FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 34 preview

“Derby time at Old Trafford on Sunday” (CC by 1.0). Image by Ank Kumar.

We’re currently moving through the business end of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign at lightning speed, with gameweek 34 kicking off on Friday evening once again. GW33 wasn’t a particularly outstanding round for many managers, with an average of 36 points. Of course, popular FPL fantasy assets like Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Kevin de Bruyne had a blank gameweek, but plenty of other much-selected players with a game blanked as well. The heavily owned likes of Bruno Fernandes, Jesse Lingard and Patrick Bamford failed to record any attacking returns, for example, while the top three of last week’s highest-scoring players features hattrick hero Chris Wood (20, owned by 2.5%), ‘man on fire’ Kelechi Iheanacho (12, owned by 22.8%) and Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell (12, owned by 13.5%).

With just five gameweeks to go now until the end of the season, GW34 is going to be an interesting one. The eye catcher of the weekend is obviously the clash between traditional arch rivals Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, though the West London derby between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge a day earlier could give fireworks as well. From a purely FPL point of view, managers will be eyeing Spurs’ home encounter with relegated Sheffield United and Leicester’s visit to Southampton on Friday, while Palace vs Man City, Brighton vs Leeds and Burnley against West Ham have potential for serious FPL joy as well.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 34 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 30th.

Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 29th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Patricio (WOL), McCarthy (SOU)Meslier (LEE), Mendy (CHE), Ederson (CIT)
DEFStones (CIT), Cresswell (WHU), Keane (EVE)Dallas (LEE), Chilwell (CHE), Dias (CIT)Red card Stones, injury worries for Cresswell and Keane
MIDFernandes (UTD), Jota (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Son (TOT), Pereira (WBA), Lingard (WHU)Fernandes form, Raphinha injury, Son fixtures, Lingard form
FORWatkins (AST), Vardy (LEI), Lacazette (ARS), Bamford (LEE)Iheanacho (LEI), Kane (TOT), Wood (BUR)Form of the incoming forwards, Lacazette injury

Premium pick

In gameweek 33, Harry Kane (£11.8m) became the single player to collect the most triple captain armbands in one round, in great part thanks to his double gameweek against Everton (away) and Southampton (home). With a brace versus Everton and a total of 12 FPL points, his start to GW33 was delightful, but an unfortunate ankle injury at the very end of the game made him miss the encounter with Southampton. A missed opportunity for the triple captainers, but still a decent haul. Up next are Sheffield United for the official game’s second-highest points scorer (218 FPL points) and with the Englishman back to fitness and currently owned by 45.1% of FPL managers, he will likely be amongst the most popular premium picks again this weekend. Kane has an incredible 21 goals and 13 assists to his name already, while the Blades have officially been relegated and boast one of the league’s leakiest defences. Looks like a bit of a no-brainer.

Non-premium picks

The stars of form and fixtures seem to be aligning for Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) this weekend, as the West Ham star is facing Burnley at Turf Moor this weekend. In truth, no away game at Burnley is ever a walk-over, especially not with the Clarets coming off a resounding 0-4 away victory over Wolves, but we can see this West Ham side coming away with a good result here. The Hammers are in the midst of a tense race for a Champions League spot for next season and as far Lingard himself is concerned, the Manchester United loanee is on fire. He got his first Premier League minutes of the season back in GW22, on his debut for West Ham, and has not looked back since. J-Lingz currently has 9 goals and 4 assists to his name for an average of no less than 7,5 FPL points per game as he quickly became the focal point of West Ham’s attacking moves and penalties. With games against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton still on the calendar after coming weekend’s encounter with Burnley, he could be a good signing until the end of the season.

After a returns drought of five gameweeks, Richarlison (£7.8m) got himself back into the points again last week with a lucky assist and 5 FPL points versus Arsenal, courtesy of a Bernd Leno howler. The fixture calendar looks quite favourable for Everton from now until the end of the season, with home games against Villa, Sheffield United and Wolves still to come in the final weeks of the season. What’s more, as one of four team’s so far, the Toffees look to have a double gameweek in 35, where they will play West Ham and Aston Villa away from home, and no blank in gameweek 36. First up are Aston Villa at the London Stadium though, which means a match between two sides still very much in the fight for a European ticket. Like Lingard earlier, Richarlison could be a set-and-forget signing for what’s left of the 2020-21 campaign.

The budget enabler

Since gameweek 26, Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.2m) has scored 9 goals and provided 1 assist for a total of 68 FPL points. What’s more, he has recorded three double-digit hauls in his last five outings, more than any other player in the official game over that same period. We featured him in our budget enabler section last week as well, but the Nigerian striker is in such form that we simply can’t ignore him for the coming weekend. At his current price of just £6.2m, he is an absolute steal and he has at least two favourable fixtures coming up next. This weekend, it’s a visit to Saint Mary’s followed by a home game against Newcastle in gameweek 35 (and possibly an away game against Man United if Leicester end up getting a double gameweek). Right now, Iheanacho is as nailed-on in Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven as they come and the Foxes are still fighting to secure Champions League football next season, so he should definitely be on your watchlists, at least.

A differential pick or two

Under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea have rapidly become an organised, hard-to-beat unit and despite the German coach’ tendency to rotate (especially now that the Blues are on the verge of the Champions League final), their roster features a few interesting FPL targets. One of them is central defender Antonio Rüdiger (£4.7m) who is a fixed started under Tuchel, but who seems to have gone somewhat under the FPL radar so far. Despite a rather good 10 clean sheets from his last 14 league starts, the German defender is still in just 6.6% of FPL teams. On top of that, his price tag is more than acceptable still. On Saturday, Chelsea are hosting almost-relegated West London rivals Fulham, who boast the least effective attack in the league after Sheffield United. This should be good news for Chelsea and makes Rüdiger into a nice differential for this weekend.

Our second differential fantasy pick for gameweek 34 is one who could provide considerable differential value over the short term. Eddie Nketiah (£5.3m) is currently owned by just 0.6% of FPL managers and he might be the only fit first-team striker for the Gunners when they visit Newcastle on Sunday. As the moment of writing, both Lacazette and Aubameyang are flagged in the official game, so we do advise to keep an eye on development in that area, seeing as Nketiah could be a very shrewd investment for your team in case the previously named duo’s absence is confirmed for the coming weekend as well. He scored against Fulham back in GW32 but blanked in the 73 minutes of playing time he got last weekend, so hopefully he’s found his scoring boots again for the clash with the Magpies.

The captaincy

With Harry Kane back to fitness and raring to secure the 2020-21 Premier League Golden Boot, and with Spurs in the middle of an intense battle for a top-four finish, we did not have to ponder too long about putting the GW34 captain’s armband on the English forward’s arm for gameweek 34. On top of that, Tottenham are hosting relegated Sheffield United on Sunday and despite the Blades having just booked their first victory since gameweek 26 by beating Brighton 1-0 in GW32, we’re betting on Kane to make the difference here.

He is, of course, not the only fantasy asset with haul potential in the Premier League this weekend. His team mate Heung-Min Son is obviously a very good alternative, while the Jamie Vardy and the on-fire Kelechi Ihaenacho look promising as well for their visit to Saint Mary’s this Friday. If you manage to guess the starting eleven in between two Champions League semi-finals, a Man City player against Palace at Selhurst Park could pay off handsomely. The same goes, to a certain extent, for Chelsea’s players and their home game against Fulham on Sunday. For the more risk-prone FPL managers amongst us, captaining Jesse Lingard versus Burnley or Richarlison against Aston Villa could see you soar up the ranks as well.

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