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Perfect XI

AM's Perfect XI - Week 34

by Nik Argiropoulos
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to AM's Perfect XI - Week 34 player picks. This column focuses on Togga's Perfect XI game, which you can play via their IOS and Android app. Find the apps here and make sure you update regularly to take advantage of the constant enhancements: https://www.playtogga.com

We've set up a Rotoworld PL Private League which allows you to challenge myself and the rest of the RW PL team over the course of the season. To join it download the app and then click the below link from your device, or find us from the Featured Leagues tab:


Each week I provide a Perfect XI of my own for the upcoming gameweek, recommending 11 players to consider along with some honourable mentions. The players listed won't necessarily be the exact 11 selected for my own Perfect XI fantasy side. The point of this column isn't to tell you exactly who to pick; it's to present some ideas and get your brain whirring. I'll be listing a combination of the must-haves and slightly riskier options, alongside the odd hunch. Hopefully you'll find this useful whether you're playing Togga's game or looking at potential transfers for your official Fantasy Premier League team.

Week 33 was decent with a return of 145 points, although once again I forgot to check line-ups on Saturday evening and took a zero for Marcos Alonso. My team sits in 90th overall and with time running out it seems the dream of a Top 50 finish is pretty much over.

Week 34 is a messy one, with Premier League games spread out over six days and with FA Cup Semi Finals taking place over the weekend. The important thing to note is that Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough have a DOUBLE GAME WEEK.

Here are the fixtures in full:

Saturday 22nd April
Bournemouth v Middlesbrough
Hull City v Watford
Swansea City v Stoke City
West Ham v Everton

Sunday 23rd April
Burnley v Manchester United
Liverpool v Crystal Palace

Tuesday 25th April
Chelsea v Southampton

Wednesday 26th April
Arsenal v Leicester City
Middlesbrough v Sunderland
Crystal Palace v Tottenham

Thursday 27th April
Manchester City v Manchester United

Those of you who have followed my columns over the years will know I'm a sucker for a double-game week (DGW). I'll always load up my fantasy teams with as many double-gamers as humanly possible, and of course Perfect XI sets no limits. Therefore the players under consideration this week are exclusively from Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough - with a few single gamers getting honourable mentions.

Victor Valdes - Middlesbrough may be in big relegation trouble but they have the pick of the fixtures for the DGW with match-ups against Bournemouth and Sunderland. I'm expecting one clean sheet from those two games plus a few saves for the keeper, which should see Valdes* outscore both David De Gea and Wayne Hennessey.

*Note - Valdes is an injury doubt. If he misses out then Brad Guzan would start the first match, but Valdes may be fit for match two. In this scenario I'll go with De Gea instead

Honourable Mention: David De Gea (DGW), Wayne Hennessey (DGW)

Antonio Valencia - Valencia has been performing well and is by far-and-away the top defensive pick this week - provided he starts both games. The full-back has been struggling with injury and so there's a possibility Jose Mourinho will rest him at some point over the next couple of weeks as the fixtures pile up. However, if he's in the starting line-up for Burnley then I'd believe you have to take the risk and go with him.
George Friend - Constantly injured since the end of 2016, Mr Friend is finally fit again. With injuries to his defensive collegues mounting he should start both games for Boro this week after a good showing off the bench against Arsenal. The full-back has performed well in the PXI format and could benefit further from being pushed in to a wing-back role if Steve Agnew sticks with his 3-5-2 formation.
Patrick van Aanholt - We don't expect Palace to keep a clean sheet against either Liverpool or Spurs but van Aanholt still represents value for the DGW as the vast majority of his fantasy points come from attacking contributions down the left flank. A few crosses and a shot on goal in each game should ensure he proves a worthwhile selection.
Ben Gibson - Guaranteed to start both games. Should pick up a clean sheet in at least one match. That's about as exciting as Gibson gets.

Honourable Mentions: Eric Bailly (DGW), Marcos Rojo (DGW), Marcos Alonso at home to Southampton, Kyle Walker away at Crystal Palace, Leighton Baines away at West Ham

Wilfried Zaha - As noted with van Aanholt, Palace have two very tough games but they are on a great run and they have creative midfielders in terrific form. Zaha is leading the way with six goals and nine assist so far this campaign and the winger will be aiming to put a dent in the title ambitions of Spurs and Liverpool while raising his own profile ahead of a potential move away from Selhurst Park this summer.
Paul Pogba - I've been underwhelmed by Pogba's performances on the pitch this season but the Frenchman must be doing something right as he's one of the best scoring midfielders in the PXI fantasy format, above the likes to Sadio Mane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dele Alli. He should start both of United games over the DGW and with his PPG average that makes him a must pick option.
Andros Townsend - Townsend's Palace career looked dead and buried until Sam Allardyce arrived at Selhurst Park and promptly restored the (former?) England winger to the starting line-up. He's in ridiculous form over with a goal, three assists and EIGHTY (80) PXI fantasy points in the past three games. He loves to run, loves to cross and loves to shoot and will be desperate to prove a point to his form employers Tottenham.
Ander Herrera - Mourinho's most consistent midfielder over the course of the season seems to have saved his very best for the run-in with a string of match-winning displaying showing his versatility in both the defensive and attacking departments. Again, almost certain to start alongside Pogba in both games and should be in your PXI team.

Honourable Mentions: Stewart Downing (DGW), Yohan Cabaye (DGW), Eden Hazard at home to Southampton, Josh King at home to Middlesbrough, Dele Alli away at Crystal Palace

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Zlatan finally got his rest, although surprisingly it was against Chelsea. Manchester United were actually outstanding in his absence but the Swede is the talisman of this team and he should feature from the start in the Europa League tonight and both DGW fixtures as Jose Mourinho pushes for that Top 4 spot.
Marcus Rashord - With Zlatan's knee bending the incorrect way last night it's safe to assume Rashford will now have to lead the line for both games over the DGW. The 19-year old may have missed a few chances last night but his overall play was impressive and he got his goal in the end. He'll be replacing the Swede in my own PXI line up. 
Alvaro Negredo - Negredo has been far from prolific in the second half of the season but the Spanish frontman edges out Christian Bentekebecause of better fixtures combined with the fact he remains on penalty duty. He needs a strong end to the season because without his goals Boro are heading back to the Championship.

Honourable Mentions: Christian Benteke (DGW), Harry Kane away at Crystal Palace, Alexis Sanchez at home to Leicester, Romelu Lukaku away at West Ham

That's it for Week 34. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to see a whole bunch of great content to get you ready for the week ahead. Feel free to comment below to us know how you're getting on so far. And of course, good luck to all managers.

Nik Argiropoulos

Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for NBC Sports Edge and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.