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17 Apr 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Blank Gameweek 35 – Captain Picks

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With just six fixtures, GW35 will be tough to navigate for those FPL bosses without a free hit. Managers holding the chip will have their pick of captaincy options but rotation and motivation must be considered when choosing who to armband.

Premium Options

Mohamed Salah (£10.5m) vs WBA (a)

The Egyptian continued his remarkable form with a 30th league goal of the season in DGW34. Salah's strike-rate shows absolutely no sign of slowing down, though the Liverpool man is naturally more focused on winning the Champions League than the Golden Boot.

Jurgen Klopp put any rotation fears to bed before the Reds took on Bournemouth, while the manager’s thoughts on Liverpool’s remaining domestic ties are encouraging for fantasy bosses.

“Bournemouth is really difficult, West Brom may be relegated and thinking completely free to create a good football game for their supporters and then Stoke might see it as their last chance.

“It is full throttle. It’s a case of attitude, character stuff like that – that you stay greedy, and want to do the next step.”

Owners of Salah, Sadio Mane (£9.5m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) will still have right to be worried about pitch time, however, considering Roma visit Anfield three days after Liverpool travel to West Brom.

After a brutal run of form, the Baggies finally chalked up a win on Sunday against a lethargic Manchester United. The home side will face a much sterner test in Saturday’s early kick-off, the timing of which might grant FPL managers that most coveted piece of information; a pre-11.30am teamsheet.

Gabriel Jesus (£10.0m) vs SWA (H)

Despite talk of manic rotation after Pep Guardiola’s side landed the title on Sunday, Manchester City still have a lot to play for in record terms.

The Express report that youngsters Phil Foden (£4.7m) and Brahim Diaz (£4.7m) could see increased pitch time with the league wrapped up, while Claudio Bravo (£4.5m) might gain minutes ahead of Ederson (£5.6m) in order to reach the appearance count for a medal.

However, Jesus’ pitch time isn’t currently in question with Sergio Aguero (£11.6m) sidelined. The Argentine tweeted on Tuesday that he has undergone a minor knee operation.

GW35 captains SS Jesus

In three starts since GW30 the Brazilian has returned two goals and two assists, while the striker also netted against Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final second leg.

With Aguero expected to be out for a few weeks, possibly missing all of City's remaining league fixtures, Jesus represents a great captain option this gameweek and an excellent end-of-season acquisition.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.7m) vs WHU (H)

As Arsenal focus solely on Europa League glory, the ineligible Aubameyang continues to post attacking returns in the league. The striker made made it six goals and two assists from eight games by setting up Alex Lacazette’s opener in the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park.

The big issue for Auba’s captaincy credentials is that the forward was stationed on the left of Arsene Wenger’s attacking three as Lacazette (£10.2m) started up front.

Despite the Gabon forward’s unquestionable consistency, the absence of creative first-team players such as Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere from Arsenal’s GW34 squad is a clear sign of the Gunners’ lack of league motivation.

While Aubameyang’s minutes are not a concern for owners or free hitters, trusting the forward with the armband is another question entirely. However, at home against a West Ham outfit that have conceded 41 times on their travels, goals should be on the GW35 menu at the Emirates.

Differential Choices

Chris Wood (£6.3m) vs STK (A)

The differential pick for DGW34, Wood has already delivered hard returns for his owners in the form of a goal and three bonus points. The forward now boasts 40 points in five games (three starts and two substitute appearances) since returning from injury in GW29.

The New Zealand striker plays again in GW34 on Thursday as Chelsea visit Turf Moor, before Burnley travel to Stoke on Sunday. With sixth place now in reach for the Clarets, Sean Dyche’s team continue to look highly motivated.

Up against the 19th-placed Potters, who have the worst defensive record in the league, Wood could prove a canny investment for free hitters and a profitable option for managers taking a risk with the armband.

Wilfried Zaha (£6.9m) vs WAT (a)

The Crystal Palace midfielder recorded his first double-figure haul of the season with a brace against Brighton. The Seagulls were unable to cope with the movement of Zaha and Andros Townsend (£5.6m), as Roy Hodgson set his side up without a recognised striker.

As the Eagles scrap for survival, GW35 opponents Watford are seemingly thumbing through holiday brochures; though three points at Vicarage Road would see Palace go level on points with the Hornets.

Zaha, playing out of position, and Luka Milivojevic (£5.2m) look excellent transfer/free hit options for BGW35. Both players have posted attacking returns four times in the last five gameweeks.

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