If you thought Gameweek 25 was bad Gamweek 26 was something else!
It was a disaster for most people with top captain choices Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane marring their one goal returns with a penalty miss each while Mohamed Salah made the point yet again that we shouldn’t really be looking at anyone but him.
Gameweek 27 comes just before another two-week break for the FA Cup and, in that hiatus, there will also be the return of the European competitions.
Arsenal play midweek in both weeks while the Champions League teams have a single game each before the return of the Premier League.
This week provides plenty of opportunities for FPL managers to go into the mini-break with a decent total to soften the blow of a poor couple of weeks.
Three of the top six face off against three of the bottom six, while run-away leaders Manchester City host Leicester, who have struggled since Riyad Mahrez organised his mutiny.
Best: Liverpool – Southampton (a), West Ham (h), Newcastle (h), Man United (a), Watford (h), Crystal Palace (a)
Liverpool should be top of your radar for a few reasons. They have excellent incentive to push hard for the whole season as they chase the top four, they have a guaranteed fixture in blank Gameweek 31 and they have a great run of fixtures which basically lasts until the end of the season.
Worst: Crystal Palace – Everton (a), Tottenham (h), Man United (h), Chelsea (a), Huddersfield (a), Liverpool (h)
Crystal Palace have turned things around under Hodgson. but they are not out of trouble yet. These fixtures could drag them right back into it.
There's also a possibility that the game against Huddersfield will be rearranged so they will have a blank Gameweek 31.
Mohamed Salah (MID, 10.4m, Southampton away)
I’m not sure if I decided when Kane missed his penalty or when Salah bagged the second of his goals against him Spurs (the two were fairly close together anyway) but last weekend I made a key decision: unless he gets injured, Liverpool have no match in a week, or it's a double gameweek and he only has one fixture, Salah will be my captain for the rest of the season.
He has already smashed through the 200 point mark, he's on course to reach 300 points (first player ever) and he has had more double figure hauls than blanks this season.
The stats are ridiculous: he is an insanely talented player and I really hope Mourinho feels sick every time he watches Match of the Day as he realises that he let go of two of the best players in the league this season in Salah and Kevin De Bruyne.
If you don’t have him already, then you need to get him. It's that simple.
Alexis Sanchez (MID, 11.8m, Newcastle away)
Sanchez’ home debut was a mixed bag: he gave the ball away a fair amount and missed a penalty but also scored and provided Manchester United with the drive and dynamism they have been sorely lacking this season.
I am not convinced he will justify his price tag under Mourinho, though, as that was set after his amazing season playing OOP as a striker at Arsenal, not on the wing under Mourinho.
However, you can't argue with the logic of picking him against Newcastle, who are struggling in the relegation battle and have not kept a clean sheet in four games.
Gerard Deulofeu (MID, 6.0m, West Ham away)
There are managers who will have an involuntary shudder at the name after his time at Everton but Deulofeu is back. He joined Watford in January and then was instrumental in their dismantling of Chelsea last weekend.
The Hornets have a mixed bag of fixtures (West Ham, West Brom and Bournemouth but also Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool) but they have guaranteed games in Gameweek 31 and Gameweek 35 where others will blank due to the FA Cup quarter/semifinals.
Deulofeu has a lot of talent that has never quite been harnessed but in this Watford front three, he could become a force to be reckoned with in the 2nd half of this season.
Andrew Robertson (DEF, 4.7m, Southampton away)
I’m not a big fan of Liverpool defenders and I still think investing in Virgil Van Dijk is a waste of money. However, for Robertson, I will make an exception. Since taking over from the injured Moreno he has been superb, getting forward to help the attack and whip in crosses.
He has only managed a single assist so far but with the string of winnable fixtures coming up he should be able to provide you with some clean sheets and the occasional attacking bonus.
Simon Francis (DEF, 4.3m, Huddersfield away)
Bournemouth are the other team with fantastic fixtures, starting at Huddersfield this week. The Cherries are unbeaten since facing Manchester City in Gameweek 19 and they have faced Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea in that time.
They have not kept too many clean sheets this season but you should back them against Huddersfield, who are without a win since Gameweek 18 and who have only scored three times in that period.
Francis is nice and cheap, allowing you to spend big elsewhere and he is a guaranteed starter in the Bournemouth back line.
The runaway Arsenal bandwagon is gathering followers. They destroyed Everton last week and looked like a proper Arsenal team with slick passing and an eye for goal. However, this week they travel across London to play Spurs at Wembley and then they host Manchester City.
It is entirely possible they will be buoyed by their victory over Everton and present a decent challenge for their top six rivals. But it is equally possible they will crumble in a way only Arsenal really can.
The Gunners have three of the four most transferred in players this week, with only Deulofeu breaking the triumvirate of Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Ramsey, who have been acquired by ~500,000 managers.
I don’t understand but I will definitely look at all three of them in two weeks and probably will transfer in one or two of them as the fixtures look superb from Gameweek 29 to the end of the season. But right now I think it’s best to watch and wait.
- Riyad Mahrez
- Leroy Sane
- Marcos Alonso
- Gabriel Jesus
- Nacho Monreal
- Alvaro Morata
- David Silva