Gameweek 26 Captain and Player Picks
Holly Shand from Fantasy Football Community returns with captaincy corner and her three player picks in three positions for Gameweek 26.
Gameweek 25 brought a long overdue captaincy return for me, with yet another haul from Mo Salah. A late goal took him to 16 points; with two goals, a clean sheet point and all three bonus points. It was slim pickings outside of Liverpool assets, particularly for attacking returns, with just two forwards scoring.
We come to an odd phase in the season with the brand new Winter Break, meaning the 10 fixtures are spread across two calendar weeks. FA Cup Fourth Round replays precede the Winter Break, with Champions League and Europa League knockout games returning immediately after this. Liverpool and Spurs have the quickest turnaround between games. Liverpool’s game against Athletico Madrid on the Tuesday evening presents the biggest concern when it comes to rotation – could Klopp rotate his side at Norwich the weekend before?
The shield pick is likely to be the most captained player of the week, allowing you to play safe and keep pace with the pack. The sword pick will be a less popular selection: if they perform it can shoot you up the overall rankings, but the risk from failure is higher.
Shield Pick: Mohammed Salah vs Norwich (A)
Mohammed Salah is back to his absolute best, presenting a mouth-watering captaincy option. His ownership is smaller than Kevin De Bruyne but he was the most captained last weekend, with that trend likely to continue. He has four goals in his last four games, with three double-digit returns in his last six. When these sides last met, all the way back in Gameweek 1, Salah grabbed 12 points with one goal, one assist and two bonus points. With James Milner currently out of the team, he’s still on penalties too which is a useful source of extra points, We’ve seen Norwich go all out attack at home, which should allow plenty of space for Salah to get in behind and torment their goal. It’s an obvious decision, with the only caveat being the seven day wait between the deadline and his fixture. Will you play safe and go for the Shield Pick?
Sword Pick: Kevin De Bruyne vs West Ham (H)
Kevin De Bruyne is the other big captain option for Gameweek 26, with two big advantages over Mo Salah. The first is that his fixture is at home and the second is that the fixture comes in the first half of Gameweek 26, with the risks minimised from the long gap after the deadline. He has three assists in his last four games, creating more chances than any other player in this spell. He’s also top for successful crosses over this period with 15, converting those three assists from three big chances. Manchester City have scored ten goals in their last four games, and won the reverse fixture 5-0: that was a game in which De Bruyne delivered an assist. West Ham have conceded ten goals in their last four games. Are you going to take a risk in selecting the Sword Pick?
I share my top three players for each Gameweek, selecting one defender, one midfielder and one striker. These are players that I’m tipping for the FPL Dream Team and they could also make intriguing differential captain decisions for you to consider too.
DEF: Virgil Van Dijk vs Norwich (A)
While Trent Alexander-Arnold has dominated this part of the column for a while, I’ve gone rogue this week by consider Virgil Van Dijk. I’m still tipping a trusty Liverpool defence to keep another clean sheet, given their nine shut-outs in the last ten fixtures. It’s Van Dijk’s goal threat from set pieces that could be lucrative in this fixture. He has four goals for the season already, including one in the reverse fixture. It’s two headed goal attempts in his last four, while Norwich have conceded 11 headed attempts in the same period. Can he get the holy grail of goal, clean sheet and bonus points?
MID: Riyad Mahrez vs West Ham (H)
News has emerged that Raheem Sterling is set to miss the next two to three weeks with injury, which could pave the way for Mahrez to start and deliver in the immediate period. He has two goals and one assist in his last four games, with all those returns coming against Aston Villa in that 6-1 win. He’s started two of the three subsequent games. The underlying statistics are encouraging, with eight shots and seven chances created in this recent period. He grabbed three assists in the reverse fixture.
FOR: Raul Jimenez vs Leicester (H)
Raul Jimenez has caught the eye in recent weeks, having scored three goals in the three games since I sold him. A home game against Leicester looks tough on paper, but the Foxes have conceded seven goals in their last four games and Wolves are capable of impressive results on home turf. Jimenez has had 13 shots in his last four games, including plenty of joy against Liverpool, while also creating three chances. All eyes will be on Traore, who has a great relationship with Jimenez, who is currently flagged with injury.
Until next time…
Find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on Holly’s website: Fantasy Football Community