Fantasy Premier League

Who are the best FPL midfielders to get for Blank Gameweek 26?

By The Scout 21 Feb 2024

The Scout analyses the form and fixtures to determine the top targets for the reduced Gameweek

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The upcoming period in Fantasy Premier League offers many different tactical approaches, with only one standard, 10-match Gameweek to come across the next four rounds of fixtures.

This weekend, in Blank Gameweek 26 (BGW26), five of the 10 most-owned midfielders are without a Premier League match and will score zero points in Fantasy.

While some FPL managers are playing the Free Hit chip in BGW26, others are looking to use it in Blank Gameweek 29 (BGW29) instead and are simply focusing their transfers on the next three Gameweeks. 

There is also the option of holding onto the Free Hit chip later in the campaign. By dead-ending their squad into BGW29 with short-term transfers, managers can then use a Wildcard in Gameweek 30 to freshen up their teams.

Essentially, FPL managers' chip strategy will probably determine the best midfielders for them to target ahead of BGW26.

Who are the best teams to target?

Analysing the BGW26 schedule helps to pinpoint the sides with favourable fixtures and refine managers’ targets.

Encouragingly, four of the seven sides who have conceded at least two goals per away match are on their travels once again – Fulham, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United

Worst away defences in BGW26
Club Goals conceded Clean sheets Shots in box conceded
Sheff Utd 29 0 128
Fulham 26 2 135
Newcastle 25 1 132
Nott'm Forest 24 2 99

This immediately lifts the appeal of midfielders from the home sides in each of the following fixtures:

Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United assets should also be factored into any analysis as a result of their subsequent schedules after BGW26.

Brighton entertain Everton this weekend, as well as playing Fulham and Nott'm Forest in the next three Gameweeks. 

West Ham United, meanwhile, have three home matches in the next four Gameweeks, including encounters with Brentford and Aston Villa in BGW26 and BGW29 respectively.

Who has the greatest attacking threat?

Manchester United pair Alejandro Garnacho (£5.0m) and Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m) have each had 29 shot involvements in the last four Gameweeks.

The Argentinian has boasted the greater goal threat of the two, though, bettering his team-mate by 17 shots to 12, and by 12 shots in the box to six.

Fernandes has been the league’s joint-top creator during this spell, with his 17 key passes being matched by Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard (£8.4m). 

Fernandes's dead-ball duties could prove a major weapon at Old Trafford this weekend; Fulham have conceded a league-high 30 shots from set-pieces in the last four rounds of fixtures.

Although Odegaard has managed only four shots in the box compared with the 13 of Bukayo Saka (£9.0m), the Norwegian’s appeal is strengthened by the big chances created numbers – his total of five are joint-first with Brighton’s Pascal Gross (£6.4m) over the last four Gameweeks. 

Indeed, Gross’ involvement in seven big chances, equalling that of Saka, marks him out as a major value pick. His team-mates Simon Adingra (£5.0m) and Kaoru Mitoma (£6.4m) have also made immediate impacts upon their returns from international duties, and combined for 24 points against Sheff Utd last weekend.

Neto or Hwang?

Wolverhampton WanderersPedro Neto (£5.7m) has produced a goal and three assists over this period, with his 10 shots in the box placing third in the assessment.

Nonetheless, the return of Hwang Hee-chan (£5.5m) to domestic action may ultimately determine the best way to invest in Wolves. The South Korean is their top-scoring player in home matches this season, amassing 58 goals thanks to six goals and an assist.

Aston Villa pair Leon Bailey (£5.6m) and Douglas Luiz (£5.5m) have each created 10+ scoring chances for their team-mates over the last four Gameweeks.

Although Bailey’s eight shots are double Luiz’s tally, the latter has been involved in four big chances to the Jamaican’s two. When his penalty duties are added to the equation, Luiz could be the better pick of the two to help managers navigate the schedule ahead. 

Top players for shot involvement
Player Shot involvement Shots in box Key passes Big chances Big chances created
Garnacho 29 12 12 2 3
Fernandes 29 6 17 1 3
Saka 27 13 7 6 1
Odegaard 25 4 17 0 5
Gross 21 5 12 2 5
Neto 20 10 8 1 3
Bailey 18 4 10 0 2
Douglas Luiz 15 3 11 1 3
Bowen 12 7 3 1 0
Kudus 10 4 2 0 0

*rotate mobile device to see full table

So, who are the best midfielders?

Although every move is very team-dependant at such a tactical point of the campaign, the Man Utd and Wolves assets could be the most appealing to those managers who are playing the Free Hit chip in BGW26.

Those sides then face tough away tests at Manchester City and Newcastle respectively in Gameweek 27, which certainly lessens the appeal of keeping their assets beyond this weekend's fixtures.

Odegaard and Gross’s involvement in big chances puts them among the best picks for those who intend to play their Free Hit in BGW29 instead. This allows them to purely focus on the next three Gameweeks and essentially ignore the fact that both players might be without a fixture in BGW29.

Managers who plan on not using their Free Hit chip until after BGW29 should consider that Aston Villa are one of the sides who have a confirmed Premier League fixture in BGW29, and they should consider the potential of Villa’s Douglas Luiz and Bailey.

West Ham's Jarrod Bowen (£7.7m) and Mohammed Kudus (£6.8m) are also more than capable of rediscovering their form, and they have a fixture in BGW29 too.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 26 in Fantasy Premier League

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