Fantasy football tips: Players to bring in and drop for gameweek 27

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero
With the Champions League returning and the Carabao Cup final next weekend, will Pep Guardiola rotate Sergio Aguero?

The Champions League and Europa League returned this week, and while everyone loves a European classic it does present problems for fantasy football managers.

Why? One word - rotation.

Premier League managers love chopping and changing their starting teams in the games before and after their European exploits.

How do you get around the problem? BBC Sport has taken a look at some of the options.

This gameweek's Premier League fixtures (all times GMT)
Saturday, 22 February: Chelsea v Tottenham (12:30 GMT), Burnley v Bournemouth, Crystal Palace v Newcastle, Sheffield United v Brighton, Southampton v Aston Villa (all 15:00 GMT), Leicester v Manchester City (17:30 GMT)
Sunday, 23 February: Manchester United v Watford, Wolves v Norwich (both 14:00 GMT), Arsenal v Everton (16:30 GMT)
Monday, 24 February: Liverpool v West Ham United (20:00 GMT)

Time to take out the big boys?

With Manchester City facing Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday (26 February) and then missing a weekend because of their Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa before travelling to Old Trafford, it may be time to transfer out the likes of Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne as Pep Guardiola looks to rotate his squad.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has generally resisted making major changes after European games so the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are all solid picks and potential captaincy options as they face relegation strugglers West Ham United, Watford and Bournemouth in their next three matches.

TeamChanges in Europe from previous PL game this seasonTotal changes after European games this season
Wolverhampton Wanderers2224
Tottenham Hotspur2225
Manchester City3127
Manchester United4847

The other five teams involved in Europe this season all face a battle to secure European football again next season.

Under Unai Emery, Arsenal made between six and 10 changes for their Europa League group-stage fixtures. With Mikael Arteta now in charge, the approach is unknown but, with the Gunners needing to close a seven-point gap to the top four, the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - who has scored 15 goals this season - and Nicolas Pepe - who got two assists and a goal last week - may be good inclusions.

Wolves played their 44th game of the season against Espanyol on Thursday. Despite being 33, Joao Moutinho, has played a part in every league and Europa League game this campaign so he's likely to be a key figure as Nuno Espirito Santo looks to challenge in Europe and improve on last season's seventh-place finish. He is good value, having assisted seven goals this season.

Manchester United have a pivotal March with games against fellow-challengers Everton, Tottenham and Sheffield United alongside the Manchester derby. The likes of January signing Bruno Fernandes, who has started taking most of United's set pieces, and Anthony Martial, who has 12 league goal involvements this season and has scored against Chelsea and Club Bruges since the winter break, are going to be key to their run-in.

With injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min Tottenham are likely to rely on the trio of Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and new signing Steven Bergwijn for the vast majority of games between now and the end of the season, meaning they may turn out to be shrewd acquisitions.

For Chelsea, Tammy Abraham could return this weekend. However, Brazilian winger Willian may be worth looking at. He was fantastic against Spurs in the return fixture, scoring twice, and they have games against Bournemouth, Everton and Aston Villa coming up.

How do I replace Son?

Tottenham's Son Heung-Min celebrates
Son had scored four goals in his past three games

After scoring twice against Aston Villa last weekend, fantasy managers up and down the country were hoping South Korea international Son was about to hit a rich vein of form.

However, he is now out for "a number of weeks" with a fractured arm, leaving many managers scratching their heads and wondering who to replace him with.

Despite leading the line for Spurs, he is listed as a midfielder so we have taken a look at some similarly-priced alternatives to ease the headache.

The only player that has outscored Son this season for a similar value is Everton's Richarlison. However despite the Toffees' good form under Carlo Ancelotti, with games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in the next four gameweeks it may not be time to bring in an Everton player.

Jack Grealish is another who continues to impress. He has created 68 chances in the league this season, more than any other English player, but with Villa not playing due to the League Cup final next weekend and games against Leicester and Chelsea to follow he may be another to avoid.

After their game against Manchester City on Saturday, Leicester face Norwich, Aston Villa, Watford and Brighton in their next four games so the likes of James Maddison and Ayoze Perez are worth a look. Both are considerably cheaper than Son too, allowing you to boost your team in other areas.

Man Utd's Fernandes may also be worth considering after the Portugal international got his first assist against Chelsea on Monday.

Other things to consider?

  • Southampton striker Shane Long has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last seven Premier League starts against Aston Villa (6 goals, 4 assists), scoring twice and assisting twice in his only previous start against them at St Mary's in May 2015.
  • Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been directly involved in six goals in his past seven Premier League appearances against Man City (5 goals, 1 assist). But he has not scored in any of his last six Premier League games - he had only failed to score in six of his first 18 appearances in the competition this season.
  • Man City striker Gabriel Jesus has scored in all three of his Premier League starts against Leicester, with two of these strikes ending up being the winning goal of the game.
  • Despite playing just 15 of Newcastle's 26 Premier League games this season, Jonjo Shelvey has scored more goals (5) and created more chances (27) than any other player at the club this season.
  • Norwich's Emiliano Buendia has created 69 goalscoring opportunities for his teammates in the Premier League this season, with only Man City's De Bruyne creating more in the competition.

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