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Player Picks and Pre-Deadline Chat - Week 26

The transfer window has closed, and we have a bunch of new toys to play with. Do any make our player picks this week?

Arsenal Unveil New Signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Whatever happens, he will be box office for Arsenal
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Straight to it:


David De Gea

De Gea is the best bet for a clean sheet this week. Manchester United face Huddersfield with the promoted side being in the most difficult period of the season. All the early season energy has dissipated, and teams are starting to pick them off during the winter weeks, particularly away from home.

The Terriers have lost their last 4 games, and they have failed to score in 9 of their last 11 away. United I have conceded just 5 goals at Old Trafford all season, keeping 9 clean sheets in those 12 games.

I’m not sure we are going to see DDG make his normal bunch of saves, but the clean sheet looks a huge chance.


Kasper Schmeichel

3 clean sheets in a row before the game at Everton and hosting Swansea, Kasper has the fixture to add to his returns. Swansea may have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal back to back at home, but their success on the road is limited.


Phil Jones / Antonio Valencia or Chris Smalling

The trio seem set as Jose’s first choice’s within the defense, so any are good choices this week.

In FPL Jones has proven himself adept at securing the bonus points to go with any clean sheet, Smalling is a little more of a goal threat, and Valencia has had the bit between his teeth since his return from injury.

In Fantrax, Smalling’s price makes him the obvious pick-up to cover the home clean sheet.


James Duffy / Lewis Dunk

Like Huddersfield, Brighton have been finding it a little tough in recent weeks. Their normal well-organized defense has been breached, and they have had a tired look to them at times. Much of this has been caused but the lack of goals and attacking options putting pressure on the defense to perform for points.

The January signing’s in the center forward position could spark them a little and relieve some of the pressure on their back Line. It will also help that West Ham United will be missing their two most effective creative players in Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic.

I smell a home clean sheet and both Duffy/Dunk are constant dangers at set pieces, they are overdue a goal.


Craig Dawson

With the arrival of Alan Pardew, West Bromwich Albion have also improved, and an old favorite of mine returned a goal and clean sheet the last time I did the picks. A home game against a Southampton side who are struggling for goals is a great fixture to repeat the returns.


Patrick Van Aanholt

PVA is well known to fantasy fans as a player who can offer points at both ends of the pitch. He now has the left back spot as his own and hosts a Newcastle side struggling for goals. Like Dawson, PVA offers you the chance to catch a monster haul. Particularly in Fantrax, I think he is a must have this week.


Ryan Fraser

He’s an all action player and seems a set first choice for Bournemouth. Racking up the points in Fantrax, he’s an alternative pick in FPL.


Alexis Sanchez

Alexis finally got his move, and we saw a typical Sanchez performance on debut in the FA Cup against Yeovil. He never stopped running, trying to create, and shooting. To be fair, he also never stopped giving the ball away, which Arsenal fans will tell you is quite normal.

A player who enjoys attention, he should score on his home debut.


Theo Walcott

We have the rule that a player often scores against his old club, and we have his white hot form since joining Everton, and we have the defensive showing from the Gunners at Swansea.

Theo is a bargain in Fantrax and great value in FPL as long as he remains fit.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan

So much talent and now able to supply his old teammate from Dortmund. After starting on the bench against Swansea, I think he starts against Everton and returns at least an assist.


Paul Pogba

Pogba is keen to lead his Red Devils side, and the arrival of Sanchez can only help his development.

There’s plenty of theory that Pogba will improve, and we know he loves shooting at Old Trafford. He’s great value in both FPL and Fantrax.


Mo Salah

Liverpool enjoy playing the big sides, and Salah has, apart from KDB, been the most consistent player in the EPL this season. Now on penalties, it’s no time to sell him. Feel free to put the armband on him.


Raheem Sterling

There is a chance he gets a rest pre-Champions League, but I fancy it’s more likely that Kun gets benched. Sterling’s numbers have slowed (as Chris predicted), and the Burnely game has a look of a 1-0 to it.

Still, his movement and the quality of supply from KDB can create that chance.


Romelu Lukaku

Bully boy Lukaku picks on the little sides, so this week is made for him. Just don’t expect many phantom points in Fantrax.


James Wilson

I’m not convinced at all about Stoke. The Cherries will score, and I think more than once. Wilson always looks at ease in home games and can reward owners again.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gunners have scored at least twice in each of 13 of their 15 home games. Everton have failed to win 19 of their last 20 away games. Auba has 100 goals in his last 119 games, and he has Micki, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere supplying chances. The odds are there will be many chances in this game, so I expect a goal at home on debut and likely much more.


Christian Benteke

Tipped midweek by Ken and Chris, he is a streaky scorer, and Newcastle are made for him.


Harry Kane

He has a tough fixture, but Kane is Kane, scoring braces when not expected this season. He is also sitting on 99 Premier League goals. Ever the main man, he will enjoy hitting the ton in the weekend glamour game.




Editor’s note (Anti-Pick of the week):

Riyad Mahrez has gone AWOL, missing all practices this week and apparently burning his bridges with both management and players. He is again unavailable for the weekend, and Leicester City are expected to fine the wayward midfielder the two-weeks’ wages (₤200,000). The club has called in the lawyers to handle the breach of contract, so only the most optimistic of fantasy managers will hold onto this raging dumpster fire.


Do you have anything or anyone to add? Is there any late news to muddy the waters? Please chat with us as we make our last minute trades in the run-up to the deadline.