FPL Double Gameweek 34 – Captain Picks

GW34 doublers Brighton and Cardiff supply an armband option each this week, while three English attackers are the premium assets in contention for the captaincy.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Harry Kane (£12.5m) vs Huddersfield (H)

The Spurs star recorded back-to-back blanks in DGW32. Kane ‘assisted the assister’ for Tottenham’s goal in the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool before firing off six shots at home to Crystal Palace. Five of those were inside the box, with two hitting the target, as the England captain missed one big chance. Kane was also heavily involved in the build-up to Christian Eriksen’s (£9.2m) goal against the Eagles.

Kane had scored three times in Spurs’ previous four fixtures before the double and has completed 90 minutes in every fixture since his return from injury in GW27. Spurs play Manchester City at home tonight and away next Wednesday in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Saturday’s visit of Huddersfield screams captaincy for the Tottenham forward. The relegated Terriers have shipped 12 goals in the last four gameweeks. Jan Siewert’s men have conceded more goals and big chances than any other team when looking at clubs’ past four matches. On his team’s 4-1 defeat to Leicester in BGW33, the Huddersfield boss told Sky Sports: “It would be easier if the opponent runs us ragged but that is not the case. It is more that technically, we have the solutions and ideas but at the end, it is about the quality – scoring goals and defending them.”

Huddersfield allowed the Foxes 18 goal attempts – 10 of which were inside the box – and six big chances (including a penalty) at the John Smith’s stadium. That type of defending will be music to the ears of Spurs and spot-kick taker Kane. The club’s European exploits could have a bearing on their GW34 performance, but once ruled fit for the weekend the forward is likely to be the gameweek’s most-selected captain.

Jamie Vardy (£9.2m) vs Newcastle (H)

The Leicester striker was the protagonist in that mauling of Huddersfield as he banked a huge 16-point score. Vardy opened his account from a Ricardo Pereira (£5.4m) cross, won the free-kick which James Maddison (£6.9m) converted before blasting in a penalty for his brace.

That brings Vardy to seven goals in the six gameweeks since Claude Puel’s departure from Leicester. The forward also has two assists over that period, in which he has completed almost all available minutes. On playing under new boss Brendan Rodgers, Vardy told the Leicester Mercury post-match: “The way the manager’s got us playing now, and the way the manager wants us to play, it’s benefitting each and every one of us. He’s been brilliant. On the training field, he’s getting his ideas across and everyone’s buying into it and putting the effort in to make sure we’re playing the exact way he wants. [We didn’t do it for] the whole game [against Huddersfield]…at half time, we all came in and thought bits of it were a bit sloppy in the first half. But as the game went on [we played] how we wanted to play and it was really causing them problems. We’re showing signs of improving and we want to keep going, make sure those performances are consistent.”

Leicester welcome a Newcastle side on Friday night that have not won on any of their road trips this calendar year (4L, 2D). Rafa Benitez’s men have conceded 10 goals over those six away fixtures. The Magpies will be a motivated opponent, however, with the club still needing points to ensure their top-flight status next season.

Vardy is one of FPL’s most in-form players with 55 points – including two 16-point hauls – in the last six gameweeks. Owners that are on a wildcard have a tough decision on whether to hold the forward or move him on for a DGW35 asset, while he deserves serious consideration in GW34’s captaincy debate.

Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) vs Crystal Palace (a)

With Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) only set to return from a minor knock tonight, Sterling is our armband selection in the Man City ranks. On the Argentine striker, Pep Guardiola said yesterday: “He has trained with the team for the first time and he feels better.” It remains to be seen whether Aguero starts against Spurs in the Champions League, though there is set to be question marks over his GW34 involvement one way or the other.

Rotation in any position is possible with Guardiola but Sterling at least has the bonus of being fully fit as it stands. Once he comes through the UCL quarter-final first leg unscathed, the winger could earn plenty of armbands. In his last six gameweek starts, Sterling has scored five times and recorded three assists on route to bagging three double-figure scores. The England star did blank last time out at Fulham before being rotated to the bench for City’s second DGW32 fixture against Cardiff.

Crystal Palace are essentially safe from relegation thanks to last Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Newcastle. That result could be good news for Man City and teams that face the Eagles in the season run-in. Roy Hodgson’s men have lost half of their 16 games at Selhurst Park so far this campaign, which puts them 18th in the ‘home-only table’.

Palace could also be without both first choice centre-halves for City’s visit. Mamadou Sakho (£4.9m) may not feature again in this campaign due to a knee injury, with Hodgson telling Standard Sport: “Whether we can get him back before the end of the season, I really don’t know.” James Tomkins (£4.3m) limped off in BGW33 with a groin problem. Martin Kelly (£3.9m) and Scott Dann (£4.4m) had not played together this season before the final 17 minutes at St. James’ Park following Tomkins’ forced withdrawal.

While the threat of rotation will continue to hang over City players, it would be remiss not to at least consider an asset from the league’s highest scorers for the armband. Sterling’s rest in the Citizens’ last league tie gives his owners hope of minutes, while he has the form and potential to score well in a favourable fixture.

DIFFERENTIAL DOUBLE

We usually pick one differential choice for the captaincy each gameweek but that has doubled for GW34 alongside the fixture lists of both the Seagulls and the Bluebirds. Hopefully our selections pass the armband test with flying colours.

Shane Duffy (£4.7m) vs Bournemouth (H) & Cardiff (H)

Brighton’s big Irish centre-half has five goals and two assists to his name this season. Duffy has had 10 shots in the Seagulls’ last four home games, more than any other Brighton player. All of those were attempted inside the box, though just two found the target. Considering the defender is usually flinging himself at the ball while being marked at set-pieces, his lack of accuracy is no surprise.

Brighton have kept two clean sheets over those four ties at the Amex. Chris Hughton’s men shut out Watford in a 0-0 draw and Huddersfield in a 1-0 win, while conceding three times to Burnley and shipping one goal to Southampton in home defeats. The Seagulls have let in 16 goals, from a total of 46, at their own ground.

Bournemouth have failed to score in six of their last nine away games. With Premier League safety more or less guaranteed, Eddie Howe’s men could be both figuratively and literally on the beach.

Cardiff rank joint-bottom for big chances conceded on the road over the last four matches, with the Bluebirds allowing Man City five of those opportunities in DGW32. Neil Warnock’s side have won just twice away from home all season, drawing on two other occasions and losing 11 times.

Handing Duffy the armband is undoubtedly a risky move but the Ireland centre-back is nailed on to play 180 minutes, giving owners and captainers two bites at the cherry. Combining pitch time with the possibility of clean sheets and attacking returns, Duffy could be the man to double on in GW34.

Victor Camarasa (£4.5m) vs Burnley (a) & Brighton (a)

Cardiff’s top scorer and penalty taker is in form ahead of the club’s double gameweek. Two of Camarasa’s five-goal total has come in the past three gameweeks. The Spaniard also recorded an assist in GW26 and has created eight chances in the club’s last six outings.

The midfielder is the Bluebirds’ go-to man for free-kicks, while he also takes a share of corners. Cardiff’s away form is a worry for those going uber-differential with the armband – Warnock’s men have blanked three times in their last six road trips. Camarasa’s strikes in GW30 and DGW32 were both scored at the Cardiff City stadium.

Brighton’s aforementioned home record is decent, though concessions to both Burnley and Southampton will give Cardiff hope. Burnley’s clean sheet at home to Wolves in DGW32 was the Clarets’ first since Gameweek 23 and their only home shut-out in 2019.

Camarasa has played 329 of 360 available minutes for the Bluebirds since his return from injury in Gameweek 29. With Warnock and co fighting for survival, the loanee should see significant pitch time over the Bluebirds’ double this gameweek and has the potential to reward maverick managers.