FPL Triple Gameweek 35 tips. In this Gameweek preview series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweek.
The Preview: Gameweek 35
Greetings everyone, welcome to my latest article where I discuss all the pertinent questions relevant to the upcoming Triple Gameweek:
Q: When is the best time to Free Hit?
Firstly, I’d like to address some frequently asked questions about the Free Hit:
*Do I get my rolled transfers back if I Free Hit?
*Does Free Hit wipe out point hits I have already taken?
*Will my confirmed transfers before I Free Hit be in my team after this week?
*Will I have to pay a higher price for a player I bought on a Free Hit (if they’ve risen)?
*Do players in my team get affected, before I Free Hit, get affected by price rise/falls?
*I have 2 free transfers. How many will I have next Gameweek should I decide to activate the Free Hit this Gameweek?
As of now, I think a significant majority of FPL managers will have their teams stacked with Man United, Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea assets. This is why I believe the template is strong in triple Gameweek 35 which reduces the appeal of Free Hitting here.
Instead, a Free Hit in Gameweek 36 is likely to bring far more value addition. Free Hitters in Gameweek 36 can target loading up on Spurs (WOL), Everton (SHU) and Man City (new), at a time when most FPL managers would have sold their Spurs and Man City assets heading into Gameweek 36 and will be taking hits to field 11 that week.
I was speaking to my good friend @zophar and he suggested another alternative of Free Hitting in Gameweek 38 as well – I liked his idea and think it merits more discussion. Man United’s Gameweek 38 fixture is going to be three days before the Europa League final so they will heavily rotate – Free Hitters can take advantage of ignoring that fixture altogether and load up on the likes of Agüero and co on the last day of the season.
Q: In this section I share my thoughts on Man United’s attacking assets.
Needless to say, Bruno Fernandes picks himself. FPL managers who still have the luxury of using their triple captain chip should be in no doubts whatsoever to use it on Bruno this Gameweek. Now, I look at Rashford and Greenwood:
Rashford v Greenwood last 4 matches:
Mins per shot in box: 62.8 v 22.15
Mins per big chance: 314 v 72
Mins per xGi: 286 v 118
Greenwood’s recent numbers are such that I think I’d back him over Rashford even if both were the same price. If Rashford sits the Europa League game tomorrow, then the decision becomes more interesting as I’d back whoever sits tomorrow to get at least two starts and a bench appearance in the triple Gameweek.
Greenwood looks better placed for more minutes in the triple Gameweek though I think, given Rashford’s recent injury concerns.
Q: Who are the best three defensive picks on a Free Hit?
Both Trent and Shaw are second only to Son for chances created among all players in the league from Gameweek 26-34 so they would be one of my first names on my team-sheet. I’d assume that Alex Telles will come in for one of the games in the triple Gameweek, which would mean Shaw starts two.
That should be good enough though – as players who create chances are highly explosive not just because they are likely to get assists, but because they are far likely to accumulate bonus at a quicker rate.
I believe Harry Maguire is the most likely Man United outfielder to start all three games. He hasn’t missed a minute in the Premier League this season so he seems well placed among his team-mates to become part of the elite club of FPL players to have started all three games in a triple Gameweek.
What’s worth keeping in mind is that 50% of United’s clean sheets in the league this season have come against the big six so the triple Gameweek fixtures, particularly against Leicester and Liverpool, could be very low scoring and beneficial for Man United’s defenders. Doubling up could be a smart strategy.
The alternative I would consider is Lucas Digne. Digne, like Trent and Shaw, possesses assist potential which helps him with his BPS whenever Everton are to keep a clean sheet. I doubt they keep a clean sheet in the double this Gameweek though.
Having said that, Everton have better defensive underlying numbers away from home which is particularly relevant as both of their fixtures are away from home this Gameweek:
Everton defensive numbers home v away 20/21:
Big chances conceded per game: 2.19 v 1.69
Average xG conceded per game: 1.41 v 1.29
Other than that, I wouldn’t look past these four in terms of my defensive options this week.
Q: Jamie Vardy – keep or sell? How does he compare with Iheanacho?
Iheanacho GW26-34 vs Vardy GW26-31 vs Vardy GW32-34
Mins per shot in box: 34.9 v 90 v 33.1
Mins per big chance: 76.8 v 180 v 66.25
Mins per xGi: 102.8 v 210.9 v 135.2
Iheanacho’s numbers keep getting better and better each week. Even his creativity numbers are on the up. No player in the league has created more big chances than Iheanacho over the past two matches. If you still don’t have Iheanacho in your team, get him in now!
His goal threat numbers of late have been on par with Vardy though – which suggests that Vardy has been getting the chances and it’s a combination of bad luck and poor finishing which is letting him down.
Vardy’s numbers over the past three matches have improved significantly as shown in the analysis above. In fact, over these past three matches he has had the same number of shots inside the box and more big chances than Iheanacho.
Points are coming soon – I definitely would not recommend selling this Gameweek. No team has conceded more shots than Newcastle over the past six Gameweeks – that helps.
Q: Diogo Jota – keep or sell?
Prior to Liverpool’s fixture postponement in Gameweek 34, Jota was top among all players in the league for shots in the box over Gameweek 32-33. He was outdoing his Liverpool team-mates Salah and Mane in terms of xG and big chances over this spell too.
Liverpool are top for xG, big chances and shots in the box over their past four matches so it makes sense to back their attackers. Among the mid-priced midfielders, Jota also almost always comfortably has the best odds to score every week. With a fixture run that reads SOU+mun wba bur CRY, I see no reason to sell Jota – even if there’s a risk of a random benching here or there.
I expect him to play the easier games and if he does well there, who knows he might start the Man United fixture as well – even though I believe that is unlikely.
Q: Watkins, Richarlison or Calvert Lewin – who is the best budget striker after Iheanacho?
DCL v Richarlison v Watkins last 4 matches:
Mins per shot in box: 45 v 45 v 40
Mins per big chance: 51.4 v – v 120
Mins per xGi: 146.3 v 499 v 208.1
Here’s the stat that puts the Calvert Lewin v Richarlison comparison to bed: Both Calvert Lewin and Richarlison have accumulated eight shots in the box over the past four matches – However, seven of those eight shots in the box have been big chances for Calvert Lewin while Richarlison has had zero big chances.
Even though Richarlison is shooting at the same rate, it is Calvert Lewin who is being afforded by far the better quality of chances.
Watkins v Calvert Lewin is close. I’d still back Calvert Lewin though – due to his superior numbers. Over the past six matches, Calvert Lewin is top for big chances in the league.
He has the fixtures (whu+avl SHU WOL) to continue his form too. Both of his double Gameweek fixtures are away from home and he has scored six of his previous eight goals away. Then he plays Sheffield United and Wolves at home who have practically nothing left to play for.
Further, what I like about Calvert Lewin is that his most difficult fixture (mci) is in Gameweek 38 so he’s easily sellable after his good run. Watkins accumulated two big chances against Everton – which was the first time in a league fixture he managed to do so since Grealish has been injured.
His stats are on the up too – but Calvert Lewin is more likely to do well in the coming weeks according to the bookies as well.
Q: In this section, I cover Crystal Palace’s defence and Wilfried Zaha.
Crystal Palace in the yesteryears have been a source of defensive points to FPL managers in the past – when I think of the Palace defence, the likes of Aaron Wan Bissaka come to mind. However, they have been anything but reliable this season.
Crystal Palace have on paper two of the best fixtures (shu sot) in the double Gameweek. I would not recommend investment in the Palace defence though. When I look at all the teams Palace have played away from home who are not ranked in the top 6 this season, Palace are still ranked in the bottom five for big chances and shots in the box conceded so their underlying numbers are very poor.
They might nick a clean sheet against Sheffield United but I’m extremely confident that Southampton and Villa will score against them in the coming weeks.
Zaha’s more of a tricky one. I’ll list his pros and cons and leave the decision to you:
Pros: I was surprised to find this stat but when I did some digging I found Zaha to be only behind Son, Salah and Sterling for minutes per big chance from open play in matches against the bottom ten this season so fair to say that he’s an absolute flat track bully because overall Zaha’s numbers are actually very mediocre.
What’s also in Zaha’s favour is that Palace are one of the few teams who have a double in 35 and then a fixture again in 36. His goal involvement rate of 45% is very healthy as well – whenever Palace are to score he is highly likely to be involved. Both Sheffield United and Southampton are among the bottom three teams in terms of xG and big chances conceded over the past six matches.
Cons: He plays for Palace who have arguably the worst attacking statistics over the season – no one has recorded fewer big chances or a worse xG. Further, Zaha almost always needs multiple returns to haul big. Only once has he recorded bonus points with one attacking return over the course of the season.
He’s also nursing a bit of an injury – he had groin problems but continued playing despite complaining of pain against Man City.
Q: In this section, I talk about Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard.
Antonio’s return to West Ham’s starting 11 this Gameweek coincided with a return to the top of the attacking stats this Gameweek. No player recorded better xG, xGi, big chances and penalty area touches than Antonio this Gameweek. Despite the lack of a double, he is a top option for the remainder of the season – particularly one keeping in mind for the last two fixtures (EVE bha wba SOU).
Lingard meanwhile continued to struggle for the third game running:
Lingard since joining West Ham (GW22-31) v Lingard GW32-34
Mins per shot in box: 44.27 v 133.5
Mins per big chance: 159.4 v 267
Mins per xGi: 189.3 v 228.2
Mins per penalty area touch: 22.8 v 38.1
As can be seen in the analysis above, Lingard’s numbers have dipped considerably. Over the last three weeks, he has had just the one shot in the box from open play with no big chances from open play to his credit. Penalty area touches have dropped too, which is concerning for owners.
Q: What to do with Spurs’ assets?
If I were on a Free Hit this week, I’d be tempted to sell all my Spurs assets. Leeds are a far better defensive unit at home this season as shown in the comparison below:
Leeds defensive numbers home v away 20/21:
Big chances conceded per game: 1.59 v 2.94
Average xG conceded per game: 1.25 v 1.92
Recent home form is on Leeds’ side too – over the past six home matches, Leeds are 3rd best for big chances conceded at home and that is despite facing Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea in that spell. Hence, I’d be willing to take the risk of going without a Spurs attacker.
What I would do without a Free Hit is a different story though. Harry Kane despite his blank against Sheffield United this week is probably worth keeping. He was top for shots in the box and penalty area touches among all Spurs assets and him blanking was a case of happenstance in my opinion.
Kane remains one of the standout captaincy options in both Gameweek 36 and Gameweek 37 and you wouldn’t want to take hits to sell him and then bring him back in. I’d sell Gareth Bale and Heung Min Son though – as I believe the Man United and Liverpool midfielders have far more upside this week.
Q: What to do with Bamphinha?
Here I compare Leeds’ attacking numbers to their season averages:
Leeds attacking numbers GW26-34* v GW1-25:
Big chances per game: 0.88 v 2.21
Average xG per game: 0.92 v 1.23
For the comparison, I have excluded Leeds game v Liverpool in Gameweek 32 from the sample as it was an anomaly and against the trends I have been noticing. Fair to say, Leeds attacking numbers have fallen off a cliff.
This I believe, has been brought about by a combination of an increase in fixture difficulty and the injury to Raphinha. The game against Brighton was never going to be easy as Brighton at home remain best for xG conceded and big chances conceded this season but nevertheless the trends in regards to Leeds attack are worrying.
Having said that, Bamphinha are still worth keeping for me. I say that because they are easily bench-able this week and then face Burnley in Gameweek 36. Burnley I believe are one of the teams to target for attackers – only Sheffield United have conceded more big chances and xG than Burnley since Gameweek 26.
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The Preview: GW 35 – A thread
— AbuBakar Siddiq (@BigManBakar) May 5, 2021
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