Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 34 tips, transfers and the perfect team for Arsenal and Liverpool doubles

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Our Top 2,000 manager offers his hints, tips and captain picks ahead of double Gameweek 34 in the FPL.

Welcome back to our weekly Fantasy Premier League hints and tips column – and our Top 2,000 manager is back with his latest suggestions for your Gameweek 34 transfers and captain picks.

Before we hand you over to Matthew, we’d like to remind you that it’s a late deadline this week – there’s no early kick-off on Saturday, so you don’t have to make your moves until 13:30 BST. Enjoy the lie-in, and we hope you enjoy our high-flying fantasy head coach’s advice as well…

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Double trouble

Hello everyone – this is a pretty big week for all of us aiming for big finishes or mini-league success, with no fewer than seven teams on doubles and Tottenham Hotspur on a blank as the FA Cup semi-finals play havoc with the schedule.

Hopefully, most of you have been planning for this one for a while now, and are either intending to use your free hit or have been managing your transfers to get close to an eleven-man team full of doublers this week, so what I’m going to do is figure out what the perfect GW34 team should look like to give us a template to get as close to as humanly possible.

Let’s start with the obvious – we’re going to want triple Arsenal and triple Liverpool. Those two teams have the best fixtures and the highest points ceilings regardless of their recent harrowing defeats in the Premier League and Europe. The other sides playing twice this time around (Everton, Wolves, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth) all have, at best, a couple of really exciting assets and they mostly have at least one tricky game in there.

As for which Arsenal and Liverpool players we want, I’d suggest starting with those with the highest ceiling. It’s true that neither Bukayo Saka nor Mohamed Salah have set the world on fire recently, but as the old saying reminds us, class is permanent. They will both start scoring again soon, and betting against them would simply be foolish.

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I’d say that these teams also provide the best defensive options available, while their midfielders and forwards are slightly more replaceable. I don’t see too many double clean sheets happening, but Liverpool are perhaps the most likely to manage that with games against Fulham and Everton. Both Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are back, although it isn’t yet clear if the latter will play 90 minutes twice yet. I like the Brazilian goalkeeper, though, and I like Ben White as well.

Otherwise, Kai Havertz, Luis Díaz and Martin Ødegaard are all fine options, in approximately that order in my opinion. I’d give Gabriel Martinelli a miss given that Mikel Arteta has been benching him of late, but I’d be fine taking a punt on Darwin Núñez, as frustratingly inconsistent as he might be.

Elsewhere, Wolves have some of the juiciest options - but they also have some late injury problems. Matheus Cunha doesn’t seem to have missed a beat after his injury lay-off but will miss the first of their two matches at least with a calf injury. Hwang Hee-Chan and Rayan Aït-Nouri will also not play a full game against Arsenal on Saturday, with Hwang playing “45 tops” and Aït-Nouri only fit for the bench.

In any case, I don’t think the best possible GW34 team has triple Wolves because they play Arsenal, putting the two teams in opposition to one another. So if you have Saka and Havertz, it makes little sense to have Aït-Nouri anyway, as it’s very unlikely that they both achieve big scores in the same game. An option is to lean on both sides’ attacking assets, to avoid clean sheets being wiped, or perhaps their defensive players in the hope of a low-scoring game. Just don’t back both at the same time if you can avoid it.

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I’d also definitely want Dominic Solanke. He’s on decent form and seems more than likely to contribute something over the course of two matches – and he’s another reason to avoid Wolves defenders in general. If you need a cheap midfielder option to afford more expensive Liverpool and Arsenal attackers, then Justin Kluivert looks like a reasonably tasty differential option.

Elsewhere, I’m not very excited by many Everton assets at all (a lot of teams will have Jarrad Branthwaite already, which is fine if he’s fit and you aren’t free hitting), and the same is true with Sheffield United. Crystal Palace have Eberechi Eze but unless Michael Olise is definitely back to full fitness and starting both games, that’s the only Eagles player I’d seriously consider right now. Jean-Philippe Mateta is on good form, but I just can’t see taking him over Solanke, Cunha and Darwin. If you want to go for Alisson, Alexander-Arnold and Salah, for instance, then Mateta over Darwin is definitely fine.

But remember that doubling up everywhere isn’t strictly necessary. Having an Erling Haaland or a Phil Foden in the team really isn’t so terrible. On average, they’ll probably bag just as many points as the average Palace player will in two games. Keeping one or two big-ticket single-match players isn’t a real issue.

So what does the idea team look like? Based on my advice above and the fixtures (and assuming fitness) I’d suggest: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, White, Branthwaite; Havertz, Saka, Salah, Eze, Kluivert or Foden; Solanke, Mateta, Haaland. And yes, Haaland has been a bit iffy lately, but as with Salah and Saka, betting against him usually ends badly.

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The only spot in this team that I’m really uncertain on is that of Branthwaite. Bluntly, there just isn’t a great option there unless you decide to bet against Wolves, and his cost means that he facilitates more expensive buys elsewhere – you can also go for double Arsenal in defence. Despite Wolves being a very decent side, I don’t hate that approach at all.

Of course, a lot of teams who can’t spend a free hit will not be able to get that close to a perfect side, and that’s fine. This is a slightly awkward double and GW37 has a much higher scoring ceiling, and with games like Arsenal v Wolves and the biggest teams playing poorly of late, there’s a chance it ends up being a distinctly low scoring week anyway. Don’t panic if your team looks a little patchwork heading into this week.

As for you captain pick, it depends which of Saka or Salah you’re backing on form. Given the fixtures and their ability to rack up huge scores in games when on song, I’d take Salah, but it’s pretty close to a coin toss.

3 Added Minutes FC

Finally, a quick update on my example team. I picked up 73 points this week, although sadly we left Anthony Gordon’s 17 on the bench and didn’t captain Cole Palmer. The result was a very slight drop in rank, but at least the Top 1,000 target is still on.

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Fantasy Premier League

As my plan was to free hit into the awkward blanks a few weeks ago – a plan which backfired, sadly – I’ve had to crawl my way towards a team with as many doubles as possible. There’s some overlap with my ‘ideal team’ but not as much as I’d like, but I’ll use my two transfers to get a little closer – I’ll admit that in retrospect, I should have used my Liverpool transfers more carefully and not had both Darwin and Díaz so that I could have had a goalkeeper or defender. Wisdom after the fact is always a pain.

I’ll most likely bring in Sá as my goalkeeper as I only have one attacking Arsenal asset and then Eze for Gordon (as I’d lose more money buying Palmer back next week when I wildcard). The exception to that plan would be if Branthwaite is ruled out, then I’ll need to either find another defender or back Maguire against Sheffield United. We’ll see how that all goes next Thursday – until then, best of luck and may all of your doublers bag you some big points.