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The much anticipated Double Gameweeks have been announced and with the season’s conclusion drawing nearer, it’s time to take full advantage.
Manchester United and Crystal Palace will play twice in Gameweek 34 while Arsenal and Southampton have their turn in Gameweek 36.
However, arguably the most important round in Fantasy Premier League comes in Gameweek 37 when a total of 10 teams will play twice, presenting the perfect opportunity to make the most of a Bench Boost chip.
Tottenham, Watford, Leicester City, United, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Arsenal, Sunderland and Chelsea all feature twice in the penultimate Gameweek.
This week’s column picks five differentials who will not only help you score points in this round but also help you prepare for those Double Gamweeks ahead.
But first, here’s a look at the tactical geniuses who make up the top five in our fans league this week.
WHO TO PICK AS CAPTAIN
Zlatan Ibrahimovic [11.4m] was our captain pick in Gameweek 32 and he served well, delivering 12 points with a goal, assist and maximum bonus points.
This week, we’re backing Romelu Lukaku [10.4m] who did even better than the Swede last time out as he bagged two goals at home to Leicester City after failing to deliver in his previous two away fixtures.
The Belgian is the league’s leading scorer with 23 strikes to his name and will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Burnley at home on Saturday. Alternatively, Harry Kane, Philippe Coutinho, Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli are good options as well.
Romelu Lukaku is in the company of greats as the top scorer in one of Europe's top 5 leagues. pic.twitter.com/oNBlYxR2Wh— FanDuel (@FanDuelUK) April 14, 2017
FIVE DIFFERENTIALS TO CONSIDER
Let’s not waste time discussing the big stars who could score big over the Double Gameweeks. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez, Dele Alli and Eden Hazard are no-brainers.
Instead, let’s look at the differentials who could give you an edge while some may even help you recoup some cash to spend on those aforementioned big names.
JESSE LINGARD – MANCHESTER UNITED (5.6M)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (8.8m) would be the best option in United’s midfield. He also offers a great differential with just 2.4% ownership and has put himself among the goals of late but Jesse Lingard’s price tag, United’s options in midfield and his 0.6% ownership makes him hard to resist.
The Englishman is seemingly in favour with Jose Mourinho, signing a new deal only this week and starting the last four Premier League games. Although he’s only got one goal in those outings, it’s not for the want for trying as he consistently gets into good positions and creates chances himself. Definitely worth a punt.
WAYNE HENNESSEY – CRYSTAL PALACE (4.3M)
The Palace keeper has returned in five out of his last six fixtures, scoring 36 points and keeping four clean sheets. He’s owned by only 2.8% of FPL managers and while that’s understandable given their difficult run-in, they’re still bound to frustrate teams and pick up clean sheets.
Also, Hennessey should be kept busy in goal, opening the door for save points and possible bonuses. Palace have two Double Gameweeks coming their way which makes their custodian all the more appealing. It doesn’t hurt that he comes at a great price too.
HEUNG-MIN SON – TOTTENHAM (7.1M)
If Dele Alli is a little too rich for your taste, Son is a solid option especially since he’s still selected by only 9.8% of managers. There is a danger of him losing his place in the starting eleven if Spurs decide to switch to three at the back for a couple of games though.
He impressed from the left flank last week, scoring 19 points with two goals, an assist and maximum bonus points so even though Kane is set to start against Bournemouth at White Hart Lane, he should retain his place out wide.
Heung-min Son's game by numbers vs. Watford:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 8, 2017
1 woodwork shot
1 chance created
Excellent display. pic.twitter.com/Y7VSt6FQqn
WILFRIED ZAHA – CRYSTAL PALACE (5.9M)
If you haven’t swooped in for him already, it’s not to late. Again, Palace’s fixtures may not fill you with confidence but Zaha has proved himself recently, scoring in double figures against the likes of Arsenal and league leaders Chelsea.
The winger has nine assists this season, the same as Alexis Sanchez and with an average of 4.1 dribbles per game in the league, he is behind only Hazard (4.3) and Adama Traore (5.5) in that regard. This weekend as well, Zaha could take advantage of a possibly weakened Leicester side as Craig Shakespeare rests players for their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid in midweek.
HARRY KANE – TOTTENHAM (11.3M)
This is one of those rare occasions when Kane does indeed qualify as something of a differential. Having returned from injury only last week with a 30-minute spell against Watford, managers haven’t had the chance and the resources to bring him back into their sides which is why only 11.3% retain him.
Before his injury, he scored a whopping 33 points over two games and hit the bar on his return. The Englishman does enjoy facing Bournemouth. He scored a brace in this same fixture last year and bagged a hat-trick in the away game.
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The legendary Arsenal forward, who is now a prominent pundit with Sky Sports, is well qualified to pick the star performers of the season – particularly as he is a man who has won the Player of the Year gong on two occasions (2004 and 2006).
And Henry singled out Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard – who has netted 14 Premier League goals and led the Blues to the brink of the title this term – as the man who deserves the 2016-17 accolade.
The Belgian scooped the award during the Stamford Bridge club’s title-winning campaign of 2014-15 under Jose Mourinho and is heavy favourite to lay claim to that prize once again.
The winner of the award is announced in May after a panel discussion by Premier League officials.
As for the so-called ‘Signing of the Season’ honour – it’s not an official award – but one typically discussed by media once the campaign concludes.
For Henry, he feels Liverpool star Sadio Mane – a £30m Liverpool signing from Southampton last summer – is the man who tops that bill.
Although the Senegalese forward is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Mane has been very impressive for the Anfield club, netting 13 times for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Do you agree with Henry’s picks?
While it would seem that picking a five-a-side team from among Rio Ferdinand’s stellar list of former Manchester United team-mates would be a hard task, the club legend probably wouldn’t draw too much criticism for his picks.
We spoke to Ferdinand in Dubai this week as he and Bobby Zamora visited Jumeirah Beach Hotel for the launch of Football Escapes.
“We’d play rush goalie,” Ferdinand said of his decision to pick an attack-heavy team.
“Giggs goes in there for longevity and class, a beautiful footballer. Scholes is the most naturally-gifted footballer I played with.
“Ronaldo is the most obsessed footballer I ever worked with, just ridiculous. Rooney is there because he has an absolute team ethic.”
Once again, here is that team.