FPL Transfer Watch: Preparing for Gameweek 26

FPL Transfer Watch: Preparing for Gameweek 26

This article is part of our FPL Transfer Watch series.

With Leicester City moving five points clear of the field at the top of the Premier League table, last season's late-season surge has continued for a full year at this point. With Arsenal finding their footing once again, scoring for the first time in three matches, and the classic matchup of Manchester United and Chelsea ending with an injury time Diego Costa goal, this season has been everything casual fans could want. Furthermore, for longtime fans of their clubs, this season has seen even more parity than usual.

With a pair of marquee matchups in Arsenal vs. Leicester City and Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday alone, this is shaping up to be a pivotal week. Let's take a look at three players who are being picked up like wildfire and three that are being dropped like crazy to see if they are worth moving on or off your roster.

Transfers In

Robert Huth (DEF)
55,278 transfers in (as of Feb. 8), most for defenders, second-most overall

Few players—much less defenders—put up as gaudy a stat line as Huth did last week. In a huge match at the Etihad against Manchester City, Huth scored two goals and was three minutes from keeping a clean sheet against the then-second place team. Coming off five clean sheets in six matches and a price tag of just £4.4, Huth seems like a can't miss player on the rise.

But just because Huth has kept five clean sheets and scored three goals in his past seven matches doesn't mean that will continue. In fact, those are his only three goals of the season and five of his eight clean sheets on the season. Couple that fact with a trip to the Emirates on Sunday to face an Arsenal team that put up five in September at the King Power Stadium, and Huth is someone not worth picking up this week.

Petr Cech (GK)
13,704 transfers in, second-most for goalkeepers, 12th-most overall

Cech has been sensational of late, conceding just once over his past four matches, now posting a Premier League-leading 12 clean sheets on the season. He is susceptible to a slip-up, conceding four to Southampton on Boxing Day and three to Liverpool a shade over two weeks later. But it's not Cech himself that's the problem now but rather the matchup.

With major title implications over Sunday's matchup with Leicester City, expect a high-scoring affair. While it may not be the 5-2 victory Arsenal had in September, the Foxes have shown an ability to put up goals in a hurry. With a couple of cup ties (Hull City in the FA Cup and Barcelona in the Champions League) followed by a matchup with Manchester United at Old Trafford, you might want to wait until after this February flurry to pick up Cech.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (DEF)
12,605 transfers in, fourth-most for defenders, 15th-most overall

With United painfully short on quality at the back—with no Luke Shaw or Marcos Rojo—it was up to academy product Borthwick-Jackson to step in at left back. While he hasn't been without growing pains, the 19-year-old has acquitted himself well at the position. He's started back-to-back matches at left back for the first time all season and started three-in-a-row overall.

Owned by just 1.1 percent of managers, more than 11,000 people have transferred him into their squads and at just £4.0, it is of no surprise that shrewd owners have snapped him up. With a match against Sunderland on Saturday looming, who have scored one or fewer goals in 16 matches this season, now would be a good time to snag him.

Transfers Out

Kurt Zouma (DEF)
21,635 transfers out, second-most for defenders, ninth-most overall

Owned by just 3.9 percent of teams, Zouma's position late in the top-10 of most-dropped players could be a pure numbers game. However, with an injury outlook of surgery and six months out of the squad, there's no reason to keep the Chelsea center back on your team. He'd turned in a number of strong performances before the injury, but it will end his season. Proceed with caution if replacing Zouma with Gary Cahill, who was dropped from the starting XI earlier in the season due to his own poor form.

Olivier Giroud (FWD)
14,883 transfers out, third-most for forwards, 14th-most overall

With no goals in four matches—what must seem like a lengthy dry spell to some owners—Giroud has been dropped by nearly 15,000 managers, this despite tallying an assist against Bournemouth in his last match out. The French target man has 12 goals and three assists on the season and, despite his high price tag, has been excellent up front for the top-four Gunners.

In the last match against Leicester in September, despite only seeing 11 minutes of action, he was still able to find the back of the net. Giroud has shown himself to be a streaky scorer, having two streaks of goals in three consecutive matches, and Sunday seems as big a moment as any.

Odion Ighalo (FWD)
34,062 transfers out, most for forwards, second-most overall

Similarly to Giroud, it's unclear what fantasy owners are expecting of the Watford stiker as Ighalo has gone only two matches between goals, yet finds himself the second most-dropped player with more than 34,000 managers choosing to cut ties with the Nigerian. Ighalo is barely a month removed from a six-match goal scoring stretch, and he has three braces this season. While he didn't score against Palace in September, his 15 goals put him ahead of Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa while trailing only Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku in the Premier League. That's quite impressive company, and a couple of poor matches shouldn't cause owners to overreact: hold on to him and reap the rewards soon enough.

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Brian Weidy
Brian writes about soccer, cricket, football, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. A proud New Yorker, he's been writing for RotoWire since 2015 and for a variety of outlets since 2011.
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