Double Gameweek Time: Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 34 Preview
The first Double Gameweek is here. A total of 8 teams will be playing twice and many people have set their sights on a bench boost or triple captain.
Manchester City were being touted as one of the best teams ever.
They were unbeaten across all competitions for so long and there was talk of a historic quadruple. Now they have 1 trophy in their cabinet already and they will surely add the Premier League in the next few weeks, so what else are they playing for?
This is a question FPL managers need to ask as it will directly affect City’s mentality for the remaining weeks. Will Pep Guardiola give time to squad players so everyone gets a medal, will he want to break every record he can get his hands on, or will he allow key players to rest so they can be fresh for the World Cup in Russia?
Regardless of the answers to these questions (we will know soon enough anyway), Manchester City aren’t even the biggest issue this week as the first Double Gameweek rolls up.
A total of eight teams will be playing twice and many people have set their sights on a bench boost or triple captain to take full advantage.
I’m still of the opinion that this week is better for the bench boost because a) there will be a lot of rotation happening by Double Gameweek 37 and b) that’s the week you should Triple Captain Harry Kane (West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle in Double Gameweek 37) if you still have that chip.
Before you make any transfers, remember that Gameweek 35 is right around the corner and only Burnley have a double in Gameweek 34 and play in Gamewek 35. If you don’t have your Free Hit chip you need to plan your moves very carefully.
Best: Spurs – Man City (h), Brighton (a), (blank), Watford (h), West Brom (a), Newcastle (h), Leicester (h)
After Manchester City this weekend, it’s plain sailing for Pochettino’s boys until the very end of the season. Kane wants that golden boot so badly he will claim anything that even goes near the goal so get him in quick.
Worst: West Brom – Man United (a), Liverpool (h), Newcastle (a), Spurs (h), Crystal Palace (a)
There was no way you were looking at them anyway but look at those fixtures! Wave bye-bye to West Brom and don’t expect another great escape or many FPL points.
Romelu Lukaku (FWD, 11.6m, West Brom at home and Bournemouth away)
Before last week, when he blanked against Manchester City (are we surprised Mourinho didn’t utilise his attacking players all that well against a top 6 rival?), Lukaku was on a nice run of three goals and two assists in four matches.
This week we will surely see Mourinho take the breaks off of his team and let them attack West Brom and Bournemouth from the very beginning. I can see Lukaku being ineffective in both matches until the dying minutes when he scores a brace to make it 4 or 5-0 but they all count in FPL.
His ownership has rocketed to 30% and a lot of people will be handing him the armband this week so you need to get him in if only to cover yourself against the rest of the world.
Harry Kane (FWD, 12.9m, Man City at home and Brighton away)
The big question this week is who to choose as captain between Lukaku and Kane. Lukaku has fixtures and a bit of form in his favour, Kane has the underlying stats and the clear desire to score as many goals as possible (even if he only touches it by a hair follicle).
Spurs do face a tough first fixture in their double but Manchester City could be tired and rattled after Tuesday, and Liverpool have shown they can be beaten.
Kane also has the potential to be more explosive than Lukaku as the Belgian has just one brace and no hat trick this season, whereas Kane has six braces and two hat tricks.
It’s a tough call but Kane might just pip Lukaku to my armband (if I find a way to bring him in first).
Chris Wood (FWD, 6.3m, Leicester at home and Chelsea at home)
Burnley’s big striker has scored four goals in four games since a return from injury. His underlying stats are also remarkable as he is top of all strikers for goal attempts in the box, shots on target and xGoals ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Roberto Firmino, Kane and Lukaku.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting he will match those players, especially with some tough fixtures but he should provide something for FPL managers. Burnley also have the added bonus of playing twice in Gameweek 34 and having a game in Gameweek 35.
Charlie Austin (FWD, 5.8m, Chelsea at home and Leicester away)
Charlie Austin provides another even cheaper option up front although he is a much bigger risk.
On the one hand, he’s just coming back from injury and has a history of niggles and knocks, so his minutes could be managed. On the other hand, Southampton are in desperate need of a win and he is their most consistent goalscorer (he is Saints’ top scorer even with the series of injuries he has endured).
It’s not one for the faint-hearted, though, and I would suggest you only go for it if you’re chasing in your mini-league but it could pay off.
Chris Smalling (DEF, 5.5m, West Brom away and Bournemouth at home)
One of the hardest things this season has been finding a way into the Manchester United defence. David De Gea and Antonio Valencia are the only nailed on options, while Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo have all had turns at centre back.
Smalling is the current flavour-of-the-month and has played every minute of the last 10 games, scoring twice in the process. This is still Mourinho’s team though, so I would not be surprised if there was some rotation.
That said, Smalling does seem to be the best bet if you want a defender rather than De Gea and you cannot afford Valencia.
Marcos Alonso (DEF, 7.2m, Southampton away and Burnley away)
I have decided to keep faith with Marcos Alonso, although I did wobble this week.
The Chelsea man has not returned more than two points since Gamweek 24. However, he was only denied by Joe Hart who had an outstanding game and I think Chelsea will surely keep at least one clean sheet in this Double Gameweek.
Like Smalling, the other alternatives at Chelsea don’t offer too much appeal as only Cesar Azpilicueta seems to be a nailed-on starter and Conte has form in taking off defenders before 60 minutes (see Andreas Christensen in Gameweek 23 and Gameweek 24).
But even when compared to Azpilicueta, Alonso is surely a must-own as the defender with the most goals who plays essentially as a winger.
Everybody is rightly focused on the Double Gameweek teams because two bites of the cherry is (almost) always better than one.
However, Double Gameweeks are no reason to transfer out big hitters like Mohamed Salah. Liverpool will be riding high from their win over Manchester City and I think it’s unlikely Klopp will rest his star players as he will need them to be sharp for the semifinals.
Against Bournemouth, there is every chance Salah will outscore most Double Gameweek players.
Speaking of Bournemouth, their Double Gameweek brings them up against Liverpool and Manchester United.
They might have a Double Gameweek but I would deliberately transfer out a player who was up against those two in successive Gameweeks, so I see no reason why you should transfer them in for this Gameweek.
The Cherries could be in for a tough couple of days and I can’t see them getting many points for your FPL team.