20 Teams: 20 Players looks at the best fantasy football options from each team, each week. From the must starts to the best of a bad bunch, here are this week’s picks for Gameweek 34 of the 2015/16 season.
Arsenal (Crystal Palace H)
Alex Iwobi: The Gunners let themselves down by sacrificing a healthy two goal lead to West Ham and Andy Carroll, but one man who did himself justice was Alex Iwobi (two assists). Iwobi has two goals and two assists, making him worth a punt against Palace this weekend.
Aston Villa (Manchester United A)
Idrissa Gueye: The defensive midfielder’s contributions in tackles and interceptions are impressive and the only redeemable reason for selecting an Aston Villa player in your side this season – especially against a decent side like Manchester United.
Bournemouth (Liverpool A)
Steve Cook: The defender has become something of a cult hero in these parts, not down to his able work at the heart of the Cherries’ back four, but more so for an impressive and ever-growing goalscoring record. He sealed his fourth of the season in Gameweek 33, but with Liverpool up next, is it too big an ask to hit the net again? We live in hope.
Chelsea (Manchester City H)
Diego Costa: Chelsea’s talisman forward returns to the fray against Manchester City following suspension and the Spain international could be the one to shake City from their Champions League stupor. One thing is for sure, Costa certainly gets the ball in the right areas, ranking fifth among strikers for touches in the box this season (195).
Crystal Palace (Norwich City A)
Yohan Cabaye: We’re all very familiar with the Frenchman’s qualities, even if he hasn’t been able to display them to the fullest this season. Cabaye isn’t just a talented creator – creating six chances last weekend – he’s also a destroyer where necessary, contributing to his side with 101 inceptions this season. Expect him to make a big impact on both fronts away to the Canaries.
Everton (Southampton H)
Romelu Lukaku: It’s now been four games without a goal for the big Belgian, among his worst patches of the season. However, in an injury-hit Everton line-up there is little other option than selected this man for your fantasy and hope he returns to his best against Southampton in Gameweek 34.
Leicester City (West Ham H)
Jamie Vardy: Claudio Ranieri may put him between the sticks in training, but Jamie Vardy hasn’t lost his goalscoring touch as the season has worn on. In fact, he’s looking at arguably his strongest for some time. The Englishman ranked third for goal attempts last week, firing five away, and managed to bury two superb finishes from those chances at either end of the second half. His form makes him a must have for this season’s run in, including Gameweek 34.
Liverpool (Bournemouth A)
Divock Origi: It’s a testament to the young Belgian that he is now keeping Liverpool’s more talented striker on the bench of late. Divock Origi has played his way into his manager’s affections and into the line-ups of many fantasy selectors, judging by his heroics in the Premier and Europa Leagues of late. Four goals in his last three in all competitions tells its own story.
Manchester City (Chelsea A)
Kevin De Bruyne: The Belgian has revitalised this City team in such a short space of time that it’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago commentators where talking as if their season was over. Now they’re in the Champions League semi-final and consolidating fourth place in the league. Facing his old side in Gameweek 34, it could be payback time for the man with six goals and nine assist this season.
Manchester United (Aston Villa H)
Marcus Rashford: The latest off the United production line, the youngster plays with a confidence that belies his years and quality of his goals tell that story. The 18 year old got the winner in the FA Cup against West Ham to make it two from his last four in all competitions. Against a Villa with essentially nothing to play for, you feel it could be a mauling. Expect Rashford to take full advantage.
Newcastle United (Swansea H)
Andros Townsend: He got the Magpies’ consolation last time out but also generally looked the only lively player wearing black and white that day. His side aren’t out of it yet, but against an in-form Swansea they’ll need another huge performance from him to actually grab all three points.
Norwich City (Sunderland H)
Martin Olsson: Norwich’s defence may just enjoy a rare clean sheet against a Black Cats team that is extremely far from prolific. This a relegation six pointer, so Norwich’s Martin Olsson seems a wise bet on the defensive side but also offensively – demonstrated in Gameweek 32 where the Swede got the winner against that other relegation-threatened side form the North-East.
Southampton (Everton A)
Shane Long: With 11 goals in all competitions this season, Southampton’s resident Irishman has been one of their outstanding performers this season. He proved this again in Gameweek 33, putting Newcastle to the sword with a goal and assist. With Everton by no means watertight, the Saints and Long could have some luck in this fixture.
Stoke City (Tottenham Hotspur H)
Xherdan Shaqiri: The ex-Bayern, Inter and Basel was Stoke’s outstanding performer in a disappointing showing against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last time out and it looks like they have a tougher prospect on their hands in the form of Tottenham Hotspur this week. With three assists and a goal across three games however, he is without doubt Stoke’s form player and can do damage to any Premier League opponent.
Sunderland (Norwich City A)
Jermain Defoe: For the second successive week, we’ve plumped for Jermain Defoe. It’s difficult to look past the former England international among this current crop of Sunderland players, at 33 years of age he really looks the only player capable of making something happen – as his twelve goals this season have testified.
Swansea (Newcastle United A)
Gylfi Sigurdsson: The Icelander did it again last weekend and this time Chelsea were the victims. There have been few players as effective in this latter half of the season as Gylfie Sigurdsson, he scored the sole and winning goal in Gameweek 33 and it ranked as his fourth goal in five matches. Newcastle’s third choice keeper and second string defence would do well to keep him out.
Tottenham Hotspur (Stoke City A)
Erik Lamela: Spurs’ Argentine livewire was the highest ranking midfielder in PlayON last time out, getting a goal and assist in quick succession against Manchester United. As such, the wide-man is a canny option for Gameweek 34, where Pochettino’s men take on Stoke side that shipped three goals to Liverpool last time out.
Watford (West Brom A)
Heurelho Gomes: Watford’s Brazilian stalwart has arguably been their most consistent performer in a very commendable season. Having conceded last time out against Everton, it’s worth noting that Gomes kept his side in it by pulling off no less than six saves. Against a goal-shy West Brom this weekend, the Hornets’ custodian could be in for strong showing.
West Brom (Watford H)
Saloman Rondon: It’s safe to say that the goals have dried up considerably for the Baggies in recent weeks. The good news for Tony Pulis is that Saloman Rondon should be fit and available for selection in Gameweek 34 following a back injury. The Venezuelan hasn’t scored in three games but a fired in three goals in three prior to Gameweek 30. Against a Watford that has conceded five in their last two Premier League games, the forward could very well get back on track.
West Ham (Leicester A)
Andy Carroll: He was a hat-trick hero in Gameweek 33 and set up James Tomkins for West Ham’s consolation in their loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup – in short the Englishman is in good form. Whether or not he’s now “unplayable” as the striker suggested last week, remains to be seen but you get the feeling that he could play a key role as the Hammers look to halt Leicester’s march to the title.