Confirmation finally came on Friday afternoon that Gameweek 35 would be a ‘double’ in Fantasy Premier League.
Eight teams will play twice in the next round of Premier League fixtures, although there is a chance that the number could increase depending on what happens with the rescheduling of Sunday’s postponed match between Manchester United and Liverpool.
As it stands, the list of top-flight sides with two matches in Double Gameweek 35 looks as follows:
It’s these teams that we’ll be concentrating on in this two-part article as we take a look at which players stand the best chance of starting twice, and lasting the course, in Double Gameweek 35.
There’ll be a multitude of other articles from ourselves and our contributors this week looking at goal threat, clean sheet potential and everything in between but our sole focus here is on those Fantasy assets who tend to be averse to rotation.
Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Crystal Palace come under the spotlight in this first part.
Are there any definite starters for Arsenal in the league at present? Bar perhaps Granit Xhaka (£5.3m), no.
The Gunners’ ongoing involvement in the UEFA Europa League and their shifting of focus away from Premier League matters has seen Mikel Arteta run wild with the rotation on the domestic front.
Since their European campaign recommenced in February, only Xhaka has escaped a benching – his one omission from the starting XI from Gameweek 24 onwards enforced because of illness.
Even Bernd Leno (£5.0m) has been named among the substitutes twice in the last three Gameweeks, with Mathew Ryan (£4.1m) recently rewarded with two starts for “training like a beast”.
Above: Arsenal’s squad sorted by most starts from Gameweek 24 onwards
Arsenal’s first Double Gameweek 35 clash against West Bromwich Albion falls less than 72 hours after their delicately poised Europa League semi-final second-leg tie against Villarreal kicks off.
Who starts against the Baggies will likely be partly dictated by the line-up on Thursday; a weakened second-string XI against Albion followed by something more like a full-strength side against Chelsea on Wednesday would seem the likeliest scenario, although Arteta may have other ideas.
Rob Holding‘s (£4.3m) chances of featuring in both Double Gameweek 35 fixtures may have been boosted by Sunday’s injury to David Luiz (£5.4m), although Calum Chambers (£4.5m) is capable of deputising as the right-sided centre-half.
Alexandre Lacazette‘s (£8.4m) fitness situation could dictate how much game-time Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) gets at home and abroad, meanwhile.
In summary, then: probably quite a lot of Arsenal assets will get one start in Gameweek 35 but only a handful will feature twice.
The situation at Aston Villa is, thankfully, a lot more settled.
The back four, Emiliano Martinez (£5.4m), Ollie Watkins (£6.5m) and John McGinn (£5.5m) look, fitness permitting, odds-on to feature, while Bertrand Traore (£5.8m) has started 23 of Villa’s last 24 top-flight matches despite dips in form.
McGinn has started every match bar the one he was suspended for in Gameweek 19, while Watkins is the only FPL forward who has yet to miss a minute of Premier League football all season.
The penalty-taking Anwar El Ghazi (£5.2m) may only be in the side until Jack Grealish (£7.5m) gets fit, although a) only Dean Smith knows when that will be and b) the two midfielders have actually been paired in the same starting XI before, with Grealish deeper or more central.
Eight successive benchings for Ross Barkley (£5.8m) preceded his two recent starts in Gameweeks 33 and 34 so his grip on a first-team shirt looks far from firm.
For Chelsea, read Arsenal.
Thomas Tuchel has proved difficult to second-guess since his appointment in January, with rotation commonplace even before the Blues recommenced their Champions League campaign.
Above: Chelsea’s squad sorted by most starts from Gameweek 20 onwards
Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m) and Antonio Rudiger (£4.7m) have been regular picks at the back but, as recent matches have shown, by no means cast-iron guarantees to start. Even Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) – like Leno – has warmed the bench on two occasions since the change in head coach.
Mason Mount (£7.3m) is a definite favourite of his manager’s and has started eight competitive matches in a row, as well as 12 of the last 14 Premier League games.
But every match without a breather makes a future rest seem incrementally more likely and, with a Champions League semi-final tie and an FA Cup final against Leicester City sandwiching the Blues’ Double Gameweek 35 fixtures, even he could be at risk over the next week.
With even the likes of Mount, Azpilicueta and Mendy at the mercy of their manager’s rotation roulette, there is little surety of starts for everyone else.
Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) has lined up in seven of the last eight games in all competitions at wing-back, so at the very least has established himself as Tuchel’s first-choice option down the left flank in the more important fixtures.
Any three of Mount, Timo Werner (£9.2m), Kai Havertz (£8.2m), Christian Pulisic (£8.3m) and Hakim Ziyech (£7.9m) could start up top on any given Gameweek, meanwhile, and that’s before we even consider the likes of Tammy Abraham (£7.1m).
Vicente Guaita (£4.8m) and Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) are the first names on the teamsheet when fit but it’s worth keeping tabs on Roy Hodgson’s press conference later in the week, with the Ivory Coast international playing through a groin injury in Gameweek 34.
Hodgson has kept a settled side over Palace’s last six matches and from Gameweeks 27-33 his only two alterations were fitness-related.
Above: Crystal Palace’s squad sorted by most starts from Gameweek 27 onwards
Tyrick Mitchell (£3.8m) was one of two unenforced changes that Hodgson made to his starting XI in Gameweek 34.
He remains a risky selection for Double Gameweek 35 but the Palace manager’s words of praise on Saturday, plus the apparent likely departure of out-of-contract positional rival Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m) this summer, has raised hopes that the budget defender may be in line for more run-outs between now and the end of 2020/21.
Despite the relatively settled status of his team at present, Hodgson does have previous this season for making changes in periods of fixture congestion: there were five alterations between Gameweeks 15 and 16 over Christmas, while only four players (Zaha, Guaita, Eberechi Eze (£5.8m) and Luka Milivojevic (£5.6m)) started every fixture in the three-match week across Gameweeks 20-22.
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F05%2F03%2Fwhich-double-gameweek-35-players-stand-the-best-chance-of-two-starts-part-1%2F