The penultimate Gameweek of the season affords us the chance to load up on players with a couple of fixtures apiece. We call upon a trio of City options in the Scout Picks starting line-up as Manuel Pellegrini’s side look to step up their bid for the title, whilst United, West Brom and Sunderland also play a significant part in this week’s thinking:
Ben Foster is our keeper of choice for the double Gameweek. The West Brom number one has turned in some inspired displays in recent matches – two clean sheets, a pair of penalty saves, eight bonus points and six save points in his last six appearances suggest he’ll be key to the Baggies’ prospects as Pepe Mel takes his men to Arsenal and Sunderland.
Martin Demichelis is our preferred City defender as Manuel Pellegrini’s men travel to Everton before entertaining Villa at the Etihad. On current form, the Argentine looks the best option for attacking points – having notched twice in his last eight appearances he has now earned 4.5 points per game, comfortably more than any defensive team-mate. With Romelu Lukaku toiling and Kevin Mirallas injured for the Toffees, a shut-out at Goodison seems feasible, whilst Villa’s dire form has seen them find the net just twice in the last four.
We opt for Phil Jones at the back as United prepare for a pair of very favourable home fixtures. With Ryan Giggs determined to go on the offensive against Sunderland and Hull, the former Blackburn man’s raiding runs down the right could come to the fore as he looks to replicate last week’s assist at home to Norwich, whilst the Red Devils’ shut-out against the Canaries also suggests defensive returns may well be on the cards.
Chelsea’s home game against Norwich brings Branislav Ivanovic into the reckoning. Jose Mourinho’s side will be hurting from their midweek Champions League exit and are expected to take their frustrations out on the struggling Canaries – six clean sheets in the last seven at the Bridge indicates the Blues’ resiience, whilst Ivanovic will fancy his chances of grabbing a fourth goal of the season and condemning Neil Adams’ side to the Championship.
Back in the action last weekend after a brief groin problem, Yaya Toure’s goal, assist and maximum bonus away to Palace has triggered a huge midweek bandwagon. The Ivorian has been snapped up by more Fantasy managers than any other player over the last few days and has the highest ownership of any player with a pair of fixtures this week – Toure’s new suitors will be hoping for a repeat of his double Gameweek 31 exploits, where the free-scoring midfielder served up a 31-point haul against Fulham and United.
Five goals in his last four games sums up the form of Juan Mata. Whilst the Spaniard’s two-goal display as a second-half sub against Norwich last weekend looked enough to earn him a starting berth for United’s upcoming pair of matches, the Wayne Rooney news will surely cement his spot in Ryan Giggs’ XI for the Red Devils’ final Old Trafford fixtures of the season. Having delivered 12 and 13 points in his previous two home appearances, Mata could even be a solid captaincy pick.
West Brom’s Morgan Amalfitano is an in-form budget option for the double. Priced at a mere 4.3, the Frenchman has delivered a goal or assist in four of the Baggies last five league fixtures and has stepped up in consistency ahead of the tricky trips to Arsenal and Sunderland. The Gunners have one home clean sheet in the last five at the Emirates, whilst the Black Cats have mustered a single shut-out in their previous eight.
A goal and assist against Newcastle on Monday helped Mesut Ozil to the maximum bonus points as he returned to form with a vengeance. The German’s 14-point haul serves a timely reminder that there are plenty of in-form single Gameweek options around this week – Arsenal welcome West Brom to the Emirates knowing that a win will clinch Champions League qualification once again and with the Baggies conceding three times in three of their last five, Ozil could be set for further returns.
Sergio Aguero’s displays over the next two matches look crucial to City’s title tilt. Like Toure, his minutes are being managed by Pellegrini after time on the sidelines but a 63-minute run out against West Brom in Gameweek 35 still harvested a 12-point haul – Aguero’s Captaincy credentials took a turn for the better earlier today after the Rooney news and, with an average of 7.1 ppg thus far, he could be the man to turn to with our armbands.
Sunderland’s man of the moment Connor Wickham earns his place in our XI after bagging five goals in his last three appearances. Still available for under 5.0 and owned by only 2% of FPL managers, the youngster will hold no fear for tomorrow’s trip to United, given he put two past City and also notched at Chelsea, whilst the midweek home clash against West Brom hands him the chance to potentially seal the Black Cats’ Premier League safety for another season.
This final space was firmly reserved for Wayne Rooney but today’s press conference casts enough doubt over his minutes to force us to look elsewhere. Having scored twice in each of his last two appearances, we call upon Swansea’s in-form Wilfried Bony ahead of a home clash with Southampton – the Ivorian has fired his side to survival in recent weeks and, with the pressure now off, Garry Monk’s side will be looking to turn on the style in their final Liberty fixture of the season.
Sunderland’s Marcos Alonso warms the bench for the games against United and West Brom. Granted, a shut-out at Old Trafford may be doubtful, though the Black Cats look a strong shout to keep out West Brom at the Stadium of Light after securing a clean sheet against Cardiff in their previous home fixture. The 4.5-priced left-back has impressed going forward in recent matches and, having picked up an assist in the Gameweek 35 win at Chelsea, could be a real differential with an ownership under 1%.
Alonso’s team-mate Adam Johnson is also amongst the subs for the Black Cats’ pair of fixtures. Granted, the winger has failed to deliver the points in recent matches but his underlying stats remain relatively impressive and, priced at 6.4 and owned by only 8% of FPL managers, may prove a canny acquisition if he can rediscover the form that served up 51 points in four appearances earlier this calendar year.
Finally, we call up Shane Long for Hull’s trips to Villa and United. The winter signing produced a goal and maximum bonus in the previous weekend and, at just 5.5, looks a viable budget option as Steve Bruce’s side attempt to fire them way to safety, with the weekend visit to Villa Park looking particularly favourable.