The big news ahead of Gameweek 34 is the announcement from the Premier League that Double Gameweek 35 has been confirmed.
The deadlines for both Gameweek 36 and 37 have been pushed back, creating space for the extra fixtures to take place in Gameweek 35. More on those changes coming up.
In the meantime, there’s a Friday deadline today and we have until 18:30 BST to make any last-minute changes to our sides.
And there’s plenty to ponder with several players to consider for the armband, transfer moves to plan, and lingering question marks over FPL’s most popular asset, Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m).
The standout match has to be Tottenham Hotspur versus Sheffield United.
Over the last six matches, no FPL forward has recorded more goal attempts or big chances than Golden Boot-chasing Harry Kane (£11.8m). His 27 shots is two more than his closest rival, although his seven big chances is the same number as Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.2m) and Chris Wood (£6.3m).
And this is the dilemma. Iheanacho is in excellent form and arguably has a more favourable opponent in Southampton:
I just don’t know how much of a purchase I can get on what to expect from Sheffield United whereas I feel like I would find it easier predicting Southampton to roll over.
– David, Captaincy Video
Both Southampton and Sheffield United are fairly similar in terms of chances conceded, with 11 and 10 apiece in their last four games. But, as Neale revealed in his latest Big Numbers article, the Saints’ home form is a worry:
Eleven goals conceded by Southampton in their last six home matches, which accounts for over half of the total number of goals they have shipped at St Mary’s so far this season. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s troops, who entertain Leicester City on Friday, haven’t kept a clean sheet on their own turf since Gameweek 17 at the beginning of January.
So while Jan stopped short of making Iheanacho his top captain pick, as he did successfully last week, the Nigerian international is second and provides an enticing differential for those willing to take a risk to climb the ranks.
One advantage Kane has in his locker over Iheanacho is penalties. Neale, who examined the effect of the updated handball rule on spot-kicks, also highlighted Kane’s ability from open-play:
Harry Kane is the first nailed-on penalty taker we come across, averaging 0.58 expected goals or assists per 90 minutes.
A third option, according to Jan, is Kane’s team-mate Son Heung-min (£9.5m). Our eagle-eyed writer noticed a tendency for the South Korean to take up central positions in his most recent Premier League match against Southampton.
In the Southampton match alone, Son registered 12 penalty area touches, his season average stands at only 3.5 touches per game. Assuming [Spurs manager Ryan] Mason wants to continue giving him a more central role even with Kane’s comeback, the South Korean could turn out to be a great differential captain this week, especially considering Sheffield United remain porous in defence, especially through the middle.
Son produced his tenth double-figure return of the season last time out, and many are contemplating getting him in place of the underperforming Fernandes. The Portuguese has mustered an impressive 11 double-figure hauls but has now gone five matches without one.
One thing to consider though is a lot of fans think that Fernandes needs a rest, and the ideal time looking at the schedule could be against Aston Villa in Gameweek 35.
But it’s perhaps telling that Spurs fan and Pro Pundit Sam won’t be swapping out Fernandes for Son, a late change of heart notwithstanding:
While on paper selling Fernandes feels like the right thing to do especially considering the gulf in fixtures for Manchester United and Spurs in the next Gameweek, I’m not sure it’s something that I am brave enough to do.
And Sam’s fellow Pro Pundit Lateriser even has Fernandes on his shopping list:
I haven’t owned him since Gameweek 27 and I’m currently contemplating buying him, as he has a potentially good-looking Double Gameweek 35 should the fixtures be rearranged.
Double Gameweek 35
Those fixtures have been rearranged, handing Manchester United games against Aston Villa and Leicester City:
Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) could appear on our Fantasy radars as result of Crystal Palace’s enticing three matches against Sheffield United, Southampton and Aston Villa.
And Everton, too, have an appealing set of three fixtures across the two Gameweeks.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m) featured near the top of Joe’s updated table of ‘unfairly unfashionable’ players on the Scoutcast. This was a table Joe used to successfully identify Chris Wood (£6.3m) ahead of his magnificent 20-point haul.
And it could be another good week for the New Zealander, who has an excellent record against his upcoming opponents:
Six goals scored by the in-form Chris Wood in seven previous appearances against West Ham United. The Kiwi striker, who has nine FPL attacking returns from Gameweeks 27-33, has scored more goals against the Hammers than he has any other Premier League side.
Finally, could Welshman Gareth Bale (£9.1m) fire the end-of-season run-in?
Lateriser and Tom Freeman certainly think so:
Call it my gut instinct but I really like the look of Gareth Bale (£9.1m) as an option for the run-in. I just have a feeling that he will have the same impact that Paul Pogba (£7.6m) had once Jose Mourinho left Manchester United. They both were similarly sidelined under Mourinho and if Bale plays, he will get you Fantasy points given his sheer quality. He does play Sheffield United at home this Gameweek and he’s just a differential punt I really fancy.
The on-loan Real Madrid star is Tom’s top differential this Gameweek:
When given a run of games this season, Bale has thrived. He was in exceptional form as he came off the bench against West Ham United in Gameweek 25, and was then handed starts against Burnley, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Arsenal. During that time, he scored four goals, provided two assists and 40 FPL points, highlighting his ability to hit big hauls.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
It’s semi-final time in the both the FFS Open Cup and FFS Members Cup, Neale rounded up the quarter-final action and previewed the semis. With all eight remaining managers inside the top 50,000 there are set to be some tightly contested matches.
And RedLightning brought us his regular update on the community competitions.
It’s extremely close at the top of the Head-to-Head leagues, with Ville Tuominen (aka Santigold) and Aleksander Våge Nilsen vying to replace Craig Johnson (aka Bouncebackability) as the Champion.
With five rounds to go, the pair are tied on 66 points but Ville has the slight edge at the moment thanks to his superior rank.
The Head-to-Head fixtures for Gameweek 34 can be found below.
The scores and tables update every night on the Head-to-Head Leagues main page so you can keep track of the action as the Gameweek unfolds.
May your arrows be green!
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