Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 27: Options galore for favorable slate

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Arsenal on its way out of Champions League round of 16
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Wednesday March 1st, 2017

The following Fantasy Premier League advice is tailored toward players of Togga's Perfect XI. It's a weekly game in which every Premier League player is eligible to be selected into a 4-4-2 formation. There is no salary cap, no squad restrictions and you pick a fresh XI every week.

After last weekend's shortened slate, the possibilities appear almost endless for Gameweek 27 in Fantasy Premier League. The matchups this weekend provide ample opportunity to consider at least one player from every EPL squad as a bona fide contributor to your FPL XI–even from bottom side Sunderland, which hosts high-flying Manchester City. In fact, of the 20 EPL teams 15 are represented in this week's column–the most this season.

Selecting the Perfect XI each week isn't an easy task and even the best-laid plans can use a Plan B, so we've provided alternatives for each position. Those designated (d) are differentials–players we expect will be owned by fewer than 5% of FPL managers this week. Togga has added "Own %" to its app so differentials are based on players' ownership percentage at the time of writing. You can check for updates when you set your squad.

Goalkeeper

David de Gea (vs. Bournemouth)

Key Stats: Manchester United has the third best defensive record in the EPL at home, having allowed only nine goals in 13 matches at Old Trafford. De Gea has allowed only two total goals in his last six EPL starts and has clean sheets in three on the spin. While the popular narrative may have this as a "trap game" for the Red Devils coming off their EFL Cup victory to face supposed minnows, United's record this season against bottom-half opposition is excellent.

Plan B: Lee Grant (d; vs. Middlesbrough); Kasper Schmeichel (vs. Hull); Jordan Pickford (d; vs. Man City)

Pickford returned last weekend following a protracted injury absence and promptly posted six saves against Everton at Goodison Park. Coincidentally, he also had six saves in his last appearance in Gameweek 18. The Black Cats' keeper has recorded five or more saves in 10 of his 17 league appearances this season and will have ample opportunity to add to that tally against Manchester City.

Defenders

Antonio Valencia (vs. Bournemouth); Gareth McAuley (vs. Crystal Palace); Ryan Bertrand (d; at Watford); Marcos Alonso (at West Ham)

Key Stats: This season, Bertrand has been a consistent FPL performer, posting double-digit fantasy returns in 10 of 17 weeks–and breaking 20 points twice–and has surpassed 13 points in three of his last four weeks. The key has been his attacking value. Bertrand has three of his four assists this season in the past three games. With Southampton looking more potent following the additions of Manolo Gabbiadini and Sofiane Boufal, expect Bertrand to appear in this column more frequently.

Plan B: Mamadou Sakho (d; at West Brom); Calum Chambers (d; at Stoke); Seamus Coleman (vs. Everton); Alfie Mawson (d; vs. Burnley)

On loan at Crystal Palace from Liverpool, Sakho finally played his first EPL minutes of the season in Gameweek 26. The defender was arguably the man of the match and recorded 13 fantasy points. Sakho looked assured on the ball, winning three aerial duels, and even posted a successful take-on. His form could well dictate the outcome of this match with a second straight clean sheet a possibility against a Baggies side that could be without Matt Phillips (hamstring).

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Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurdsson (vs. Burnley); David Silva (d; vs. Sunderland); Robbie Brady (d; at Swansea); Philippe Coutinho (vs. Arsenal)

Key Stats: Coutinho has not looked like himself since his return from injury, but he still recorded 25 points in Liverpool's loss at Leicester. In the season opener he scored a brace at the Emirates from three shots on target and made two key passes, recorded 29.5 FPL points. It's true he is feast or famine–he has six matches with 24+ points and five with fewer than five–but when he scores fantasy points, he scores in bunches.

Plan B: Christian Eriksen (vs. Everton); Cesc Fabregas (d; at West Ham); Wilfried Zaha (d; at West Brom); Kevin De Bruyne (at Sunderland)

Eriksen is far off the pace when you look at goals scored by midfielders. His five are level with James McArthur and Etienne Capoue, significantly trailing teammate Dele Alli (12) and Liverpool's Sadio Mane (11). However, his 13 assists are the most of any player this fantasy season. In fact, on the strength of his helpers, Eriksen has been involved in more goals (18) than any other FPL midfielder–one more than Alli, Mane, Eden Hazard and Sigurdsson.

Note: Fabregas is included here on the strength of his points per 90 minutes. He has three goals and seven assists in only 648 minutes–equivalent to seven full matches. If you start him, pay attention to Chelsea's announced lineup to make a late FPL change as needed.

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Forwards

Sergio Aguero (at Sunderland); Zlatan Ibrahimovic (vs. Bournemouth)

Key Stats: A year ago, Ibrahimovic was enjoying the best scoring season of his professional career as he tallied a remarkable 38 league goals in Ligue 1. While has pace is not as impressive this season, his 15 goals in 24 appearances (from 102 total shots) is a fantastic return. But it is not for his goals but his assists that he lands here. With seven assists, Ibra has had a hand in 22 United goals and trails only Alexis Sanchez (17 goals, nine assists) and Diego Costa (16 goals, eight assists) for total involvement by forward.

Plan B: Manolo Gabbiadini (d; at Watford); Harry Kane (vs. Everton); Fernando Llorente (d; vs. Burnley); Jamie Vardy (d; vs. Hull)

There is no hotter player in the EPL than Gabbiadini. In this first three matches since joining Southampton, the striker has scored five goals–including a brace in the EFL Cup final loss to Manchester United. While his strike rate is most certainly unsustainable over a full season–he's scored on 75% of his shots in league play–Watford has allowed 3.38 shots on goal per home match this season, meaning he should have several chances to get back on the board.

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