With Diego Costa suspended for the traditional Boxing Day fixtures, it leaves a problem for a large proportion of Fantasy Premier League managers.

The Chelsea frontman features in over 41 per cent of all squads in the game and has been amongst the most captained players in recent weeks, thanks to his habit of being the match winner for Antonio Conte’s men.

With his ban being just the solitary game, most FPL managers seem to be opting to take the hit and have retained Costa (£10.7m) on their subs bench ahead of the week 18 deadline.

The search for a potentially high-scoring captain has led to some opting to replace Costa with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big Swede is on hot form and seemingly fancied to get on the score sheet as Manchester United entertain lowly Sunderland.

Zlatan though, at £11.5m is not an option open to many, even those opting to offload Costa. For those who can afford him, the United star looks a solid bet for the boxing day armband.

The only man to have accumulated more points than Costa in FPL this season so far, is his London rival Alexis Sanchez.

The Arsenal man is reaping the rewards of being deployed as the team’s main striker and is also a popular choice. West Brom however, provide one of the tougher tests in the division for strikers and at £11.9m, Sanchez remains one of the games most expensive options.

Costa’s suspension will mean most managers are likely to turn to another talent in their squad to captain the team in his absence rather than drafting in an expensive attacker to fill the breach.

Liverpool have endured the absence of Philippe Coutinho reasonably well so far and it seems Anfield has a new hero in Sadio Mane (£9.4m) who was the deciding factor in last week’s Merseyside derby.

With Liverpool facing Stoke at home, both Mane and fellow midfielder Adam Lallana (£7.4m) will be confident of adding to their personal points tallies.

With Sergio Aguero still banned, the choice of a potential captain from within the Manchester City ranks is unclear but after their morale-boosting comeback against Arsenal last week, Pep Guardiola will take his team to Hull City, confident of a win.

Kevin De Bruyne looks to be the man relied upon to make the difference in Aguero’s absence but will cost £10.7m.

Guardiola has the potential to spring surprises with both his line-up and formation but Raheem Sterling is a man that could find himself in a forward role against Hull and costs only £7.6m


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