FPL season 2020-21: Gameweek 25 preview

“A top-of-the-table clash at the London Stadium this weekend: West Ham vs Spurs” (CC by 4.0). Image by Hammersfan.

With a bunch of postponed fixtures still needing to be allocated somewhere along the existing Premier League schedule, the coming gameweeks look like they will be all be double gameweeks to some extent. Gameweek 26 looks to become a big one, but every round up to blank gameweek 29 is very likely to feature at least a few teams with two fixtures. For the upcoming GW26, those teams are Southampton and Leeds:

SOUTHAMPTONChelsea (home)Leeds (away)
LEEDSWolves (away)Southampton (home)

In our last gameweek preview, we strongly recommended to keep an eye on the FA Cup lineups and results. This week, we’re doing the same, but for the European competitions. Liverpool were the first English side to kick off the Champions League knock-out season, and Chelsea and Manchester City will follow suit this week. In the Europa League, Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester City will be in action on Thursday evening. In other words, when it comes to the many excellent FPL assets on the rosters of these teams, keep variables like fitness, fatigue and rotation in mind when planning your transfers and starting lineups for GW25.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 25 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, February 19th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 17th, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), McCarthy (SOU), Lloris (TOT)Martínez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Pope (BUR)
DEFJustin (LEI), Chilwell (CHE), Robertson (LIV)Dallas (LEE), Cancelo (CIT), Dunk (BRI)City and Brighton defensive shapes, Dallas DGW, Justin injury, Chilwell rotation.
MIDSon (TOT), Grealish (AST), Soucek (WHU)Gündogan (CIT), Raphinha (LEE), Barnes (LEI)In-form budget assets being brought in.
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Antonio (WHU)Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI), Ings (SOU)All transferred-out forwards are injured to some degree, Bamford and Ings have a DGW.

Premium pick

Apart from Manchester United, none of the traditional big teams featuring the traditional premium fantasy picks have a particularly favourable fixture for gameweek 25. Sure, Sterling could explode against an unpredictable Arsenal side and Salah could easily put a few past Everton’s defence at Anfield, but we’ve gone for the “safe” option with Bruno Fernandes (£11.2m). United’s Portuguese talisman is on fire once again with three consecutive weeks of returns (3 goals, 2 assists, 33 FPL points) and will be facing a rather uninspired Newcastle on Sunday. United will, of course, play against Real Sociedad on Thursday in the Europa League, which will not be a walk-over by any stretch, but Bruno should be safe for a start against the Magpies three days later.

Non-premium picks

With a double gameweek coming up, it’s hard to look past Leeds United when it comes to FPL decisions. Marcelo Bielsa’s side is a guarantee for goals this season, both in their favour and against them, as the Whites will attack any opposition at any given time. At the moment, just four teams have scored more than their 40 goals, while only West Bromwich Albion have conceded more than their 42 goals. Leeds defenders, apart from the out-of-position Stuart Dallas, are therefore not the most popular fantasy picks in the official game, but Leeds forwards definitely are.

That’s why we have gone with two Leeds United assets as our non-premium fantasy picks for GW25, namely striker and top scorer Patrick Bamford (£6.8m), and midfielder/winger Raphinha (£5.3m). Thanks to his nailed-on spot in the starting eleven, and his current 12 goals and 8 assists, Bamford has already risen by no less than £1.3m this season. With games against Wolves and Southampton up next in gameweek 25, this rise does not seem to be stopping any time soon.

Very much contrary to the Englishman’s very high ownership (53.9%), Raphinha is still going somewhat under the FPL radar with an ownership of just 3.9%, which is surprising. The Brazilian is a starter under Bielsa, has set-piece duties, and has provided attacking returns in five consecutive gameweeks now (2 goals, 4 assists, 38 FPL points). He totals 4 goals and 6 assists for the season so far, and could be a very good asset for gameweek 25 and onwards.

The budget enabler

Rarely has there been an FPL season in which your squad’s bench mattered as much as it does in the current campaign. Injury, illness, fatigue, and rotation all make predicting lineups and results harder than ever, so a good budget-enabling pick can be gold. We believe that Brighton’s Dan Burn (£4.2m) could be such a pick. While Webster and Lamptey remain absent through injuries for the Seagulls, Burn looks set for a starting spot. With 2 clean sheets and 14 FPL points from his last three Premier League games, he has been returning as well for the 0.5% of FPL managers who own him at the moment. Brighton are facing Crystal Palace at home and West Brom away in the next two, which should put Burn on your watchlists for budget gems at least.

A differential pick or two

So far, we have mainly talked about Leeds as the team to focus on for their double gameweek, but Southampton has one coming up as well. In truth, the Saints have seen their excellent early-season form drop off quite dramatically of late, but a little punt on one of their best performers could be worth it. James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) is what some would call the beating heart of this Southampton side or at least a very important other organ. He is their captain and main man for practically all set-pieces, which makes him particularly appealing for the upcoming double confrontation with Chelsea (home) and Leeds (away). He currently has 5 goals and 5 assists to his, and he was on target for the last time back in GW23 against Newcastle. JWP is owned by 7.7% of managers and will surely get some chances to improve on his tallies in double gameweek 25.

Our second differential pick is the definition of “differential” with a current ownership of just 0.2%. After Raul Jimenez’ head injury, Wolves were in dire need of attacking reinforcement and they opted for Willian José (£7.0m) to address that need. The Brazilian striker was loaned from Real Sociedad in January and has started the last four Premier League games for Wolves, netting once, back in gameweek 22 versus Arsenal. On Friday, he and his team mates in orange will be facing the league’s second-leakiest defence as they host Leeds United at Molineux. The outcome of the game is unpredictable, but José will almost certainly get a few chances to score his second goal in the English top flight.

The captaincy

Finally, the GW25 captaincy. Based on Leeds United’s attacking prowess regardless of the opposition and the fact that they have a reasonably appealing double gameweek coming up, we have chosen Patrick Bamford as our captain for GW25. Another advantage to this captaincy pick is that Leeds and Bamford have no European games or cup games to worry about, so Bielsa is likely to field his strongest starting eleven against both Southampton and Wolves. Bamford is obviously part of that starting eleven.

Many of the usual candidates for the armband are facing tricky fixtures this gameweek, so the captaincy could be a fragmented affair this time. One player who will likely attract a lot of attention is Bruno Fernandes as United play Newcastle at home. The ever-dangerous Mo Salah at home to Everton and in-form Raheem Sterling away at the Emirates are good picks as well. For the more adventurous FPL manager, the likes of double gameweek boys Danny Ings and Raphinha could result in big rewards.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics.