Premier League: GW26 Transfers & Starting XI

Ahead of game week 26, it feels I’ve been out of the loop since I last podcasted, ahead of game week 24. Time constraints and life left me no time ahead of the first DGW, but after listening to other pods, they all had the game week covered. Out of DGW25, I was left disappointed with a paltry score of 51, well of the average of 65 points, probably the highest game week average of the season!

Ahead of GW26, I am down 59k from the previous week because I didn’t do the hokey cokey for Aguero, instead fixing a longer term problem with Callum Wilson. However, Josh King was anything but impressive against Cardiff last weekend, as he was given the captain’s armband. I had a good feeling about King, on the back of three goals, but forgot this was the first home game for Cardiff since the Emiliano Sala tragedy. Had I made the Aubameyang for Aguero swap it would have left me with 89 and a green arrow and just 7 points short of 50k. As it stands now I am at 141k, 16 points short of the top 100k.

I didn’t wait until Friday to make my transfer. After a short discussion with Garf, Casey and Gabe, my parters on Academica Vertex, I moved Marcos Alonso to Sead Kolasinac. Now, let me preface that Alonso move by saying, he still figures into my long term plans. The next three weeks are mci/blank/TOT, not the best fixtures when compared to Arsenal; hud/SOU/BOU. The Gunners have just two cleans in the last five games, but a comparison of the numbers gives, in my opinion, Kolasinac the advantage over the likes of Doherty and Duffy or Leicester City and Man United assets.

Owning Jonny Otto, I didn’t feel a Wolves defensive double was smart, but could see them keeping a CS in the next four, it’s the attacking returns with Doherty that would sink that decision. I don’t trust any Leicester defensive assets, even with 7 clean sheets on the season. They can play well against the big six, but then drop goals to Cardiff, Palace and Fulham. United assets, still not sold on that defense. They are looking better, but not for my starting XI. That left Kolasinac as the best short term option.

TRANFERS OPTIONS – NEXT 3 WEEKS

It’s going to become a challenge providing short term assets for the upcoming week(s), based on the strategy and how you are approaching the upcoming “business end” of the season. The Kolasinac moves sets my defense for three weeks and SHOULD allow me to roll a FT ahead of BGW27, leaving me with a full 15-man squad.

If you are in need of a few short term players to bridge the gap, you might look Martin Dubravka (NEW/£5.0/0.6%), made a bad mistake last week against Spurs, but the Magpies have wolv/HUD/BUR in the next three. Defensively, the options are opening up, at budget prices when compared to many of the premium priced options being played. Harry Maguire (LEI/£5.4/8.7%) if my top choice at Leicester City, has been vital for the Foxes at both ends of the pitch, but get the glory like teammate, Ricardo Pereira (LEI/£5.3/11.6%), who’s been in a much more advanced position. However the addition of Youri Tielemans might cut into Pereira’s advanced play. Also love Sead Kolasinac (ARS/£5.0/5.6%) with their next three; hud/SOU/BOU, could be big points against weak opposition.

Some of the luster has been lost in the midfield, as David Brooks, the perennial budget favorite is still sidelined. I like the look of Dwight McNeil (BUR/£4.4/0.3%), he’s been putting in good minutes and is very attack minded for a Clarets team that has turned it around. Pascal Groß (BHA/£6.7/1.7%) is that shout from left field, a but price restrictive, but excellent fixtures. He’s found a bit of form, three returns in the last five games. Another player that has impressed me, Harvey Barnes (LEI/£5.5/0.0%), he’s looks highly impressive for the Foxes down the left. Plays well with Vardy and Maddison, great run for the Foxes.

Up top we need to look at Ashley Barnes (BUR/£5.6/1.4%), should of had a PK last week, but looked active and dangerous in attack. Rondon (NEW/£5.7/3.6%), two returns in the last three games, continues to look dangerous and Newcastle will need him to add to his 6 goals on the season. Finally, Bobby Reid (CAR/£5.2/1.0%) is more of an enabler, but like so many budget forward doesn’t necessary get the playing time. Not sure if the two goals last week means he’s guaranteed minutes.

STARTING XI 

It’s another week that I need to reverse the big red arrow from the previous DGW. It was a bit hit to my OR but like the match ups my starting XI have. My defense is primed for a big week as they have SOU/BOU/HUD/NEW/WHU as their opposition. That said, clean sheets have been very tough to come by, which has been the trend in the past few years come the turn of the year.

Neil Etheridge retains his spot as my starting goalkeeper, hosting So’ton. Defensively, I line up with back five, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk face a Bournemouth team that is without Brooks and Wilson. New boy, Sead Kolasinac makes his first appearance in my squad, but for just three weeks. Jonny (NEW) and Wan-Bissaka (WHU) come off the bench to round out a defensive, 5-3-2 formation.

I’ve decided to rest Ryan Fraser, away to Liverpool, but more importantly just a single return in the last five games. Mo Salah will start and get the captain’s armband. Salah finished on 21 points against the Cherries at Dean Court. Paul Pogba, away to Fulham gets the start and could get a great differential captain, unless you own Salah. Heung-min Son, on the back of two goals in two games will act as the main attacker for Spurs, as they host Leicester at Wembley.

Up top, there is a concern, as Aubameyang has been flagged with an illness. Arsenal are away to Huddersfield and healthy, he too would be a great differential captain. Do they need him if he is less than 100% healthy? Probably not. Could he miss the game or be limited? Possibly. Marcus Rashford also starts at Craven Cottage, punching well above his price, but has been nothing short of outstanding since coming in.

Could be another high scoring average week across FPL, depending on how it plays out. Many premium teams playing minnows. Liverpool need to have a statement game after mediocrity in their last two games.

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