FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 27 Preview

“Are Liverpool bouncing back at Anfied in gameweek 27?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Yurificacion.

With what has felt like the longest gameweek in Fantasy Premier League history ever now behind us, GW27 is now upon us and it’s looking like a potential banger. At first glance, the upcoming gameweek looks to contain a few very favourable fixtures, at least from an FPL point of view, with several good home performers facing some of the more travel-shy teams in the league. There is, of course, Liverpool looking to bounce back against West Ham at Anfield after their rare loss mid-week against Atletico Madrid, but Wolves at home to Norwich, Southampton against Aston Villa, and Sheffield United playing Brighton at Bramall Lane are practically equally appealing.

The amazing thing about this gameweek is that, in combination with the above fixtures surely having considerable impact on FPL preparations this week, we are also up for a few top-of-the-table clashes. The weekend opens on Saturday with a London derby between Chelsea and Spurs, followed by Leicester versus Manchester City later that day. On Sunday then, Arsenal is hosting an improving Everton side in a fight to see which of the two can remain within relative touching distance from the top six. Remember, with City seriously risking exclusion from European football for a few seasons, fifth place in the Premier League could represent a Champions League ticket this season. There are still lots of ifs and maybes connected to that scenario, in great part due to City’s determination to file an appeal in front of the CAS in Geneva, but it’s definitely something for Premier League clubs below the current top 4 to keep in mind.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 27 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Kun Aguero West Ham (H) 2
Premium Sadio Mané Norwich (a) 5
Non-premium Roberto Firmino Norwich (a) 2
Non-premium Danny Ings Burnley (H) 7
Differential John Fleck Bournemouth (H) 2
Differential Steven Bergwijn Aston Villa (a) 2
Captain Kun Aguero West Ham (H) 4

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 20th, 2020)

GK Ryan (BRI), Schmeichel (LEI), Gazzaniga (TOT) Henderson (SHE), Pope (BUR), Button (BRI) Henderson and Pope have been in great form all season, Button is a budget-enabling pick, and Gazzaniga has returned to the bench after Lloris recovered from injury.
DEF Kelly (CRY), Lundstram (SHE), Dunk (BRI) Lundstram (SHE), Van Dijk (LIV), Lascelles (NEW) Sheffield United have favourable fixtures coming up, but the doubt surrounding Lundstram’s starting spot remains.
MID Son (TOT), Maddison (LEI), Sterling (MC) Richarlison (EVE), Mané (LIV), Traore (WOL) Son’s potentially season-ending injury have a lot of influence here, as does the return of Mané and the fact that he immediately scored the winner vs Norwich.
FOR Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Aguero (MC) Ings (SOU), Jimenez (WOL), Calvert-Lewin (EVE) Jimenez, Ings and DCL are all in good to excellent form, Abraham is injured, and Vardy’s point-scoring form has dipped a bit.

Premium fantasy picks

After losing their first game overall since September 17th 2019, last Tuesday (against Atletico in the Champions League Round of 16), neither Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp nor Reds captain Virgil van Dijk seemed particularly downbeat during their post-match interviews. Still, they will be pretty happy with this weekend’s fixture at home to West Ham, which looks like a perfect opportunity for Liverpool to get back to their usual scoring and winning ways. The Hammers are currently in 18th place, which at the end of the season would mean relegation, and they boast the third-leakiest defence overall, with only Norwich and Villa having conceded more than their 45 goals. As far as just their travels go, they have taken 20 goals in 13 games.

These worrying stats (for West Ham, that is), combined with our belief that Jurgen Klopp’s men will be bouncing back in style from their Champions League loss, has us looking at both Mo Salah (£12.8m) and Sadio Mané (£12.2m) as premium fantasy picks for gameweek 27. Their performances against Atletico were definitely not their best of the season, but that also had to do a lot with Diego Simeone’s defensive approach to the game and the at times overly harsh treatment received from the rojiblancos, especially in the case of Mané. The Senegalese forward got booked in the first half and was replaced by Origi at half-time, though that surely had more to do with the fact that he is just returning from injury than with his performance. His Egyptian partner-in-crime left the pitch in the 72nd minute for Oxlade-Chamberlain to enter, so we’re expecting him and Mané to both start against West Ham coming Monday.

In 26 Premier League games so far this season, Salah has scored 14 goals and provided 6 assists, while Mané netted 12 times and gave 8 decisive passes, meaning that each has been directly involved in exactly 20 PL goals. The Reds played the Hammers back in GW24 as well, and with Mané absent due to injury, it was Salah who took the spotlight by scoring a goal, providing an assist and hauling a lovely 14 FPL points. We feel that he is absolutely capable of repeating that feat on Monday and if he doesn’t, Mané probably will. The choice is up to you.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Southampton’s 1-2 home loss against Burnley in gameweek 26 was quite disappointing for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men, as the Saints were finding themselves in a bit of a purple patch, but from an FPL perspective, Danny Ings‘s (£7.1m) goal did a world of good to the 31% of managers who currently own him. The English striker looks finally capable of staying fit for a prolonged period of time and it did not take long for his real potential to start shining through. In 26 Premier League games this season, Ings has already scored 15 goals, provided 1 assist, and recorded an impressive 28 bonus points. No wonder some FPL managers say that an Ings goal is worth 7 points. On Saturday, the Saints are welcoming Aston Villa to Saint Mary’s and at this moment, the Villans are one of the league’s worst travellers. They have taken just 8 points from 13 away games (only Norwich has less with 6 points) and over that run, they conceded a worrying 26 goals. Only Newcastle conceded more away from home (28).

The situation this weekend is very similar for our second non-premium fantasy pick. Raul Jimenez (£7.8m) and his Wolves team mates are playing at home to Norwich, which, on paper, looks like a routine victory for the locals. As we mentioned when discussing Ings, the Canaries are the worst travellers in the league (6 points from 13 games), which is caused by a combination of a seemingly complete fear of scoring goals away from home (just 6 goals so far) and a leaky backline (22 goals conceded). Jimenez, on the other hand, knows no fear in front of goal. He has already netted 11 times and provided another 6 assists on top of that, which means that he has actually been directly involved in one more goal than Danny Ings. One of those 11 goals was scored away at Norwich back in gameweek 18 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Jimenez on the score sheet again coming Sunday afternoon.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for GW27 is a bit expensive, we admit, but Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) could deliver big this weekend. Crystal Palace boast one of the most solid defensive units amongst the English footballing elite, as Roy Hodgson’s men have conceded just 13 goals in 13 home games so far. It’s true that six teams have a better defensive record in front of their own fans, but five of those teams have conceded 12 goals in 13 away games. Add to that the fact that Newcastle, Saturday’s opponent at Selhurst Park, have scored just 3 goals in their past 4 Premier League games (a run that includes blanks against Leicester at home, Norwich at home and Arsenal away) and a defensive Eagles pick suddenly looks a lot more appealing. As far as attacking potential goes for PvA, he already has 2 goals to his name this season and over the past two gameweeks, only Wolves defender Saiss has taken more shots on goal than the Dutchman’s 4. Could there be FPL points at both ends of the pitch for the Palace wingback this weekend?

Our final pick for this weekend is another defender, namely Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens (£5.1m). We also considered fellow Blades Lundstram and Baldock for this final spot, but their current ownership levels (43.3% and 12%, respectively) sort of place them outside of the differential category. Stevens’ ownership sits at 3.2% despite having recorded just 18 FPL points less than Lundstram and 10 less than Baldock (115 vs 107 vs 97 FPL points). Over the past five games, United have booked 2 clean sheets (at home to West Ham and away against Palace) and conceded a total of 3 goals in the other 3 games. That’s a single goal conceded per game, playing Arsenal (away), City (home) and Bournemouth (home). Up next is Graham Potter’s Brighton, who are going through a decent season, but whose scoring record away from home is not fantastic (14 goals in 13 away games). Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will be counting on a third clean sheet in six games against the Seagulls.

For further GW27 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

The armband pick is a difficult one this weekend, in the sense that there are quite a few viable candidates, starting with Liverpool’s attacking stars. Personally, we have opted to give the captaincy to Mo Salah for gameweek 27, but in reality, Sadio Mané is just as solid a choice. Both have the potential to haul big against West Ham on Monday. Mané just came back from injury and marked his return with the winning goal against Norwich in GW26, while Salah has brought his owners an impressive 33 points in the last 3 gameweeks, courtest of 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 6 bonus points. To quote ourselves from earlier in this piece: the choice is up to you.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW27 shows Salah and Mané are the main two choices for most.

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