Football

Premier League: Top FPL picks for Gameweek 34

The first of the remaining three Double Gameweeks is finally upon us as time has finally come to put your hard-preserved chips into use. Gameweek 34 will see Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Manchester all in action not once but twice but there will be no games at all for West Bromwich Albion.

 

Eleven matches are lined up for this gameweek starting with four matches involving the teams either in the relegation battle or still threatening to drop into it. Middlesbrough, Hull City and Swansea City all face a do-or-die battle as they take on Bournemouth, Watford and Stoke City respectively while West Ham would be eager for the win that all but confirms their Premier League status for next season when they host Everton. Sunday will see injury-ravaged Manchester United undertake a tricky trip to fortress Turf Moor where they haven't won a league game in 41 years and it will be followed up by Liverpool facing their own bogey team in Crystal Palace who have won at Anfield for last two seasons.

 

 

After a day gap, teams involved in the FA Cup semis will return to Premier League action with Chelsea desperate to maintain their four-point cushion at the top as they host Southampton on Tuesday night who are undefeated at the Bridge since December 2013. Thursday night will be a triple delight with Arsenal aiming to defeat Leicester City in a bid to keep their slender hopes of a top-four finish alive. On the other hand, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace will take the field for the second time this gameweek as they host Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. And it all ends on Thursday night with a cracker of a game as Manchester United make a short trip across the town to play Manchester City at the Etihad.

 

As usual, we have made our 4 picks for the forthcoming gameweek. Take a look:

 

ELDIN JAKUPOVIC

Despite boasting a far from convincing FPL points haul, Jakupovic remains the second-most preferred goalkeeping choice thanks to his budget-friendly price. Averaging 3.67 saves per game, the Swiss goalkeeper guarantees an additional point every game with his sharp reflexes. After enduring a couple of disappointing trips, Hull City will return to their fortress KCOM this weekend where they are undefeated ever since Marco Silva took over the reigns to take on Watford.

 

The visitors have blanked in front of goal in each of their last 3 away matches. Hornets' struggles to score goals on the road are typified by the fact that less than a third of their 37 league goals have been scored away from home, only 12 to be precise. Hull have kept just one shutout at home all season but this is certainly a great opportunity for Jakupovic and his defence to add another valuable clean sheet to their scanty haul.

 

DALEY BLIND

With the Red Devils now without three centre-backs for the foreseeable future and Antonio Valencia a rotation risk owing to excessive workload, Daley Blind emerges as a trustworthy pick from the United backline — second only to Spurs in terms of most clean sheets kept (13) and fewest goals conceded (24) over the course of the season so far. The Red Devils will be playing their next two games on the road with Burnley the first stop on Sunday followed by the Manchester Derby at the Etihad on Thursday.

 

When it comes to playing on the travels, there's no team as defensively shrewd as Manchester United this term, having kept the joint-highest number of away clean sheets (6) alongside conceding fewer away goals (13) than any other top-flight team. Despite his limited game time, the £5.2m-priced Dutchman still resides in 4.2% teams and should be starting the next two games alongside Eric Bailly in the heart of United defence. And not to forget, Blind's ability to see a pass and pinpoint set-pieces which have brought him a goal and couple of assists in the league makes him an enticing proposition altogether.

 

YOHAN CABAYE

Zaha has been on the watchlist of many managers but one of his teammates has been equally influential in recent weeks. We are talking of Yohan Cabaye who has now scored as many times in last two outings as he did in previous 27. The Frenchman has established himself as a vital cog in Sam Allardyce's team and is also on set-piece duty for the Eagles. 

 

Crystal Palace faces two of the top six sides in this Double Gameweek — Liverpool away and Tottenham Hotspur at home in a London derby. Liverpool boast the joint-worst defensive record (along with Arsenal) among the top six clubs and the recent clean sheet against West Brom was just the Reds' second of 2017. When it comes to Spurs, while the Lillywhites are an immovable object to play against at White Hart Lane, the same doesn't apply to them away from home with 14 of the 22 league goals shipped by them coming exclusively on their travels. That's not all, just 4 of Spurs' 15 shutouts this season have been achieved while playing away.

 

Available at a pocket-friendly £5.6m and owned by mere 1.4% managers, Cabaye could well provide you with the points your opponents might miss out on.

 

ALVARO NEGREDO

Negredo has hit his strides just at the time when FPL managers would have desperately wanted him to. With his goal against Arsenal, the Spaniard has now scored twice in last three matches. Prior to this run, he had netted just once in 12 appearances. The former Manchester City man is the most sought after striker below the £7.5m price range and the fact that Middlesbrough will be playing out a Double Gameweek has further lifted his ownership to 12.8%. The forward is the third-most transferred in player overall with over 82,000 managers opening doors for him.

 

The Riverside outfit plays two of the worst five defences in the league in the form of Bournemouth and Sunderland. The Cherries are, by far, the most brittle Premier League backline in 2017 with 32 goals already shipped this year. Though Boro have the worst attack in the league, Negredo has been directly involved in 12 of Boro's 23 league goals (8G, 4A) which account for over half of their goals. In fact, 3 of Negredo's 4 assists came against these two sides (2 vs Sunderland, 1 vs Bournemouth) during the earlier fixtures in the campaign. Priced at a nominal £6.2m, this is the right time to pounce on the Spanish poacher.

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