DGW 34 has become as prevalent as MJ23 or CR7 in the last few weeks and it’s not wonder. Our FPL seasons hinge on it. None moreso than The Gaffer Tapes title contender Elliot Levy who gave his thoughts on all your double game week options…
With winter in Canada coming to a close and all of the snow slowly disappearing in front of this guy's igloo, there is a buzz amongst FPL managers about the inevitable double game weeks. For me, the DGW is something that I look forward to like seeing the biggest gift under the Christmas tree with my name on it. You run up and start ripping the carefully wrapper paper until you see it's a fucking bread maker. Sadly most of my previous attempts at double game week have not ended in the 150 point hauls I hope for, but absolute mediocrity. I'm approaching this one with the same optimism.
First off, let's talk strategy. What is the best way to go into this massive round of double fixtures? Break the bank and get into painful negative points (for those of us who have already splurged on the beloved wildcard) to get that dream team starting 11 of players with two fixtures? Or do you go with a good mix of DGW and non-DGW players so not to have the highs of one week followed having a Lovern-esque crash the next? One thing is for certain, captain selection is paramount. But who to pick? This could be that catalyst to shoot you into infamy in your mini-league. Below I'll lay it out for you, team by team and leave the big decisions to you.
First off, let’s talk about the alphabetically essential team, the one that always tops the table before a ball is kicked, Arsenal. As one of their long-suffering supporters it has been yet another one of those “if only” types of seasons. This year provides little to really smile about, however there have been some key performers over the last few game weeks:
Alexis Sanchez – After an unusually slower return from injury, he has finally started to find his scoring touch, something he was quite proficient in before his injury. Starting with a promising performance against Barcelona in mid-March he has shown once again that he knows the way to the back of the net. Having scored 6, 6, and 14 over the last 3 game weeks and looking at two home games against Crystal Palace and West Brom respectively, this could be a great opportunity for him to continue his good form.
Alex Iwobi – Obi-Wan-Iwobi has been the catalyst for two excellent Arsenal performances in GW 31 and 32 netting in both games. He has shown flashes of brilliance with his mixture of pace, strength, and unpredictability. If he can maintain his starting position he is sure to find his way to points against a calamitous Palace defense that have leaked 2 goals/game over the last 5 game weeks.
Hector Bellerin – Hector has been one of the few consistent performers for Arsenal this season. 2014/15’s break out success from the Arsenal academy is the reason Mathieu Debuchy finds himself in mid-table mediocrity at Bordeaux. Bellerin offers so much going forward with his pace and agility. He will surely cause issues on the Crystal Palace flank. This Catalan-Cockney speedster should be one of the first on the FPL manager’s team sheet. He has attacking potential, and barring an Adebayor miracle and subsequent knee slide towards the Clock end, should be in for clean sheet potential.
Not to be ignored are the efforts of Mesut Ozil this season. Although he has been off the boil over the last 3-4 weeks, he is a vital player in the arsenal ranks. His assist rate is the strongest in his arsenal career, and still threatens the league record.
Arguably with the easiest fixtures of all the DGW teams with Villa and Palace making trips to Old Trafford, United has been hit hard with an injury laden season and substandard performances considering the amount of money spent this season. It’s not the big money moves that have shown the real promise. The academy players have been the ones to really step up for Louis Van Gaal’s Red Army. Note they have a blank in GW 35.
It pains me to start here, however Marcus Rashford is a young player with massive potential. Since his coming-out party scoring two in a 5-1 performance against Midjtylland in late February, he has been a fixture in the United first team. Scoring two against Arsenal in a mighty 3-2 win, and following up that performance with scoring the winning goal in the Manchester derby, the Mancunian has endeared himself to the fans, and will surely find his way into some FPL manager’s teams. Rashford comes in at a pittance at just £4.5, and just 3.1% ownership. Rashford provides differential potential.
It’s a great thing that Manchester United’s fax machine was broken over the last two transfer windows as David De Gea has been a rock at the base of this defense. He has shown why some are putting him in the ranks of the best goal keepers in the world. 3 clean sheets in the last 4 game weeks and 12 for the season ties him for 4th behind Hart, Cech, and Schmeichael. Good company. Villa’s attacking threat being minimal and Palace also struggling to score goals leaves him with the potential for two clean sheets. He’s not to be ignored.
Speaking of struggling Mancunian teams...City has not been the dominant force they were expected to be in this half of the season. Major problems at the back with key injuries, namely to their captain and talisman, Vincent Kompany has left them very vulnerable. With a weak 0-0 draw at Norwich and a 1-0 loss at home against their cross town rivals, has left them scrapping for a champions league position. With the announcement of the pending arrival of the venerable Pep Guardiola next season they have put in consistent lack-luster performances. They will be challenged with a trip to London and an away trip to Stamford Bridge followed by a home game against relegation bound Newcastle might be enough to get them back on track.
Sergio Aguero has the potential on his day to be one of the best strikers on the planet. Unfortunately for he and City, he has the unfortunate tendency to problems with form and injury. This season he finds himself sitting in the unfamiliar place of being 4th in league scoring this season. As we know, Aguero has the ability to astound, and put in once in a season performances like he did against Newcastle in the 6-1 rout at the Etihad in October. Should lightning strike again, it would be unfortunate on missing out on him with the armband, potentially in triplicate.
The toffies likely have their best squad in the past decade with strong additions over the past two seasons. However they often find themselves walking away without points from winning positions more often than they may like. Recently they have shown their strength with a masterclass in attacking and midfield prowess against Chelsea in the FA cup, but following that up with a meek performance at home against Arsenal. The go into game week 34 with difficult fixtures against Southampton and their Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Although form flies out the window in the derby, getting all 3 points will depend on their ability to get the ball to their prolific sensation Romelu Lukaku. He has caught fire over the past few weeks 4 goals and an assist in the last 5 games. He showed his strength against Chelsea scoring a terrific goal and making the usually stout Chelsea back line and giant of a goal keeper look entirely ordinary. Roberto Martinez will be leaning heavily on him to lead them to success this game week. Note they have a blank in GW 35.
Certainly one of this season’s surprise packages, Slaven Bilić’s men have found themselves threatening to be playing with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich next season in the champion’s league. They have certainly given their fans things to cheer about with this their last season at Upton Park with some exciting attacking play. The manager casting off Big Sam’s defensive style in favor of free flowing attacking football. Although they start the DGW with a difficult trip to Leicester, the then host Watford in a very winnable game.
Should they look to get something out of either of these fixtures, surely the goals will be involving one of Diego Payet or Michail Antonio. The latter has put up some impressive numbers over the last 7 gameweeks with 44 points coming from 4 goals, 3 clean sheets and 9 bonus points. Payet on the other hand has been a star and the catalyst for West Ham’s rise. He has been consistent over the season scoring 8 goals and providing 9 assists from his deadly free kicks and accurate deliveries.
The Merseysider’s open up their DGW with a very winnable trip to Dean Court to face the Cherries. Bournemouth having conceded 2.5 goals/game over the last 4 league games offers the chance for the likes of the Brazilian duo of Roberto Firmino (if fit), and Phillipe Coutinho to show off some of their attacking potential. The duo have scored a combined 14 goals coupled with 14 assists this season despite both having extensive stints on either the sideline or treatment table. Klopp has shown his faith in Firminho by giving him the starting striking position over the remarkably average £30 million man Christian Benteke. Additionally, one player to watch, and watch-out for is Daniel Sturridge. The England man has been coming back to form lately with some impressive performances against the likes of Southampton. Undoubtedly talented, he is tremendously fragile and very likely a hip and thigh which could give out at any time, he may be worth the risk if he can stay on two feet.
Relegation bound Tynesiders have little to smile about this season, although the addition of Rafael Benitez has given them their first point in a Tyne-Wyre derby in 3 years the money spent on players this season hasn’t translated in an increase in league position. Should they want to move anywhere they will need to start getting results. They have the chance with a home tie with fellow strugglers Swansea at St. James’, they follow that up with a David v Goliath encounter with Manchester City. Although defensive points are unlikely, Georginio Wijnaldum is likely one of the only Magpies to consider for your fantasy team. The midfielder standing head and shoulders above the rest of the squad scoring 9 and providing 5 helpers this season. Aleksander Mitrovic has also shown over the last two weeks that he is committed to the cause putting in great performances and netting 3 times in 2 games since Benitez’s arrival.
The Hornets must be looking at their season as being a success. Surviving relegation and having excellent attacking potential in Troy Deeney and the break-out success that is Odion Ighalo should give them enough to push past West Brom. Note they have a blank in GW 35.
Tony Pulis’ men are always remarkably difficult to break down, they have also struggled for goals all season. The addition of Solomon Rondon this season has provided a bit of a sharp end to their attack, however difficult games with hosting fellow mid-table Watford and travelling to top four bound Arsenal won’t help their league position.
The definition of free-fall. The one time European hopefuls have found themselves with a realistic threat of falling in the bottom 3. Their only respite is that the clubs below them are in exactly the same position, no luck and no direction. This should be no surprise to anyone as an exciting start followed by a rapid tumble down the table in the 2nd half of the season is a trait of a Pardew team. The goals and excitement have all but dried up. Reasonable performances from mystifying Yannick Bolasie and their marquis signing, and French international Yohan Cabaye in their last 3 games are vital to helping them get through Arsenal and United away. Note that they have a blank in GW 35.
This might be the largest and most comprehensive double game week in recent memory and this FPL manager is going to be taking full advantage. Barring any natural disasters or serious injury problems, here are my final tips:
- Load up on United, Arsenal, and West Hammers
- Lukaku, Aguero, Sanchez or Diego Payet for captain or triple captain
- Bench-boost if you have already used the triple captain
- GO FOR BROKE.
Elliot Levy AKA AFC Newfinrock AKA No click wanker.