Welcome to AM's Perfect XI - Week 25 player picks. This column focuses on Togga's Perfect XI game which you can play via their IOS and Android app. Download the apps via the link below and make sure you update regularly to take advantage of the constant enhancements:
Once downloaded, open the app and register an account. Once registered, click the Fantasy tab at the bottom of the app screen. Then from the Fantasy screen, click the arrow at the top of the app screen to select Perfect XI.
We've set up a Rotoworld PL Private League where you can challenge myself and the rest of the RW PL team over the course of the season. To join it download the app and then click the below link from your device, or find us from the Featured Leagues tab:
Each week I provide a Perfect XI of my own for the upcoming gameweek of Premier League fixtures, recommending 11 players to consider along with some honourable mentions for each position. The main 11 players listed won't necessarily be the exact players selected for my own Perfect XI fantasy side. The point of this column isn't to tell you exactly who to pick; it's to present some ideas to get you thinking. Hopefully you'll find the advice useful, whether you're playing Togga's game or looking at potential transfers for your official Fantasy Premier League team.
Week 24 was a poor one as I finished on a below-average 138 points. It sent my PXI side spiralling down the rankings to 170th overall and 65 points off the top 100. Grade = D; must do better.
After a weekend off for the FA Cup we're treated to a full round of midweek fixtures starting at 7:45pm GMT on Tuesday evening here in the UK and continuing through Wednesday evening. It's important to have your fantasy team locked in ready for the Tuesday kick-offs but remember in Perfect XI you can swap out a player from your squad right up to one minute before their match kicks off and bring in an alternative player whose match is also yet to kick off. This wonderful flexibility allows you to avoid the pain of a surprise benching or unreported last minute injury and a big fat ZERO. Just make sure you keep an eye on the starting line-ups as kick off approaches each week by following the Rotoworld PL Twitter account.
Here are your Week 25 fixtures:
Tuesday 30 January
Swansea v Arsenal
West Ham v Crystal Palace
Huddersfield v Liverpool
Wednesday 31 January
Chelsea v Bournemouth
Everton v Leicester
Newcastle v Burnley
Southampton v Brighton
Man City v West Brom
Spurs v Man Utd
Stoke v Watford
Our clear focus for midweek should be on Manchester City players at home to West Brom, Liverpool away at Huddersfield and Chelsea at home to Bournemouth. There really isn't much too get excited about outside of these three teams. Arsenal away at Swansea? Maybe. Stoke at home to shell-shocked Watford could be worth a look, as could Southampton at home to Brighton and hopefully we'll get some goals in the clash of the gameweek - Spurs and Manchester United.
Here's a run through of my selections.
Alex McCarthy - at home to Brighton. McCarthy has replaced the error-prone Fraser Forster for Southampton since the turn of the year and has been looking solid. Brighton are toothless in attack and so I expect a clean sheet. A good differential.
Marcos Alonso - at home to Bournemouth. No explanation required.
Ryan Shawcross - at home to Watford. Shawcross and Paul Lambert are a match made in heaven and their relationship got off to the perfect start with a win, a rare clean sheet and 25 PXI points for Shawcross in Week 24. There's a possibility of another big score against Watford.
Virgil van Dijk - away at Huddersfield. I generally steer clear of Liverpool central defenders given their propensity for a set piece calamity, but van Dijk should add a sense of calm and stability over the coming weeks and months once he's fully settled. A good fixture this weekend offers that opportunity, plus he provides a goal threat.
Jamaal Lascelles - at home to Burnley. Purely a hunch that the Newcastle captain is going to pop up with a goal against Burnley this weekend.
Eden Hazard - at home to Bournemouth. I was all set to start Willian for Week 25 but injury reports suggest he's struggling with a hamstring injury and so Hazard will likely come in, despite the fact he's been trolling both my PXI and FPL teams this season. Watch him blank once again.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - away at Swansea. Mkhitaryan could be the perfect player for Arsenal if he can find the form produced earlier this season, and throughout his time in Germany. That's a big "if", but a strong start at the Liberty Stadium would do the Armenian the world of good.
Riyad Mahrez - away at Everton. Things are not good on the blue half of Merseyside and this fixture has all the ingredients for a Leicester away win, which is good news for the mercurial Mahrez, who is in scintilating form.
David Silva - at home to West Brom. At some point Pep Guardiola is going to have to rest Kevin De Bruyne and it could be this midweek after the Belgian surprisingly played 90 minutes on Sunday. We know David Silva is back after an extended absense due to the premature birth of his son, so he will start and could be the key man.
Roberto Firmino - away at Huddersfield. Yes, Mo Salah is the sensible choice and as the deadline approaches I'll be tempted to follow the crowd. However, I need to start doing a few things differently to catch up the teams above me and so Bobby F is currently in the line-up.
Sergio Aguero - at home to West Brom. Looking for differentials doesn't apply for Aguero while he remains the sole fit striker available to Manchester City. After an easy 45 minute cameo in the FA Cup he'll be ready to fire against the Baggies. Back-to-back hattricks? Don't bet against it.
Honourable Mentions: Mohamed Salah away at Huddersfield, Jamie Vardy away at Everton, Harry Kane at home to Manchester United, Shane Long at home to Brighton, Romelu Lukaku away at Tottenham, Raheem Sterling at home to West Brom
That's it for Week 25. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend ahead. If you have any questions about the Perfect XI game or general questions about a player or your own team then feel free to post them below or ping me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I promise to get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this midweek