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Week 27 Player Picks: No Glitches Edition

The disastrous tube strike fakeout and weather fiasco of Week 26 has wreaked havoc on the Yahoo scoring system, meaning some of us are still waiting for points off the bench and a true reflection of our overall rank. Hopefully we can avoid any mishaps and get back on track in Week 27.

Under the radar: West Brom captain Chris Brunt has been piling up the points.
Under the radar: West Brom captain Chris Brunt has been piling up the points.
Chris Brunskill

The points issue also means, unfortunately, that we can't calculate Blog Cup results just yet, so please bear with us as we try to communicate with the powers that be to figure out if and when the scores will be updated.

The FA Cup and Champions League fixtures come into play in terms of team rotation and a few suspensions, but overall the return to Premier League action should see a host of solid matches with the potential for some big names to shine. Here's a breakdown of the upcoming fixtures:

Chelsea v. Everton

Arsenal v. Sunderland

Cardiff City v. Hull City

Manchester City v. Stoke City

West Bromwich Albion v. Fulham

West Ham United v. Southampton

Crystal Palace v. Manchester United

Liverpool v. Swansea City

Newcastle v. Aston Villa

Norwich City v. Tottenham Hotspur

On paper, the fixtures look promising for Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Man U and Spurs. We'll also have the lineups for the Chelsea-Everton game ahead of time, so depending on how you feel with that match and who starts, there could be some good options for investment there as well. West Brom - Fulham should be a wide open match, while the remaining fixtures could go either way. Let's take a look at some players you should take into consideration for your Week 27 team:


Joe Hart - Coming off a tough defeat against Barcelona, City should have an easier time against Stoke and the England keeper has a good chance at a clean sheet with a number of saves from the likes of free-shooting Charlie Adam.

Artur Boruc - As it has been mentioned a couple times over the course of the season, the Saints are a different team with Boruc and Victor Wanyama in the squad. West Ham haven't been an attacking force very often this season, so this could be a good match to buy in on the Polish shot-stopper.

David De Gea - The Red Devils still haven't been great, but they've been much better recently and are showing signs of gradual improvement. Crystal Palace look much more threatening with their new additions, but United still might have enough on the defensive side of the ball to keep out the likes of Tom Ince and Marouane Chamakh.

David Marshall - Came up big in Week 26, resulting in a pretty big price jump. If you grabbed Marshall on the barn door, he's an excellent cheap option for the visit of the Tigers. Even at retail, he seems like a solid choice for investment as Hull don't typically travel well.

Brad Guzan - Another keeper who was available for extremely cheap if you grabbed him on the barn door. Villa are a better team away from home, and Newcastle have a lot of players who like to take risky shots. Even without a clean sheet, Guzan should have plenty of opportunities to score well with save points and a possible victory.

Ben Foster - The Baggies are starting to look slightly more capable of escaping the drop, in part due to the performances of their English keeper since his return to the side. Foster's the bargain pick if you missed out on either Marshall or Guzan, and might even be the best pick among them if you're looking to spend your money elsewhere.

Gambler's Pick: John Ruddy - Norwich have been in awful form on the road recently, but surprisingly solid at home. The Spurs squad should be taking plenty of shots, but many of them have been flying in so this is a real gamble. I'm still pretty tempted to take a flier. Someone talk me out of it!


Aleksandar Kolarov - Gael Clichy and Kolarov were both included in Manuel Pellegrini's starting lineup against Barcelona, so it's a bit of a toss-up as to which player will start against Stoke, but if I had to wager a guess I'd say the Serbian will get the nod. If you have a cheap starter like Bertrand waiting in the wings, it might be worth taking the gamble on Kolarov in your starting lineup.

Laurent Koscielny/Nacho Monreal - If you have the Arsenal center back at a discount you won't be letting him go now, as he looks to build upon an impressive and consistent points tally. If you're looking for a cheap way in to the Arsenal defense, though, Monreal should be your man after Kieran Gibbs left the Champion's League match against Bayern Munich with an injury.

Glen Johnson/Daniel Agger - Both defenders should be back for the match against Swansea, which will boost Liverpool's defensive capabilities. Both are very affordable for defenders on a Top 4 team, but questions still loom over the Reds' ability to keep their opponents out, even at Anfield.

Phil Jones/Nemanja Vidic - As mentioned above, Palace aren't known for their goalscoring capabilities so United should have a decent shot at a clean sheet. Jones has more upside in terms of phantom points, but isn't as sure of a starter as Vidic, so it's up to you which one you include in your team, if at all.

Jonas Olsson/Craig Dawson - Keep an eye on the team news to see if Olsson has recovered from injury in time for the fixture against Fulham. Whichever of these two similarly-priced options starts in the heart of the West Brom defense should be a great option to return value, especially with a clean sheet. If Mitroglou gets a start, he's been known to shoot on sight, so there could be quite a few blocked shots as well.

Ryan Bertrand - He's been a staple on the bench for many managers, but he's certainly earned himself at least some consideration to be in your starting lineup every week. Newcastle are a mess without Yohan Cabaye and Luuk De Jong hasn't made a huge impact just yet, so another surprise clean sheet should be on the cards. Even without it, it's hard for him not to return his value if you have him at 1.

Gambler's Pick: Fabio da Silva - The 'lesser' da Silva hasn't locked down a starting spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad, but Cardiff are running out of time to claw their way out of the relegation zone and would seemingly need to make some changes to start picking up points. If he starts, he's got a ton of potential to rack up the points against Hull.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - The Ox has arguably been Arsenal's best attacking player recently and should have a great opportunity to continue his promising run with another start this weekend. If you have him at a deep discount, he's an excellent starting option to free up funds, but even at his retail price he is good value.

Yaya Toure/Samir Nasri - After the blank fixture in Week 26, the Ivorian's price has dropped down to a reasonable 13 and change, and his power may be the key to competing with the Stoke giants. However, Nasri's injury doesn't seem to have affected his form as he's looked at his best over the past two matches. There's a slight risk he might not be ready to start three matches in a week, but his lower cost is tempting.

Chris Brunt - The West Brom captain is slowly and quietly becoming a player very similar to Yohan Cabaye. Before you call me out, there is still a considerable gulf in quality between Brunt and the ex-Newcastle talisman, but he's been returning double digit points for the past 5 weeks with only one goal in that span of time. If he can get on target against Fulham, he'll be in for a massive day.

Hatem Ben Arfa - While his shots haven't been finding the back of the net, HBA does tend to take an awful lot of them. The Frenchman hasn't made the most of his compatriot's departure, but looks threatening when he's in the mood. He's a boom or bust prospect, but the price is right if you're willing to take a risk.

Raheem Sterling/Philippe Coutinho - If you managed not to drop your Liverpool players in a frenzy over the tube strike news and have either Reds midfielder at a discount, they represent strong plays against a struggling Swansea side. Of course, it's Steven Gerrard who's been the most consistent, but he's prohibitively expensive now. On the bargain hunting side, Jordan Henderson looks a steal at just over 8, but is less likely to be involved in the attack as much as the diminutive wingers above.

Paulinho - The Brazilian's return from injury seems to have come just in time to offset Christian Eriksen's steep drop in form over the past few matches. Tim Sherwood has been experimenting quite a bit with his lineup recently, however, so you will need to be wary of who will start in a crowded midfield for Tottenham.

Lewis Holtby - Speaking of the crowded Spurs midfield, the man who was crowded out in January seems to be hitting his stride in a playmaking role at Fulham and would be among the top picks this week if there was no confusion over who Fulham's latest manager will play in his first match in charge. Still, for the price, Holtby is an enticing option.

Mohamed Salah - This pick is entirely dependent upon checking the early lineup for the Chelsea game before the deadline, but if Mourinho selects the Egyptian he could definitely be worth a punt as he's had a little more time to settle into his new surroundings.

Gambler's Pick: Jonjo Shelvey - You all remember the first time Shelvey faced off against his former club this season, right? Two terrible mistakes and two excellent contributions made for a bit of a mixed day for Jonjo last time, but he'll still be desperate to prove Liverpool was wrong to let him go (for the record, I'd take him back in a heartbeat).


Daniel Sturridge/Luis Suarez - You'll notice the order I've put these two in, and it's no accident. Sturridge has taken back the goalscoring mantle from Suarez since his return from injury and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. The only real dilemma you face if you have him at any sort of discount is whether you drop him, drop Suarez or keep both in your starting lineup this week. I'd advise against dropping either, at least for this week.

Wayne Rooney/Robin Van Persie - Much like the United team as a whole, we've still yet to see the best out of these two in 2014. Both strikers seem to be right on the cusp of a big match, though, so if you can guess right you're likely to be in for a bumper crop of points.

Christian Benteke - With Villa's strong(ish) road form, the return to health of Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor and the poor form of Newcastle, the big Belgian striker has all the ingredients in line for a winning recipe this weekend. He's always a bit of a gamble as he'll get you 2 points or 20, but this feels like a good game for him.

Alvaro Negredo - I hesitate slightly to recommend the City striker without his partner, Sergio Aguero, but Negredo's home form had been irresistible earlier in the campaign and I like his chances of getting on the end of a low cross from one of the City wide men.

Juan Mata - While perhaps not as exciting a prospect as Rooney or RVP in terms of scoring goals, Mata has been taking kicks and chipping in with assists in his first few matches as a Red Devil. He is looking like one of those regular 8-10 point players with the occasional outlier thrown in on either side. If you're aiming for consistency, Mata should deliver solid returns for the rest of the season.

Olivier Giroud - After not taking part in either the FA Cup or Champions League fixtures the past week, the Frenchman should be well-rested and ready to go against Sunderland. Well worth a shout this week as long as there isn't any reason he's been out other than to get a much-needed rest.

Emmanuel Adebayor - K2 is such a frustrating player, contributing 2 points one week and 25 the next, but if you managed to pick him up on the barn door before his price skyrocketed, he should lead the line again at Carrow Road.

Gambler's Pick: Lacina Traore - The giant striker contributed a goal in his first start in the FA Cup match against Swansea and will have to build on that performance if he hopes to keep Romelu Lukaku out of the side once he returns from injury. Even if he was fit, Lukaku wouldn't be able to take part against his parent club Chelsea, so Traore should be a nailed on starter. In any case, we'll have the lineup ahead of the deadline, so we'll know if the gamble is worthwhile.


I've yet to have time to digest everything going on in the Champions League fixtures or even the FA Cup results from the weekend, really, so I haven't changed my squad from the team I barndoored at the end of Week 26. Here's where I currently stand:

De Gea, Kolarov, Vertonghen, Koscielny, Ox, Paulinho, Sterling, Silva, Hazard, Mata, Suarez

Bench: Bertrand, Ledley, Fabio, Guzan

I'm pretty happy with the back four, though I'm strongly considering dropping Paulinho, Silva and Hazard for Brunt, Yaya and Giroud. I'm also trying to find a way to fit in Wayne Rooney, possibly at the expense of Juan Mata, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do that without changing things around too much.

How's your team shaping up? Who are you considering this week?