We love the Premier League, so we really don’t want to ruin the rest of the season, but the title race is kind of over by now, isn’t it? After the first double gameweek of the 2019-2020 campaign featuring Liverpool and West Ham, the former won both of their games to make it an unbelievable 19-point lead in the table. In practical terms, this means that Liverpool can lose six of the remaining fourteen games and still be on top, regardless of what their competition does over that same period. Sure, it’s not over until the fat lady sings and anything can happen in football, but let’s say that the lady in question has been resting her voice and is ready to let it rip any time now.
On top of that, the Reds have this week’s most favourable fixture, at least on paper that is. They are hosting an in-form Southampton side, while 2nd place Man City are visiting Tottenham and 3rd place Leicester are welcoming 4th place Chelsea to the Kind Power Stadium. Current 5th placed Man United are playing against 7th placed Wolves at Old Trafford as well, which means that the current numbers two to seven in the league are all playing each other this weekend, while the undefeated leader has a home game against the number nine. Are we going to see Liverpool extend their lead to 20+ points in gameweek 25?
Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for the Fantasy Premier League gameweek 25 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, February 1st, 2020.
How did our FPL fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?
|Premium||Mo Salah||Wolves (a), West Ham (a)||16 (2+14)|
|Premium||Sadio Mané||Wolves (a), West Ham (a)||1 (injured)|
|Non-premium||Roberto Firmino||Wolves (a), West Ham (a)||9 (7+2)|
|Non-premium||Anthony Martial||Burnley (H)||2|
|Differential||Joe Gomez||Wolves (a), West Ham (a)||2|
|Differential||Lucas Moura||Norwich (H)||2|
|Captain||Mo Salah||Wolves (a), West Ham (a)||32 (4+28)|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 31st, 2020)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Gazzaniga (TOT), Ryan (Bri), Schmeichel (LEI)||Henderson (SHE), Pope (BUR), Alisson (LIV)||The return of Lloris for Spurs and a difficult set of fixtures for Leicester.|
|DEF||Söyüncü (LEI), Kelly (CRY), Lundstram (SHE)||Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Van Dijk (LIV), Ricardo Pereira (LEI)||Liverpool’s defensive stability, Leicester’s upcoming run of fixtures, Lundstram’s recent benching, and Ricardo’s form.|
|MID||Mané (LIV), Cantwell (NOR), Maddison (LEI)||Salah (LIV), Traoré (WOL), Ayoze Perez (LEI)||Injuries to Mané and Cantwell, and a hard run of fixtures for Leicester, in combination with Salah’s home game versus Soton.|
|FOR||Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Rashford (UTD)||Jimenez (WOL), Aguero (CIT), Aubameyang (ARS)||Rashford’s injury, the slowed down rhythm of Vardy (at least for the time being), the much-needed return of Aubameyang, and the form of Aguero and Jimenez.|
Premium fantasy picks
We’re starting off this piece with the one of last week’s premium fantasy picks in Liverpool’s Mo Salah (£12.4m). Where Sadio Mané sadly had to leave the pitch with an injury in Liverpool’s first game of their double gameweek, Mo Salah ended the DGW with a satisfying 16-point haul, courtesy of 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 3 bonus points. He has already scored 12 goals this season, but only 2 of those goals were scored away from home, which means that the remaining 10 were delivered at Anfield. That sounds promising as this weekend, Southampton are rolling up to Liverpool’s sacred ground. What’s more, with City playing Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Leicester and Chelsea facing off at the King Power, there are not a lot of premium assets with straight-forward favourable fixtures as alternatives to Liverpool’s aces hosting So’ton. We’re expecting the Egyptian magician to lead the line in terms of the captaincy this weekend and he will be wearing the armband for our selection as well.
Consdering the lack of premium FPL assets with clearly favourable fixtures, apart from the Liverpool- Southampton game, we have gone with Arsenal’s back-from-suspension striker and star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.7m). It’s hard to pin-point Arsenal’s current form, but just looking at the results, we’d like to point out that a single victory from the last eight Premier League games is not good for a club of Arsenal’s size. Having said that, of the remaining seven games over that run, the Gunners drew five and lost just two, so it looks like Mikel Arteta is working on giving his team with some resilience. The return of their best and most important player will mean a lot to the new Arsenal manager in that sense. Auba already has 14 goals and 3 assists to his name, and he was in excellent form prior to his red card in gameweek against Palace in GW22: 3 goals in his last 4 games. Up next is a tough away game at Turf Moor against a Burnley team that will be brimming with confidence after their quality display at Old Trafford in GW24, but they know Aubameyang well. Not only did the Gabonese forward score against them in gameweek 2, but he has always enjoyed playing Sean Dyche’s men. In seven encounters with the Clarets, PEA scored 7 goals and gave 1 assist, so we’re hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Non-premium fantasy picks
Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 25 is probably THE star of the 2019-2020 FPL campaign who has gone a bit off the radar in recent weeks. John Lundstram‘s (£5.1m) first half of the season was nothing short of spectacular, both in terms of FPL and the PL, and his 8 clean sheets, 3 goals and 3 assists played a huge role in this. As it stands currently, he is still the fourth highest-scoring defender in the official game, just behind the Liverpool trio of TAA, Robertson and Van Dijk. His current ownership of more than 46% is the proof of how much value Lundstram has provided up until now, seeing as he his output has cooled down considerably since his last attacking return, an assist back in gameweek 17. Since then, he has recorded just 18 FPL points and he was benched or taken off early in a few games as well. Whether manager Chris Wilder did so so rest the box-to-box man a bit or because he feels Lundstram’s starting spot is up for grabs, we’re not sure, but we feel that he has been too valuable and too important to Sheffield United for him to lose his place now. The upcoming away game against Palace could be the perfect chance to record a clean sheet and try for a first attacking return in 7 games.
The second player we have picked in this category is the opposite of John Lundstram’s current status. Raul Jimenez (£7.6m) has a relatively difficult fixture coming up with an away game against Manchester United (though Old Trafford is currently not the fortress it once was), but he has team form, individual form and a nailed-on starting spot on his side. The Mexican forward has already scored 11 goals and given 5 assists this season, bringing him a total of 129 FPL points. This actually makes him the third-best striker and the seventh-best overall player in the official game. At the same time, Man United’s last home game ended in a 0-2 loss against Burnley, which was pretty surprising considering the fact that the Red Devils had only conceded 10 goals in front of their own fans prior to that game. Wolves are placed seventh in the league when looking exclusively at away games though, and Jimenez scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists away from home, including two goals against in-form Southampton at Saint Mary’s, one goal in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal and two assists against Man City back in GW8. He is one of the most fixture-proof attackers in the Premier League and he might just confirm that statement this weekend against United.
A differential fantasy pick or two
As far as our fantasy picks in this category for this weekend go, we’ve gone really differential as one boasts an ownership level of 2.6% and the other of 0.2%. We will start with the latter, Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie (£5.3m). This season, the left-footed set-piece specialist is classified as a defender in FPL, which had quite some FPL managers buzzing at the start of the season. In gameweek 3 though, the wing-back’s ankle ligaments were damaged following a poor challenge by Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury, which saw the club transfer in Dutch wing-back Jetro Willems as his replacement. Now that Willems is out himself with a serious injury, Ritchie looks like manager Steve Bruce’s first choice at left-back although he has also just signed Danny Rose from Spurs on loan. He played 78 minutes in the 1-0 home victory over Chelsea in GW23, he completed the 90 minutes last gameweek at Goodison Park, and we expect him to start once again when Norwich come to Saint James’ Park this weekend. He will be the team’s number-one set-piece taker against a team that has conceded a worrying 22 goals in 12 away games, while that same team has also scored just 6 goals in those same games. Let’s see if Ritchie can record his first attacking return of the season on Saturday.
Compared to Ritchie, Liverpool’s Divock Origi (£5.2m) almost looks like a template player with his 2.6% of current ownership. He is not though, but he does offer some very interesting differential value in the absence of Sadio Mané. The Senegalese winger got injured against Wolves at the start of GW24 and since then (though not in that same game), Origi has been filling in for him on the Liverpool left wing. He completed the 90 minutes against Shrewsbury in the fourth round of the FA Cup and he played 60 minutes against West Ham on Wednesday night. In that game, he actually won the penalty for Mo Salah, which represented his first attacking return since his assist against Watford in GW17. It should be noted that over that period, the Belgian attacker got just 119 minutes of playing time. As a matter of fact, in just 479 minutes of Premier League football so far this season, Origi has scored 3 goals and 3 assists, which brings him to an average of just 79.8 minutes per attacking return. We believe that, if he continues to start instead of Mané, he could seriously improve on that average this weekend when Southampton come to Anfield.
Looking purely at the games in gameweek 25, we would say that only Liverpool, and to a lesser extent Newcastle, have a favourable fixtures this weekend. As a result, the number-one candidate for the armband is Mo Salah, especially in the absence of the injured Sadio Mané. The Egyptian Liverpool star has already scored 10 goal at Anfield this season and despite Southampton’s outstanding form at the moment, we can absolutely see Salah give his successful double gameweek a fitting continuation with a leading display this weekend.
The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW25 shows Salah with by far the most votes.
Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 50,000 euro Weekly Monster. FISO members could win free ‘Weekly Monster’ entries (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee. FanTeam have also just launched a 500,000 euro Fantasy Premier League game.