Gameweek 35 is sandwiched between double gameweek 34 and double gameweek 36, so it would not be surprising to see more than a few managers take this weekend to catch their fantasy breathe a bit. DGW34 was a rollercoaster, to say the least, which is why we’ve got the feeling that quite a lot of managers will either fix some positions in their squad or make transfers this week with the doubles of Brighton and Newcastle in GW36 in the back of their heads. Anyway, more about that in our FPL gameweek preview next week, because first, it’s time for gameweek 35 and the various very interesting matchups on the agenda for this weekend.
From an FPL perspective, the encounters between Manchester City and Leeds at the Etihad, Liverpool and Brentford at Anfield, and Brighton and Everton at the AmEx stand out. From a (neutral) fan’s perspective though, it’s Sunday’s top-six clash between Newcastle and Arsenal that grabs the spotlight with the home side playing for Europe and the visitors still gunning for their first Premier League title in twenty years. In other words, plenty to look forward to once again and seeing as we’ve just got about 48 hours between the end of DGW34 and the start of GW35, let’s move straight on to our recommended fantasy picks for gameweek 35.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 35 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Saturday, May 6th, 2023.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per May 5th, 2023)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Raya (BRE), Pope (NEW), Sanchez (BRI)||Steele (BRI), De Gea (MUN), Martinez (AST)|
|DEF||Gabriel (ARS), Mee (BRE), Trippier (NEW)||Estupiñan (BRI), Stones (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)||Brighton upcoming doubles, TAA form|
|MID||De Bruyne (MCI), Andreas (FUL), Saka (ARS)||Rashford (MUN), Odegaard (ARS), Salah (LIV)||Odegaard and Salah goals in DGW34, upcoming DGW36 and DGW37, Andreas injury|
|FOR||Watkins (AST), Toney (BRE), Jota (LIV)||Wilson (NEW), Isak (NEW), Haaland (MCI)||Haaland form, Newcastle DGW36|
It’s boring, we know, but it’s Erling Haaland (£12.4m). The extra-terrestrial with the blonde mane scored his 35th league goal of the season again West Ham on Wednesday, breaking the all-time Premier League for goals scored in a single season by one player. The record was previously held by both Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, who each scored 34 goals in 42-game seasons in 1994/95 and 1993/94 respectively. Haaland needed just thirty league starts to break it and the most mind-bending part of all… he’s still got five games to make sure he doesn’t just break the goal-scoring record, but obliterate it. With the Champions League coming up, rotation will of course be the word of the day at City until the rest of the season, but just bring the big man in (and captain him). He’s already in about 9.2 million FPL squads for very good reason and to top it off, the next defences to be terrorised by the Norwegian are Leeds (at home) and Everton (away) before a double (Chelsea home and Brighton away) in gameweek 37.
To the surprise of millions of fantasy managers, Solly March (£5.3m) got a total of just 82 minutes over the double gameweek 34 in which he amassed an almighty 2 FPL points. De Zerbi obviously took the opportunity to rest one of his star players this season after starting about thirty league games in a row. Disappointing for the 14.5% of managers who owned him for the double, but good news for those who didn’t sell him yet, because he will surely be part of the starting eleven for the remainder of the season. That remainder starts with a home game against struggling Everton on Monday, followed by a double in GW36 and a double in GW37, before ending the season with a visit to Villa Park. As far as March is concerned, he is having the best season of his career by quite some difference, having scored 6 goals and having provided 10 assists already. He’s the highest-scoring player in one of the most in-form teams in the Premier League and we’re tempted to label him as near-essential for the run-in, especially when you take his extremely modest price tag into account as well.
The budget enabler
If your squad is quite OK at this point in the season and you don’t feel the immediate need to tinker, it could be wise to start looking at DGW36 a bit closer already. As part of that approach, as far as budget-enablers are concerned, Joe Willock (£4.7m) should probably be around the top of your watchlist. While this weekend’s fixture is not the best as Newcastle need to visit Arsenal, the Magpies then play Leeds away and Brighton at home for double gameweek 36. The only other team to double are Brighton, so picking the right (high-ceiling) players is crucial next week. Willock is a nailed-on starter on Eddie Howe’s midfield and he has been in good form FPL-wise of later as well. He blanked at home against Southampton in DGW34, but he recorded back-to-back 5-pointers in gameweeks 32 (assist versus Spurs) and 33 (assist against Everton), which is not bad at all for a starter at his price. Don’t forget that Willock can be brought in as your fifth midfielder for just £4.7m, so it’s not realistic to expect regular double-digit hauls from him every week. For the run-in though, with five league games to go, we can definitely see him adding to his current 3 goals and 6 assists.
We figured, seeing as we went with the inevitable Erling Haaland as our premium fantasy pick once again this week, we’d go a bit more left field with our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 35. Enter Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.5m), perhaps one of the most under-the-radar budget-friendly players of the 2022-23 Premier League season. Nottingham Forest’s creator-in-chief up front is offering the coveted form-fixture combo this weekend. Forest are hosting all-but-relegated Southampton on Monday and MGW is coming in hot for this one. The attacker has been in incredible form over the past few gameweeks, scoring 2 goals and providing 2 assists in his last three league games for a total of 24 FPL points over that run. With 4 goals and 9 assists in total so far, he has been directly involved in 43% of all of Forest’s goals, which immediately emphasises one of the major risks for this differential pick as well: the Crazy Trees have managed to score just 30 goals in the league this season. Then again, 22 of those goals were scored in front of their own fans and Southampton have only managed to keep 4 clean sheets in 34 games, conceding a worrying 60 goals overall so far. Gibbs-White is definitely a punt, perhaps even a one-week punt, which explains his current 0.7% ownership, but he could be a huge differential for those chasing rank.
Good alternatives to the Norwegian, who might just see his minutes being managed in anticipation of City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid, are Mohamed Salah at home to Brentford, the unstoppable (but overshadowed-by-Haaland) Harry Kane at home to Crystal Palace and Marcus Rashford away at West Ham. The more risk-loving fantasy managers might also opt for the likes of Solly March (Or Kaoru Mitoma or Alexis Mac Allister) home to Everton, Julian Alvarez at home to Leeds, or Ollie Watkins for Villa’s visit to Molineux.