Goal takes a look at the best players to select or avoid, the bargain buys and the top choice for captain's double points ahead of the weekend's Premier League action
|START 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU PICK?
Since his return from injury at the start of March, Romelu Lukaku (7.5) has struck five goals in seven games as Everton continue their march towards fourth spot.
Roberto Martinez’s side are boosted by having two matches in gameweek 34, so it makes sense to back the Belgium international to add to his tally in games against Sunderland and Crystal Palace.
Edin Dzeko (7.5) is another striker in fine form having scored four goals in his last four matches. The Bosnian’s place could be under threat with the likely return of Sergio Aguero, but Manchester City also boast two fixtures in this gameweek, so if he fails to fire against Liverpool, he is likely get the chance to shine at home against Sunderland, who are propping up the table and leaking goals.
Because of City’s gameweek, it is likely to pay dividends to include both Yaya Toure (9) and David Silva (9) in your side.
Steven Gerrard (8) may be playing in a deeper role but the Liverpool captain remains the third-highest scoring midfielder this season. Gerrard has scooped 43 points from his last six gameweeks and he should be a solid long-term pick until the end of the campaign.
Putting aside last Saturday’s defeat at Chelsea, Stoke City’s recent record has been one of the strongest in the Premier League. Mark Hughes’ men host Newcastle United this Saturday and Alan Pardew’s side are struggling to find results.
Newcastle have suffered three straight defeats and scored just one goal in their last five games. For these reasons, opting to double up on a Stoke City defence which includes Asmir Begovic (5) and Ryan Shawcross (5) looks a safe choice.
|SIT 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU AVOID?
Eden Hazard (9.5) aggravated a calf injury during Chelsea’s Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday and is a doubt for the club’s trip to Swansea on Sunday. We’d recommend monitoring the Belgian’s fitness ahead of the transfer deadline before making a decision on his place in your side.
In other injury news, Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez (5.5) has been ruled out of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament.
Some may have added Adam Johnson (6.5) to their squad during his strong run of form at the start of January, but Sunderland’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worse as they have slipped to four straight defeats in the Premier League. Sunderland have two fixtures this gameweek but both are tricky. First up is a home clash with Everton on Saturday and only Chelsea possess a better away defensive record than Roberto Martinez’s side, while the second match is a trip to Manchester City next Wednesday.
Olivier Giroud (7.5) has struggled in front of goal for Arsenal and has found the net just once in his last five Premier League games. Arsene Wenger’s men face West Ham this gameweek and if Sam Allardyce’s side can replicate the defensive rigidity they showed against Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in their last outing, they should be able to keep the Frenchman quiet.
|THE BARGAIN BASEMENT
Ross Barkley (4) played an integral part in Everton’s convincing 3-0 win over Arsenal last Sunday and offers excellent value as Roberto Martinez’s side have two fixtures this week. Barkley racked up 16 points against Newcastle in gameweek 31 and in an advanced position, he could be in line for a similar haul against Sunderland and Crystal Palace.
Jason Puncheon (5) registered 13 points in Crystal Palace’s crucial 3-0 win over Cardiff City last Saturday. Tony Pulis’ side also have two fixtures this gameweek - a home clash with Aston Villa before a trip to Everton - and Puncheon should remain Palace’s strongest goal threat in the two games.
|CAPTAIN'S CHOICE - TOP TIP FOR DOUBLE POINTS
It’s a tough choice this gameweek as there are a few options. But Yaya Toure (9) gets the nod ahead of Romelu Lukaku (7.5), David Silva (9) and Edin Dzeko (7.5).
The Ivorian has scored 18 times in the Premier League this season and being on penalties and free-kicks gives him the edge ahead of other players who have two fixtures this gameweek.
Toure stormed the scoring in gameweek 31, which was another double fixture week for City, by registering 26 points. And while the Liverpool clash on Sunday could be a tight affair, Manuel Pellegrini’s men should cruise past Sunderland next Wednesday and Toure should find himself among the goals.
|GAMEWEEK 34 - BEST XI
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