Double Gameweek 25: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW24?

After four successive red arrows, I was delighted to regain some ground in GW24, scoring 98 points and rising to 3,429 in the overall rankings.

Despite missing the second game against Everton, Ilkay Gundogan was the hero of my gameweek. As my captain, the City midfielder scored 38 points, thanks to two goals and one assist against Tottenham.

However, there is a part of me that feels disappointed not to break 100 points this week. I only received 2 points from the additional fixtures, with Joao Cancelo and Nick Pope failing to keep clean sheets, and John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan missing out altogether.

In truth, Stones’ benching is a little concerning, as Guardiola is likely to rotate regularly during their congested fixtures. Monitoring rotation patterns once the Champions League returns will determine whether I keep him – it could be that Laporte is preferred in the UCL and Stones is preferred in the Premier League.

Bad luck:

- Although I am happier with Luke Shaw in the long term, it was a sucker punch to see Matthew Lowton score against Crystal Palace, as I deliberately opted for Shaw because of his attacking potential. This weekend, Lowton scored his first Premier League goal since 2013, so it’s hard not to feel a little hard done by.

- Vardy wasn’t too far away from a double-digit haul against Liverpool, hitting the post in the first half and nearly being awarded a penalty in the second. Likewise, Bamford could easily have had a penalty against Arsenal.

- Martinez outscoring Pope again this week was nothing short of astonishing. In any ordinary week, I would have been delighted with 10 points from Nick Pope, but having Martinez on my bench with 12 points was extremely frustrating!

Good luck:

- Despite Manchester United’s lacklustre performance against West Brom and Liverpool’s disappointing defeat to Leicester, Bruno Fernandes and Mohamed Salah still returned with goals.

- As Sterling was the second highest captaincy choice this week in the top 10k behind Gundogan, it was fortunate to see the winger struggle for points, as an explosive haul could have seriously damaged my rank.

Bad judgement:

- Starting Son against Manchester City was nothing but a mistake. Tottenham looked out of ideas in attack and City contained them throughout the game. Had Soucek scored plentifully against Sheffield United, I would have blamed my decision-making.

Good judgement:

- Deciding to keep and play Vardy against Liverpool proved both shrewd and profitable, as few forwards scored more than 6 points this week. Now I am in a position of flexibility ahead of the double gameweek: Kane was missing from Spurs’ Europa League squad on Thursday, and I will obviously not bring him in for Vardy if there’s any sign of injury.

How am I looking for the double GW26 Bench Boost?

As it stands, the FPL world are still awaiting an announcement from the Premier League regarding double gameweek fixtures.

In the last two days, both Pep Guardiola and Roy Hodgson have hinted to upcoming fixture changes, commenting on the demand of the congestion on their players. Therefore, in my opinion, the announcement is probably imminent, and the Premier League are finalising the timings with TV companies.

As I am not planning on using my Wildcard before GW26, I am not too concerned about knowing the fixtures ahead of time. So long as we receive news ahead of next week’s deadline, I should be able to form a strong Bench Boost squad. Keeping an extra transfer back could be key and allow for extra flexibility.

Here is my 7-man watchlist ahead of GW26, excluding the Leeds’ assets I plan to bring in for GW25:

1. Harry Kane – likely my priority transfer ahead of GW26, as Fulham are likely to have a favourable double, with games against Burnley and one of Southampton, Aston Villa or Fulham. Kane has looked sharp since his return from injury and is therefore a prime captain option in GW26.

2. Kevin De Bruyne – having featured against Everton in a 10-minute cameo appearance, De Bruyne is back from injury and returning to a rampant Manchester City team in a rich vein of form. He has to be back on the watchlist, but at almost double Ilkay Gundogan’s price, it might not be worth the switch, especially as I only have one City midfielder in my current structure.

3. Ademola Lookman – Fulham have somewhat turned a corner in recent weeks, and I trust them more than I did at the start of the season. At only £5m, Lookman could be a decent enabler heading into a double gameweek, and he seems Fulham’s most dangerous player in forward areas.

4. Matt Targett – Aston Villa have post inferior attacking numbers in recent weeks, but Smith has managed to grind out results and continue keeping clean sheets. Therefore, I’m perhaps more interested in double Villa defence than double Villa attack, and I’ll probably ignore Jack Grealish until after GW26. Targett is the 5th highest scoring defender in FPL so far this season, and therefore offers plenty of value.

5. Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 5 matches under Tuchel, and Rudiger has survived the manager’s rotation frenzy since arriving. At £4.6m, he looks excellent value for clean sheets – but his double gameweek could include games against Manchester United and Liverpool, which is far from ideal.

6. Ruben Dias – although he missed out against Tottenham with a minor illness, Dias looks the most nailed pick in Manchester City’s back line. It feels like a sideways move, but I may feel it’s worth trading Stones for Dias ahead of the double, in case Stones misses out in one of the fixtures.

7. Harvey Barnes – the youngster has been in scintillating form this season and looks like Leicester’s primary goalscoring option at times, alongside Jamie Vardy. Unfortunately, my structure doesn’t allow for an easy transfer to Barnes, but I’ll monitor his progress in case a midfielder picks up an injury.

What are my plans for GW25?

As explained in my last article, Leeds and Southampton play twice in GW25, which heightens their appeal this week.

Originally, my plan was to bring in both Kane and Raphinha ahead of GW26, but I’m actually keen to roll a transfer again this week, especially if the fixtures aren’t announced.

Arguably, Leicester are in better form than Spurs heading into this weekend, and there’s every chance Vardy outscores Kane in his game against Aston Villa. Conversely, Tottenham have only picked up 3 points in their last 5 games and face a dogged West Ham side who are used to grinding out results.

Therefore, my proposed move this week in to transfer out Tomas Soucek and bring in Raphinha ahead of his double gameweek. The Brazilian hasn’t blanked since GW19 and is only owned by 5.8% of FPL managers – which provides a welcomed differential in the Leeds attack, alongside the highly-owned Patrick Bamford.

Although I appreciate the appeal of captaining Raphinha, my captain’s armband will be on Bamford in GW25, as he has been a consistent goal scorer for Leeds this season and has penalties to help add to his points total.

Once again, I could regret this decision, but I’ve decided to bench Martinez for one more week. As fantastic as Martinez has been, I don’t think Villa will keep a clean sheet against Leicester, and Pope has a very nice fixture against West Brom this weekend.

Bringing Raphinha in will force me to bench one of Gundogan or Watkins, and right now I’m tempted to rest the Villa striker. Aston Villa have slowed down offensively in the last few weeks and Gundogan is simply undroppable at the moment, unless his groin injury persists. Both have hurt me from the bench already this season, so I’m expecting tears whichever choice I make!

Finally, and perhaps surprisingly, John Stones has been given the nod ahead of Joao Cancelo, mostly because I’m anticipating a rest for the full back. Cancelo has played the last four Premier League games for City, and it is likely Pep Guardiola will want him fully rested ahead of their midweek Champions League clash against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In contrast, Stones did not feature against Everton and will likely be recalled to the starting lineup. Of course, Cancelo offers better attacking potential, so I may just decide to take that risk before the deadline and play Cancelo instead.

Expected Lineup for GW25: Pope (WBA), Dallas (WOL/SOU), Shaw (NEW), Stones (ARS), Gundogan (ARS), Salah (EVE), Fernandes (NEW), Son (WHU), Raphinha (WOL/SOU), Vardy (AVL), Bamford (C) (WOL/SOU)

Bench: Watkins (LEI), Cancelo (ARS), Coufal (TOT)

Good luck everyone!

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