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FPL Gameweek 26 – Pick of the Bunch

The long dragged out Gameweek 26 is going to test our patience.

I have listed the games below just to give us all a recap of how long we’re going to have to wait for our points tally to increase over the 10 day stretch.

  • Saturday 8th Feb – Everton v Crystal Palace & Brighton v Watford
  • Sunday 9th Feb – Sheffield Utd v Bournemouth & Man City v West Ham
  • Friday 14th Feb – Wolves v Leicester
  • Saturday 15th Feb – Southampton v Burnley & Norwich v Liverpool
  • Sunday 16th Feb – Aston Villa v Spurs & Arsenal v Newcastle
  • Monday 17th Feb – Chelsea v Man Utd

I had reasonable success last week with my Pick of the Bunch article and I am hoping to achieve similar results.

Manchester City v West Ham

Casting our minds back to the opening game of the season, we’ll all probably remember the 5-nil hammering City dished out at the London Stadium.  We saw a Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) hat trick that day who has now been ruled out for a couple of weeks. We also saw Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) miss from the penalty spot. VAR welcomed itself to the 2019/20 season and ordering a re-take (due to Rice stepping in to the box), resulting in Aguero finding the net at the second time of asking.  He was eased in that day just playing 21 minutes or he would have hauled I’m sure.

With Sterling injured, my main focus here is on the display of Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) that day.  He was unplayable for the whole 90 minutes and was rewarded with 14 points for his three assists and bonus contribution.  Since then he has added a further six assists and seven goals to his attacking returns and that’s without participating in the four Gameweeks 9-12.  He’s produced five double digit hauls already this season which is an excellent return for an £8.5m midfielder.

West Ham have conceded nine goals in their last three Premier League matches.  Man City will be hurting after last week’s defeat and I fear for the Hammers this weekend.  Some might feel like I’m being kind, but I believe West Ham could get a goal and I’m looking at Robert Snodgrass (£5.2m) to be involved.  His sweet left foot deliveries against Liverpool caused several problems and they was fortunate to get away with the clean sheet that night. Though he was at it again last weekend and was the highest scorer of the week with a massive 18 points.

My prediction is that it would be nothing but a consolation and City could win this 4-1.  Aguero, Mahrez and Kevin de Bruyne (£10.7m) will be far too much to handle.  The latter should find the space and freedom to attack more frequently as this game goes on, though any three of these City stars could haul.  My selection is going to be Mahrez.  He should be more than cemented with the already confirmed injury of Sterling and I think he’s going to have a very good day at the office.

Norwich v Liverpool

The 2019/20 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season began on a Friday night with these two teams giving us a five goal thriller.  The 165,505 teams who took an early gamble on Divock Origi (£5.2m) enjoyed a goal and an assist that night, as did Mohamed Salah (£12.7m).  It was also that evening that Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) drew our attentions.  He was unfortunate not to come away with more than the one goal.  By Gameweek 6, after destroying the Man City back line, he was owned by over three million FPL teams. Dare I remind us all that this was the start of an eight match goal drought.

I can’t see Norwich getting out of the situation they find themselves in (seven points from safety with an inferior goal difference of -23).  Liverpool sit high flying at the top of the league with an incredible +45 goals for what it’s worth.

On to the game held a week on Saturday. I’m not going to be too clever about this. There will only be one outcome resulting in three points to Liverpool.  How many they score is the tricky prediction.  I hope Sadio Mane (£12.2m) plays a big part here.  If he gets an hour or so under his belt he’ll be ready and raring to go to face Atletico Madrid just three days later.  Mane versus Salah can create a huge difference in Mini League rivalry and overall ranking, and it’s only good for the game. Roberto Firmino (£9.7m) is showing fine form at the moment though Klopp could feel the need to rest at least one of his stars here.  My instinct is Firmino could make way for Origi. He did the business in the reverse fixture and Bobby is essential to the outcome of the Champion’s League fixture.

Here’s how Klopp tackled his last two CL games when playing the weekend prior: –

07/12/19  Bournemouth 0 – 3 Liverpool  Joe Gomez (£5.3m) replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.6m) from the start and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.2m) also entered the line-up in place of Mane.

Both Alexander-Arnold and Mane returned to the starting 11 three days later in the 2-0 win at Salzburg.

23/11/19  Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Liverpool  This time it was Salah’s turn to be given a rest for the Ox, just a few days before they drew 1-1 at home to Napoli.

Klopp’s tendency to not rip his team up from week to week is proving a golden strategy in comparison to Pep’s antics.  My prediction is going to be a 3-0 victory for the visitors.  My captain will be Salah as I believe his goals will keep coming, though do not be surprised to see a return of Mane involved at the business end of the pitch.

Southampton v Burnley

My third game is a visit to St. Mary’s for Burnley.  The reverse fixture saw an emphatic 3-0 win for the home team with an Ashley Barnes (£6.1m) brace making the headlines. The stats read a much closer game but hey ho.

Southampton are a much bigger force than they were back in the Summer, and a lot of that can be put down to Mr Danny Ings (£7.0m). I had him in my team in the opening week as I felt he was going to punish his former team.  He didn’t, though that feeling is much stronger approaching this game.

Sean Dyche will have his defence well aware of Ings, but surely, that can be said about every manager in the Premier League who comes up against him? Ings matched Salah’s four attempts on goal in the Gameweek 25 clash and he was a handful as expected. Anyone who watched the FA Cup tie on Wednesday evening would have witnessed another excellent display with a classic and typical Ings goal cutting in onto his right side before slotting home with ease. It looked effortless as it often has this season. Nahan Redmond (£6.2m) set that goal up with an outstanding piece of play.  He got his second double digit haul against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 24 and looks like he’s found form. Words I’ve found myself saying before so I won’t be lured in. For those feeling ‘punty’ the iron could still be hot. My set and forget keeper Nick Pope (£4.7m) has served me so well in the last three games pulling off 16 saves, one being from the spot and collating 28 points.  If he can keep Ings out he could end up with a bumper score yet again, but I can’t see it.

Chris Wood (£6.2m) is only owned by 2% of the FPL world. He’s already equaled his last two seasons goal tallies with 10 goals and looks in menacing form. He could well find the net again here but I believe the service will come to Ings and he will find the net (possibly twice). If Liverpool and Man City didn’t have the fixtures they had, I’d expect him to compete highly in the Captain’s Poll.

2-1 to the Saints.

Just before I sign off, I mentioned the word ‘punty’ when talking about Nathan Redmond.  I believe Newcastle are going to cause a minor upset on their travels to Arsenal a week on Sunday. After this potentially tricky tie, Newcastle’s fixtures are excellent on paper with games coming up against Crystal Palace, Burnley, Southampton, Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and West Ham. These seven matches look tasty on paper, even more so if they put in a good performance at The Emirates.  I think Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.4m) is going to be a cult figure with the Geordies and I predict the start of a purple is upon us. Anyone feeling punty?

Good luck to all with the longest Gameweek in history.

Pep Pig

Pep Pig Football fanatic! Played football all my life, now coach and have played FPL since the 2006/07 season. I have been on the site for years but find it astonishing that I didn't become a member before 2017/18. It's made a massive difference to my approach to the game.”

35 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Christina.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Thanks for this.
    x

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      No mate.... thank you.

  2. Pompel
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Thanks, good read. Even more tempted by Mahrez for a hit now !

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      I don't own him and envious of those who will. The only way into my team was via Son and I'm hopeful he can deliver again. Good lick Pompel

  3. Fulchester's New Centr…
    • 2 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Thanks Pep. I've said it before, but don't think site does enough to promote Community articles.

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      I saw that pal. Appreciated.
      I don't mind doing my own shameless plugs though 😀

    2. Jarvish Scott Talent
      • 5 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      It's embarrassing, let's be honest. (the promotion, not Pep's article 😀 )

      1. GreennRed
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        18 days, 9 hours ago

        Reduced membership rates are promoting this site? Shirley Knott.

    3. Devo-McDuff
      • 1 Year
      18 days, 4 hours ago

      I agree, they’re generally way better than the lead ones which often feel formulaic and by the numbers, which I guess is understandable given the volume of them.

  4. avfc82
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 10 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Nice one, will have a read later on.

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      Cheers Tom

  5. RichP_LFC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Nice work Pep!

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      Cheers Rich

      1. GreennRed
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        18 days, 9 hours ago

        Lovely stuff Pep. Football and FPL talk without the chances created/missed, xG jargon type jargon or stockmarket comparisons that I don't understand.

        1. Pep Pig
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          18 days, 9 hours ago

          Hey thanks mate

  6. Zambian FPL Addict
    • 2 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Danny Ings you say

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      I certainly do mate. He's my vice and I must admit I've felt tempted to let him have the armband but won't be swapping now

      1. GreennRed
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        18 days, 9 hours ago

        Yip. Impressive and hungry as a butcher's dog last league game versus the best defence. Looking like a man wanting a call from Mr Southgate.

        1. Pep Pig
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          18 days, 9 hours ago

          Indeed mate. He was at it again in the FA Cup against Spurs. He's always been capable and it seems Ralph has made the team realise they "have" to get the ball to him if they want to score. They're creating so many chances of late

  7. wulfranian
    • 3 Years
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Cheers Pep Pig!Agreed on Allan Saint-Maximin.I think he is a descent pick and Newcastle's fixtures are good.I would like to add my transfer in this week.Pascal Gross.At 6.3 on set pieces,corner kicks with good fixtures.
    15 days without a game is a long period and that's why i don't think Firmino could get a rest.

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 9 hours ago

      I agree with that mate. Though on the other hand it's even longer for those who haven't played who could be needed.
      Good luck with the Gross pick mate.

      1. wulfranian
        • 3 Years
        18 days, 9 hours ago

        cheers.Good luck to you.

  8. NielsvanDelft
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    18 days, 9 hours ago

    Cheers Pep, nice read!

  9. Pep Pig
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    18 days, 8 hours ago

    For the record I've brought in Saint Max this week. Fingers crossed the purple patch commences this week

    1. TopMarx - H2H L4 D5
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      18 days, 8 hours ago

      Cup final differential!

      1. Pep Pig
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        18 days, 8 hours ago

        Indeed mate. I'll be honest I wanted to sign him after his first game back against Chelsea but had a feeling Grealish would do better against Bournemouth points wise.

  10. TopMarx - H2H L4 D5
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    18 days, 8 hours ago

    I was all set on my transfer but now you have me thinking about Mahrez... I was going to get Ings, and I could get Mahrez and Ings for a hit... Tempting.

    Interestingly, Hasenhuttl mentioned his system in his press conference ahead of the FA Cup and said how hard the strikers have to work. I really think this suits Danny Ings because he's great at capitalising in turnover situations. A real predator. My concern is how will Burnley approach the match? Could they be a little more defensive-minded than Liverpool?

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 8 hours ago

      Burnley unbeaten in their last 3 and think they'll see this as a winnable game. I think they might have a go mate but Southampton are playing so well even in defeat in the FA Cup and at Liverpool. I must admit I would love to own Mahrez this week though!

  11. diesel001
    • 3 Years
    18 days, 8 hours ago

    Another good article. I preferred the formatting on the one last week though as it was easier to see who you were going for. I think you are going for Mahrez, Salah and Ings this week with a punt on Saint-Maximin.

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 8 hours ago

      Yes it was my first thought once published as well. Probably a lazy oversight on my part as I forgot to put bold characters in etc.
      You're right though Diesel

  12. NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
    • 7 Years
    18 days, 8 hours ago

    Terrific stuff

    I need a little push for my proposed move of getting Mahrez for a hit, and you did a great job there pep. Thanx mate

    1. Pep Pig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      18 days, 3 mins ago

      If you do it I hope it really pays off for you mate. Good luck

  13. abides
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    17 days, 22 hours ago

    Good options! I've definitely been considering Saint-Maximin for these fixtures. His heat map and his cup appearance are really convincing me. Maybe not for this week, but next week I'll probably be looking at him as an explosive option that can also free up some funds.

  14. COYR
    • 3 Years
    17 days, 21 hours ago

    Great article!

    As a Saints fan (and Ings owner) I hope you are right!

    Good luck with the Saint-Maximin punt, he's definitely on my radar!

  15. BeardedOldMan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    17 days, 15 hours ago

    Helpful and interesting post, thanks