With the fixture dates now confirmed for the first ever Premier League winter break in Gameweek 26, here are some thoughts for FPL managers to start considering.
2 Weekends, 1 Gameweek
The first point to note is that the winter break is spread out over two weekends in February, with only eight teams playing on the first weekend (8-9th) and the remaining twelve on the second weekend (14-17th). However, these two weekends both fall under Gameweek 26 in FPL.
This unusual situation naturally throws even more importance on various aspects of the game, which I shall now go into detail on.
Captain / vice-captain
FPL managers are advised to give more thought on who they should allocate the vice-captaincy to, especially if they wish to choose a captain from a team like Liverpool, who play on the second weekend.
Should that captain option be ruled out suddenly through an injury, for example, in between the two weekends, the vice-captaincy will naturally come into play as it would not be possible to switch the captaincy by then.
FPL managers with a non-playing captain would therefore face an anxious wait to see if their vice-captain can also stay fit until the second weekend. With this in mind, it is advisable to select a vice-captain (Man City stand out) playing on the first weekend if you were to choose a captain from the second weekend.
Remember that we are powerless to change our FPL sides once the GW26 deadline has passed, which means waiting for as many as nine days for some players to hopefully join in on the action. Team news released on Friday 14th February before the second weekend will actually be redundant as a result as we won’t be able to make any changes.
It is highly likely that most FPL teams will be calling on players off the bench if you think about the amount of injury news that is revealed on a weekly basis less than 24 hours before a game. Thefore, FPL managers are advised to ensure they have a full playing bench of outfield players in case all three subs need to be called upon.
Two free transfers
If there are injury doubts over a player or two, especially those playing on the first weekend, it might be best to transfer those out before the deadline as this gameweek is really one where you can ill afford to carry injured players.
Ideally bench players should only have to be deployed on the second weekend to cover any potential injuries that we are powerless to take action on.
With this in mind, carrying over a free transfer from Gameweek 25 seems like a good idea as it then minimises the need to take a hit or two if there is a need to transfer out injured/suspended players before the Gameweek 26 deadline.