A Differential XI for GW26

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My FPL differential pick article will provide Managers with a line-up of gems you may not be considering but may pick up valuable points to help you outscore the competition. My starting eleven of differentials will be made up of players with an ownership of less than 10%, meaning if selected by you, you could be outscoring 9 of every 10 Managers in the game! 

Last week was poor from myself, 2 returns from 11 and the coin-flips not going my way. I mentioned not tipping Robinson due to him being rested the previous 2 games, he proceeds to start and return while Tete comes on for the final 12 minutes. I decided to tip Harrison as I had mentioned Raphinha the previous week, Raphinha stars and Harrison has a dud week, and let’s not mention Pereira basically missing the ball with an open goal ahead of him from 6 yards out. We go again in GW26!

*These selections were made Wednesday 24th February* 

This starting eleven have an average ownership of 3.78%, and an overall value of 70.7m. 

Goalkeeper

EDERSON – 9.6% – £6.1M

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I’m starting with an expensive choice in terms of the position, but with the way Man City are currently playing, you wouldn’t back against Ederson returning 12 points as City face West Ham & Wolves at home. This pick is also looking ahead to the next two GWs as City double-up again in 27, again both at home, vs Manchester United & Southampton, before an away game in 28 vs Fulham meaning that overall you would be getting 5 games in 3 GWs if Ederson is your man in the sticks. With City only conceding 4 in their past 17 League games I don’t think you can find a safer bet.

DEFENDERS

Lucas DIGNE – 7.8% – £6.1M

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Everton are at home to Southampton & away to West Brom this GW and Digne is coming off the back of shutting Salah out in GW25. I’m happy to bet on Digne gaining defensive & attacking returns this GW as Southampton are on a very poor run of form and West Brom, while a neutral favourite of mine as I love a great escape, are defensively still West Brom. Digne is in my team, and a very outside of the box candidate for my captaincy this week, that’s how confident I am in him.

Ezri KONSA – 5.5% – £4.6M 

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Ezri Konsa may have returned 9 less points than Tyrone Mings this season, but he is 3.2% less owned and £0.8m cheaper, scoring the same amount of goals, but receiving 3 less yellow cards in one less game played. I like the look of Konsa this season and with a double of Leeds & Sheffield United away, Konsa could be getting on the scoresheet, especially with Leeds notable struggles at defending set pieces and Sheffield United have scored 15 and conceded 41 in 25 League games this season.

Tosin ADARABIOYO – 0.6% – £4.5M

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I am big on Fulham at the moment with the results they’re getting and the way they’re playing, last week was Tete/Robinson & Lookman and the week before was Areola. This week I have gone for the heart of their defence, Tosin Adarabioyo. Fulham have 3 clean sheets in their last 4 and while Adarabioyo hasn’t scored this season, he’s only been booked once, kept 7 clean sheets, got a solitary assist and played 90 minutes in every game since his first appearance in GW5.

This week Fulham are away to Crystal Palace and at home to Tottenham, and while I doubt he will get a clean sheet in the Tottenham match, the Palace game is one I think Adarabioyo could do very well in. Palace play with a big man up top and may play with 2 on Sunday (Mateta & Benteke both scored vs Brighton on Monday so could they both start?) so I’m expecting Adarabioyo to be very involved with clearances and interceptions, while being a threat at the other end (no goals so far this season but at 6’5” surely that will change soon). Palace truly performed a snatch & grab vs Brighton but I can’t see them doing that again, meaning Adarabioyo could come away with a lovely haul before the Spurs match.

MIDFIELD

Morgan SANSON – 0.0% – £5.5M

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I am well and truly sticking my neck out with this selection. Sanson has played a total of 36 minutes for Aston Villa in 3 games, 11 minutes in a 3-1 loss to West Ham, 15 minutes in a 0-0 draw vs Brighton, where he picked up a yellow card, & 10 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Leicester City. With Jack Grealish injured, Barkley out of form and El Ghazi/Trezeguet seemingly not to the required standard, surely Sanson is afforded a start in either of their games vs Leeds & Sheffield United. Sanson had 33 assists & 35 goals in 220 Ligue 1 appearances, averaging a goal involvement every 3.2 games. In 25 games Leeds have conceded 43 and Sheffield United have conceded 41 so while Sanson starting is by no means a guarantee, if he does, he has an opportunity to pick some valuable points!

Matheus PEREIRA – 1.5% – £5.5M

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*COPY & PASTE FROM GW25* Pereira seems to of been given a bit more freedom by Allardyce, and while West Brom are struggling, he keeps impressing. He may have no goals in 4 games, however, before that Pereira had 5 in 5 and it won’t be too long before he is back amongst it.

I like the look of WBA going forward right now and they were very unlucky not to come away with a win at Burnley, with Pereira the guiltiest culprit missing a chance that 99 times out of 100 he scores. Pereira is key to West Brom and could be a differential steal in the coming weeks as they face Brighton & Everton at home in 26, Newcastle at home in 27 & Crystal Palace away in 28. 

James RODRIGUEZ– 9.8% – £7.7M 

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James (or “Hamez” as no-one other than myself refers to him as) JUST sneaks in by 0.2% ownership! As a Liverpool fan I enjoyed seeing the reports prior to the Merseyside Derby that he was unhappy and looking to leave, however, up he pops with an assist and clean sheet point as Everton came away with a deserved 2-0 victory.

Up next for Everton are Southampton at home & West Brom away, and having already selected Digne, I’m now going with Hamez too. With DCL back, Hamez should prosper feeding him and Richarlison while also looking to get shots off from the edge of the area to add to his growing list of goals in his debut season highlights.

Sadio MANE– 5.3% – £11.8M

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From one side of Merseyside to the other. While an expensive selection, Sadio Mané has not scored since GW20 but he’s too good to continue to struggle in front of goal much longer and with that in mind there is no better game to bounce back to form than against Sheffield United, who Liverpool face first in this DGW. The second game is against Chelsea at Anfield, and in the reverse fixture this season Mané scored both goals as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners. Sadio Mané need to return to form sooner rather than later, and I’m backing him to do so in GW26.

Bertrand TRAORE– 0.7% – £5.9M

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A second Aston Villa midfielder selected this week, and Traoré is pretty much nailed on to start compared to the selection of Sanson. Bertrand Traoré took a while to break into the Villa team, but he’s returned 5 goals & 3 assists since his first League start in GW9, starting 14 of 16 games since. Traoré scored vs Leicester las time out, and got himself a bonus point, as Villa attempted a second-half comeback and with Grealish injured, He seems the only Villa attacking midfielder/winger that is likely to step up and drag the team through this period of playing without their key man. Traoré is more of a nailed on selection than Sanson and will surely be key to any positive result(s) Villa gain this GW.

Forwards

Mbaye DIAGNE– 0.5% – £6.0M

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In GW24 I tipped Diagne, and he duly delivered after 2 minutes with a goal vs Manchester United, this DGW West Brom face Brighton & Everton, and as mentioned with the Pereira pick, I like West Brom going forward. Diagne was the other guilty culprit vs Burnley, doing the hard work of running down the wing and cutting inside, before hitting the bar from 6-8 yards out. This man is a handful, and I can only see his ownership rising over the next 3 GWs.

Willian JOSE – 0.3% – £7.0M 

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6 appearances, 0 goals, 1 assist. Yeah, I know, why am I selecting him? The answer is simple, for the Newcastle game alone. Wolves have a DGW of Newcastle & Man City away, and Wolves looked to be back to what we expect from them as they beat Southampton and came away from Elland Road with a 1-0 win to make it two on the bounce. José may have taken his time to adjust to the Premier League, but with Adama & Neto either side of him, I don’t think it will be long until he returns, and against a Newcastle team that are on a slippery slope down the League, winning 2, drawing 1 & losing 9 of 12 League games in 2021, José could find himself opening his account in England to add to Newcastle’s misery.

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