Saturday 14th April
Southampton vs Chelsea (12:30)
Burnley vs Leicester (15:00)
Crystal Palace vs Brighton (15:00)
Huddersfield vs Watford (15:00)
Swansea vs Everton (15:00)
Liverpool vs Bournemouth (17:30)
Spurs vs Man City (19:45)
Sunday 15th April
Newcastle vs Arsenal (13:30)
Man Utd vs West Brom (16:00)
Monday 16th April
West Ham vs Stoke (20:00)
Tuesday 17th April
Brighton vs Spurs (19:45)
Wednesday 18th April
Bournemouth vs Man Utd (19:45)
Thursday 19th April
Burnley vs Chelsea (19:45)
Leicester vs Southampton (19:45)
For FPL anoraks the world over, there is not another feeling like it. That adrenaline surge when, just after the Fantasy Premier League site has finished updating, you assemble your DGW team for the first time and set eyes on the abundance of fixtures that await. With many bench boost and triple captain chips also set to be activated this week, hopes – nay, expectations – will be for triple-figure scores by the time the final whistles blow at Turf Moor and the King Power Stadium on Thursday night.
Bournemouth, Brighton, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton and Spurs are the eight clubs with two matches this gameweek, so we begin our Gameweek 34 preview with a look at the key assets from each of these sides.
With a tricky pair of fixtures (liv, MUN – a fixture difficulty rating of 4.0 for both), Bournemouth are perhaps the least appealing of the eight sides to be in action twice this week. The Cherries have only one win in their last seven league games – that being a 2-1 win over a Championship-bound West Brom side – and, sat in 11th place some ten points above the drop zone, have precious little to fight for.
That being said, Eddie Howe’s men have scored more league goals in 2018 (21 in 12 games) than any other side outside of the top six. Josh King (£7.0m) has registered attacking returns in his last three games, though Callum Wilson (£5.8m) has now blanked in eight successive appearances. For FPL managers looking for a budget fifth midfielder to free up funds elsewhere, Lewis Cook (£4.3m) offers security of starts and an almost cast-iron guarantee of at least four points in DGW34.
This double gameweek will perhaps be the last hurrah for Brighton assets in many of our sides, despite the Seagulls having another DGW to come in Gameweek 37. Chris Hughton’s side face both Manchester clubs then, so GW34’s double-header of Crystal Palace (a) and Tottenham (h) looks positively desirable in comparison.
Provider of eight goals and scorer of five, Pascal Gross (£6.0m) is by far the most-owned Brighton player going into GW34. That same money will get you Albion’s leading scorer Glenn Murray (£6.0m), who has 11 league goals to his name this season – though none in his last three, having also missed a penalty in GW32. Owned by only 0.3% of FPL managers, the exciting Jose Izquierdo (£5.9m) is a marginally cheaper and potentially explosive differential who has started Brighton’s last eight games.
Mathew Ryan (£4.6m) is proving to be a popular budget goalkeeper for the season run-in, while Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) and Shane Duffy (£4.6m) offer a threat in attack as well as the sureness of starts in defence; the centre-back pairing have 48 goal attempts between them this season.
It is four wins from four for Sean Dyche’s men going into their back-to-back home games against Leicester and Chelsea in Gameweek 34. Chris Wood (£6.3m) and Ashley Barnes (£5.4m) have each scored four goals since GW28. The Clarets have only conceded 12 goals in 15 home league games this season, a record that is better than Manchester City’s, Arsenal’s and Chelsea’s. With an injury doubt over Ben Mee (£4.9m) this weekend, budget buys James Tarkowski (£4.6m) and Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) are perhaps more attractive bets in defence. Were it not for Tom Heaton’s return from injury, Nick Pope (£5.0m) would surely feature in more FPL squads for GW34. Despite Pope’s excellent form, questions remain over whether Dyche will be looking to ease Heaton back into first-team action gradually between now and the end of the season.
Burnley’s fixture in Gameweek 35 is worthy of mention for FPL managers lacking in chips.
Away trips to Southampton and Burnley await the Blues in GW34, but doubts linger about the need to stockpile Chelsea assets for this double gameweek.
Their wretched league form is mirrored by unspectacular recent returns for several of their premium FPL players. Eden Hazard (£10.6m) has one solitary assist to show for his last five games, while the erstwhile golden boy Marcos Alonso (£7.2m) hasn’t produced an attacking return since Gameweek 22.
Having been dropped to the bench in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham, Andreas Christensen's (£5.3m) minutes in GW34 are a cause for concern. Willian’s (£7.2m) run of five successive starts is his longest of the season and the threat of rotation hangs heavy over the Brazilian playmaker too, with Antonio Conte’s men set for three games in eight days.
Jamie Vardy’s (£8.9m) steady trickle of FPL points continued on Saturday in the Foxes’ 2-1 home defeat against Newcastle; his consolation strike being his seventh in nine games. Quiet for the last couple of fixtures, Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) is nevertheless capable of the spectacular on any given gameweek and has previous against this week’s opposition; the Algerian scored in Leicester’s last league meeting with Southampton, whilst recording an assist in his side’s 1-0 win over Burnley in GW15.
With no clean sheet posted since Gameweek 24, Leicester defenders are perhaps best considered for their attacking potential; Wes Morgan (£4.4m) and Harry Maguire (£5.6m) offer considerable aerial threat from set pieces.
The title party-poopers are in a rich vein of form, having won five league matches on the bounce - a run that includes victories over Chelsea, Liverpool and, of course, Manchester City. Hopes will be high then for an FPL points frenzy in GW34, with the Red Devils having favourable fixtures against West Brom and Bournemouth.
David de Gea (£5.9m) and Antonio Valencia (£6.9m) are the safe bets for potential clean sheet returns given Jose Mourinho’s reluctance to rotate them this season, though Chris Smalling (£5.5m) has started the last ten league matches on the spin, scoring twice in that period.
Kneejerkers will no doubt be mulling over a move for the back-in-favour Paul Pogba (£7.8m), though it should be noted that his brace in the Manchester derby last weekend were his first league goals since November. With one goal, four assists and five bonus points in his last four appearances, Alexis Sanchez (£11.5m) is beginning to move up the gears. Owned by only 3.4% of FPL managers, he represents something of an unlikely differential.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.6m) scored a goal in both of United’s previous league meetings with their GW34 opposition and is set to be heavily backed with the armband by FPL managers for this double gameweek.
One win in 19 league matches tells its own tale for Southampton, who are three points from safety in the Premier League table. Having just shipped nine goals in their last three games, the Saints are a fairly unattractive option for this DGW and beyond. Cedric Soares (£4.7m) did at least lay on two goals in his side’s 3-2 defeat at the Emirates on Sunday, while Charlie Austin (£5.8m) came off the bench to score in that same game. Austin’s points-per-minute ratio is right up there with this season’s best.
There’s only one place to begin. Capping his return to the Spurs starting line-up last weekend with a ‘goal’ (so he says), Harry Kane (£12.9m) is FPL’s most-bought player ahead of Gameweek 34. Kane drew a blank in Tottenham’s previous league meetings with Manchester City and Brighton, but that won’t deter thousands upon thousands of FPL managers from handing him the armband this week, maybe even the triple captaincy chip with it.
Spurs’ form FPL players are their attacking midfield trio of Son Heung-min (£8.4m), Dele Alli (£9.0m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.4m). The on-song threesome have scored ten goals between them in the last four gameweeks, as well as banking a total of five assists.
With only six league goals conceded in the whole of 2018, Spurs have the league’s best defensive record of the calendar year to date. Jan Vertonghen (£6.0m), Davinson Sanchez (£6.0m) and Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) offer something the team’s four wing-backs can’t; security of starts.
A cautionary note for FPL managers holding out hope for a season-high, 100+ score this gameweek; the FA Cup semi-finals take place next weekend, with four of the sides with two fixtures in GW34 – Chelsea, Man Utd, Southampton and Spurs – in action at Wembley on April 21st/22nd. Rotation is surely then a very real risk, particularly in the midweek matches.
Of the sides with only one fixture this gameweek, Liverpool look to have the most attractive fixture. Though rotation is possible following their UEFA Champions League quarter-final victory over Manchester City on Tuesday, those ditching Sadio Mane (£9.5m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) and even Mohamed Salah (£10.5m) run the risk of missing out on a sizeable points haul when Bournemouth visit Anfield.
West Ham’s home fixture against Stoke City on Monday night may also deter owners of Marko Arnautovic (£6.9m) from trading in the maverick Austrian for an asset with two matches in GW34.
The Stats Zone’s GW34 coverage continues over the coming days with the regular projections and line-ups features.