After having to rush our Togga PXI player picks through the festive period, we now get a sudden (but welcome) slow period. Ten days to finalize our GW-25 PXI picks seems like an eternity!
Ahead of the 25th match-week, we’ve lost old friends (Manuel Lanzini and Philippe Coutinho), gained new ones (Jurgen Locadia and Guido Carrillo) and welcomed old ones (Theo Walcott and Henrikh Mkhitaryan).
With the January transfer window in full swing, why don’t we take five minutes to sort through our Togga PXI picks before we return to more news of outlandish transfer reports that will never happen (“Messi in talks to join Guardiola!”) or over-hyped moves that will matter not one iota come season’s end (“Dutch sniper Locadia is Brighton’s record transfer!”)
As Bill Belichick likes to say, we’re on to GW-25.
Kasper Schmeichel (@ Everton); Jack Butland (vs. Watford)
At this stage in the season I always find it a bit tougher to predict clean sheets (see: GW-25’s Swansea v Liverpool, a clean sheet yes, but not for the keeper I expected), so I prefer to rely on expected save totals. I think Leicester’s Schmeichel and Stoke’s Butland should each face a good number of shots while retaining a chance at a clean sheet. Arsenal’s Petr Cech visits Swansea and so is also under consideration. Right now I’m leaning toward Denmark’s #1 at Everton’s meh attack.
Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal (@Swansea); Virgil van Dijk (@ Huddersfield); Marcos Alonso (vs. Bournemouth); Nicolas Otamendi (vs. West Brom); Kurt Zouma (vs. Watford)
Monreal is white hot, so if he starts I’m pretty sure he’ll be in my PXI lineup. When in doubt, I usually like to throw in Mustafi, whose points-per-match (13.10) rank him second among defenders having than 1,000 minutes played (behind only regular PXI-god Marcos Alonso). Liverpool’s new Dutch giant looked very good from a Togga perspective in the Reds’ shocking loss to the Swans; he was involved in the offense, spraying Andrea-Pirlo-like deep lying passes and creating decent chances for his colleagues up front. I get the sense that VvD will be a regular fixture in my PXI lineups.
Eden Hazard (vs. Bournemouth); Riyad Mahrez (@ Everton); Kevin De Bruyne (vs. West Brom); Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (vs. Huddersfield); Christian Eriksen (vs. Manchester United); Matt Ritchie (vs. Burnley)
Hazard and KDB are obvious picks; if they start, they’re in my PXI lineup no questions asked. The other two midfield spots require a bit more thought this week. I believe Mahrez has the potential to brutalize Toffee makeshift left back Cuco Martina. My fourth spot comes down to whether I’m confident that Eriksen can create enough chances against a United defense that concedes a staggering number of shots... I might also be tempted to start Ritchie (if he starts in real life) against a Burnley team that also concedes a ton of chances and shots.
Mo Salah (@Huddersfield); Sergio Aguero (vs. West Brom)
Everyone in the world will be picking these two, so the safe (and smart) call is to do the same. If you want to get cute, I like Jamie Vardy’s chances against at Everton. The only other consideration would be Roberto Firmino instead of Salah.
And there we have it, my GW 25 Togga PXI player picks! Do you agree with them, or did I miss an obvious candidate? Are you going Salah+Kun this week, or are you going full-on differential? How badly do you think Mahrez will school Martina? Let us know in the comments below!