Gameweek 25 is already upon us, less than two days after gameweek 24 ended, and it’s safe to say blank and double gameweek season is now really and truly underway. Just coming off a small blank gameweek for Chelsea and Brighton, GW25 is a double for Manchester United and Brighton, but also a blank for Chelsea and Arsenal. The week after that sees no less than eight teams double, followed by a double for Burnley and blanks for Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in GW27. Still with us?
Sticking to the round ahead though, Brighton doubling against Watford and Man United (both Away) is alright, but the real interest will be with the red team from Manchester themselves. A double encounter with Southampton and Watford, both at Old Trafford, will likely see interest in the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and David de Gea spike in the build-up to the FPL deadline. Whilst the Red Devils are far from their best form, their attacking threat remains and a double home encounter against teams in the bottom-half of the table looks simply too good to pass up.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 25 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 12th, 2022.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 11th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ramsdale (ARS), Sa (WOL), De Gea (MUN)||De Gea (MUN), Sanchez (BRI), Ramsdale (ARS)|
|DEF||Rudiger (CHE), Reguilon (TOT), James (CHE)||Laporte (MCI), Shaw (MUN), Dalot (MUN)||Man United double gameweek, Chelsea blank|
|MID||Bernardo (MCI), Mount (CHE), Smith Rowe (ARS)||Coutinho (AST), Salah (LIV), Ramsey (AST)||Salah return from AFCON, Coutinho and Ramsey form + fixtures, Chelsea blank|
|FOR||Antonio (WHU), Kane (TOT), Ronaldo (MUN)||Saint-Maximin (NEW), Maupay (BRI), Broja (SOU)||Maupay double gameweek, premium forwards making way for Salah/premium mids|
Considering United’s previously discussed double gameweek against Southampton and Brighton, it’s probably no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) is our premium fantasy pick of the week. His benching against Burnley in GW24 was a surprise to many and it’s true that the Portuguese superstar has become a bit of a rotation risk, but after the disappointing 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, we find it hard to imagine him not being given more chances this gameweek. We like to think of his benching as an increased chance of him starting both of United’s double gameweek fixtures and if he does, a haul could be on the way. Though Ronaldo hasn’t recorded a return since his goal and assist back in gameweek 20, he sits on 8 goals and 3 assists in the league so far, from 16 starts. This makes him the United’s current topscorer and also their player with the highest goal involvement (41%).
Even though Norwich have really cleaned up their act since the arrival of Dean Smith back in gameweek 12, this GW25 preview would not be complete without at least one Manchester City asset. The Cityzens are the dominant force in the Premier League at the moment and up next for them are the Canaries at Carrow Road. We can really see that one going only one way and because of that, Phil Foden (£8.0m) is our non-premium fantasy pick of the week. The young England international has started the last three games, which admittedly makes him a rotation risk, but with Jesus still out, we like his chances. Foden hasn’t returned attacking FPL points since his 11-pointer in GW20, but it should be noted that, while they were dominating and winning games, City as a whole have been a bit stingy up front. They’ve netted just 7 times in the last five games. We hope that the visit to Carrow Road will break that trend and see them put a few past deputy goalkeeper Angus Gunn, with Foden grabbing a return or two in the process.
The budget enabler
Where most people will be looking at Manchester United for the double gameweek, Brighton also boasts a few interesting potential picks. The fact that they play Away twice might dampen their appeal somewhat, but it should be noted that the Seagulls have actually conceded just 23 goals in the league. Only four teams have been more solid in the back so far. While Watford are ineffective up front with just 23 goals in their favour, United boast the fifth-best scoring record with 37 goals. This makes for an interesting double encounter for Brighton in which we can see them record at least one clean sheet and who knows… maybe even more. And for just £4.2m, you can get in on that punt. Joel Veltman has conquered a spot in Graham Potter’s starting eleven and with Dan Burn moving to Newcastle in January, the Dutchman looks even more guaranteed to keep racking up the starts. He’s not the most spectacular pick, but he could be gold as a budget enabler this week.
We previously lauded Brighton’s defensive shape and while their solidity in the back is a fact, so is their shyness in front of goal. Only Norwich, Burnley and Wolves have scored less than the Seagulls, so that should be kept in mind here. What should also be kept in mind though, is the fact that Brighton’s opponents in their double gameweek 25, Watford and Manchester United, have kept a combined total of just two clean sheets over their past 13 league games. To be clear, that’s two shut-outs in 26 games. That’s why we feel Neal Maupay (£6.5m and owned by 7.5% of managers) could be a shrewd differential pick this week. The Frenchman has scored 7 goals and given 3 assists so far this season, and all of those assists came over the last four gameweeks. He’s not the most explosive type of mid-price striker with 24 FPL points from his last six games (five starts), but he’s ticking along decently, which bodes well for the double gameweek. An 8-pointer would be alright, it being the equivalent of a single gameweek with a goal and 2 bonus points, and anything on top of it would be a bonus.
The captaincy battle for DGW25 will likely be between Cristiano Ronaldo (owned by 27.6% of managers) and Bruno Fernandes (owned by 20.4%), seeing as United face Watford and Brighton at home. We’ve eventually gone with the former, as he is still United’s most effective outlet in attack. His returns have been lacking over the past few games, but if there was ever a time this season to give Ronaldo the armband, this is probably it.
Outside of United’s (and Brighton’s) double gameweek, the weekend also offers a few enticing single gameweek captaincy candidates. Kevin de Bruyne visiting Carrow Road springs to mind, as does his ultra-attacking wing-back teammate Joao Cancelo. On Sunday, Liverpool are visiting Burnley and with Salah back in action, the Egyptian will attract a lot of armband attention as well. For a more differential captain, Raphinha away at Goodison Park and Coutinho away at Saint James Park could pay off big time.