Short is not always sweet. Ask Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers trying to dish out a team for Gameweek 27 without their proverbial darlings Manchester City in action in the Premier League this weekend. Not to forget, Chelsea and Everton players – popular among FPL bosses despite their indifferent forms this seasons – would also be free from league duty this gameweek, all thanks to Chelsea meeting Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
That meeting takes four teams out of the equation and brings the gameweek down to eight games. The task for FPL owners is made a tad bit harder with high-flying Manchester United entertaining arch-rivals Liverpool whose Premier League title credentials have never been more prominent this season.
A resurgent Manchester United, galvanised by new caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, are sure to make life very hard for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side who will step onto the Old Trafford pitch with belief in his players at the lowest point in the season. However, the German coach would see the clash as a chance to end Liverpool’s blip and launch the final title charge.
The high-stakes affair makes matters compacted for FPL bosses who are likely to see the majority of their big guns without action or facing a really tough fixture.
Making changes is a way of dealing with the issue, but undertaking a heavy surgery of the squad in a week devoid of sure shot bankers and a truncated fixture list makes little sense.
There are very few players out there that can guarantee big points return this week if you choose to seek replacements for some of the stars out of action this week. Unless you have a struggle to field 11 players, the penalty that comes with making transfers might outweigh the return your new player might be able to provide.
This week may be all about relying on your bench strength, not losing too many points on transfers and most importantly making the right choice for captaincy.
Arsenal and Tottenham players would obviously lead the race for the captain’s armband considering their fixtures, and there’s little to challenge that thought process.
Heung-Min Son, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are the frontrunners, but recent wobbles have seen Aubameyang fall out of favour with FPL owners, especially this week. The Gabon striker is the most released forward this week, even ahead of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero who will not feature at all this weekend.
Aubameyang has just one goal in his last five games. Thanks to his high price tag, patience runs thinner very quickly with him and other players of his price tag, but this where FPL owners must realise that Aubameyang has been one of the consistent scorers in the last calendar year despite playing for a team that’s in a transition.
Another factor that goes in favour of Aubameyang is that the Gunners have two fairly easy games in front of them and that’s where Aubameyang truly shines. Home games against Southampton and Bournemouth could see the former Borussia Dortmund get back among the goals and revive his bid for the golden boot.
Transferring Aubameyang out could lead to big losses for FPL owners if he matches his exploits against the lesser teams this season. 13 out of his 15 goals have come against teams outside the top six and nine out of the fifteen strikes have come at the Emirates stadium. While Lacazette has emerged as a fine alternative, undermining Aubameyang’s goalscoring ability comes with a lot of risks. Stick with the Arsenal man and avoid possible regret later.
Top picks for GW 27
Ricardo Perreira (Leicester City): The right-back operates mostly as a winger for Claude Puel’s team and has racked up six assists this season along with two goals. There’s plenty of green and few traces of red in their fixture list, thus making the £5.4m defender a highly desirable option.
Joshua King (Bournemouth): Callum Wilson’s absence has allowed King to lead the Bournemouth attack. King has scored eight goals this season, three of which have come in their last two games at the Vitality. Wolves have been off late but expect the law of averages to catch up with them soon. This might well be the game and if that’s the case, King is likely to profit most.
Fabian Schar (Newcastle United): Schar has done more than just carrying out his defensive duties. A brace a few weeks back wasn’t just a one-off. The Newcastle defender showed his attacking instincts with an assist last week. With three homes games in their next four games, Schar could be very handy especially at a very low price of £4.6m
Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United): A real bargain at a price of just £4.3m. The Magpies midfielder has two assists and a goal in his last four games that have seen him become a regular starter in Rafael Benitez’s setup.
As mentioned in the article before, captain’s choice is going to be very critical this week. For me, there are three candidates. Aubameyang, Son and Paul Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder has been in sublime form and if United to win at the weekend he has to play a big part. Son’s consistency and a fairly easy game make him the frontrunner, but Aubameyang’s pedigree and Pogba’s form make the battle interesting. I might stick my neck out and go with the French World Cup winner, not the safest choice, but not the most popular choice this weekend, so might pay rich dividends.
Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 17:06:08 IST