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Gameweek 35 preview
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of Fantasy Gameweek. Below are your fixtures for Gameweek 35 in Fantasy Premier League. The deadline for transfers and changes to your team is 1.30pm UK time on Saturday…
Everyone plays just once this week but next week - Gameweek 36 - is a double for Brighton (Arsenal away, Newcastle away) and Newcastle (Leeds away, Brighton home). Gameweek 37 is a double for Brighton (Southampton home, Man City home), Chelsea (Man City away, Man United away), Man City (Chelsea home, Brighton away) and Man United (Bournemouth away, Chelsea home).
The fixtures are more spaced-out than usual this weekend due to the coronation of King Charles on Saturday and the public holiday in the UK on Monday. The Premier League had its own coronation this week when Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.4m) scored his 35th goal of the season against West Ham. That goal meant he broke the record for the most Premier League goals in a season, overtaking Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer’s previous record of 34.
The next target for Haaland (beyond, you know, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) is surely the record for the most FPL points by a player in one season. He is currently on 257 points. The top-five best seasons are:
Salah (2017/18) - 303
Suarez (2013/14) - 295
Lampard (2009/10) - 284
Ronaldo (2007/08) - 283
Henry (2002/03) - 271
Salah’s record-breaking season reflects the points-scoring system in FPL. He scored 32 goals and got 12 assists, while Haaland currently has 35 goals and 8 assists. If they both played in the same position that would equate to exactly the same number of points. But each of Salah’s goals was worth one point more as he was a midfielder - so that’s another 32 points - and he also got 15 points from Liverpool keeping clean-sheets as midfielders qualify for one clean sheet point. That’s 47 extra points for Salah over the season which had nothing to do with his own output. It’s an illustration of the value of the goal-scoring midfielder in FPL…
Salah could play a vital role in the outcome of your mini-league in the final weeks of the season, as Tom explains below, as could Son Heung-Min (MID, £11.5m), who has four goals and an assist in his last five matches, and Kevin De Bruyne (MID, £12.2m). For those hurt by the absence of De Bruyne in Gameweek 34, it sounds like he could return this week although Pep Guardiola did not give much away and could rest players - including Haaland - ahead of City’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid…
On that note, let’s get into the risers and fallers with Tom and then go through the latest rankings…
Martin Odegaard (MID, £6.6m)
Arsenal’s title challenge might be running aground, but their attack remains elite. This leaves FPL managers with the difficult choice of picking between arguably six legitimate options including, improbably, newly unleashed creative midfielder Granit Xhaka (MID, £4.8m).
It is this plethora of talent which explains why Odegaard, the club captain and fourth-top scorer in FPL, remains in just over 26% of teams. Marcus Rashford (MID, £7.2m), Gabriel Martinelli (MID, £6.7m) and Bukayo Saka (MID, £8.2m) all cost more and have delivered fewer points than the Norwegian, yet feature in substantially more sides.
Whatever the reason, those who backed Odegaard in Gameweek 34 were rewarded yet again as the Gunners swept aside a dismal Chelsea outfit 3-1 on Tuesday evening. Odegaard terrorised Frank Lampard’s tortured side, bagging two goals and 15 FPL points in the process.
That was his eighth double-digit points haul of the season, taking his overall score in FPL to 195 points. His tally of 14 goals is particularly impressive, supplemented by eight assists and a healthy dose of bonus points to boot.
That terrific output is backed up by Impect’s data analysis. Odegaard has the third highest overall Impect score of any midfielder who has played 10 games or more this season - ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (MID, £13m).
Arsenal don’t have a double gameweek between now and the end of the campaign, but Odegaard’s consistent output means he merits serious consideration as a genuine differential ahead of the run-in.
Mohamed Salah (MID, £13.)
In a season where Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.4m) has broken the Premier League goalscoring record with five games still to play, Salah’s campaign for a struggling Liverpool side has appeared distinctly disappointing in comparison.
And yet Salah, almost silently, has scored 18 goals, assisted eight more and got 207 points in FPL. In his last ten fixtures Salah has nine goals and an assist – the sort of form that has made him the most expensive player in FPL in recent seasons. Unsurprisingly, his underlying data has also been excellent.
Liverpool have no double gameweeks left but their final four fixtures – Brentford (H), Leicester (A), Aston Villa (H) and Southampton (A) - are eminently winnable.
The rest of Jurgen Klopp’s attacking talent appears vulnerable to rotation, particularly following the return to fitness of Luis Diaz (MID, £7.8m) and Diogo Jota (FWD, £8.9m). But an in-form Salah is as close as you will get to a sure-fire starter for a side clinging to the outside possibility of muscling their way into next season’s Champions League.
Callum Wilson (FWD, £7m)
Fantasy Gameweek might be paid-up members of the Alexander Isak (FWD, £6.9m) fan club, but before the Swedish international arrived on Tyneside we were big advocates for Callum Wilson.
The England international has been one of the most efficient finishers in the league for years, dating back to his 14-goal, 12-assist season for Bournemouth in 2018/19.
His inability to stay fit coupled with the fact his minutes appeared threatened have understandably seen FPL managers steer clear, with Wilson featuring in fewer than 6% of line-ups.
However, five goals in three Premier League games, only one of which he started, is sensational form and will surely force Eddie Howe to start him during the run-in. Wilson’s 15 goals across the season so far is a career-best in the top division – and backed up by a post-shot expected goals (xG) figure of just over 13.
Arsenal’s defence isn’t quite the formidable force it was with William Saliba (DEF, £4.9m) out injured, and a knock to Gabriel (DEF, £5.2m) means they could be forced to wheel out a centre-back partnership of Rob Holding (DEF, £4.2m) and Jakub Kiwior (DEF, 4m) at St James’ Park. Following that, Newcastle and Wilson have a double fixture against Leeds (A) and Brighton (H).
It might be worth holding off for a week to see if Wilson gets the nod, either alongside Isak or instead of him. If he does, he becomes a seriously enticing differential option for that Gameweek 36 double.
Don’t get us wrong, we love Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton side, but there’s no excuse for a 6-0 capitulation. Anyone who loses that badly simply has to have a place among Fantasy Gameweek’s Fallers.
It might just be a one-off, of course, and you could just about argue the underlying data – which suggests Brighton’s post-shot xG was a smidge over 3 – suggests this wasn’t quite as bad as the scoreline suggests.
But with in-form Aston Villa, Manchester United and Arsenal all to come – as well as a potentially fire-up Everton side in the penultimate game of the campaign – it’s hard to make a case for any Wolves player right now, especially when they have little left to play for.
Chelsea players (again)
Just when we think Chelsea has fallen as far as they can go, they fall even further. On paper there is no shame in a 3-1 defeat against title-chasing Arsenal, but the manner of their performance – particularly in the first half – was alarming.
Gaps everywhere. Players strolling around apparently uninterested. No discernible shape or plan to either defend or attack. The data made for grim reading too, with Arsenal recording a post-shot xG of almost 4 versus Chelsea’s 0.84. Across the entire season, they have a post-shot xG of just 1.1 – ranking them 14th in the league.
The rot at Stamford Bridge runs deep and there’s nothing we have seen to suggest it will be addressed by the end of the season.
Leeds players (again)
Another week, another Leeds United capitulation, this time away at an admittedly improving Bournemouth side. That 4-1 reversal was enough to cost another manager, Javi Gracia, his job, and brought “Big Sam” Allardyce back from the wilderness and into his natural habitat of a tooth-and-claw battle for survival.
Leeds’ trigger-happy owners will be banking on a new manager bounce but, as Chelsea have found, that certainly isn’t guaranteed. An opening fixture away at title favourites Man City is as tough a start as Allardyce could get, while Newcastle (H), West Ham (A) and finally Spurs (H) are all fixtures you’d frankly expect Leeds to lose. They also don’t have a double gameweek to bolster any potential fantasy returns.
We remain open to shifting opinion on this team – and particularly goalscoring midfielder Rodrigo (MID, £6.3m) – but based on what we’ve seen on the pitch, you should steer clear for the time being.
It’s time to look at the latest key performance indicators from Impect, our data partner, and how Premier League players rank after the last round of matches. These rankings are based on data from December 26, the first gameweek after the World Cup, and each player must have played at least 20 per cent of the minutes available since then to be included.
Offensive Impect - overall attacking effectiveness
Erling Haaland - 100
Callum Wilson - 99.6
Harry Kane - 99.1
Kevin De Bruyne - 98.7
Ollie Watkins - 98.3
Marcus Rashford - 97.8
Alexander Isak - 97.4
Mo Salah - 97
Patrick Bamford - 96.5
Kelechi Iheanancho - 96.1
Bypassed defenders - how many opposition defenders a player takes out of the game with their play, including passing and dribbling
Kevin De Bruyne - 12
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 12
Christian Eriksen - 11
Bruno Fernandes - 10
Casemiro - 10
Kieran Trippier - 9
Youri Tielemans - 9
Alexis Mac Allister - 8
Alex Iwobi - 8
Pascal Gross - 8
Post-shot xG - quality of chances and quality of shot
Ollie Watkins - 11.56
Erling Haaland - 11.5
Harry Kane - 10.55
Mo Salah - 9.33
Marcus Rashford - 8.38
Ivan Toney - 7.48
Alexander Isak - 7.37
Kaoru Mitoma - 6.9
Alexis Mac Allister - 6.68
Brennan Johnson - 6.46
Offensive Impect, defenders only
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 100
Lewis Dunk - 98
Kieran Trippier - 97
Ben White - 96
Luke Shaw - 95
Joel Veltman - 94
Pervis Estupinan - 93
Ben Chilwell - 92
Pedro Porro - 91
Marcos Senesi - 90
Thanks for reading. Best of luck in Gameweek 35. Please share Fantasy Gameweek with those you think will find it useful and interesting
Graham and Tom