Fantasy Premier League tips: Get Man United's Alexis Sanchez, drop Liverpool's Firmino and who to captain

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Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans League” using the code 2529004-595062.

Double Gameweek 34 is here and for many, it represents a glorious opportunity to make up ground or pull clear in the Fantasy Premier League mini leagues.

Serial Premier League entertainers Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City play just once in this round so the focus will be on Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham assets.

If you’ve played your cards right, your squad should be loaded with players featuring twice in this round and here’s some tips to help you capitalise on the double gameweek.

CAPTAIN – ROMELU LUKAKU | MANCHESTER UNITED |11.6M

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang donned the armband last time out and delivered with a goal against Southampton to score six points doubling to 12.

To benefit from the double gameweek, Romelu Lukaku is entrusted with the captaincy this time as United face West Brom at home and Bournemouth away.

The Belgian has delivered attacking returns in seven of his last 10 outings, scoring five goals and providing three assists. It’s no secret that Lukaku tends to prey on teams in the bottom half of the table and the Baggies are nailed to the foot of it at the moment while Eddie Howe’s troops are always vulnerable at the back.

He’s already scored against both sides this season and though his lack of double-figure hauls this season (three) is concerning, this round is as good as to go big.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

ALTERNATIVES

HARRY KANE (12.9m) is also involved in the double gameweek and there’s every chance he will come good as he chases the Golden Boot. However, in the FPL universe at least, he hasn’t scored in his last four outings and that keeps him from being our prime captaincy candidate as much as the fact that he will face City in one of those two fixtures.

MOHAMED SALAH (10.5m) will play only once but given that will be against Bournemouth at Anfield, you wouldn’t bet against him scoring more points than any of the double gameweek players. After being rushed back from injury to play an intense Champions League encounter though, there’s a risk of Jurgen Klopp protecting his talisman by either benching him against the Cherries or lifting him from the action well before the full-time whistle.

BOLD CHOICE

CHARLIE AUSTIN (5.8m) was on a run of five goals in five starts earlier this season before succumbing to injury. Since his return, he’s looked a threat again, scoring away to Arsenal last week. With the Saints desperate to avoid the drop, they will need the goal-hungry forward to secure their salvation. Games against Chelsea and Leicester will be challenging but Austin remains capable of breaking through an opposition.

Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin

TWO INS

ALEXIS SANCHEZ | MANCHESTER UNITED | 11.5M

It hasn’t been a seamless acclimatisation for Alexis Sanchez since his arrival at Old Trafford. However, in FPL terms at least, he’s turned a corner in recent weeks, delivering returns in three of his last four. With three assists, a goal and a clean sheet, the Chilean has double figures in the last two gameweeks. With a modest ownership of just 3.8 per cent, he represents a very healthy differential.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

KEVIN LONG | BURNLEY | 4.0M

He stepped in for Ben Mee earlier this season and with Burnley’s first-choice centre-back sidelined again for the foreseeable future, Kevin Long is a cheap way into that defence. They play against Chelsea and Leicester this week but crucially do so at home. Long played the full 90 in Burnley’s win over Watford last time out and secured a clean sheet and should be in action in gameweek 35 as well.

Kevin Long (l)

Kevin Long (l)

TWO OUTS

FIRMINO | LIVERPOOL | 9.5M

Because of his phenomenal return, Salah can escape the cut despite playing just once this week. That doesn’t apply to Firmino though who return of one goal in his last four doesn’t help his case either. If you still have your Free Hit chip, you could bring him back for gameweek 35 but given Liverpool’s Champions League commitments, his inclusion beyond that is not ideal.

Firmino

Firmino

BEN DAVIES | TOTTENHAM | 5.9M

With two assists and three clean sheets in his last four starts, Ben Davies has been in excellent form but he’s also been benched in two of Tottenham’s last three games. So despite the double gameweek, Davies may only play once and that could be against City as well. The wing-back may be rested ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against United.

Ben Davies

Ben Davies

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Antonio Conte remains elusive on Chelsea exit talk

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte was giving nothing away when questioned about his future on Friday.

The Blues head into the final six games of the Premier League season 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and highly likely to miss out on Champions League qualification.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri have been linked with Conte’s job in recent days.

Asked about reports Chelsea were sounding out potential managerial successors, Conte said: “It’s not my job to answer this type of question. There’s always speculation around our position. This is not only for me, but a lot of coaches.

“The most important thing now is to be focused on Chelsea and to try to improve and finish the season in the best possible way. I’m not curious (about the reports). I don’t read the papers, and I’m not interested in this.”

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Tottenham the last team Man City want to face after tough week and other talking points

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It's been a miserable week for Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City head into Saturday’s game against Tottenham on the back of three losses in a week.

Two to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals meant another disappointing exit from Europe, while the defeat to Manchester United between those, throwing away a 2-0 lead and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win the Premier League at home against their derby rivals, was equally emotionally draining.

An in-form Tottenham will like their chances against a wounded City team.

SPURS THE LAST TEAM CITY WANT TO FACE RIGHT NOW

City are facing their first crisis of confidence of the season – and they’re playing a team who are perfectly poised to take advantage. No one quite presses like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, but Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino come close, and they’ve already overwhelmed Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United at home this season – and Chelsea were lucky to escape with a win early in the season.

They go into Saturday’s fixture on the back of six-straight wins in the Premier League, a mark of a side firing on all cylinders. They have the personnel and the style to make City suffer.

December’s 4-1 loss to City at Etihad Stadium should have no bearing on this match – the difference in confidence for both sides will be sizable.

The biggest factor, however, could be fatigue. City looked jaded last week against United and playing Liverpool twice in a week is a tiring affair.

PEP’S AURA BEING SHATTERED

When City were an all-conquering force – all of two weeks ago – there were serious conversations being had about whether they were the Premier League’s greatest-ever team, and Pep Guardiola was being hailed as one of the greatest managers to hit England’s shores.

They could still set records for most goals and most points in a Premier League season. Indeed, they could still win the league this weekend, with a win on Saturday and a United loss on Sunday, unlikely though that is against West Brom at home – but the team’s aura, and especially the manager’s, has been shattered.

Perhaps Guardiola enters this match with a point to prove, or perhaps he just wants his side to regroup and get back to winning ways, statements and broader pictures be damned. Either way, he must know that a fourth-straight loss will linger on his reputation no matter what City end up achieving.

HARRY KANE GOING ALL-OUT FOR GOLDEN BOOT

It’s rare that scoring a goal makes you the target of laughter, but that’s what’s been happening with Harry Kane this week. After going all out in an effort to get the Premier League to award him Spurs’ second goal from last week’s win over Stoke, he made himself the butt of jokes on Twitter – not least from Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates.

The two are locked in a duel for the Golden Boot that Kane is currently more likely to lose, given Salah’s four-goal lead.

The reaction is understandable, but is it fair? Firstly, if it was actually his goal, he has every right to appeal, and the league decided he was right.

Secondly, a striker’s currency is goals. Kane wants a third straight Golden Boot. This sort of hunger is exactly what you want in a striker – and exactly what City should be afraid of on Saturday.

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