My premium midfield dilemma for FPL Gameweek 27 and beyond |

It feels as if the midfield template is shifting as we head towards Blank Gameweek 29, which means Fantasy Premier League managers have some tough decisions ahead.

Whenever highly-owned expensive players go through periods of bad form or have unappealing fixtures, we are faced with a tough choice. Either we double-down and keep the faith, or we move on our big hitters for a differential option.

There are pros and cons to each choice, of course. You could either sell a big name just as they score a huge haul or you might end up late to the next party if you hold on too long.

  • Bruno Fernandes – owned by 60.2%
  • Son Heung-min – 52.1%
  • Mohamed Salah – 41.4%
  • Ilkay Gundogan – 37.0%
  • Jack Grealish – 23.9%
  • Harvey Barnes – 18.8%
  • Tomas Soucek – 13.2%

Either way, there are plenty of reasons to ponder shaking things up when you consider that Liverpool are out of form, Manchester United hit a difficult spell of fixtures from Gameweek 27 onwards and, even though they are doing well, both Manchester City and Chelsea are experiencing a fair amount of rotation under Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel.

Leicester assets have been popular but their growing injury crisis, which recently claimed James Maddison (£7.3m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.9m), is off-putting to say the least.

And let’s not forget that Blank Gameweek 29 plays a big part in what to do with the midfield template considering Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and do not play in that round.

The aforementioned circumstances should lead us to Tottenham Hotspur who enjoy relatively favourable fixtures in the short-term and face Aston Villa in Blank Gameweek 29.

While Jose Mourinho’s men have recently endured a period of uninspiring form, one man appears to have turned all that on its head: Gareth Bale (£9.3m).

The Welsh international racked up a massive 19-point score with two goals and an assist against Burnley and, even with those handy fixtures on the horizon, only 0.9% of Fantasy managers own him at the time of writing.

Could he be the answer to our premium midfield dilemma in the coming weeks? Let’s find out…

Can we trust Bale yet?

Watching Bale slowly find his feet over the last few weeks has been an enjoyable experience for Spurs fans. Coming off the bench against West Ham in Gameweek 25, he single-handedly took the game by the scruff of its neck and nearly did enough to earn Spurs a point. Then in the second leg against Wolfsberger, he came on to yet again have an immediate impact.

The big question is whether or not Mourinho is prepared to start Bale regularly enough for him to become a reliable Fantasy asset. Thankfully, his most recent post-match comments were promising indeed.

There is not one single manager in the world that doesn’t play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in very good condition. There is not one, but now he is better than ever, I’m just pleased for the team because he helped the team to win. I’m happy for him.

Jose Mourinho

The Spurs manager has clearly been easing Bale back to full-strength over the last month or so, with managed minutes in both the Premier League and Europa League. His withdrawal on 69 minutes against Burnley was an indication of the importance his current performances have earned him in Mourinho’s eye.

When Bale came off on Sunday, the match was comfortably won although even during the final 20 minutes his absence was notable. In my opinion, he will be in the starting XI for Thursday’s trip to Fulham.

Bale in Gameweek 26 

But who would make way?

What did FPL managers learn from FA Cup fourth round matches

But, with so many FPL managers still invested in a cluster of midfield options, who would be the best asset to make way for the Welsh wizard?

Even with the fixture swing, FPL managers are reticent to sell Fernandes, still the top-scoring Fantasy asset this season. He has returned in four of his last five Premier League matches, even with a fixture against Manchester City in Gameweek 27, his long-term appeal is too strong.

Son is potentially the obvious choice although he put in a very good display against Burnley registering two assists, two bonus points and was unlucky not to have scored himself.

And, given Son also plays in Gameweek 29, FPL managers will surely be reluctant to move him – which leaves the likes of Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) and Ilkay Gundogan (£6.2m) as potential makeweights for Bale.

Injury updates on Gundogan, KDB and other Double Gameweek 25 team news

Manchester City have yet another Double Gameweek after the current one ends so it is very difficult to justify selling Gündogan.

The fact that he missed out on the starting XI against Wolves arguably makes his Double Gameweek 27 credentials even stronger, as it suggest he will play significant minutes in the Manchester United and Southampton matches now he’s got some rest under his belt.

So… does that mean Salah is the one to replace with Bale?

Bale v Salah 

When you compare Bale and Salah’s performance data for Gameweek 26, Bale comes out on top in 57% of areas with the Welshman winning +8 key to Salah’s +1.

#premium #midfield #dilemma #FPL #Gameweek

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