Fantasy Premier League: The Comprehensive Guide Gameweek 35 (The Gamble Edition)

Fantasy Premier League GW35 - The Comprehensive Guide

To view previous editions of Fantasy Premier League: The Comprehensive Guide, please click here.

This week should see high scoring defenses for a couple of teams as they face off against relegation-threatened opponents glaringly lacking firepower. Four of the top six teams in the Premier League have home advantage on their hands, which should also yield high points for a couple of players. In this week’s guide, we feature five players who are separated into two sections, in-gambles and out-gambles, which you will know more about later in the post.

Let’s take a look at this week’s fixtures.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham
With 93 goals, Emmanuel Adebayor is the current Premier League player with less than 100 goals nearest to reaching that landmark. Bad news on the defensive end though, as Spurs have made 19 errors leading directly to a goal this season, more than any other side.

Aston Villa v Southampton
Southampton play hosts to Aston Villa this Saturday. Rickie Lambert has scored three goals in three Barclays Premier League meetings with Villa, including the winning goal at Villa Park last season. Despite Gabriel Agbonlahor not scoring or assisting in any of his last right Premier League games, he is Villa’s top assister this season with five.

Cardiff City v Stoke City
Cardiff’s Steven Caulker and Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross are two of only three outfield players in the Premier League this season to play every minute of every game for his club. Also, fun fact; In the mini-table of the six teams named City in the Premier League this season, the Potters are bottom with only nine points from nine games. Cardiff are third with 12.

Newcastle United v Swansea City
Three players (Suarez, Sturridge & Gerrard) have scored more goals than Newcastle in 2014. Swansea have benefited from eight own goals this season, more than any other side. Only Wilfried Bony has scored more for the Swans.

West Ham United v Crystal Palace
West Ham have only lost one of their 12 previous home league games against Crystal Palace (W6 D5). Only Chelsea (14) have conceded fewer goals than Palace (20) in the period Pulis has been in charge.

Chelsea v Sunderland
Chelsea have conceded only nine times at home this season, fewer than any other side, and are the only unbeaten home team in the top four English divisions this season. Despite limited playing time, Frank Lampard needs four goals in Chelsea’s last four games to become the first player in Premier League history to score 10+ goals in 11 consecutive seasons.

Norwich City v Liverpool
No team has scored more than 90 goals in the English top-flight and not won the title since West Brom in 1965-66 (came sixth).

Hull City v Arsenal
Arsenal have conceded 15 goals in their last five Premier League away games. Their Premier League win percentage with Mesut Ozil in the team (59%) is virtually the same as when he has been absent (58%) this season.

Everton v Manchester United
Juan Mata has four assists and three goals in 11 Premier League appearances for Man Utd, compared to two assists and no goals in 13 for Chelsea earlier in the season. Everton meanwhile will attempt to complete a league double over Man Utd for the first time since the 1969-70 season.

Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion
Sergio Agüero has scored three goals in four previous Barclays Premier League games against the Baggies. West Bromwich Albion have taken just two points from six previous Barclays Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (D2 L4).

*Stats provided by Opta.


 How Did My Recommendations Fared Last Week

Jon Flanagan

Players You Should Potentially Buy:
Steven Naismith – 7 points
– Minutes played: 90 (2 points)
– Minutes played: 45 (1 point)
– Goals scored: 1 (4 points)

Rickie Lambert – 2 points
– Minutes played: 90 (2 points)

Joel Ward – 10 points
– Minutes played: 90 (2 points)
– Clean Sheet (4 points)
– Bonus points: 3
– Minutes played: 90 (2 points)
– Goals conceded: 2 (-1 point)
– Assists: 1 (3 points)

Players You Need To Drop:
Ashley Cole – 0 points
– Minutes played: 0


 // The In-Gambles

These players have proven themselves over the course of the season, but certain external factors might have prevented them from fully unleashing their potential as the Premier League season winds down to its final four round of fixtures. We look at three players falls under the mentioned memo, and let you decide whether they should ultimately feature in your team.

Sergio Agüero

Sergio Augero

– Team: Manchester City
– Position: Forward
– Value: £12.2m
– Selected by: 12.2%
– Total score: 136

– Points from last 4 games: 5 (avg. 1.25 ppg)
– Final 4 fixtures: West Bromich Albion (H), Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Aston Villa (H)

To be fair to him, he has only appeared twice in the last four gameweeks, and missed eight games in all due to injury. From his last four Premier League appearances, he notched himself a cool 19 points, and his playing time never exceeded 56 minutes in any of those matches.

Agüero is a gamble to me partly because of his unexpected injury setbacks. First, he picked up a calf injury during the 6-3 romp over Arsenal back in December. He missed five games, and went on to feature for another 73 minutes against Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur before injuring himself again. It is painful (amongst feelings of hahaha sucker) to see hundreds and thousands of managers transferring him only to find themselves on the short end of the bargain.

Another reason is due to his playing time. With Dzeko firing, Manuel Pelligrini will very likely continue to switch between the two forwards during their next five fixtures.

Agüero also has a proven track record that rivals Liverpool’s Luis Suárez. He has only gotten lower than the basic two points on four occasions this season, while playing 19 games in all. With five games remaining, he’ll very likely get himself more than five points in four of those matches. It’s also really tempting considering the fact that he can deliver even when he isn’t playing the full 90 minutes.

Besides, with Jesus Navas and midfield heavyweights Yaya Touré and David Silva out for quite sometime to come, Agüero will very likely feature alongside Alvaro Negredo and David Dzeko and getting some good minutes.

However though, you have to factor in the price tag as well. At a sky-high £12.4m, this could be a very costly gamble if it doesn’t pay off. With cheaper alternatives, albeit less tempting ones, take one night thinking about it before you go to sleep, because you can break your entire season with just one transfer.

In your head right now you’re probably thinking if he doesn’t deliver the goods I can always just sell him away. With those freed up funds, you’re bound to improve your midfield, since the expensive forwards are out with injuries coincidentally.

So what, you’re going to end up spending eight or 12 points after losing so much points trying to get the Argentinean into your team this week? And what if those transfers/replacements don’t get into the grove, or worse, injure themselves, with a huge tinge of irony.

Are you going to continue making transfers till the end of the season? If this is really your gameplan, good luck, because you might as well don’t buy Agüero in the first place. You’ll probably end of the season with a higher point tally as well since a rapid transfer tactic will severely nullify the brilliant performances of your other players.

Think about it, really. The repercussions can only be felt once, and unfortunately for you, that ‘once’ will always be too late.

Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson

– Team: Sunderland
– Position: Midfielder
– Value: £6.5m
– Selected by: 8.2%
– Total score: 119

– Points from last 4 games: 12 (avg. 3 ppg)
– Final 4 fixtures: Chelsea (A), Cardiff City (H), Manchester United (A), West Bromwich Albion (H)

Adam Johnson has probably been the only reason why Sunderland still stand a tiny fighting chance to escape relegation this late into the season.

The young midfielder is responsible for 12 of Sunderland’s total goal tally of 31 in the Premier League. He also created 54 key chances this season for the Black Cats. No one in the team even comes close to hitting that mark.

Manchester City found out via the hard (and costly) way how Sunderland can still dismantle a good defensive setup despite their league standing. The win not only serves as a good draw against a good team, but also as a huge, timely morale booster as they face their five remaining opponents that will decide their fate next season.

Against Chelsea, and at Stamford Bridge, they might – you know what, it’s not going to happen. José Mourinho still remains unbeaten there, and I don’t think a Chelsea side of this quality will allow a slip-up before their critical clash against league leaders Liverpool.

Manchester United will likely be a foregone conclusion as well, but the games against Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea are winnable if they have enough belief and resolve within their squad.

Many people are drawn away from the fact that he’s playing for the rock-bottom Sunderland, and while that is more than a fair factor, he should at least get about an average of five points per game to end of the season as he looks set to break his previous best from the 2012/13 campaign that saw him accure an impressive 146 points.

Jason Puncheon

Jason Punch

– Team: Crystal Palace
– Position: Midfielder
– Value: £5.3m
– Selected by: 8.0%
– Total score: 123

– Points from last 4 games: 39 (avg. 9.75 ppg)
– Final 4 fixtures: West Ham United (H), Manchester City (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A) – end of season

Jason Puncheon has really been on fire this couple of weeks, helping Palace trot to their fourth straight victory against Everton last week, derailing the Toffees’ hopes of finishing in the top four this season. The 27 year-old midfielder got very much in the action in his last four appearances for the club, scoring four goals and and assisting once.

However, Crystal Palace are due to face Manchester City and Liverpool in Gameweeks 36 and 37, which might make him a serious wildcard for the rest of the season. Good news will be that both the matches will be played at Selhurst Park, but then again will the home advantage really help them that much?

Against a City side that’s been inconsistent as of late, maybe, but against potentially runaway leaders who are still showing no signs of pressure, not a chance.

West Ham United and Fulham might be easy opponents, but this time round, Palace are travelling. It’s hard to keep a good momentum going, so it isn’t good news for Puncheon, who are facing a Hammers side that messes up everybody’s rhythm going forward.

Fulham, meanwhile, are suddenly showing signs of real fighting. They’ve won three of their past five games, although the margin of victory isn’t that great. Fulham in my opinion are not going to lose at Craven Cottage on the final day of the season in front of their fans.

Should they get relegated before that, they’ll be no real pressure and the team will logically be desperate to end a disastrous season on a positive note for their heartbroken fans. Should they not get relegated before the clash on the 11th of May, the more they should play exceptionally.

However, Palace has shown their own attacking prowess in recent weeks, especially against Chelsea. I can’t stop mentioning that because their attacking play for that much was nothing short of magical. Under Tony Pulis, they are thoroughly rejuvenated with a way more positive brand of soccer that might change the club fortunes for good.

At £5.3m, he seems like a viable backup option, so I would really suggest that you guys who are sure you want to get him to snap him up real quick before another world-class display gets his price rising up again.


 

// The Out-Gambles

For this section I got my friend Jia Le to help me out with this. These players are in the majority of squads right now in Fantasy football. While they might get you a decent number of points in the long run, the opportunities for you to overtake your opponents higher in the table is glaringly decreasing since everybody have the same players. This section aims to highlight two players who fall under this category, and offer less-mainstream replacements for ya’ll to make a final push as the Premier League draws to a dramatic close.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

– Team: Everton
– Position: Forward
– Value: £9.2m
– Selected by: 26.7%
– Total score: 149

– Points from last 4 games: 18 (avg. 4.5 ppg)
– Final 4 fixtures: Manchester United (H), Southampton (A), Manchester City (H), Hull City (A)

It’s the big boy, Lukaku, again.

As Everton enter the final stretch in a race for Champions League football next season, they have successfully bagged all 3 points from their last 7 league games (prior to the shock 2-3 defeat to Crystal Palace last night) including an impressive 3-0 win over their main rival, Arsenal.

Their final 4 fixtures will put Roberto Martinez’ players to the test as they face the wildly inconsistent Manchester United at Goodison Park this weekend. Even though David Moyes’ side has lost the aura that made their opponents pee in their pants, they top the away table with 33 points from 17 games.

Logically speaking, we can expect a tight contest with very little goals between the two. Everton has kept 13 clean sheets so far this season, just behind Chelsea who has 16. Moreover, the Red Devils have impressively picked up 5 out of 5 clean sheets in their previous 5 away games.

At this point, you might ask, how does this involve Lukaku?

Exactly, it doesn’t. To be specific, it rarely does.

Lukaku is the type of player that when everyone expects him to score 10 goals against relegation-threatened sides, he gets a yellow card. Last week, when players around the world are expecting the 20 year-old to perform, he got himself a basic four points, much to the horror of weeping managers who captained him for the gameweek.

However, he has turned up on numerous occasions against top sides including a brace during a Merseyside derby early in the season and crucial contributions against Southampton, Manchester United and Arsenal.

With both Manchester sides visiting Goodison park in the final run in, you can almost sense that Lukaku will be a key figure for Everton’s Champions League hopes. The real question is: Will he perform?

Suggested replacements: Sergio Aguero (£12.3m), Rickie Lambert (£7.5)

Back from injury, Aguero has slowly regained match fitness in his side’s surprising 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium last night to Sunderland. He looked sharp and fitted in comfortably just behind Negredo, bagging himself an assist just 3 minutes into the game. Rickie Lambert is the only fit striker at Southampton, apart from Gallagher, and has never missed a penalty in his career.

Kevin Mirallas

Kevin Mirallas

– Team: Everton
– Position: Midfielder
– Value: £7.8m
– Selected by: 13.0%
– Total score: 135

– Points from last 4 games: 21 (avg. 5.13 ppg)
– Final 4 fixtures: Manchester United (H), Southampton (A), Manchester City (H), Hull City (A)

Another player from Everton?

After a shocking defeat at Goodison Park to high-flying Crystal Palace (not really but you know what I mean), Kevin Mirallas picked up nine points after scoring a goal in the dying moments to make it 2-3. What intrigued me was that even after having a relatively good haul in FPL, 16,000 of you decided it was time to give him the boot.

It is certainly understandable to bench/sell most Everton players ahead of the clash against Manchester United, especially after losing to Crystal Palace that halted their winning streak of seven games.

However, 13% of Fantasy managers decided to hold on to the Belgium winger who has been exceptional at times, albeit very much inconsistent (similar to Lukaku). With the introduction of Gerard Deulofeu and Aiden McGeady to the side, Mirallas could see late competition for his starting spot on the right side of the engine room.

Should manager Roberto Martinez decide to stick with Mirallas throughout the last 4 games, Mirallas is bound to find goals and assists thanks to his quick feet and clever runs behind the opponent’s defense. Once again, will this gamble pay off?

Suggested replacements: Juan Mata (£9.2m), Aaron Ramsey (£7.0)

After scoring a couple of goals and getting a few assists in his previous 2 games, Juan Mata has been instrumental in Manchester United’s midfield, slotting in well in that No. 10 role. Tempting fixtures including a double gameweek (36) against Sunderland and Hull City at home could see him grab loads of points considering that Wayne Rooney is out for the season.

Arsenal talisman Aaron Ramsey came on as a substitute against West Ham and got himself an assist in the 20 minutes he played. His eagerness to get forward and his passing abilities were what Arsenal desparately missed when both him and Mesut Özil picked up long term injuries.


 

Captain Who?

There are a lot of choices this week for captaincy this week. If you want a gamble, go with Sergio Agüero or Alvaro Negredo. The match against West Brom should be enough for Agüero to handle, while Negredo should get back in form following his strike partner’s return from injury.

For a more conservative choice, go with Luis Suárez again. Daniel Sturridge is out with a hamstring injury and it is highly unlikely that he’ll feature in this match at all, so the red-hot Uruguayan should get some serious points against the struggling Norwich this week.

The following players are good choices as well:

Samir Nasri (Manchester City) vs West Bromwich Albion (home)
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) vs Fulham (home)
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) vs Manchester United (home)
John Terry/Branislav Ivanović (Chelsea) vs Sunderland (home)

Samir Nasri is in great form at the moment, and he’ll very likely be featured in a prominent role in the City setup, with Jesus Navas, David Silva and Yaya Touré out with injuries. Be prepared for some serious points, even against the draw kings Baggies.

Christian Eriksen is on fine form at the moment as well, scoring four times and assisting thrice in his past four games. Against Fulham, erm, have you watched the Sunderland game?

Why Lukaku you might ask, after featuring him in the out-gamble section? Well, as mentioned in the paragraph written by Jia Le, the big Belgian seems to feature only against big opposition, and while United might not be as once-feared as before, they are still formidable, although that could change without the heart of the team this season, English international Wayne Rooney.  Lukaku looks set to somehow get something out of nothing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he cross double digits this weekend.

With Eden Hazard out with injury, there are pretty much no sure-starters in the attacking department for the Blues. Terry and Ivanovic are bound to play, and they have contributed offensive-wise during various stages of the season. Against Sunderland, a clean sheet is almost a given, so if you want to play it safe, the Chelsea duo are your go-to guys.

With so many picks this gameweek, who are you captaining, and why? Leave them in the comments section below! All the best in Gameweek 35!

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