Only six Premier League fixtures this weekend because of the FA Cup semi-finals, so once again it's a tricky gameweek to navigate for Fantasy Premier League managers. The key this week is to focus your picks on players who not only have a match this weekend but who also have two fixtures rather than one in gameweek 37. That gives you five teams: Arsenal, Man City, Newcastle, Swansea and West Ham. But of course, it's never that simple: the last two of those five teams have an ugly-looking schedule which should give you pause. What to do? Here with five low-cost suggestions are our friends at Armchair Fancast - the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- Shkodran Mustafi (ARS, £5.5): We know, we know: many Arsenal fans see Mustafi as the poster boy of their club's slide into mediocrity, but bear with us. In FPL terms at least, his numbers look decent: 3 goals is a solid haul for a defender, second only to Monreal among Arsenal's back line, and 9 clean sheets to boot means that he is likely to break the 100-point barrier for the season this weekend. He’s also the cheapest option among the Gunners’ regular defensive starters, and aside from a visit to Old Trafford next week they have a fairly comfortable run-in, including that extra match in week 37. All of this makes Mustafi worth a second look.
- Virgil van Dijk (LIV, £5.7): True, Liverpool don’t have an extra fixture coming up before the end of the season like most of our picks this week, and of course if you want to pick a player from Anfield then there’s this guy called Mo who should be first on your list. But don’t ignore their defence, which has managed five clean sheets in the past 8 games and has plenty of opportunity to build on that with upcoming matches against West Brom (this weekend), Stoke and Brighton before the end of the season. Van Dijk has clearly found his feet in this side now, and Klopp’s team looks a lot more stable with him leading the rearguard.
- Ilkay Gündogan (MCI, £5.3): Anyone who tells you that Man City have nothing left to play for this season is failing to understand this team’s ambition – make no mistake that Pep Guardiola and his squad are determined to break that Premier League points record. And they have every chance of doing so, with none of the “big six” still to play and an extra game to enjoy in a couple of weeks’ time. Obviously there are a plethora of options here, but why not Gundogan? He’s the team’s second most in-form player behind Sterling, he is far cheaper than most of his teammates, and he has scored in the past two games. He even seems to be taking on some penalty-taking duties now too, so what’s not to like?
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CRY, £4.4): If it wasn’t for injury plaguing his season there’s a strong chance that Loftus-Cheek would be challenging Zaha for Palace’s player of the season. The team has instantly looked better since he returned three games ago, and he was the catalyst for last weekend’s crucial victory against Brighton. Those performances have not yet translated into fantasy points but it’s surely just a matter of time given how essential he is to almost every Palace attack – and at one of the more absurdly low prices in the game he’s definitely one to consider. Palace don’t have an extra game in week 37, but their remaining fixtures all look winnable.
- Ayoze Perez (NEW, £5.3): The star of Newcastle's recent surge to the top half of the table, Perez has scored in each of the Magpies' past three games and an assist in each of the past two. This week he faces an Everton defence that has only kept 2 clean sheets in 14 defences, and next week's home tie against West Brom looks like fertile hunting ground too. Granted, Newcastle end their season against Spurs and Chelsea, but when the league's most in-form player costs just £5.3, this isn't a difficult choice.
Author: Dave Bradshaw