FPL Gameweek 26 First Look – five things we learned at the weekend

1. NEW SIGNINGS TO HAVE BIG IMPACT

Following the completion of the winter transfer window, there are several new players who could make intriguing prospects for FPL managers. Steven Bergwijn (£7.5m) made that much of an impression during his first week at training that he earned a start against Man City and he made a huge impact on his debut. He produced some superb touches and scored a brilliant goal to announce his arrival in the Premier League as he collected 10 points. Listed as a midfielder, Bergwijn could provide some big returns for his owners if he continues to be deployed high up the pitch.

New West Ham arrival Jarrod Bowen (£tbc) has yet to be added to the game but is one to keep an eye out for. The former Hull City man notched 16 goals and seven assists before departing for the Hammers on deadline day and it is likely that he will have a big role for his new side. West Ham have struggled for the majority of the season and Bowen will be vital in their attempts to improve in the final third.

Bruno Fernandes (£8.0m) made his Man Utd debut against Wolves and he caught the eye with a promising display. The big-money signing could provide his new side with exactly what they have lacked in midfield this season and his ability from set-pieces could also prove a valuable commodity in FPL terms. It may be too soon to bring him in just yet with a tough run of fixtures ahead but he is definitely one to keep an eye on should he impress in the coming matches.

2. MAN CITY WIN THE TURNING POINT FOR SPURS?

It was not pretty by any means and there was plenty to suggest that Spurs were fortunate to beat Man City but that win could prove to be the turning point under Jose Mourinho. As mentioned above, Bergwijn represents good value as a midfielder and several of his new teammates could also come under consideration following that victory.

Japhet Tanganga (£4.0m) put in another impressive display against Man City and looks like he will hold on to his position in the starting XI moving forward. He is strong defensively and can help Spurs to more clean sheets but he could also chip in further up the pitch which could make him an interesting option for a bargain price. Heung-Min Son (£9.9m) made it two goals in two games when finding the back of the net against Man City and he is likely to be key for Spurs in the continued absence of Harry Kane.

3. SHEFFIELD UTD RUN WILL PROVE VITAL FOR EUROPEAN CHANCES

Sheffield United maintained their push for a European place as they narrowly defeated Crystal Palace at the weekend. They kept their ninth clean sheet of the season in that victory and it proved another fruitful outing for Dean Henderson (£5.0m), who earned a second double-figure haul in a row. He made three saves which helped him to three bonus points and, with his side having a nice run of fixtures, his inclusion should be given serious consideration.

Back-to-back home matches against Bournemouth and Brighton lie in wait and they could provide big rewards for Sheffield Utd as they attempt to keep the pace for the European spot and for their players in FPL terms. George Baldock (£5.1m) continues to be the best-scoring Sheffield Utd defender after John Lundstram (£5.1m), who looks to have fallen down the pecking order and may be worth moving on from. One man to watch out for is new signing Sander Berge (£5.0m), who made his debut in Gameweek 25 and the eye-catching arrival could be given space to exploit in the final third to bring in some points for a small outlay.

4. LIVERPOOL CONTINUE TO IMPRESS

Liverpool’s charge towards the Premier League title shows no signs of slowing after another emphatic win in Gameweek 25. They have a good run of fixtures ahead of them as they face Norwich (a), West Ham (H), Watford (a) and Bournemouth (H) and it goes without saying that three of their players should be included somewhere in your team.

Mo Salah (£12.7m) stepped up in the absence of Sadio Mane to provide three goals and an assist in his last two matches, which produced a return of 30 points. As one of the premium FPL assets, Salah will fancy his chances of adding plenty more points to his tally of 165 so far this season to fully justify his hefty price tag. As a cheaper option, Jordan Henderson (£5.4m) has made a case to make himself relevant in FPL terms with two goals and two assists in his last three matches whilst Joe Gomez (£5.3m) continued his run in the Liverpool side with a ninth clean sheet from his last 10 appearances against Southampton and represents great value.

5. WHO ARE THE STANDOUTS FROM THE RELEGATION THREATENED TEAMS?

The Premier League title race may be a one-horse race but it is the complete opposite at the other end of the table with numerous teams still embroiled in the battle to avoid the drop. With so many teams still involved in the relegation battle, there are lots of important matches to come in the coming weeks and months and that may present FPL opportunities. With every point vital, teams may find themselves sitting deeper to protect a lead or committing more bodies forward to try and get back into a game to ensure they do not lose to a rival. That happened in Gameweek 25 where Brighton fought back from 3-1 down to earn a draw at West Ham. To that end, are there any players from those teams fighting it out at the bottom that could provide good rewards for FPL owners?

Aston Villa striker Mbwana Samatta (£6.0m) made his Premier League debut at the weekend and found the back of the net to collect eight points. He is Villa’s only available out-and-out striker and will be the focal point providing he remains fit. Burnley were able to frustrate Arsenal as they held the Gunners to a 0-0 draw in Gameweek 25, with that clean sheet the ninth that the Clarets have been able to keep this season and that has helped goalkeeper Nick Pope (£4.6m) to a total of 105 points, with only one shot-stopper earning more points this season. Another option from Burnley is Chris Wood (£6.2m), who will be confident of adding to his 10 Premier League goals so far this season in the upcoming games against Southampton (a), Bournemouth (H) and Newcastle (a). Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) has made 103 saves so far this season - 10 more than any other goalkeeper - and his contribution to Newcastle’s defensive efforts has helped them from being further down the table. Those saves have contributed to seven clean sheets and Newcastle’s run of matches looks appealing after their Gameweek 26 trip to Arsenal but even that game could provide the goalkeeper with another solid return to add to his 99 points so far this season.

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