Heading into GW26, our favorites include: Man City (vs. Burnley), Bournemouth vs. Stoke, United (vs. Huddersfield), Leicester (vs. Swansea), and Chelsea (vs. Watford). City continue to dominate the lead and are set to mathematically win the league by early April. In theory, City could face United on April 7th and wrap up the league. Guardiola’s side set themselves 15 points clear of United after their 3-0 victory over West Brom on Wednesday.
Aguero, Lukaku, and Vardy lead our forward three this week with Aguero taking home the armband. As we’ve said, with Jesus still sidelined and slowly recovering from injury, the threat of rotation remains relatively low. Despite the quick turnaround in games, we expect Pep to still play his starters with potential for early rest later in the game. At the same time, we also think that managers may need to be somewhat cautious on City players later in the season as the title becomes a dead lock. Pep may focus on resting players toward the end of the season, especially with double-gameweeks and a hectic schedule. Bench Boost and Triple Captain may not be sure things, particularly on players like Aguero who do have a history of injury. City face off against Burnley this week. Unfortunately, Silva is a doubt after picking up an injury problem in midweek. Man City have scored at least 2 goals in 16 of their last 18 matches and have won their last 4 matches against Burnley in all competitions.
Lukaku and Vardy round out our front two. After a 2-0 to loss to Tottenham on Wednesday, Jose could make several changes. We look for the side to rebound here after the disappointing result. Pogba was subbed off early against Spurs but we do not think that his plaice is in doubt. Huddersfield have failed to score in 9 of their last 11 away matches while Man Utd are undefeated in 28 of their last 29 home matches. Vardy and Leicester continue to perform well at home having scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 home matches. Swansea have pulled off a couple miracles recently winning against Liverpool and then Arsenal in their last two matches but we still think the side faces systematic challenges. Swansea have failed to win 9 of their last 10 away matches.
In midfield, we have opted for Sterling, Hazard, Tadic, and Lingard. While there were some big upsets over the weekend, we think that these players are likely to revert to their normal form and will rebound from their recent bouts of poor performance. Chelsea were particularly shocking and an extended period of Morata out cold see Giroud start with Hazard right behind him. Watford have gone from superstars early in the season to suffering a management change. The side have lost 11 of their last 12 matches and will face a difficult fixture here at home to Chelsea. Southampton is intriguing only because they are going up against WBA who are currently the worst team in the league. This is an important relegation battle for both sides.
Finally, in defense, we think Man City, Bournemouth, Leicester, United, Southampton, and Chelsea have the best fixtures and the greatest probability of keeping clean sheets. West Brom have failed to win 22 of their last 23 matches, which bodes well for Southampton. Huddersfield have failed to score in 9 of their last 11 away matches, which is great for United. Stoke have lost 5 of their last 6 away matches and have no real striker, while Burnley have lost their last 3 home matches showing that the side can be defeated at Turf Moor.