Double Gameweek 26 is almost upon us which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 0.9%
- Price: £5.9m
- GW26-30 fixtures: ARS + bur | bha | SHU | – | MCI
We’ve been big on Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) for a while now, having included him in this column ahead of Gameweek 23.
Now, having impressed last weekend in a more advanced role, we think he’s worth talking about again.
Against Aston Villa, Pereira and his team-mate Timothy Castagne (£5.7m) were both fit enough to start for the first time this season. That saw the Belgian slot into the back four with the Portuguese international pushing ahead on the right-wing in a 4-2-3-1.
It was the first time Pereira has started as a winger under Brendan Rodgers, and he looked comfortable throughout.
Pereira finished the match with 33 final-third touches, more than any other player on the pitch. He also racked up three shots, twice testing Emiliano Martínez (£5.3m), and often moved infield leaving Castagne to supply the width down that side.
The new setup certainly makes sense, as Rodgers can keep Castagne at right-back where he feels he is more effective, while also taking advantage of Pereira’s attacking instincts.
However, at this stage we should point out that doubts around James Maddison’s (£7.3m) availability may see the 27-year-old revert to a more traditional full-back role this weekend, or even as a wing-back in a back three. That’s something to monitor, but regardless of where he ends up, we think Pereira has the potential to make a real impact in the coming weeks, and with an ownership of just 0.9% could be an effective differential.
- FPL ownership: 1.6%
- Price: £5.4m
- GW26-30 fixtures: BHA + EVE | NEW | cry | – | che
West Bromwich Albion have improved significantly in their last two outings.
Just a week after they should have beaten Manchester United, they dominated Burney last time out despite playing with 10-men for over an hour.
Finally, it looks like they are able to compete at this level, and with an appealing immediate schedule which sees them take on Brighton and Hove Albion, Everton, Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in the next three Gameweeks, several differential options have emerged.
That includes playmaker Matheus Pereira (£5.4m).
The 24-year-old has now started back-to-back games after being dropped in Gameweek 23, and though he hasn’t returned, he has been posting some eye-catching numbers. Since being restored to the side, Pereira leads the way amongst team-mates for shots, chances created, crosses and final-third touches. He’s also been taking corners and free-kicks, and crucially, should be on penalties too having twice converted against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month.
The Brazilian can operate in multiple positions up front, but has recently found himself out wide in Sam Allardyce’s 4-3-3 formation. The system is designed to get the best out of new signing Mbaye Diagne (£6.0m), and by having a proper target man now leading the line, set-pieces and crosses from open-play will be more important than ever.
Pereira, who is owned by just 1.6% of FPL managers, adds creativity to Allardyce’s team and has perhaps been a little unfortunate not to return in recent matches. However, with some promising fixtures to come he now has the potential to kick on, and could be a solid differential in the budget midfielder category.
- FPL ownership: 0.8%
- Price: £5.9m
- GW26-30 fixtures: lee + shu | WOL | new | TOT | FUL
Jack Grealish’s (£7.6m) absence at Aston Villa will be a huge miss, but the performance of Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) in the second half against Leicester City at least offers hope that he might be the one to step up.
The Burkina Faso international scored straight after the break, and has now been directly involved in eight goals (five goals, three assists) in the Premier League since making his first league start back in November. Interestingly, only Grealish has been involved in more for the club during this period with 10.
If we zone in on Traoré’s performances since the turn of the year, it reveals his growing influence.
Since Gameweek 17, he ranks second amongst team-mates for shots in the box, big chances, take-ons and crossing. In fact, his expected goal involvement (xGI) total of 2.98 is actually more than Grealish, and only behind forward Ollie Watkins (£6.5m).
Aston Villa now have a Double Gameweek 26 against Leeds United and Sheffield United, who are both among the bottom six sides for goals conceded this season, with 43 and 41 respectively. They then take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park, before another possible double and importantly a match against Tottenham Hotspur in Blank Gameweek 29.
Traoré has the ability to create something out of nothing, and given the fixtures, might be the player to get Villa back on track.