We have been building toward the game-week 34-37 sequence for too long, so it’s a relief for it to finally arrive. In FPL there are a number of tactical approaches open to us during the period; rather than rehash them, I will refer you to NMA member Yewtee’s wonderfully helpful fanpost.
The picks this week follow the traditional principle that you will want to hold as many double-game players as possible. From there we make the odd exception for a single game player capable of exploding with fantasy points (Hint: He wears a red shirt).
Man Utd have a great pair of fixtures hosting West Brom and visiting Bournemouth. However, their second is just 3 days before their FA Cup semi against Spurs, and the cup is Mr Mourino’s only chance silverware this season, so I see him rotating team selection.
It’s at this stage of the season I usually avoid players from mid table teams like Leicester, but the eye test in recent weeks tells me they have a set of players enjoying their football right now. A trip to Burnley will be difficult, but hosting the Saints may be fantasy gold.
Chelsea were the side I built my wildcard around, but they now find themselves 10 points from Champions League qualification. Like Spurs/Utd they likely have an eye on their cup semi. You can add the uncertainly about Antonio Conte on top of that. However, two away games at Southampton and Burnley do bring appeal back to their players.
Spurs have won 6 in a row and seem to have momentum coming into the double. A home game against stuttering Man City isn't as scary as it may have been a few weeks back (though Man City’s release from the CL could refocus them). A trip to Brighton follows midweek. I expect to see the strongest Spurs side against City with rotation at Brighton ahead of the FA cup semi.
Burnley have two home games against Leicester and Chelsea which will not worry them. Once again they may be the surprise side that brings in the fantasy points.
Brighton sit 7 points above the drop, and that might be only a point from ultimate safety. A trip to Crystal Palace in their opening fixture could see a game in which both sides would take a point if offered. The Seagulls then host a Tottenham side 4 days before Spurs face Man Utd in the FA Cup semifinal. Brighton’s six-match form line is steady with two wins, two draws and two defeats.
Southampton are three points beneath Palace but with a game in hand. They must find a game to win, and in Gabbidini, Austin, Tadic and Redmond, they have players who can have a go if they chose to play them.
Bournemouth are 8 points clear of relegation and, while not mathematically safe, they may be in reality. Matches away to ‘Pool and home versus Man Utd do not bode well for Cherries’ defenders, but there might be some attacking points to be had, especially if Mourinho rotates ahead of the FA cup clash.
Lewis Dunk/Shane Duffy
The central defensive duo are reliable to start and remain cheap. Both give the consistent impression of being a capable of attacking returns.
It’s been a case of catching him at the right moment through the season but if Dunk/Duffy do score then Gross will likely be the assist provider.
Harry’s golden boot challenge is looking shaky as the games run out. On 25 league goals (after winning last week’s appeal), he is still four behind current leader Salah, but does have the DGW game in hand.
Of all of the Spurs attackers I think he is the most likely to play twice even with the cup semi closing in. The club will want to keep their star player happy, and Kane’s determined effort to secure the goal at Stoke tells us how obsessed he is about the achievement. As with any double week, Kane is a triple captain option if you still have the chip.
With his England starting spot under the most danger in two years, Alli has suddenly found some form. I’m guessing that he may will play more minutes over the two games than Son, Christian Eriksen, Eric Lamela or Lucas Moura.
The only Cherries choice for me. We know from a year ago that he finishes the season strong. He now has three goals and an assist in his last five matches.
David De Gea
Two great chances at clean sheets.
With the injury history for Eric Bailly, Phil Jones’ lack of fitness (and possibly having upset Jose), and the performances of Victor Lindelof, I see Smalling starting twice.
Considering it doesn't seem that Jose trusts any of his other forwards to lead the line, the ex Troll King seems to always start.
We cannot be sure, but right now it looks like the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba are the first choice to play behind Lukaku. I’m also pretty sure that Jose will look to load the midfield in the cup semi, so he will want to protect those set to play. If this rotation happens, we should see chances for Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and a few others. Of all the attacking options, I like Rashford to be involved in both games. It’s a major risk, but if you are chasing, then it may be worth a chance on a very talented young player.
Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Kevin Long
Mee’s an injury worry, but if Burnley can provide a clean sheet over the two games, all three defenders are great value for their purchase prices.
Four goals in five games for a super cheap price looking at two home games to come, he screams value.
He may get a rest for game two, but Alonso is so capable of exploding it’s a risk not to select him.
In great form but not always providing the fantasy points, Willian can frustrate. Still, with the importance of the Cup game for Eden Hazard, and with Pedro’s injury worries, I think Willian is the most likely to play twice.
In form, consistent, and on penalties. With the World Cup closing in, he has upped his game, and the slow defensive lines are made for him.
No World Cup for Mahrez, but if he wants that summer move to Man City, then he needs to impress. Against both opponents he will have more of the ball than against many other teams in the league.
The club captain missed a chunk of the season, but he seems to be making the most of his return. Surely he has a great shot for at least one clean sheet.
When Austin is fit, he is as deadly as any forward in the league, regardless of his team form or the quality of opponent. There is at least one goal in the two games for him.
A pair of assists against Arsenal and a 4.7m price tag bring him into our thoughts.
The non-DGW player on the page, Salah is simply a machine right now. He should play at Anfield against Bournemouth, and given the way Liverpool attack and Bournemouth defend, Salah could easily outscore most double-gamers. I’m finding it harder to see how he doesn't score than how he does.
You will still need to strongly consider you own situation regarding tactics, chip availability, and squad status before choosing your players. Give us your personal situation in the comments, and we will do our best to get the right answer for you.