And so we reach the home stretch. Four weeks to go, three teams battling for the Premier League title, two teams battling for the final Champions League spot, at least seven teams involved in the scrap to avoid relegation, and of course, 202 teams fighting it out for the right to call themselves the Rotoworld PL Cup winners. Because of the late finish to Week 34, I'm delaying the semi-final results until Monday, so check back here early next week to see if you've made it through to Week 37's final.
Week 34 was a disappointing one all-round as many of the double-gamers failed to put up the performances we were expecting / hoping for. AM FC finished the week on 109 points and that below average total puts a gigantic dent in my well-publicised hopes of a top 500 finish. I need a big performance in Week 35, which returns us to the standard single week for all teams. Let's take a look at the fixtures ...
Week 35 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Southampton
Cardiff v Stoke
Chelsea v Sunderland
Everton v Man Utd
Hull v Arsenal
Man City v West Brom
Newcastle v Swansea
Norwich v Liverpool
Tottenham v Fulham
West Ham v Crystal Palace
It's quite straight-forward this week as the three teams in the title race are handed winnable fixtures. Chelsea at home to Sunderland is probably the pick of the bunch, followed by Liverpool away at Norwich and Manchester City at home to West Brom. None of the top sides can afford to slip up now, and despite the fact they are all facing opposition fighting for their Premier League lives, I don't expect any mistakes this weekend. You may question this opinion after City's draw with Sunderland last night, but with David Silva expected to return on Monday and with another five days of fitness work for Sergio Aguero, I expect them to have the firepower to take the three points.
Tottenham v Fulham looks like a home win on paper and I expect Southampton to bounce-back from their disappointing home loss against Cardiff in Week 34 to inflict a fifth-straight-defeat on Aston Villa. If Swansea play like they did against Chelsea then they will have a chance of getting themselves out of relegation trouble with a win at struggling Newcastle, and Arsenal know they need a win at Hull to stay ahead of Everton, who slipped up against Crystal Palace last night.
Everton v Manchester United, West Ham v Crystal Palace and Cardiff v Stoke are all difficult to call in any team's favour so all three games are probably best avoided for fantasy purposes unless you have a specific hunch. Out of the six sides, Crystal Palace stand the best chance given their current form, but there are better fixtures out there.
With that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 35 player recommendations.
Joe Hart - Three goals conceded at Anfield on Sunday and a further two against Sunderland last night has triggered Hart's price to plummet to a shade above £10million. Despite Manchester City's current blip, at that price I feel he's the best goalkeeper option for Week 35 with a match against West Brom at the Etihad.
Hugo Lloris - Like Hart, goals conceded in Week 34 caused Lloris' price to drop, in this case down to below £6million, making him great value for Tottenham's home game against Fulham. Given the fixtures, Hart and Lloris are the only goalkeepers worth considering this week, unless you're holding Petr Cech at a massive discount.
Aleksandar Kolarov - It seems Manuel Pellegrini has got in to a selection rhythm; Gael Clichy gets the start in away matches as he's more solid defensively, while Kolarov gets the start in home matches to give the side an extra attacking option down the left hand side. Quiet against Sunderland, but I expect the set piece specialist to get some joy against West Brom.
Branislav Ivanovic - Chelsea have the pick of the fixtures at home to Sunderland, they should keep a clean sheet and you would imagine they'll offer a threat from set pieces, which opens the door for the likes of Ivanovic to return big points.
John Terry - See above. Both men have three goals this season so you can flip a coin to decide who to go with.
Vincent Kompany - I'm a firm believer he's the best defender in the Premier League, possibly in Europe in terms of reading the game, and his rare mistake against Liverpool has done nothing to dampen that opinion. If you can't afford Kolarov then you can save £5millon and still cover the potential City clean sheet by picking Kompany.
Jordi Amat - The young Swansea defender will cover for the suspended Chico Flores, is well priced for a game against goal-shy Newcastle and has been returning decent fantasy points whenever he's been given an opportunity to start.
Thomas Vermaelen - Enjoying a rare run in the team due to injuries, Vermaelen’ s performances are improving and he's being tipped to keep his place in the side for Arsenal's trip to Hull. Worth a look his price of under £7million provided team news confirms he's a starter. if it's not him then it'll be Nacho Monreal.
Younes Kaboul - The Tottenham man isn't exactly playing well, but he's producing decent fantasy returns of around 6 points per game. Guaranteed to start in the absence of Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson, priced below £7million and with a home game against Fulham, he's a good option.
Ryan Bertrand - A tough game that Villa stand little chance of winning, but Bertrand remains a bargain for a guaranteed starter.
Pablo Armero - Another decent filler option, starting at full-back for West Ham, and he'll cost you less than £3million.
Christian Eriksen - From the seven new signings made by Spurs using the Gareth Bale money, Eriksen is the only one who can claim to have had a good season. Settling in to life in the Premier League, his set piece delivery is improving, he's generally more involved in play and has started to score goals on a regular basis. With a home game against Fulham I make him the top midfield choice for Week 35.
Adam Lallana - Four more games to prove to Roy Hodgson that he deserves a spot in England's World Cup squad. In all honesty Lallana has probably already done enough, but he'll want to make sure and this should lead to another talismanic performance away at struggling Aston Villa.
Steve Gerrard - Captain fantastic continues to evade the yellow card which will lead to a two match ban, which remains vital to Liverpool's quest for a maiden Premier League title. He's producing his very best form at the perfect time and despite his price you can feel pretty confident of a performance at Norwich, and maybe a penalty or two (or three).
David Silva - Not fit for the draw with Sunderland due to an ankle injury and he was badly missed. With the help of substitute James Milner he tried to drag City back from the death against Liverpool and like Gerrard appears to be showing his best form just when his club needs it. Reports suggest he'll be ok for Monday's game against West Brom so he remains one of the premium midfield choices.
Mohamed Salah - It took a while, but Salah is finally being given his opportunity by Jose Mourinho and so far he's been very impressive with two goals and an assist in four starts. The fact he's ineligible to play in the Champions League should mean he's good to start against Sunderland and his pace will cause problems.
Jason Puncheon - This is what you call a hot streak. Puncheon has four goals in his last three matches and is Palace's designated penalty taker, so despite his high price I wouldn't blame anyone for picking him against West Ham. Captain Mile Jedinak is also an excellent option.
Philippe Coutinho - Brilliant against Manchester City and scored the goal that put Liverpool in pole position for the title. Don't expect Norwich to be able to deal with his movement in-between their defence and midfield.
Samir Nasri - Another goal last night makes it six for the season, and Nasri really should've scored the winner in the dying minutes. Playing in an advanced position, he should do well against West Brom, and if Silva is out then he moves much higher up this list.
Raheem Sterling - Similar to Coutinho above. Sterling is having such a good season, showing maturity and intelligence way beyond his years. His pace will be giving the Norwich defence nightmares.
Jonathan De Guzman - If you're looking to do something a bit different this weekend then not many other fantasy managers will be picking De Guzman. He missed out against Chelsea but should return to the starting XI for the very winnable game at Newcastle and we all know the goal threat the Swansea man carries.
Aaron Ramsey - His cameo against West Ham was only 18 minutes long, but in that time he won a tackle, won a free kick, hit a shot on target, provided an assist and returned nine fantasy points. It's the sort of rounded performance we all became used to earlier in the season and Wenger will be tempted to throw Ramsey in from the start against Hull.
Luis Suarez - Have you seen Suarez’s record against Norwich? 11 goals in his past four matches against the canaries, including three hat-tricks. Captain.
Sergio Aguero - Clearly not match fit yet, but he was still able to return nine fantasy points last night and he should be sharper after another few days of training and fitness work. I'm picking Aguero again for City's must-win match against West Brom.
Demba Ba - Two massive goals in two game for Ba but I'm not convinced Jose Mourinho will start him in the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid next week. This means he could well start against Sunderland, before resuming his super-sub role next Tuesday. Check back here for the team news post on Friday when we'll have more information.
Emmanuel Adebayor - He didn't have a particularly good game against West Brom and missed a penalty, but that has caused Adebayor's price to dip and he's well worth considering for Tottenham's home game against Fulham.
Ricky Lambert - With Jay Rodriguez out for the season the goal-scoring responsibilities for Southampton's last four games of the season lie firmly on Lambert's shoulders. He takes (very good) penalties and has a winnable fixture at struggling Aston Villa.
Wilfried Bony - Swansea's leading man this season has had a solid first season in England scoring 12 goals, but is on a run of three games without one. That means he's due, and you won't find a more willing opponents than this current Newcastle side.
Lukas Podolski - Injuries have made it a tough season for Podolski, but he grabbed two vital goals against West Ham on Tuesday night and completed 90 minutes for the first time in a long time. His performance should ensure another start against Hull and his tendency to be quite greedy when it comes to shooting make him a good "third striker" pick for the Yahoo fantasy game.
Peter Odemwingie - He was my curveball pick last weekend (and it didn't work out) but I'm backing Odemwingie again this week as Stoke travel to Cardiff. I'm not brave enough to pick him, but you might be if you're in a risky mood.
So those are the players I'm considering for Week 35. Check back here on Friday for Neal's team and injury news post.
My own team currently looks like this:
XI: Lloris, Kaboul, Kompany, Ivanovic, Salah, Lallana, Eriksen, Silva, Podolski, Aguero, Suarez (C)
Subs: Bertrand, Amero, Nocherino, Davis
I'm pleased with it, but Silva's fitness needs to be monitored. If team news suggests he's doubtful then it's a straight swap for Nasri, while everything else should stay the same.
How's your team shaping up?
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