FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 35 preview

“Are we getting a preview of the next Champions League final at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening?” (CC by 4.0). Image by: Ank Kumar.

Ah, the European Super League. Some of the business men and women behind a few of Europe’s biggest (or should we say, most heavily financed?) clubs must have thought that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had become a bit tame or repetitive, and that European football would benefit from a little excitement. A little encouraging stab in the back, if you will.

The plans did not go as hoped, though, and a few hours after the Super League announcement, the some clubs started to regret their back-room decision-making. We figured that would largely be it, bar some ongoing discussion about punishments and new rules, but the red side of Manchester still had a surprise up its sleeve. Last Sunday, instead of Manchester United vs Liverpool taking place at Old Trafford, thousands of fans invaded the pitch and the surrounding areas prior to the game to make a statement against the brilliantly worked out and marketed plans for a European Super League by a few club owners and financiers, including their own.

As far as FPL goes, this has further complicated what was already promising to be a heated end to the fantasy Premier League season. For details and explanations, be sure to check out Ben Crellin’s Twitter account (@BenCrellin). Below are the doubles (and the one treble!) taking place in gameweek 35:

DGW35Game 1Game 2Game 3
Aston VillaManchester United (H)Everton (H)
Crystal PalaceSheffield United (a)Southampton (a)
EvertonWest Ham (a)Aston Villa (a)
SouthamptonLiverpool (a)Crystal Palace (H)
Manchester UnitedAston Villa (a)Leicester (H)Liverpool (H)
LiverpoolSouthampton (H)Man Utd (a)
ArsenalWest Brom (H)Chelsea (a)
ChelseaManchester City (a)Arsenal (H)
LeicesterNewcastle (H)Manchester United (a)
TGW35 fixtures

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for triple gameweek 35 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, May 7th.

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 May 6th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Lloris (TOT), Ederson (CIT)Guaita (CRY), Mendy (CHE), Henderson (UTD)TGW35
DEFDias (CIT), Stones (CIT), Cresswell (WHU),Shaw (UTD), AWB (UTD), Digne (EVE),TGW35, Stones red card
MIDGündogan (CIT), Son (TOT, Lingard (WH), Jota (LIV)JWP (SOU), Zaha (CRY), Greenwood, Rashford & Fernandes (all UTD)TGW35 for MU
FORBamford (LEE), Kane (TOT), Vardy (LEI)Calvert-Lewin (EVE),Iheanacho (LEI), Cavani (UTD), Watkins (AST)TGW35, Kane blank in GW34, Vardy less involved

Premium pick

We’re kicking this weekend’s fantasy recommendations off with one of the players who currently finds himself in the previously discussed fixture heaven. Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) could be playing 3 times in GW35. Already owned by a massive 55% that percentage will only increase over the next 36 hours with Villa, Leicester and Liverpool all to play for Man United in one gameweek.

Non-premium picks

Another week, another return for Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.3m). The Leicester striker is in absolutely blistering form at the moment, which is why we keep including him in our gameweek previews. Since scoring back in GW26, the Nigerian recorded an incredible 8 goals and 2 assists for a total of 73 FPL points over that same period. As a matter of fact, the only blank he recorded over that run came at home against Man City in GW30. As far as the upcoming GW35 goes, Leicester has one of the more favourable double match-ups (Newcastle at home, Man United away) and with the Foxes still very much on route for a Champions League spot, this could be a big round for Nacho. At the moment, there is no striker in the English top flight who needs less minutes to score a goal than him (116 minutes per goal).

Speaking of favourable match-ups, Crystal Palace have probably the best upcoming schedule on paper with a double gameweek featuring away games against Sheffield United and West Ham followed by a home game against Aston Villa. The main problem, from an FPL point of view at least, is that the Eagles are rather mediocre, both defensively and offensively. As a result, there really is one man to consider for the double gameweek, apart from goalkeeper Vicente Guaita maybe, and that is the man around whom everything revolves in the Palace attack, Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m). The Ivorian forward is the team’s top scorer by some distance (10 goals and 4 assists) and he gets an extra FPL point for a clean sheet as well, which could be particularly relevant for the first encounter. Going for Palace and Zaha in GW35 is obviously a bit of a punt, but with the player’s 9,7% current ownership, it could be just what your fantasy team needs in these final weeks of the season.

The budget enabler

Our budget enabler for gameweek 35 could very well turn out to be one of the outstanding performers once the round is over. Despite a more than decent 8 goals and 6 assists to his name, James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) is still a very much affordable midfielder in the official game. The 26-year old midfielder is Southampton’s captain as well as the team’s principal set-piece delivery man. Add to that the fact that the Saints are playing twice in gameweek 35 (Man United away, Palace home) without blanking in gameweek 36 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him return soon. Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men know that one more victory practically secures another season of Premier League action and after the good showing against Leicester in GW34, confidence and fixtures could be converging just at the right moment for FPL managers to bring in JWP.

A differential pick or two

Each season features a few players who, as the season advances, manage to play themselves back into their manager’s good graces and the team’s starting eleven. This season, Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m) could be included in that category. The Icelandic midfielder started the 2020-21 somewhat on the fringes of the starting eleven, in big part due to the hyped arrival of James Rodriguez, but nowadays, he is a fixed part of Carlo Ancelotti’s attacking set-up at Everton. He started the last five games and takes care of a few set-pieces as well, especially now that the previously mentioned James is out with an injury. Sigurdsson has scored 6 goals and provided 4 assists already this season, which is not bad, but which are tallies on which he will want to build as well during DGW35, undoubtedly. West Ham and Aston Villa are no push-overs, especially not at their own grounds, but the Toffees are still eyeing those European spots as well, so Siggie could be an explosive differential (current ownership: 3%).

Since his return to fitness back in gameweek 32, James Maddison (£7.3m) has not managed yet to add a goal or an assist to his totals for the season (8 goals, 7 assists), which can be considered underwhelming knowing that he faced West Brom, Palace and Southampton since GW32. The English midfielder did not play badly though, and manager Brendan Rodgers’ considers him a fixed part of his starting eleven. On top of that and as stated earlier, Leicester are still fighting to maintain their current Champions League slot. On a more personal level, Maddison is fighting for a spot in England’s Euro “2020 in 2021” squad, which should only encourage him to perform better. Newcastle at home and direct rival Manchester United looks like a promising double gameweek 35 for Maddison and the rest of the Foxes, though keep in the back of your head that Leicester will also be playing the FA Cup final against Chelsea four days after the clash with United.

The captaincy

With a Man United triple gameweek, our armband this round has to go on a United player and we’re going going with the ever reliable Bruno Fernandes. Of course, there are some other good options as well from Manchester United such as Greenwood, Rashford or maybe one of the defenders (a central defender – Maguire – is more likely to play all 3 games in a row than a full-back – Shaw). Outside of Man United, man on fire Kelechi Iheanacho against Newcastle at home and Man United at Old Trafford looks interesting, as does the Nigerian’s team mate Jamie Vardy. With games against Villa and West Ham coming up, Everton attackers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could haul as well. In the “high risk, high reward” category for GW35, we can see, amongst other names, Wilfried Zaha (Sheffield United, Southampton, both away), Ollie Watkins (Man United, Everton, both home), and James Ward-Prowse (Liverpool away, Palace home).

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