Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 25 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Nowadays I’m mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
As someone who decided to triple-captain Sadio Mané in Gameweek 24 - and dropped from 150k to 400k in overall rank - I'd rather forget about the past few days and look in to repairing some of the potentially season-wrecking damage this coming weekend. Let's get in to the Gameweek 25 fixtures.
Saturday 1 February 2020
Leicester v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd
Liverpool v Southampton
Newcastle v Norwich
Watford v Everton
West Ham v Brighton
Man Utd v Wolves
Sunday 2 February 2020
Burnley v Arsenal
Spurs v Man City
Gameweek 25 brings us another regulation 11:30am GMT Saturday FPL deadline and it should be a cracker as Leicester host Chelsea in the early kick off. As always our main focus will be on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals or potential clean sheet points on the cards. Unfortunately for us there aren't many sides meeting the criteria this gameweek, with only Liverpool hosting Southampton and Manchester City visiting at Spurs looking nailed on for three points. There's an argument to made that the remaining eight fixtures could all end in score draws but we'll look to pick out a few players from the pack to act as decent differentials. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of the deadline ...
Jack Grealish (MF - Aston Villa @ Bournemouth) - If Jack Grealish doesn't make England's Euro 2020 squad come the end of the season then I'll start to seriously question Gareth Southgate's judgement, especially if he keeps picking Ross Barkley. Aston Villa's captain and talisman and been instrumental in the club's best displays this season and has contributed seven goals and six assists, often in important moments to help keep Villa heads above the relegation zone. This weekend's clash with out-of-form Bournemouth is massive for both sides and my gut feeling is the away team, full of confidence from reaching the Carabao Cup final, will edge this one with Grealish running the show
Lewis Dunk (DF - Brighton @ West Ham) - Lewis Dunk is quietly having a fine season for Brighton and not just due to his solid displays in the heart of defence which has helped the Seagulls to six Premier League clean sheets. The 28-year old has proved a regular threat in the opposition's box, helping himself to two goals and three assists and picking up FPL bonus points on no fewer than seven occasions already. An away clash at the hapless Hammers presents a big opportunity for Graham Potter's men to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone and I have a strong hunch that Dunk will play a key role at both ends of the pitch once again.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (FW - Arsenal @ Burnley) - There's a new wave of optimism around Arsenal right now which can be attributed almost entirely down to Mikel Arteta. His impact has been near instantaneous with the team playing with freedom and showing grit and determination that had been seriously lacking in the final months of Uni Emery's reign. Admittedly the results haven't been spectacular but in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang they have been missing their best player for the past three games and he returns for the trip to Burnley this weekend. Despite the Gunners' earlier struggles Aubameyang has bagged an impressive 14 goals in 21 Premier League games this season and can enhance those numbers further at Turf Moor.
Abdoulaye Doucouré (MF - Watford v Everton) - You could call this one a bit of a curveball but I like what I've seen of Abdoulaye Doucouré since Nigel Person arrived at Watford. The talented midfielder has proved a handy fantasy asset in previous seasons but found himself in a more defensive role under the Hornets' past two managers, something his new gaffer has corrected right away. Doucouré is now playing a more attacking role in the space between midfield and Troy Deeney and it's paying dividends, with the Frenchman grabbing two goals and two assists in his past five appearances. Everton visit Vicarage Road still a little bit brittle so I fancy a home win here and fantasy returns for number 16.
Vice-Captain: Sergio Agüero (FW - Manchester City @ Tottenham) - As a Spurs fan I'm too scared to look at Sergio Agüero's goalscoring record against us, but I know it's very, very impressive, and I do fear for José Mourinho and his squad this weekend. While the league position doesn't look too bad right now, with the team sitting in sixth just six points off the Champions League spot, they are not playing well and if Manchester City grab an early goal this one could end up a bit of a hammering. If that does happen you'd imagine Aguero profiting more than any other City player and so he'd be my VC (If I owned him).
Captain: Mohamed Salah (MF - Liverpool v Southampton) - As close to a no-brainer as you're ever likely to get given fixtures and injuries. Mohamed Salah is by far and away the best captain choice for Gameweek 25 as champions-elect Liverpool face Southampton in front of the Anfield faithful. With Sadio Mané still out injured it will be down to Salah to provide the bulk of attacking impetuous as he did to great effect against West Ham in midweek, leading to a simple decision to bring the Egyptian in on my FPL free transfer (for Mane) and hand him the armband.
That's it for Gameweek 25's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend.