Football

FANTEAM GAMEWEEK 34 FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE MONSTER

Gameweek 34 EPL Weekly Monster – €30k Prize pool

The EPL Weekly Monster is back for Gameweek 34, with an almost full schedule featuring 9 fixtures this week!

This week’s Monster contest features two buy-ins, €2 and €20. The difference in the contests is of course the prize pool at stake. In the low entry, the prize pool sits at €7,000. A massive €30,000 is aup for grabs in the high entry, with €3,000 awarded to first place!

THE RULES

If this is your first time playing in a Monster contest, allow me to break down some of the key details you need to know. This week’s contest features 9 fixtures, starting with the 3pm kick offs on Saturday and concluding with Monday night Football, as Crystal Palace take on Leeds.

The rules are simple to follow. You will be required to pick 11 players to fill out your squad whilst staying within a budget of 115.0m. For each team you enter, you must select a captain and a vice captain. Your captain will score 2x points. However, in the event that your captain does not play, your vice captain will then score 2x points.

You can select a maximum of 3 players from the same team. It is worth noting that if you select two or more defensive players from the same team (GK and DEF), and the team keeps a clean sheet, a stacking penalty will apply. For example, if you select Edouard Mendy from Chelsea and he keeps a clean sheet, no penalty will apply. However, if you also start Reece James, you will be deducted 1 point. If you were to stack Mendy, James and Alonso, you will be deducted 2 points.

No bench required in this contest. Instead, you have the innovative safety net feature to fall back on! This means if you have a player who does not start, your player will be replaced at the beginning of the match. This is dependent on a player being available from the same team, at the same price or less. The closest price to your player value will be automatically selected. 

This is a great tool to use, as it allows you to start a player with confidence. If your player doesn’t start, his replacement is already determined. Teams that rotate heavily like Manchester City are a prime example of how the safety net feature can benefit you in your selection process.

Standard scoring applies to this contest.

This contest can be multi-entered, with a maximum entry limit of 100 entries per user.

With the rules covered, let’s take a look at this weeks’ fixtures.

THE GAMES

Leicester vs Aston Villa (23/04 – 15:00 BST)

Given their run of form, Leicester are priced quite generously here, in my opinion! The only concern of course is that they have an important meeting with a certain A.S. Roma next Thursday in Europe. I expect Leicester will rest players, the great thing about this game is that it is in the 3pm slot, so you’ll know the team line ups before contest lock.

Leicester don’t really have much to play for in the premier league, so expect to see some line up rotation in this one, potentially with appearances for the likes of Ademola Lookman (8.5m) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (7.7m). Of course, without rotation, players like James Maddison (9.4m) and Harvey Barnes (8.9m) will carry appeal. I have played Kasper Schmeichel (7.1m) in recent weeks, simply because of his price and potential for save points. He’s cheap enough again this week, and Villa are really searching for form at present. I trust him much more than Leicester’s defenders.

I’m struggling this week with Villa, I really am. Their form isn’t great and they aren’t really scoring. I feel he gets a mention every week in this blog, but if i were to play anyone for Villa, it would be Philippe Coutinho (9.2m). He still leads Villa in shots over the last 5 games, he’s second in key passes (5) and if anything was to spark them, I’d bet my house on it being some brilliance that we are accustomed to seeing from Coutinho. 

Norwich vs Newcastle (23/04 – 15:00 BST)

Good to see a bit of fight from Norwich! They gave Manchester United a lot to think about in their last game. Newcastle have won 3 on the bounce, so I like them here in this one despite Norwich’s relegation fight. Bruno Guimaraes (8.8m) looks good value here, adding 2 goals and an assist in his last two starts. I quite like the idea of stacking a Newcastle attacking threat with Matt Targett (7.7m). Though the returns aren’t forthcoming for him in recent games, he’s seeing volume in terms of crossing, and he’s joint second in key passes made over the last 5 starts.

Want to be a little different to the crowd? If so, Norwich should be lower owned this week, and the pricing isn’t awful. Teemu Pukki (8.6m) continues to be the most apparent attacking threat for the canaries. One name that’s standing out for me is Kieran Dowell (7.7m). He managed a goal and an assist in his latest start, and is priced less than some of the other Norwich midfielders who are just as inconsistent with their scoring.

Manchester City vs Watford (23/04 – 15:00 BST)

I suspect Manchester City players will be very highly owned this week. Thank the lord that this fixture is part of the Saturday 3pm kick offs, because we will know exactly how Pep is planning to line up his team. That will be key in your selection process. The City attacking assets are very expensive this week. In midfield, everyone from Raheem Sterling (15.3m) down to Jack Grealish (14.0m) is worthy of your consideration. It is completely line up dependent for me this week on City, so just keep your eyes peeled for that all important team news. If Phil Foden (14.8m) gets the nod to start, I think I’d have to find a way to get him into my team in a City stack. He’s put in some really impressive performances of late that his fantasy scoring doesn’t really support, but he always passes the eye test.

There isn’t anyone in Watford colours that interests me in this one. Too tough a fixture and well out of form. Watford look certain for the drop.

Brentford vs Spurs (23/04 – 17:30 BST) 

Brentford might be my favourite play this week. I’ve been very high on Spurs players in recent weeks, but they looked quite poor against Brighton. Brentford are producing results and scoring goals, averaging 2 goals a game over their last 5 games. Ivan Toney (7.9m) feels like he could be the bargain of the week at that price, Only Cristiano Ronaldo has taken more shots over the past 5 gameweeks. Given Spurs injury issues to some of their defenders, and their vulnerabilities there, I really like Toney at the price this week. I’m also quite fond once again of Christin Eriksen (6.6m). He’s created 3 big chances over his past 4 starts, and the fact he is taking the corners for Brentford makes him all that bit more appealing.

Despite the hiccup for Spurs last week, If you want to play them again this week, I won’t talk you out of it. Harry Kane (11.2m) and Heung-Min Son (11.4m) are the pick of the bunch, but you can’t discount the exciting Dejan Kulussevski (10.5m) either. Especially when he’s coming in that much cheaper than some of his team mates. I fancy Brentford to grab a goal in this and make it a competitive game, so the Spurs defenders don’t interest me too much. There should be goals here!

Chelsea vs West Ham (24/04 – 14:00 BST)

Speaking of goals, this one promises plenty, too! Chelsea have been a bit porous shall we say in recent weeks, conceding 4 against Brentford and 4 against Arsenal. I’ve been an advocate of the double Chelsea defence in recent weeks, but not this week. I need to see some consistency from them before we go back to that Well again. Kai Havertz (12.4m) was rested against Arsenal, with Chelsea opting to start the out of form (and surely departing) Lukaku. He’s been really impressive of late with 3 goals in his last 4 games. He chipped in with an assist in the FA Cup semi final, as well. 

In terms of creativity though, look no further than Mason Mount (12.9m) who has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 starts. He’s also second in crosses made and key passes during that time, so plenty of creativity currently coming from the England midfielder. Timo Werner (11.5m) is also more than worthy of your consideration here, he’s in good goalscoring form. Given the generous pricing, he is a good pivot if you are thinking of going with a Chelsea attacking double up, but can’t afford both Havertz and Mount.

Michail Antonio (7.1m) still hasn’t scored in the Premier League since he played Crystal Palace in gameweek 21. Given the start he had to his campaign, it’s quite astonishing really. He’s so cheaply priced here! Given how leaky the Chelsea defence has been, I’m half tempted to include him, as I think there’ll be goals in this. Jarrod Bowen (7.5m) is as cheap as you’ll find him week to week, too. If you are short on budget, Aaron Cresswell (5.3m) is a great price for a defender who takes set pieces and loves a cross! He gets a mention almost weekly, not that I’m advocating defenders in this game as I’m expecting goals, but you can do a lot worse for the price.

Burnley vs Wolves (24/04 – 14:00 BST)

Burnley are refusing to lay down in their relegation battle. They keep finding ways to keep up the pace that Everton are setting. Wolves’ form is a bit hit and miss.

If ever there was a game to recommend a goalkeeper from either team, it could be this one! Both of these teams aren’t really scoring juggernauts, so both Nick Pope (7.9m) and Jose Sa (8.1m) could be a viable option for you between the sticks. Between them, they have 201 (Pope – 97, Sa – 104) saves in the Premier League this season, and both rank in the top 6 in saves made (Pope – 6th, Sa – 4th). Whichever Keeper you are opting for (if any from this game) the defenders on both sides are priced cheap enough to stack with the goalkeeper of your choice, though it’s worth remembering about the stacking penalty! 

If you are feeling brave, play for the 0-0 and pick an alternative defender and goalkeeper from either side, e.g. Nick Pope and Jonny OR Sa and Roberts.

Brighton vs Southampton (24/04 – 14:00 BST)

I was pleasantly surprised at how well Brighton played against Spurs last week. So much so, I’m a little tempted by a double up in this one! Especially given Southampton’s current form.

Pascal Groß (8.6m) is pending returns. They have to be coming. In his last 5 games, he’s crossed the ball double what any other Brighton player has. He’s also made almost double the key passes of any other Brighton player with 10 in the last 5 games. Though these stats don’t always guarantee returns, the fact he’s so involved in an attacking sense suggests there could at least be an assist on the horizon for him. He also has a hand in most of Brighton’s set pieces when he plays. If you are concerned about the possibility of him starting, his safety net is Adam Lallana (8.3m), which isn’t a bad safety net to be fair. Leandro Trossard (9.6m) has been playing a much more central, advanced role in recent weeks. He’s had 2 goals in his last 4 appearances, and given he comes in slightly cheaper than Neal Maupay (9.9m), he’d be my preference of the Brighton attackers.

Don’t discount the Brighton defence though, either. Tariq Lamptey (7.9m) is always an attacking threat given his pace and energy down the right side. If you are struggling for a decision on your goalkeeper this week, Robert Sánchez (8.2m) also presents himself as one of the better options for us, in my opinion.

Southampton don’t interest me at all, they seem to be in free fall at the minute with some of the league’s worst form.

Liverpool vs Everton (24/04 – 16:30 BST)

I fear for Everton, here. This match comes at an awful time for them and could knock the wind right out of their sails. 

Liverpool absolutely need to win to keep the pressure on Manchester City at the top. I’m expecting a strong Liverpool team to be fielded, so I suspect the likes of Mohamed Salah (15.0m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (12.3m) will be popular. The player that is catching my eye for the Reds in recent weeks is Luis Diaz (13.5m). He’s really passed the eye test, and his returns are starting to support that with 2 goals and an assist in his last 3 appearances. If you are concerned about whether he will start or not, you can always start Diogo Jota (14.3m) with Diaz as the safety net. Against Everton, you wouldn’t be disappointed with either player really. 

Sadio Mane (14.4m) is in fine form as well. It’s tough on who to pick, but you can’t go wrong with anyone really mentioned. Any have the ability to provide an attacking return on any given day, especially with the way Liverpool are playing. If you are also struggling to afford a Liverpool attacker partnered with the likes of Alexander-Arnold, then you can pay down a little and bring in Virgil Van Dijk (11.6m) who could really bully Everton on set plays this weekend.

The Brazilian, Richarlison (6.3m), would be my only consideration for Everton. Not much more to say really on that. 

Crystal Palace vs Leeds (25/04 – 20:00 BST)

Leeds have found a bit of form, so this one should be interesting. They haven’t lost in their last 4 games. Palace meanwhile have lost their last 2 league games and were sent packing in the FA Cup Semi Final against Chelsea.

As is usually the case, Raphinha (8.2m) is the highest priced of the Leeds assets. In recent games though, Jack Harrison (7.5m) has matched his attacking threat, and has actually been the one with the returns to show for his efforts. However, the underlying statistics are still there for Raphinha in terms of shots, big chances created, key passes, crosses etc. So if you are a little unsure on who to go with, weigh up your line up and determine the budget you are willing to splash. Harrison comes in that bit cheaper, so he has to be in your considerations. As of course does Dan James (7.6m).

I am a little surprised to see the price difference between Leeds attacking players and Crystal Palace’s attacking players. Conor Gallagher (10.7m) and Wilfried Zaha (10.6m) headline the prices in this game. It does put me off a bit, as I think this game will be much closer than the pricing seems to suggest. Though Gallagher has the more rounded involvement in terms of the attacking potential, Zaha is of course on penalties and does tend to bag most of the goals for Palace for this reason. If both are out of your price range but you do desire a Crystal Palace attacker, Jean-Philippe Mateta (9.5m) and Jordan Ayew (9.3m) are both viable options in attack for Palace. Both of which tend to play in their front 3, with Mateta being the central figure. I would be inclined to play Mateta for the safety net feature, if for whatever reason he doesn’t start, I would assume Ayew most certainly will.

TEAM REVEAL

With this being a multi entry contest, this is just an example of one of the number of line ups I will enter.

As has been the case in previous weeks, I will most certainly be entering this with different captains. Salah, Havertz, Werner, Toney, Jota all seem like viable captains to me this week. 

I have opted for Jose Sa between the sticks, due to his high volume of saves, and subsequently the save points he accumulates as a result.

Lamptey and Van Dijk I spoke about within the blog and my reasons for selecting them. Alonso isn’t really someone I necessarily wanted to fit in, I think Chelsea will concede against West Ham, but he does offer a good attacking threat. So, I don’t hate it.

The Midfield is very pleasing, goals could come from anywhere, even Christian Eriksen who once again comes in as an enabler at the price. I have opted for Jota over Diaz, as much as I want to include Diaz, I would kick myself if he didn’t start. At least if Jota doesn’t start, I will then be getting Diaz from the safety net assuming he starts, and I’m much happier with that scenario. 

Timo Werner’s form cannot be ignored, and neither can Ivan Toney’s, so they both lead the attack this week.

What I like about the team this week is the flexibility. I still have some selection headaches to overcome, an example being – Do I pay down to Schmeichel and go with Alexander-Arnold over Van Dijk? Where do I fit in some City coverage? I think in reality, I’ll enter this line up with some different captains, but also look to build a separate line up featuring City players as opposed to Liverpool or Chelsea. That seems the sensible thing to do to give me exposure to all of the top teams with generous fixtures.

Best of luck for the Gameweek 34 EPL Weekly Monster contest, I hope to see you on that leaderboard!

Nick Owen 

@nickofwigan (Twitter)

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

If you’re new to FanTeam then you’ll need to create a new account here – alternatively, head on over to fanteam.com and click the green ‘Register’ button in the top right corner.

Existing users can click the graphic below for direct access to the weekly monster or head on over to the GW34 lobby.

Best of luck for the Gameweek 34 Monster contest!

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