It was a weekend of unbridled joy for the 1,973,182 FPL managers who entrusted Mo Salah (£12.7m) with the captain's armband for Gameweek 25. Two goals for the Egyptian saw him steal the show for Liverpool in a 4-0 win against Southampton, although a mention must be withheld for Roberto Firmino (£9.6m), who provided three assists and 11 FPL points for his delighted owners. Meanwhile, for those managers who put their trust in the high-priced premium forwards, they were let down as both Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) failed to find the net despite each being afforded guilt-edged chances in their respective games.
Leicester's Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) also failed to find the net, whilst our differential captain of last week's article, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson (£7.4m), picked up a yellow card as opposed to an attacking return, despite the Cherries' 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Fear not though, we've kept the TSZ staffer responsible for selecting Wilson well away from this piece, so you can be reassured of a far more lucrative differential in Gameweek 26. So, let's start as always by looking at the captain options ahead of Saturday's 11:30am deadline.
Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) vs WHU (H)
No doubt this choice comes as little surprise to anyone. It will take a very brave owner not to put the captaincy on Man City forward Aguero in Gameweek 26. Despite not scoring against Spurs last weekend, Aguero could have easily had a first half hat-trick, such were the chances he missed. He also won a penalty, which subsequently wasn't converted by teammate Ilkay Gundogan (£5.2m). It was a surprise in itself that Aguero didn't step up to take the spot-kick himself having scored his last nine penalties in the Premier League.
Man City have previously bounced back well from defeat and a home match against West Ham provides them, and Aguero in particular, with the perfect opportunity to take out their frustrations. The Argentinian has scored seven goals in his last five league appearances, including a brace in his last home league match against another London-based side in Crystal Palace. The stage is set for what could be another famous Aguero monster haul.
Mo Salah (£12.7m) vs NOR (a)
After injury forced Sadio Mane (£12.2m) off the pitch during Liverpool's 1-2 win away at Wolves, the first of their two Gameweek 24 fixtures, teammate Salah has taken up the mantle and is registering attacking returns for fun in his absence. Three goals and one assist in the following two games has seen Salah race to 14 goals and six assists for the season so far as the Reds power towards their first Premier League title.
Mohamed Salah's game by numbers vs. Southampton: 100% tackles won 4 shots (2 on target) 4 take-ons completed 3 chances created 2 goals FPL King. 👑 https://t.co/QIPmI3MMc8— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) 1 February 2020
Gameweek 26 sees the Reds travel to bottom-of-the-table Norwich. The reverse fixture took place on the opening day of the season when Salah accrued 12 FPL points through a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory. He looks back to his destructive FPL best and should be more than capable of continuing his hot streak against the Canaries as he eyes up a late charge for the Premier League Golden Boot award.
Danny Ings (£7.0m) vs BUR (H)
A player that some FPL managers may have forgotten about heading into Gameweek 26 is Southampton's Danny Ings (£7.0m). We certainly haven't forgotten about him at TSZ towers! Ings may have gone his last three Premier League appearances without a goal, but one of those appearances came from the bench against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 24 with the Saints already 0-2 up. The former Liverpool forward returned to his old stomping ground in Gameweek 25 and looked menacing throughout, causing the strongest defence in the Premier League serious problems. He was also denied what looked like a strong penalty shout after being seemingly tripped by Fabinho (£5.4m).
One piece of advice for everyone... Own Danny Ings. Their next 5 are... Burnley (H) Villa (H) West Ham (A) Newcastle (H) Norwich (A) I don’t think it’s possible to have a better run. Southampton looked good against Liverpool and should of scored. #FPL https://t.co/AiAqwiU1Up— FPLTIPZ (@FPLTIPZ) 2 February 2020
Like Salah, Ings also sits on 14 Premier League goals for the season and is gunning for the top spot with Jamie Vardy (£9.8m), who is only three goals ahead of him. Southampton welcome Burnley to St Mary's in Gameweek 26, with the fixture providing Ings with the perfect opportunity to recapture the form that saw him score ten goals in ten Premier League starts between Gameweeks 12 and 22. The Saints have scored four goals in their last three home league games and will be looking to add to that tally against the Clarets.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) vs NEW (H)
Returning to action in Gameweek 25 after suspension was Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m), with the forward expected to jump straight in amongst the goals against one of his favourite opponents in Burnley, whom he'd previously scored seven goals in his last four matches against. Alas, it didn't happen, with Aubameyang spurning a number of guilt-edged chances and showing clear signs of rust having been out of action since Gameweek 22.
AUBAMEYANG GOES CLOSE! Another chance goes begging for the Gunners front man... 📺 Watch on Sky Sports Premier League 📱 Follow #BURARS here: https://t.co/9Tpipm6dHk 📲 Download the @SkySports app! https://t.co/64cDOcDNU3— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) 2 February 2020
Whilst it was disappointing for over 250,000 FPL managers who transferred the Gabonese international in ahead of the Burnley game, they still have cause for optimism. Arsenal host Newcastle in Gameweek 26, with Aubameyang having already scored against Steve Bruce's side back at St James' Park earlier in the season. A forward of his quality will surely be afforded further chances against a side who have conceded seven goals in their last three Premier League away matches. With Arsenal under pressure to score goals in front of their home fans, Aubameyang could be set to bounce back in style.
Sadio Mane (£12.2m) vs NOR (a)
Now we know what you're all thinking. "This isn't a differential choice!" "How can a midfielder with 11 Premier League goals this season be considered a differential?" Well just hear us out! Mane has missed Liverpool's last two Premier League matches through a muscle injury and has since been sold by well over a whopping 1.3m FPL managers. He is expected to have recovered in time for Liverpool's trip to Norwich in Gameweek 26. Before his Gameweek 24 injury away to Wolves, he had accumulated 52 FPL points in his last seven league appearances with three goals and four assists. In fact, it could easily have been more if not for some superb goalkeeping saves along the way.
Mané already transferred out by 88K just this GW is actually beautiful, with two more weeks until the GW26 he's slowly becoming the high-ceiling differential he was at the beginning of the season 👍— FPL Creed (@fplcreedbratton) 2 February 2020
With the Senegalese midfielder currently owned by 22.2% of FPL managers compared to Salah's 43.2% ownership. It could be that those 21.9% own a massive differential asset going into Gameweek 26. With Mane up against a side languishing at the bottom of a Premier League, he would surely be backed to find the net. If he was to outscore Salah, a perfectly reasonable outcome considering Salah only has two Premier League away goals to his name this season compared to Mane's four, then those Mane owners could be looking at some huge green arrows!