embroiled in a case of "incitement to racial hatred" (as reported by the Independent's John Lichfield).
Known to be enigmatic, he was praised after the game by caretaker manager Keith Downing for being a "top quality player" (as discussed at the foot of the BBC's match report). A lengthy ban, however, looks inevitable.
Furthermore, if you are one of the 2.7 percent of fantasy football managers who have stuck by Anelka despite it taking him until December to score, you may wish to dispose of him tout de suite.
If your allegiances are with the Baggies and you wish to include one of Anelka's teammates, replacing him with Saido Berahino would be a smart move.
Despite his game time being erratic, he is a constant live wire who seizes upon his chance. Alongside Anelka's brace on Saturday, Berahino showed a cool temperament to bag West Brom's third goal.
At £4.5 million, you would also save money.