FPL Ones to Watch – GW26

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With a huge DGW26 incoming, transfer options are more contested than ever. This article looks at potential assets below 10% ownership that could really boost your rank if they perform well.

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Burnley

They have had a fairly successful 2022 thus far, keeping a clean sheet against Watford and Everton, and holding United to a 1-1 draw. However, over the season their numbers haven’t been appealing:

  • 17 goals (19th among all teams)
  • 68 shots on target (20th)
  • 27 big chances (17th)

Despite this, their upcoming double-double is too good to completely ignore. Let’s take a look at their opponents for DGW26/27:

BrightonTottenhamPalaceLeicester
Goals25 (15th)28 (11th)32 (8th)36 (6th)
xG27.70 (12th)32.80 (7th)30.30 (8th)29.77 (9th)
Big Chances38 (10th)51 (6th)44 (7th)44 (7th)
Shots on Target97 (11th)111 (7th)88 (15th)99 (10th)
Goals Conceded25 (5th)29 (7th)35 (11th)41 (16th)
xG Conceded27.03 (6th)25.93 (4th)27.84 (7th)39.53 (17th)
Clean Sheets7863
Shots in Box Conceded169 (5th)186 (9th)180 (7th)240 (19th)

Ramsdale by far is the most popular goalkeeper ahead of GW26, but Pope is also an enticing pick and also doubles in GW27. He has just 5 clean sheets (joint 12th among keepers), and in 19 games, he has conceded 23 goals (1.21 every 90 minutes) – that’s the highest average goals conceded per 90 of any keeper so far this season. However, Burnley’s recent improvement and their stacked fixtures make him an enticing differential. It looks like Ramsdale is still a great pick for GW26, but if you are planning to free hit in GW27, Pope is the stand-out choice.

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Another stand-out Burnley player is Maxwel Cornet. He has shown to be really promising, but has been hit by unfortunate injuries. He has played only 863 minutes of football so far this season, but has bagged 6 goals (xG = 1.96). Burnley do come against some solid defences, but with it being a double-double this firmly puts him on the radar, especially for GW27, when Burnley have their more favourable double and when Liverpool and Arsenal both blank. Although Palace have been relatively solid in defence, we have seen that Leicester’s defensive record have really made them a team to target this season.

Another enticing differential I opted for on my wildcard is Weghorst (£6.5m). In 3 games, he has had 8 shots (2 on target), 1 big chance, and has attempted 3 assists. With attacking options falling short this season, many are hoping that he provides some much-needed points. Dyche’s update on his injury status also sounded very promising.

Arsenal

Arsenal have had some disappointing results, but their favourable double makes their assets the most transferred in after Liverpool’s. Over the season, they have scored 34 goals (7th among all teams), and have registered 112 shots on target (5th among all teams). Their defence has also been eye-catching, having kept 11 clean sheets – only Liverpool and City have had more – conceding just 22 goals (6th) and 167 shots in the box (4th).

BrentfordWolves
Goals26 (14th)21 (18th)
xG28.69 (11th)25.00 (15th)
Big Chances37 (11th)37 (11th)
Shots on Target94 (12th)81 (17th)
Goals Conceded40 (15th)17 (2nd)
xG Conceded30.30 (9th)26.61 (5th)
Clean Sheets59
Shots in Box Conceded189 (10th)181 (8th)

Ramsdale currently sits at 20% ownership, with 75,600 transfers in so far. White (13.4% TSB) and Tierney (12.7%) are also very popular for this week, offering a budget-friendly route into the Arsenal defence.

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However, at just 6.7% ownership, Gabriel has gone slightly under the radar thus far. He has scored an impressive 3 goals this season from a xG of 2.02, and is among the top 10 defenders for total shots (18) and shots on target (7). His creativity is less appealing, having supplied no assists (xA = 0.54) and only attempting 5 assists, and he is priced at £5.3m, costing more than Tierney and White. I think many FPL managers will be caught in a dilemma of Gabriel or Tierney, and I’m personally leaning towards Gabriel after being set on Tierney for a while.

Saka (£6.4m) is the go-to Arsenal star, with over 150,000 transfers in already. He is definitely the most nailed in the Arsenal midfield, but at £5.5m Ødegaard has registered 4 goals (xG = 1.59) and 3 assists (xA = 3.16) so far this season. The issue is the rotation we could see in Arsenal’s line-up, especially in their second game of GW26 when Martinelli returns from suspension.

Finally, Arsenal’s first-choice penalty taker also comes into contention. Lacazette (£8.3m) has only scored 3 goals so far this season (xG = 4.79), with 8 big chances and 11 shots on target. His creativity has been consistent, registering 4 assists (xA = 2.29), creating 3 big chances and attempting 19 assists. Overall, Lacazette’s numbers aren’t too impressive (the majority of his stats place him outside the top 10 strikers so far this season), but Arsenal do have that favourable double and he has played only 1038 minutes. Another issue is that he is in danger of rotation, particularly for the Wolves fixture, where Martinelli could take up the CF role. With so little attacking options, I do think he could be worth a punt.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have had a relatively strong season, scoring a total of 32 goals (8th highest) and sitting at 13th overall. They have a very polarising double gameweek, facing Chelsea at home and Watford away.

ChelseaWatford
Goals Conceded18 (3rd)43 (17th)
xG Conceded22.39 (2nd)35.96 (16th)
Clean Sheets10 (4th)1 (20th)
Shots in Box Conceded142 (3rd)216 (16th)

As we can see, Chelsea are consistently behind Liverpool and City in defensive stats, despite recently having some disappointing results. However, Watford have kept only 1 clean sheet so far this season. Therefore, the Palace attack could be in for some great scores, and there are options beside Edouard if you’re making moves in your midfield. 

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Zaha (£6.8m) has been fairly consistent, scoring 6 goals (xG = 4.53), having 6 big chances and 12 shots on target. He is also Palace’s penalty taker, and is very ‘nailed’ in that squad, whereas Edouard poses a frustrating rotation risk.

Olise (£5.4m) is under 1% ownshership, and he is a player I decided to take a risk on with my GW25 wildcard. Unfortunately, he was benched against Brentford, but he has shown to be an exciting prospect. He has played only 567 minutes this season, so doesn’t have as much data available. Over this time, he has had just 23 touches in the oppositions’ box, 5 shots on target, and 12 attempted assists. He is still very much a risk, and Zaha definitely makes a case for being the best Palace midfielder for this upcoming double – but he can be a risk that (I hope!) can pay off.

However, if you already have Edouard, then maybe doubling up on the Palace attack is a little too risky when there is a very real possibility they blank against Chelsea – but that game against Watford has lots of potential.

Broja

Armando Broja (£5.4m) is unfortunately yet to hit a consistent run of games, only starting 12 so far this season. However, he has bagged 6 goals from a xG of 4.51 in this time. Some other key stats include:

  • 29 shots; 16 on target
  • 7 big chances

He is yet to create a big chance and has only attempted 3 assists, but his attacking threat is very promising for such a budget enabler. His long-term fixtures are also very appealing:

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Therefore, I think he is a great pick in the longer term and should definitely be among your watchlist for transfers in the near future.

Robertson

Robertson tends to get over-shadowed by team-mate Alexander-Arnold, but he is having a brilliant season and his numbers are looking great:

  • 1 goal
  • xG = 0.95
  • 8 assists (joint 3rd, behind Trent and Salah)
  • xA = 3.47
  • 7 big chances created (2nd among defenders)
  • 36 attempted assists (2nd among defenders)
  • 68 touches in oppositions’ box (1st among defenders)

This is even more impressive considering he has played 1577 minutes; compared to Trent’s 1953 and Cancelo’s 2058.

Therefore, with the majority of FPL managers (including myself) having Jota in that third Liverpool spot, opting for Robertson has the potential to really boost your ranks. Liverpool haven’t been as strong as City defensively this season, but Norwich and Leeds are among the poorest teams so far.

LeedsNorwich
Goals27 (13th)14 (20th)
xG26.93 (12th)18.48 (19th)
Big Chances35 (13th)18 (20th)
Shots on Target317 (7th)69 (19th)
Goals Conceded46 (19th)50 (20th)
xG Conceded40.39 (18th)42.52 (20th)
Clean Sheets34
Shots in Box Conceded216 (15th)243 (20th)

We can see that Norwich and Leeds have been very poor defensively and Norwich particularly have posed little attacking threat this season.

However, with numbers like this Robertson has to compete for our third Liverpool spot in the future.

**This was written before the extent of Jota’s injury became apparent. This might lead us towards Robertson, but he is still a rotation risk for the double gameweek – Van Dijk (£6.7m) may be in your thoughts instead.

Wolves

Wolves have conceded the second fewest goals this season, so their defenders are definitely a popular pick. They have kept 9 clean sheets and conceded 181 shots in the box (8th among all teams), so looking at their upcoming opponents would be interesting.

LeicesterArsenal
Games2222
Goals36 (6th)34 (7th)
xG29.77 (9th)32.81 (6th)
Big Chances44 (7th)41 (9th)
Shots on Target99 (10th)112 (5th)
Goals Conceded41 (16th)25 (5th)
xG Conceded39.53 (17th)28.69 (8th)
Clean Sheets311
Shots in Box Conceded240 (19th)167 (4th)

Coady (£4.7m) sits at just over 10% ownership, but Saïss (£5m) is actually registering better attacking numbers and is just £0.3m more expensive. He has had 6 shots on target, 3 big chances, has attempted 4 assists, but has created no big chances. He has 2 goals (xG = 1.80) and 0 assists (xA = 0.22).

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Jiméne is also coming into contention. His stats include

  • 5 goals (xG = 5.39)
  • 9 big chances (11th among strikers)
  • 13 shots on target (20th among strikers)
  • 2 assists (xA = 2.55)
  • 3 big chances created
  • 27 attempted assists (4th among strikers)

I think he does offer some great potential, especially in that Leicester game, but Arsenal will be difficult to crack.

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