It may not feel like it but we are well in to the final third of the season as we prepare for game week 27 and with a host of new players being thrown in to the game off the back of the transfer window there are seemingly more options than ever to rejuvenate a flailing team.
GW27 kicks off on Saturday morning before a two week break so those managers who play in monthly leagues should take heed that February is a three gameweek month with one of them just being completed. The Liverpool Vs. Spurs game lived up to expectation and Arsenal showed everyone why they are still a force to be reckoned with. Chelsea on the other hand continue to pile the pressure on their manager whilst Man City stuttered at Burnley.
Spurs have another tough fixture as they welcome Arsenal to Wembley this week but other than that the fixtures look fairly favourable for the top teams and the hundreds of thousands of managers who signed Theo Walcott this week will be glad to see him up against Crystal Palace rather than his old team. It is worth noting that Spurs, Swansea and Huddersfield all have FA Cup 4th Round replays to navigate before GW27 kicks off.
We assess the fixtures and consider who the top picks for game week 27 are at this point in the week.
Spurs Vs. Arsenal
The early Saturday kick off is perhaps the tie of the weekend as Spurs look to make home advantage count over their fierce rivals. Harry Kane almost had me in tears when he missed the first penalty last week and had he missed the second I would have been having a very restless night last Sunday, however he bounced back and showed his class and mental strength to bury the second penalty and that will do him good going in to this game.
Arsenal were dominant against Everton but Spurs would have been worthy winners at Anfield in what was a much tougher game. Arsenal can’t afford to to Wembley and play a tight game and that should play in to the hands of the home team. This looks like a classic in the making and with Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang looking like they have never been apart there are plenty of options for players from the Gunners.
Kane has to remain in your side and either Auba or Mikky probably deserve a spot. Arsenal have Man City next so it may pay to keep a watching a brief for now given these tough fixtures and Spurs have the personnel to keep Arsenal out if they take such an approach. A fascinating game in prospect that is for sure.
Everton Vs. Crystal Palace
Sam Allardyce was fuming at his players after their first half performance at Arsenal and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him ring the changes in this game. It is a must win game for both sides in many ways and we won’t be pinning too many hopes on players from these teams. Walcott remained dangerous against Arsenal and is worth sticking with if you put him in last week.
Stoke Vs. Brighton
This game is difficult to predict and despite both teams being involved in goals last weekend I will be backing a goalless draw in this one. There are plenty of cheap defenders on show and with Brighton taking on Swansea next it could pay to opt for one of their defenders.
West Ham Vs. Watford
West Ham were taught a lesson last week against Brighton and their lack of squad depth was exposed. Watford on the other hand beat Chelsea 4-1 and looked good before the red card for a second bookable offence by Bakayoko.
Gerard Deulofeu looked very good for the Hornets and grabbed a goal and an assist in that game. At just £6m he looks a very decent option and this is a game that Watford will think they can win. West Ham have not kept a clean sheet in their last 8 Premier League games and this looks likely to be the same story.
Man City Vs. Leicester
It is unlikely that Riyad Mahrez will be avaialble for this game as he wanted to be playing for City in this fixture and thought it was going to happen! Without Mahrez though, Leicester may actually fair better in this game as they will need to approach it with a more solid set up. Burnley did just that and managed to frustrate City last week but this will be a different proposition at home and although City have not been as free scoring as they were earlier in the season they should still run out winners here.
Raheem Sterling might be becoming an asset to let go and if his managers reaction to him missing an absolute sitter last weekend is anything to go by then he could be in for a place on the bench in this game. He was quickly pulled off and replaced by Diaz but it is Bernado Silva who offers some decent value at £7.4m and after a full outing in the last two games could be set for a lengthy run in the team. He grabbed an assist in that game and will be hopeful of more whilst Leroy Sane is out injured.
Aguero remains a top pick and has solid captain potential in GW27.
Newcastle Vs. Man Utd
Mourinho rang the changes against Huddersfield and United still won comfortably with Lukaku and Sanchez being amongst the goals. Sanchez looks lively and is a serious pick going forward but there could be value to be had elsewhere once the manager decides on his best lineup.
This might not be a straightforward game for the visitors and we will be mainly watching from afar for now as far as United are concerned. Luke Shaw is the value in defence but his position is far from certain as a starter.
Southampton Vs. Liverpool
You have to fear for Southampton in this game as VVD prepares to return to his former employers. Mo Salah reminded us (as if we needed it) why he is the FPL player of the season to date and will be making strong claims for captaincy in game week 27. Liverpool feeder club (sorry I mean Southampton) put in a better performance last week to overcome a resilient West Brom side in a 3-2 win but this will much more difficult for the south coast club.
Liverpool have stuttered after playing well in big games this season and they will be hopeful of a good win here. Salah is the key man of course.
Chelsea Vs. West Brom
Chelsea have to show some character in this game and they need a response after back to back defeats. They need a striker in this game to give them some balance and it could be the turn of Giroud who made a 25 minute cameo in the game against Watford.
I wouldn’t be jumping all over any Chelsea players right now and considering the prices of their defenders they are hard to justify having in your team. Another one to avoid for now.
We will back with the podcast on Wednesday night this week so leave your questions/comments for the team below or send us an email at support@fantasyfootballedge and we will cover them if we can.