Firstly, the 2014 Rotoworld PL Cup 2nd round results from Week 25 are up, so click here to check out whether you made it through to Round 3. Please note the WEEK 25 bit is key. I have been bombarded with emails from readers over the past week who believe I have calculated the results incorrectly, but in every case this has been because the individual believed the results related to Week 26. Round 2 was Week 25 people, Week 25.
Before I get in to it, please take a moment to read some of the content my colleagues have put out on Rotoworld PL this week. Galin's "Don't Believe The Hype” column includes some statistical analysis that could be of particular interest to the geeks among us, while Jeremy and Steve have both given their opinions on the week ahead.
Check out The Week 27 Free Kick | The Week 27 First XI
Now this is my first Player Picks post since Week 23, and in that time things have not been going well. AM FC is officially in a slump. From hitting the giddy heights of the top 400 in early January I now find myself down in 1583rd overall after a run of shocking weekly scores. Some of it has been bad luck (which the majority of us experienced in Week 26 due to last minute postponements), but it's mostly been down to poor decision making on my part. With twelve game-weeks left the target of a top 500 finish is slipping away, so I need to turn things around quickly. Let's look at the fixtures:
Get all of your Premier League news at RotoWorld
Week 27 Fixtures
Arsenal v Sunderland
Cardiff City v Hull City
Chelsea v Everton
Crystal Palace v Man Utd
Liverpool v Swansea
Man City v Stoke
Newcastle v Aston Villa
Norwich v Tottenham
West Brom v Fulham
West Ham v Southampton
At this stage of the season it's fairly clear as to which teams you can trust and which teams you can't. You can almost always back the current Top 6 to win the games they should win, but below that it's a lottery, especially in the bottom half of the table where anybody can beat anybody. The bottom eleven sides taking points off each other is the reason just 4 points separate 10th position and the relegation zone, and why we're set for the tightest battle to avoid the drop for many years. Trust the top teams - don't trust the strugglers.
From the above list of fixtures, Liverpool versus Swansea at Anfield, Arsenal hosting Sunderland and Manchester City at home to Stoke are the three games that leap off the page. Liverpool are flying, while Arsenal and City will be looking to vent their frustrations after controversial defeats in the Champions League. Throw in-form Tottenham's trip to struggling Norwich in to the mix and you have the four key teams to focus on for Week 27, so you should be fielding at least a couple of players from each side. It's important to remember that the Premier League fixtures are taking place just a few days after those gruelling midweek matches (and a long journey to the Ukraine for Spurs), so rotation could come in to play and we'll focus on this in Friday's team and injury news post. The team safe from this risk are Liverpool as they aren't competing in Europe this season, so if you're going to load up on one team in particular then they remain your best bet.
Chelsea at home to Everton is a game I'm looking forward to watching, but it's not one I'll be getting invested in for fantasy purposes as I can't call it either way. Chelsea are playing well, but so are Everton, who were extremely unlucky to lose to Spurs a couple of weeks ago. It's on TV here in the UK and is the early Saturday kick-off, so we'll get line-ups before the Yahoo deadline. I'll ensure these are tweeted out, so follow me and our Rotoworld_PL account if you're planning to pick any Chelsea or Everton representatives.
Personally, I'm avoiding Manchester United players for their trip to a revived Crystal Palace, David Moyes has the look of a man out of his depth at the moment and this appears to have filtered through to his players. There is a lack of an effective game-plan and a clear lack of confidence, which is a complete contrast to how Tony Pulis has his side playing at the moment, as he continues to work wonders both on the pitch and in the transfer market. While United undoubtedly have the attacking quality to win this one, I'm not sure they have the belief and so it will be going down as a draw on my coupon.
Another side lacking confidence are Newcastle United, on a run of 3-0, 3-0 and 4-0 defeats since the sale of Yohan Cabaye. Aston Villa are coming to town and they have a decent away record so they should fancy their chances of nicking at least a point, and possibly all three. Back in London, West Ham are improving and have won three games in a row against Swansea, Villa and Norwich, but Southampton are a cut above those sides and will feel they can still catch 7th placed Manchester United, so I expect the Saints to grab the victory at Upton Park.
West Brom versus Fulham is difficult to predict as we don't know how Fulham's players will react to yet another managerial change, but if you were leaning either way it would be with the home side. Finally Cardiff v Hull looks like a low scoring draw, and it's a match best avoided in my opinion, with better options available elsewhere.
With all that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 27 player recommendations ...