Triple Gameweek 35 is almost upon us which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at West Ham United, Aston Villa and Manchester United who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or below at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 2.2%
- Price: £7.6m
- GW35-38 fixtures: avl + LEI + LIV | – | FUL | wol
Paul Pogba (£7.6m) has been one of Manchester United’s top performers in recent weeks, producing some of his best football since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2016.
The French midfielder struggled with several minor injuries and a bout of COVID-19 earlier in the season. However, since regaining full fitness, he has become a vital asset to Ole Gunnar Solskjær, which has coincided with a new, hybrid role on the left of United’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The more advanced position means he is generally further up the pitch when United reach the final third, where he has the vision and ability to quickly switch play. And that’s led to a big improvement from Pogba, who has scored two goals and registered four assists in his last ten matches across all competitions. He also ranks joint-second amongst team-mates for shots in the box, and third for chances created over the last six Gameweeks.
The Red Devils are now unbeaten in 13 Premier League matches, and after the latest fixture amendments were announced earlier this week, now visit Aston Villa before back-to-back home matches against Leicester City and Liverpool in Triple Gameweek 35.
While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which, if any, of United’s assets will be handed three starts, Pogba’s versatility enhances his chances, and now in a really good moment, could be an effective differential for the remainder of the season.
- FPL ownership: 5.0%
- Price: £6.4m
- GW35-38 fixtures: EVE | bha | wba | SOU
Gameweek 34 saw the return of Michail Antonio (£6.4m) to West Ham United’s attack.
The 31-year-old was back in the starting XI after recovering from the hamstring injury which forced him off against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, and it didn’t take him long to impress.
His quickfire double, finishing off crosses from Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) and Saïd Benrahma (£5.9m), turned the game in the Hammers favour, and he was perhaps unfortunate not to return more, as he ended the game with six goal attempts, two big chances and 12 penalty box touches.
In fact, Antonio’s expected goal involvement (xGI) total of 1.43 was not bettered by any other Fantasy Premier League (FPL) player in Gameweek 34, and as pointed out by Neale in his Scout Notes, it is merely a continuation of a season-wide trend as no forward with substantial game-time to their name has a better rate of xGI per 90 minutes.
Manuel Lanzini’s (£6.4m) performance also caught the eye, with the Argentine excelling in a deeper role in Declan Rice’s (£4.7m) absence, and as a result of their win, West Ham now sit fifth, just three points behind Chelsea with four games to play.
With a crucial run of games coming up against Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, Antonio can finish the season strongly, and could be one of the very best FPL differentials for the run-in.
Anwar El Ghazi
- FPL ownership: 1.2%
- Price: £5.2m
- GW35-38 fixtures: MUN + EVE | cry | tot | CHE
Anwar El Ghazi (£5.2m) has not always been a guaranteed starter at Aston Villa this season, but has now scored in back-to-back matches and made a real impact.
The Dutchman’s Gameweek 34 strike at Everton took his tally to eight in the Premier League, making him the Villans’ top scorer behind Ollie Watkins (£6.5m), and there is no doubt that at his best, he has the ability to be a real game-changer.
Interestingly, captain Jack Grealish (£7.5m) recently labelled El Ghazi as Villa’s best finisher at the club, and it was easy to see why at Goodison Park, as he bent the winner past an excellent Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) late on. He also hit the woodwork and enjoyed plenty of success running at Carlo Ancelotti’s backline, which is encouraging.
The winger’s shoot-on-sight policy is evident in the numbers, too. Amongst all midfielders per 90 who have played a reasonable number of minutes, he ranks second for goal attempts, fifth for big chances and third for expected goals (xG), only behind Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) and Gareth Bale (£9.1m).
At this stage, we should point out that longer term, this move carries more risk, as it’s likely we’ll see El Ghazi drop out of the starting XI upon Grealish’s return. However, if the England international continues to be ruled out, and you fancy a short-term differential punt, this could be a good one.