FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 35 Preview

“In Harry Kane’s absence, Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son might be picking up the points in spectacular fashion over the coming games” (CC by 3.0 ) by soccer.ru

To all those FPL managers who felt that our recommendation of Shane Duffy, and Brighton assets in general, sounded pretty good and decided to spend a transfer or two on bringing them in, we can only apologise and blame the enigma that is the Fantasy Premier League. Two home games against bottom-half clubs (Bournemouth and Cardiff) resulted in zero goals scored, seven goals conceded, and a ridiculous but very deserved red card for Anthony Knockaert in the first game. Not exactly what we hoped for, especially not after Bournemouth’s lacklustre performance a gameweek earlier and the difficulty Cardiff have in general to score goals. In our Alternative Reality Fantasy Premier League, however, of course Brighton kept 2 clean sheets and Duffy scored twice, putting our fantasy team at the top of the league!

Still, reasonable to good performances from some of the more popular FPL assets such as Callum Wilson (15 points), Paul Pogba (16) and Virgil van Dijk (12), contributed to a week average of 54. The likes of Bournemouth (a 0-5 away victory over Brighton), Southampton (a 3-1 home win over Wolves) and Liverpool (2-0 home victory over Chelsea) showed good form ahead of double gameweek 35. Watford, despite being down to ten men after 11 minutes due to rather stupid and unnecessary Troy Deeney red card (which maybe should have just been a yellow?), still managed to make it a 90-minute contest at home to Arsenal (0-1 loss) and remain around the top of the list for the coming week.

Of course, besides the fact that gameweek 35 is this season’s final double gameweek, with no less than eight extra games of which we’ll provide a simple overview below, there are also six English clubs with European obligations this week. While Ajax Amsterdam added another major scalp to their impressive European campaign, Man United were eliminated by FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Tuesday (3-0). One day later, Liverpool booked their spot in the semi-finals by beating Porto 1-4 in Portugal after winning the game at Anfield as well (2-0). The real drama of the night took place in Manchester though, where the local sky blue outfit crashed out of the competition after losing to Spurs on away goals (1-0 loss in London, 4-3 victory at the Etihad) in one of the craziest games the competition has ever seen.

Besides Champions League football, this evening there is also Europa League football this week involving Chelsea (at home to Slavia Prague after booking a 0-1 victory in the Czech Republic) and Arsenal (defending an impressive 2-0 home victory at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples. Like the Champions League games, though possibly to a lesser extent, these games will also have their effects on the starting line-ups for gameweek 35. We recommend to keep an eye out for the line-ups and to take rotation for all teams in consideration, especially seeing as it’s a double gameweek that’s coming up.

Brighton Wolves (away) Spurs (away)
Cardiff Liverpool (home) /
Manchester City Spurs (home) Man United (away)
Tottenham Hotspur Man City (away) Brighton (home)
Manchester United Everton (away) Man City (home)
Wolves Brighton (home) Arsenal (home)
Watford Huddersfield (away) Southampton (home)
Fulham Bournemouth (away) /
Chelsea Burnley (home) /
Crystal Palace Arsenal (away) /
Southampton Newcastle (away) Watford (away)
Arsenal Crystal Palace (home) Wolves (away)
Newcastle Southampton (home) /
Liverpool Cardiff (away) /
West Ham Leicester (home) /
Leicester West Ham (away) /
Everton Man United (home) /
Bournemouth Fulham (home) /
Burnley Chelsea (away) /
Huddersfield Watford (home) /

An overview of double gameweek 35

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 35 is set at 12h30 (BST) on Saturday, April 20th.

Premium picks

Despite a (short) recent run of disappointing results, our first premium pick of the week is Wolves striker Raul Jimenez (£6.9m). After crashing out of the FA Cup semi-finals against Watford, in which Jimmy did score a goal, the Wolves lost 3-1 to Southampton at Molineux, a game in which he picked up a yellow card and just a single FPL point. As a matter of fact, the Mexican didn’t score in the away game versus Burnley a week earlier either, but the fact that he played just 31 minutes in the build-up to their FA Cup semi-final clash should not be overlooked. Overall, Jimenez has been an excellent performer though, illustrated by his 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League so far. Between gameweeks 23 and 30, for example, he scored 6 goals, provided 2 assists and got 57 FPL points. For gameweek 35, he has two home games against unreliable defences coming up: first Brighton, who conceded 12 goals in the last 5 games and haven’t kept a clean sheet since round 9 against Newcastle, and then Arsenal, who only got their first clean sheet away from home last week against a 10-man Watford and have conceded 28 games in 16 away games overall. Jimenez is averaging just over 6 points per home game, so the double gameweek looks like a party for him.

While it’s probably wise to focus on players with two games this gameweek, especially when Wildcarding, Free Hitting or Bench Boosting, the players with a single gameweek shouldn’t be discarded by default. Bournemouth, for example, have just one game, but that game is at home to FC “conceded 44 times in 17 away games” Fulham. The Cherries put in an awful shift at home to Burnley in gameweek 33 (1-3 loss), but then redeemed themselves away to Brighton (0-5 victory). Callum Wilson (£6.6m) scored a goal a provided 2 assists in that game, which brought the roughly 17% of FPL managers that own him a healthy 15 points. He has now scored 12 goals and given 11 assists in the Premier League, and on Saturday Fulham are rolling up to the Vitality Stadium. The English striker has scored 5 goals and provided 6 assists at home, and in the reverse fixture in gameweek 10, he netted twice in a 0-3 away win. There’s no reason why Wilson wouldn’t be able to repeat that feat this weekend.

Our final premium pick of the week is Tottengam’s South Korean gem Heung-Min Son (£8.7m). Despite the insanity that was Spurs’ Champions League quarter-final against City on Wednesday evening, and the crucial role that Son played with his two early goals, it would be surprising to not see him start against City in the Prem on Saturday. Both he and Spurs have shown that they can deal with Pep’s men, but what makes it really interesting is that Spurs have a double gameweek. After City at the Etihad, it’s Brighton at the new White Hart Lane, which doesn’t only considerably increase Son’s points potential but his captaincy potential as well. The Korean forward has netted 12 times and provided 8 assists in the Premier League this season, despite periods in which he was not part of the starting eleven. To put his performances into an even more impressive perspective: he records an attacking return every 63 minutes of game time on average. With Harry Kane out for possibly the rest of the season, the eyes of many will be on Son to compensate the loss, so expect him to feature heavily in this season’s final games. It’s also useful to know that, due to his yellow card in the Champions League clash with City on Wednesday night, Son is suspended for the first semi-final at home against a rampant Ajax Amsterdam on April 30th, which falls in between GW36 (home to West Ham) and GW37 (away to Bournemouth).

A differential pick or two

About 5.5% of FPL managers saw part of their DGW35 plans ruined when Watford’s Troy Deeney’s arm collided with one of Arsenal’s players after 11 minutes of play. The result: a straight red and a 3-game ban. In other words, -2 for the striker in GW34 and no double gameweek 35 (Huddersfield away, Southampton home). Seeing as these fixtures simply have too much potential for a decent outfit like Watford, our first differential pick is Deeney’s team mate in attack, Andre Gray (£5.9m). The young Englishman is not a nailed-on starter for the Hornets as Deeney has played alongside Deulofeu and even Pereyra as well in a 2-man strike force. At present though, with Deeney suspended for three games, Gray looks primed for plenty of minutes in gameweek 35. He has scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists in 1063 minutes of Premier League football so far, and 2 of those goals and all of those assists were recorded since his return from injury in gameweek 25 (an average of about 87 minutes per attacking return over that period). Watford’s first opponents are relegated Huddersfield Town, who have conceded 28 goals in 17 homes games (and scored just 8), while the Terriers have conceded four goals in each of the two games since the club’s relegation became official. The gameweek’s second opponents Southampton are in much better form and still fighting for a place among the English footballing elite next year. The Saints have conceded 28 times in 16 away games so far, though the last four outings resulted in just 5 goals conceded (3 of which came against Liverpool). Still, since the 0-0 draw against Chelsea in GW21, Southampton only booked clean sheets against Brighton and Fulham. Andre Gray is one of gameweek 35’s considerable-risk-high-reward players.

Our second differential pick in the build-up to GW35 also has two games, though both away from home. Southampton’s Nathan Redmond (£5.3m) has been in decent form recently, which is underlined by his 2 goals and 1 assist over the past three gameweeks. Just last weekend, the English forward (who plays more as an attacker but is listed as a midfielder in FPL), scored those two goals in the important 3-1 home victory over Wolves. This week, he has two away games coming up, namely Newcastle and Watford. In the ranking for home games, these teams occupy the 14th and 11th place respectively, so these won’t be easy games, but that doesn’t mean that Southampton and Redmond won’t get their chances to make something out of them. Both teams have conceded 21 goals in front of their own fans (Watford in 16 games, Newcastle in 17 games), while Watford have lost six of those games and Newcastle a somewhat worrying nine. Redmond would be something of a punt, but at his current price and ownership (3.2%), he could be worth it. On top of that, Southampton have a favourable schedule until the end of the season, fixture-wise: Bournemouth home, West ham away and Huddersfield home.

For more ideas, have a look at the FISO Forum GW35 transfers topic.

The captaincy

Admittedly, our first suggestion for this week’s captaincy was kind of decided already before City’s game against Spurs on Wednesday night, but we decided to stick with him. Sergio Aguero (£11.7m) played an excellent 90 minutes against Spurs, scoring one goal and providing the assist for another. With a bit more luck, he would’ve had the assist for the goal that put the Cityzens through to the semi-finals on his name as well. As usual, game time management is a worry when it comes to City assets, but it seems unlikely that Pep will be rotating Kun a lot over the coming gameweeks, seeing as the race for the title is still in full swing. In GW35, City are facing two top-six opponents: Spurs at the Etihad (again) and archrivals United at Old Trafford. Not the kind of double gameweek that you’d generally spend your captaincy on, but it’s worth looking into it a bit more. For one, Kun hasn’t blanked yet in a game at the Etihad this season. Secondly, in four home games against top-six opposition, the Argentinian scored 8 goals for an average of over 11 FPL points per game. Finally, United have conceded 8 goals in their last 6 home games, so Old Trafford is not really an impenetrable fortress at the moment. Captaining Aguero might look risky at first glance, but don’t be surprised if he ends up hauling in the points this week.

If it still sounds a bit too risky for you, then we suggest giving the armband to Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen (£9.3m). He almost cost Spurs the Champions League semi-finals after an unfortunate back pass in the dying minutes of the game, but the VAR judged offside. Apart from that, the Danish midfielder played a great game at the Etihad, providing the assist for Son’s second goal and generally being at the centre of practically every Spurs threat. In GW35, the North Londoners are first facing City at the Etihad, followed by Brighton at the brand-new White Hart Lane. Tottenham have shown that they can match and beat Man City, even at home, and the Brighton game could well become a monster victory if the Seagulls keep up their gameweek 34 form. In his last three Premier League games, Eriksen has scored a goal and provided 3 assists, resulting in a decent total of 27 FPL points over that period for the 8.4% of managers that own him. Over the 2018-19 campaign so far, in 30 games, the Dane has provided scores of 5 points or more in 14 games and hauls of at least 10 points on four occasions, for an average of 4.7 points per game. It wouldn’t be too shocking to see him return more than 10 points in double gameweek 35.

Looking at the FISO Forum GW35 Captain Poll, the main contenders are Aguero, Jimenez and Serling.