1. LONGEST GAMEWEEK EVER
Is it just us or does it feel like months ago since we locked our squads in for Gameweek 26? It's been well over a week since then and still the gameweek is yet to be completed, after Man City's home clash against West Ham was postponed due to Storm Ciara. After much speculation within the FPL community, the match was rearranged for Wednesday 19th February, meaning the final fixture of Gameweek 26 will take place 11 days after the deadline. At the time of writing this article, the fixture is yet to be fulfilled which is an indication in itself just how long this gameweek has been. Unfortunately, this author's deadlines wait for no stray Premier League fixture, even if Sergio Aguero (£12.1m) chooses this particular match to score his seasonal 20+ FPL point haul at the Etihad Stadium!
2. MANE BACK WITH A BANG
One player who has benefited from an extended Gameweek 26 is Liverpool midfielder Sadio Mane (£12.2). The winter break has allowed the Senegalese star to regain full fitness after missing the Reds' last two Premier League games due to a muscle injury. Mane made his comeback off the bench in Gameweek 26 away at Norwich and made an instant impact, scoring the only goal in a dogged 0-1 win for the Premier League leaders.
Whilst 45.1% of FPL managers currently own Mo Salah (£12.8m) in the Liverpool 'midfield', Mane could turn into a golden differential going forward having scored the same amount of goals as the Egyptian and accruing more FPL points over the course of the season before his recent injury.
This isn’t throwing shade but I feel it’s wrong to suggest keeping Mané was a poor move. The alternatives haven’t gone besserk at all & they now have one of _if not the_ best asset in the game safely nestled in their side as a 20% TSB differential ahead of a tidy run in. 👍🏼 #FPL— FPL Viper (@FPLViper) 16 February 2020
3. LORD LUNDSTRAM PUNISHES SELLERS
After losing his place in the Sheffield Utd starting line-up to new signing Sander Berge (£5.0m), it appeared that John Lundstram (£5.0m) was no longer a must-own FPL asset going forward. Over 250,000 owners dispensed with Lundstram's services ahead of Gameweek 26, the most of any FPL listed defender. However, those who showed no faith paid for their sins as "The Lord" came off the bench to score the Blades' winner in their 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
With an enticing Gameweek 27 fixture at home to Brighton ahead for Sheffield Utd, Lundstram's owners face a difficult dilemma as to whether he has done enough to regain his starting birth in the eyes of manager Chris Wilder. If he has, then Lundstram becomes once again becomes borderline essential. However, should Wilder choose to consist with the same starting line-up, then owners run the risk of the one-point cameos Lundstram gathered in Gameweeks 24 and 25.
4. ARTETA'S ARSENAL TAKING SHAPE
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta finally started to see the fruits of his labour pay off in Gameweek 26 as the Gunners steamrolled Newcastle 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Midfielder Nicolas Pepe (£9.1m) has endured a slow start to life in North London but his performance suggested that he could prove a worthwhile FPL asset between now and the end of the season, registering two assists and a goal against the Magpies. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) scored his 15th Premier League goal of the season and, in his quest for the Golden Boot, looks like a shrewd acquisition going forward given his penchant for going on goal streaks. Be aware though, Arsenal face a blank Gameweek 28 due to their opponents Man City's involvement in the Carabao Cup final that weekend.
Aubameyang has a pretty good ratio of games played wide to scoring. I didn't delve too deep into this (for example looking at opponents), and it is a smaller sample size, but the man is nothing if not consistent. https://t.co/y4s6pGy9fm— Andy (@LetsTalk_FPL) 16 February 2020
5. BURNLEY MARCH ON QUIETLY
Sean Dyche's Burnley continue to slip under the Premier League radar as they go about their business impressively. The Clarets defeated Southampton 1-2 in Gameweek 26 to lift themselves up to 11th in the Premier League table, having won three of their last four league matches. As you'd expect from a Sean Dyche side, Burnley recent success has been built largely from the back, having conceded only two goals in those four matches. The likes of goalkeeper Nick Pope (£4.7m) and central defender Ben Mee (£5.0m) have both hugely impressed and should be seriously considered as FPL assets going forward. Pope has accrued 30 FPL points from his last four appearances, whilst Mee has accumulated 21 FPL points within the same period.