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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 27

Preview
Another FA Cup weekend now behind us, attentions can turn back to the Premier League – and, way more importantly, Fantasy Prem. It’s a tricky gameweek ahead, though, with Manchester City and Chelsea in League Cup final action and Everton and Brighton thus without a fixture too. With two more of the big six, Manchester United and Liverpool, facing off at Old Trafford, this could be the time to think about your Free Hit chip – assuming you haven’t already used it.

Beyond Old Trafford, the fixtures are no easier to call. Arsenal host Southampton on Sunday, but only three days after an important Europa League game; Tottenham travel to face resurgent Burnley, while Wolves travel to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace go to Leicester. Newcastle host Huddersfield in a relegation scrap, but it is to Friday night that we turn for our captain’s pick – not in Cardiff, where Watford are in action, but in the televised game at the London Stadium…

Captain’s pick

It is unusual for us – or anyone else, for that matter – to select a fantasy captain from outside the top six. But that’s exactly what we’re doing this weekend, and the man in question is West Ham’s star turn, Felipe Anderson. Friday night opponents Fulham have conceded goals down their right-hand side in four of their last five games – this is an area of real weakness, and it just so happens that the Hammers’ left flank is where their best player does his best work.

This selection comes with an element of risk, as the Brazilian hasn’t been in the best of form since the turn of the year. He did pick up an assist in the recent home draw with Liverpool, however, not to mention in the 2-0 win over the Cottagers in the reverse fixture. In a week where many of the old favourites are either unavailable or involved in tough matches, this one could prove to be a winner.

Value selection

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Huddersfield have won only one of their 12 away fixtures this season – at Wolves in November. This weekend, they travel to face a Newcastle team that have won their last two home league games – a 3-0 drubbing of Cardiff and that astounding 2-1 victory against Manchester City. This is a game that features the two most ineffective attacks in the division, although with only 14 goals all season Huddersfield are by far the worst.

No surprise, then, that we are looking at Newcastle’s top point-scorer for this season – goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. A regular collector of bonus points, Dubravka has had a couple of wobbles in recent times – he was at fault for Tottenham’s late winner and again responsible for the last-minute equaliser at Wolves last time out. The Slovakian has otherwise been one of Rafa Benitez’s most reliable performers, however, and must fancy his chances of a clean sheet against the least potent attack in the Premier League.

Medium-term prospect

Right-back Ricardo Pereira is Leicester’s top fantasy point-scorer this season, with 102. As a defender, he is outscoring Kyle Walker, Cesar Azpilicueta, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Antonio Rudiger, not to mention any defender from Arsenal, Tottenham or Manchester United.

The Portuguese international is an attack-minded full-back, given more licence to attack for Leicester due to the extra security provided by deep-lying midfielders Nampalys Mendy and Wilfred Ndidi. Ricardo likes to make diagonal runs inside from wide positions in order to receive behind the opposition full-back and cross early and low for central runners – exactly as he has done for assists in recent defeats to Southampton and Tottenham (below).

Leicester end their season with games against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, but before that they have nine straight fixtures against teams outside the top six. Now could be the time to recruit the Tigers’ most productive player.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 27

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