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Week 26: Player Picks

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Loads of choices this week and a nice piece of fixture congestion to make you think about the obvious pick ups.

The big fella is back and by the looks of it his temper remains,
The big fella is back and by the looks of it his temper remains,
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After an FA Cup break we are back with the Premier League and the games are starting to get a crunch time feel to them.

When selecting your picks this week, strongly consider the effect the european games will have on the players starting status and performances.

Chelsea will have played away from home on Tuesday, then play the cup final a week on Saturday.  The tie between is the one we are interested in is home to Burnley.  With all respect to Burnley of the trio of games this is the one you would look to rest any players with minor niggles.  You also have to wonder if the players may hold a little back if they get an early lead.

Manchester City host the mighty Barcelona 3 days after the Newcastle game before a trip to Anfield a few days later.  Whilst Kun is in my current side I see danger in the pick this week.  City's priority all season has been the Champions League.  Newcastle's form has picked up under John Carver but when you have Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Samir Nasri and the new signing Wilfried Bony you should be able to get the job done minus their star man.

If you didn't know the Uefa Cup winners will get the ultimate prize with a spot in next seasons Champions League.  With that in mind I'm not sure any of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton can afford not to go for it.

Liverpool face a home european tie 3 days prior to the Champions League qualifier at St Marys.  Defeat in that one would put them 7 points off 4th.  A tough call for Brendan Rodgers on picking both Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.

Tottenham Hotspur have a home tie with Fiorentina 3 days before hosting West Ham, then the Uefa second leg before a 3 day break for the cup final.   The first thought is tired legs being picked apart by a Chelsea side wanting revenge.  The second is Spurs have to make a call here.  They cannot play Kane/Eriksen for all of these.  I assume the cup final takes priority.  Team news on Thursday night will be key.  Should we see Kane/Eriksen rested they can be considered safe starters for Sunday.

Everton play away to Young Boys on Thursday where the toffees will go for glory.  Many teams have a poor record with league games following midweek away european games.  Proceed with caution.

Of course all that is just my take.  It's very possible all the clubs do a Jose and pick their best 11.  After all, they all really need to win.

The Picks

Thibaut Courtois - 5.92m

The Chelsea keeper is the obvious pick this week but proceed with caution.  It's not impossible Petr Cech gets the nod again and Burnley have shown on their travels to Man City and Man Utd they are not to be underestimated.  I'm in the thought process he starts this one and Cech gets the cup final.  Jose taking his young keeper out the firing line against the side they put 5 past him make sense to me.

Tim Howard - 4.90m

While Roberto Martinez hasn't solved the puzzle of the Everton attack he has corrected the defensive side.  If you picked him up for 3m on the BD it is likely you try Howard this week.  Word of warning like Burnley, Leicester City have shown themselves to be a handful scoring at both Arsenal, Liverpool and Utd in recent weeks.

Brad Guzan - 2.92m

New manager for villa and I am assuming Guzan is still no1 despite Given getting the game in the FA cup match.   If that is the case the Villains shot stopper is a great value pick this week.

Kurt Zouma - 5.07m

Zouma was dropped when I picked him up week 23 and started when I dropped him for 24 picking up a clean sheet.  If you think he starts pick him up, if you are unsure make sure you have decent bench cover.

Vincent Kompany - 6m

Certain to start and despite flopping on the fantasy front since his return at the price a value pick.

Aaron Cresswell - 9.40m (1m for most of us)

Assuming you hold Cresswell at 1m then this may be a decent fixture to risk him.  Sure the clean sheet looks unlikely against the Hurri-kane but I'm liking opposing spurs over the next few weeks.  European football on Thursday evening and a cup final in two weeks are distractions that they don't have the squad to cope with in my opinion.  After the cup humiliation big Sam will have spent the whole week drilling the team on defensive shape.  The phantoms can rack up.

Juan Cuadrado - 3.07m

A bight debut for Juan against Everton saw him score 6 points.  Still too early for me under normal circumstances but with news that Willian, Cesc and Oscar are having issue with injuries I may him a pick up.

Eden Hazard - 17.87m

Mega expensive for a midfield player.  His average is 12pts and that's I guess how the price comes to be.  Certain to play, certain to hit 10pts plus.  Kieran Trippier is man on form and boy will he need to be in this one.

Yannick Bolasie - 9.21m

He ripped Newcastle apart at times last time out and if he continues the form of this season a move in the summer is a very real prospect.  Arsenals system of play offer little protection to their fullback which could allow Bolasie too much freedom.  That goal is coming, could it be this week?

Ander Herrera - 8.72m

I'm not sure why LVG doesn't fancy the young Spaniard in Utds dodgy midfield.  However given the chance in the cup tie he scored and therefore probably did enough to get a second game in a row this week.  His passing, movement and angles are better than anything else Utd have.  Only a run of games will tell us if he can influence/dominate games to come.

Ashley Young - 6.82m

Old BFAY is a constant frustration to me.  As Utd fan his constant ability to give the ball away and cross the ball into areas regardless if there is a teammate in that area annoy.  Further, when he dribbles his need to stare at his own feet rather than where he is going.  This requires me to shout constructive impolite advice at the TV whenever he plays.  But Young is a guy who always tries and under LVG has performed better than many of the squad.  He is also capable of big fantasy scores.  Ashley seems a favourite of the manager and should Angel Di Maria miss out I can see Young in the starting line-up.

Sadio Mane - 13.11m

Mane is Southampton's best attacking weapon.  Full of pace and belief he also has performed well in the big games and in the big moments.  I don't rate Liverpool's defence at all minus the protection offered by Lucas.  Therefore I like a Saints goal this weekend and Mane is the most likely albeit at a price that may put you off.

Victor Moses - 7.61m

Villa will attack much more under optimistic Manager Tim Sherwood.  Against a Stoke City side who have two shockers in a row they may smell blood.  Moses is much more suited to the counter attack and if Vila do attack more in combination with their high line defence Moses will be the danger on the break for non-believers in the new manager rule.

Harry Kane/Alexis Sanchez

If you are holding either or both at 9m and under pick them/hold them.  Kane is the leagues form horse and Sanchez is the only player in the league who can both score in clusters but add multi phantoms with it.  At full price I'd give both a miss.

Brown Ideye - 7.17m

Sunderland have won just 2 home games all season.  Even worse last time out they not only lost at home to Queens Park Rangers but did it without scoring a goal.  4 goals in 3 games will mean a start and WBA scored twice from home in their last league game.

Graziano Pelle - 6.96m

Liverpool are the leagues form side right now.  But during that run one thing remains, their inability to defend the set piece.  We seem to have a soft spot for our man Pelle and there were signs he may just end that goal drought soon.  True, this is a bold pick but as one of those miles behind the leaders I have the luxury of having fun with my side.

Wayne Rooney - 11.81m

His form is terrible and the team he plays in are as unconvincing as you could get and yet I suggest him as a pick!

Why is simple.  First, he appears and knowing LVG I have to say appears to be back in a forward role.  Second, he is back in the goals after a controversial pen in Monday night's cup tie at Preston.  Rooney has always been a streaky goal scorer.  Finally at this point in the season his team need his positive influence.  These are the periods the big players perform and it's about time he did.  I'm predicting a goal and a performance against a Swansea side with less to play for.

Dame N'doye - 7.91m

N'doye was excellent in Hull City's home win over Aston Villa making one and scoring one.  His overall play was excellent as well.  I cannot believe QPR can keep two clean sheets in a row and N'doye is the best chance for a Hull strike.

Christian Benteke - 7.07m

If you do believe in new manager effect then how about a gamble on Villas main man.  His goals have dried up but he had 4 sot and 5 shots off target or blocked in the cup tie.  One more for those not going with the Costa, Kun, Kane and Sanchez route.

Diego Costa

I have given Costa the nod over Kun based on the concerns I wrote about early in the post.  He has been given a break that his body and maybe mind needed and should be licking his lips about facing a Burnley side that for all their spirit are conceding too many goals.

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