Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 27 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.
It seems like forever since Gameweek 26 began and overall it was an average one for my own FPL team. 57 points was the total returns across the starting XI which was enough to keep me hovering around 300k overall, but things have definitely stagnated a bit and need a boost this weekend. Let's get in to the Gameweek 27 fixtures.
Saturday 22 February 2020
Chelsea v Spurs
Burnley v Bournemouth
Crystal Palace v Newcastle
Sheffield Utd v Brighton
Southampton v Aston Villa
Leicester v Man City
Sunday 23 February 2020
Man Utd v Watford
Wolves v Norwich
Arsenal v Everton
Monday 24 February 2020
Liverpool v West Ham
Gameweek 27 brings us another regulation 11:30am GMT Saturday FPL deadline and it should be a cracking London derby as Chelsea host Tottenham 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. Liverpool are the pick of the bunch by far with a home game against West Ham coming up on Monday night, with Southampton hosting Aston Villa and Wolves at home to Norwich also well worth a look. Manchester United will be favourite to beat Watford at home and Sheffield United should be too strong for Brighton, while the remaining games look to close to call on paper but we'll look to pick out a differential or two. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of the deadline ...
Giovani Lo Celso (MF - Tottenham @ Chelsea) - After a slow start to his Tottenham career - not helped by injuries - Giovani Lo Celso is starting to look like a proper player. The Argentinian has a similar style to Christian Eriksen in his prime and has been able to dictate the pace of the action whenever he's started games under José Mourinho. Lo Celso's second-half introduction alongside Erik Lamela helped change the momentum of the midweek Champions League clash with RB Leipzig and it's clear he's now the designated set-piece taker, which adds to his fantasy potential. I expect him to play a key role from the start at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and he can act as a great differential at a reasonable price.
Patrick Van Aanholt (DF - Crystal Palace v Newcastle) - Two of the most inconsistent sides in the Premier League clash at Selhurst Park this weekend, with Crystal Palace desperate to halt their nose-dive towards the relegation zone. The Eagles are bottom of the form table right now but will see a home match up with Newcastle as a huge opportunity to start moving in the right direction, and I feel they can win this one to nil with Steve Bruce's men struggling for goals on the road. Enter Patrick Van Aanholt, who offers the chance to get in on the potential clean sheet safe in the confidence that the full back will get forward plenty and is due a goal.
Raúl Jiménez (FW - Wolves v Norwich) - Raúl Jiménez had a relatively slow start to the season as Wolves struggled to balance Premier League and Europa League commitments but normal service has been resumed in recent months. The Mexican has notched eleven goals, provided six assists and remains one of the most complete and consistent forward players in the division, providing genuine value for money to FPL managers at his current £7.8illion price-tag. Rock-bottom Norwich have improved their defence but still give up way too many chances in the box which should provide Jiménez the opportunity to build on his already-impressive stats.
John Fleck (MF - Sheffield United v Brighton) - Continued uncertainty regarding the starting status of Lord John Lundstram has forced us to look to elsewhere for Sheffield United investment in recent weeks. There are plenty of defensive alternatives on offer but if you look further up the pitch you'll notice John Fleck has been quietly having an extremely effective season for the Blades. Fleck has a respectable five goals and two assists to his name and is playing as the most advance midfielder in Chris Wilder's system, so the Scot is an interesting budget option priced at just 5.1million and facing a winnable home fixture against Brighton.
Vice-Captain: Danny Ings (FW - Southampton v Aston Villa) - That's right, Danny Ings is getting the VC this week. If you saw Aston Villa's performance against Spurs last weekend you'll understand why, as José Mourinho's men sliced through the home side's defence with ease time and time again, with Pepe Reina's performance the only reason it didn't end up six or seven. You have to fancy the Saints to win this one pretty comfortably and Ings is in phenomenal form having bagged 15 goals for the season, so we should expect to see the striker on the scoresheet once again.
Captain: Mohamed Salah (MF - Liverpool v West Ham) - As close to a no-brainer as you're likely to get this season. Assessing all the options available to us, Mohamed Salah is by far and away the best captain choice for Gameweek 27 as champions-elect Liverpool face West Ham in front of the raucous Anfield faithful. The Hammers are in rancid form and could be dealt a real thrashing on Monday night if Jurgen Klopp's men score early, with Salah the man likely to inflict the most pain as he looks to chase down Jamie Vardy and Sergio Agüero at the top of the Premier League goalscoring chart.
Honourable Mention - Bruno Fernandes (MF - Manchester United v Watford)
That's it for Gameweek 27'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.