We are heading into the final three months of the 2022-23 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season, and the double game-weeks, caused by skipping GW-7 and other fixtures, are coming fast and thick now.
But GW-26 is “normal”, with 10 matches involving all 20 clubs. After that, extras are about to make planning hectic, with DGW-27 and DGW-29 book-ending big blanks in GW-28. Free Hit, Bench Boost, and even Wildcard chips are going to be popular in the coming weeks!
As we size up GW-26, let’s keep in mind the four clubs that play twice in GW-27 (Brighton, Palace, Southampton & Brentford). Setting yourself up for that should factor into your transfer decisions this week.
Also, this week’s FA Cup results have wrought havoc on the EPL schedule. The quarterfinals are scheduled to take place on the weekend of 18 March, so the clubs involved will have blanks in EPL GW-28 (Liverpool vs Fulham, Brighton vs Man United, Man City vs West Ham).
Note that Brighton does both for a wicked whipsaw.
Here is the slate of fixtures for GW-26:
Saturday 4 March
- Man City v Newcastle
- Arsenal v Bournemouth
- Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
- Brighton v West Ham
- Chelsea v Leeds
- Wolves v Tottenham
- Southampton v Leicester
Sunday 5 March
- Nottingham Forest v Everton
- Liverpool v Man United
Monday 6 March
- Brentford v Fulham
Fraser Forster (£3.9m, Wolves v Spurs)
Forster has definitely usurped Danny Ward for being the most favourable budget-friendly keeper right now. At just £3.9m, Forster has been collecting save points, and Spurs are looking solid at the back with four clean sheets in five league games.
Aaron Ramsdale (£4.9m, Arsenal v Bournemouth)
Ramsdale has been key in the backline for Arsenal and his important saves during crucial moments sets him apart. Bournemouth continue to struggle to put the ball in the net, which puts the English keeper in a great spot to claim a clean sheet.
Pervis Estupinan (£4.7m, Brighton v West Ham)
Estupinan is one of FPL’s most in-form defenders, providing returns of six or above in each of his previous five fixtures for a total of 36 points. The attacking left-back has three assists and three clean sheets in the past five games, and can be a great differential for Brighton’s upcoming double gameweek.
Emerson Royal (£4.9m, Wolves v Spurs)
Since the signing of fellow right-back Pedro Porro, Emerson Royal has looked like a different player altogether. With two goals and four clean sheets in his previous five matches, Emerson has been instrumental in Tottenham’s recent successes.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.1m, Arsenal v Bournemouth)
A great differential player who has the lowest TSB of all of Arsenal’s starting defenders, and his attacking threat just keeps on improving. The Ukrainian has been heating up since the restart, piling up 43 points over that period.
Luke Shaw (£5.3m, Liverpool v Man United)
Shaw has been one of the stand-out players for the Red Devils and his execution on set-pieces is amazing, as he demonstrated against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final. He can certainly play a key role against a foundering Liverpool side.
Ruben Dias (£5.9m, Man City v Newcastle)
It’s been a while since Ruben Dias has stayed fit consistently but since returning from a hamstring injury the Portuguese centre-back has started in three successive Premier League games. City has a decent shot at a clean sheet against Newcastle, who have been struggling to put the ball on the net lately. They’ve been held scoreless in five of their last 12 matches across all competitions.
Alexis Mac Allister (£5.4m, Brighton v West Ham)
Kaoru Mitoma and Solly March have been shining lately but the underdog amongst them has been Mac Allister. After being shifted to the number 10 role his attacking numbers have increased dramatically. The World Cup champion recorded an xG of 1.92 across his previous two appearances, and he’s the first-choice penalty-taker for the Seagulls too.
Bukayo Saka (£8.5m, Arsenal v Bournemouth)
At the time of the writing, Saka has nine goals and nine assists with an xG of 6.67, and he has created 52 chances. The Gunners have the best fixture of the week as they welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates, and the Cherries have conceded the most goals (48) so far. It’s the perfect fixture for the English golden-boy to continue to deliver attacking returns.
Marcus Rashford (£7.2m, Liverpool v Man United)
Rashford may well be the most in-form player in the world right now. United born and bred, he has 25 goals and 7 assists in all competitions, most of them coming after the restart. Facing a defensively-suspect Trent Alexander-Arnold this week, Rashford could easily add to his tally of goal contributions.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.3m, Man City v Newcastle)
Despite not featuring in the 4-1 win over Bournemouth, KDB made his return with a goal against Bristol City in the mid-week FA Cup fixture. The Belgian always performs in big games, and something special will be needed to unlock one of the best backlines in the league.
Ollie Watkins (£7.3m, Aston Villa v Crystal Palace)
Like Marcus Rashford and Erling Haaland, Ollie Watkins has been banging in goals of late. Watkins has enjoyed the best run of form in his career and has scored a goal in each of his last five league matches, becoming the first Villa player to do so in Premier League history.
Harry Kane (£11.7m, Wolves v Spurs)
Erling Haaland’s storybook season has cast a shadow on Harry Kane’s brilliant performances, as the England captain has quietly scored a whopping 18 league goals in this campaign. Tottenham’s talisman is nailed-on to start and is the first-choice penalty taker.
Erling Haaland (£12.2m, Manchester City v Newcastle)
Scoring for fun is Erling Haaland’s forte. With 27 league goals already, he is comfortably on course to beat Mo Salah’s record for the most scored in a 38-game Premier League season. Usually a set-and-forget armband choice, Haaland was not the most popular captain for GW-25, so he’ll look to reward those who keep the faith with him against a Newcastle side that is winless in its last four.
What do you make of our picks this game-week? Who do you think will shine and flop? Are you considering playing a chip? Please share your plans in the comments below!