Sanchez returns: Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 26 preview

It’s a quick turnaround between gameweeks and many people will be happy to see the back of another crazy round of fixtures.

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With a quick turnaround between gameweeks at the moment, many people will be happy to see the back of another crazy round of fixtures. 

This weekend presents some difficulties as Manchester City face a tough trip to Burnley, Spurs go away to Liverpool, and Arsenal host Allardyce’s Everton

Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal will all be looking to bounce back from disappointing defeats in midweek, so this gameweek will be a good demonstration of their mental strength.

In the bottom half, there are just five points separating 10th from 19th. So Southampton vs West Brom, Crystal Palace vs Newcastle, Bournemouth vs Stoke and Brighton vs West Ham could all have a huge impact on the table, but they will be difficult to predict.

Fixtures

Best: Bournemouth – Stoke (h), Huddersfield (a), Newcastle (h), Leicester (a), Spurs (h), West Brom (h)

I don’t think anybody expected Bournemouth to come away from Stamford Bridge with even a point, never mind a comprehensive 3-0 victory. 

Eddie Howe’s team can really build on that now with an excellent fixture list that could put some distance between them and the crowded bottom half.

Worst: Newcastle – Crystal Palace (a), Man United (h), Bournemouth (a), Liverpool (a), Southampton (h), Spurs (a)

After a disappointing window for Newcastle, you have to worry about them now. They may be 14th, but that’s only one point ahead of 19th. 

To top it off, they face four away games in their next six and three teams fighting for Champions League spots. 

I doubt you have any Newcastle players in your squad but you should sell them if you do.

Main men

Alexis Sanchez (MID, 11.7m, Huddersfield at home) 

Sanchez is here because of his reputation and the belief that form is temporary, class is permanent. 

It says a lot that he has had an underwhelming season while agitating for a move away from Arsenal but he’s still scored seven goals and registered five assists.

This week is the real test of how well he will perform under Mourinho as Manchester United welcome Huddersfield to Old Trafford. 

The Terriers have conceded 12 goals in their last four games and Sanchez is the definition of a flat-track bully. If he can’t do the business this weekend, then I would be really worried for those who went for him early.

Harry Kane (FWD, 12.9m, Liverpool away)

Kane could and really should have scored a hat-trick against Manchester United but, for once, his radar was malfunctioning. 

One of the key rules of FPL is ‘forgive and forget’. Kane travels to Anfield this weekend as Spurs look to pile more pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United.

Liverpool may be a Champions League rival but Spurs already put four past them early this season (including a brace for Kane) and the purchase of van Dijk has not magically improved their defence. It’s almost as if the problems there run deeper… 

A weekend for tough choices with the armband, then, but Kane might be a simpler choice than you think.

Gamble picks

Callum Wilson (FWD, 5.8m, Stoke at home)

We have already discussed Bournemouth’s excellent fixtures and so it only seems right to highlight their top scorer and in form striker. 

Wilson has managed five goals in 771 minutes and six goals in 1361 minutes in previous seasons, which equates to roughly a goal every other game. That’s an impressive record for a striker with limited minutes due to injury and playing for a team who have finished 16th and 9th. 

He should have consistent minutes because Jermaine Defoe is still injured and Josh King has not recaptured his form of last season, making him a great option for a 3rd striker.

Theo Walcott (MID, 7.2m, Arsenal away)

I called it two weeks ago (if only i had backed my own prediction) and I’m backing the England winger again after a fantastic performance against Leicester. He has played every minute of the last two games and bagged a brace in the last match.

After this match against his former employers (and I imagine he will be desperate to score against them), Everton have a phenomenal run of fixtures including Palace, Watford, Burnley, Brighton and Stoke. 

If he has found his niche at Everton and he’s looking for a place in the World Cup squad then we could see a big return from him in the second half of the season.

Defensive picks

Aymeric Laporte (DEF, 5.5m, Burnley away)

Pep seems to think that any player who can’t be bought for £50m-£60m is overpriced and so far it seems to be working. Laporte is yet another player to come into Manchester City and break their transfer record. 

Laporte jumped straight into Guardiola’s team against West Brom and kept a clean sheet.

It remains to be seen how the defence will settle with Stones, Otamendi and Laporte, but the Frenchman has an added bonus neither of the other two can offer: he is left footed. 

If he can cement his place in the team, then he is a full 1.0m cheaper than Walker and Otamendi, so that would free up a lot of funds that could be used elsewhere.

Moritz Bauer (DEF, 4.5m, Bournemouth away)

Stoke seem to be on the rise after parting ways with Mark Hughes and bringing in Paul Lambert. In the two games under the former Villa manager, they have scored two, conceding none in the process. So now seems like the opportune time to bring in a Stoke defender and new signing Bauer looks like a good option.

The wingback loves to bomb forward and put in crosses, which seems perfect for a team with the aerial prowess of Diouf, Choupo-Moting and Crouch. He seems to attract yellow cards (two bookings in two full matches) but don’t let that stop you picking up a bargain with plenty of assist potential.

Steer clear

Jamaal Lascelles (DEF, 4.6m, Crystal Palace away)

Newcastle are once again looking at a long slog against the pull of relegation. They have not reinforced that well in the transfer market and now they face a daunting run of fixtures.

Lascelles has pulled in some new FPL managers, probably due to his goal against Burnley. However, that is the first time he has registered an attacking return since GW5 and Newcastle are not known for their clean sheets (five all season). 

There’s not much potential here so better off looking elsewhere

Key Absentees

Definitely Out

  • Gabriel Jesus
  • Leroy Sane

Maybe Out

  • Rob Elliot
  • Alvaro Morata
  • David Silva

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