EPL WEEK 31 RECAP

Coming at you guys again with the EPL recap. As always i’ll touch on all the weekends games from a Fantasy perspective and try and help you guys when making those all important line up changes. One wider point i’d like to make before we begin, we are now coming to the final furlong, as hard as it may be, you have to ditch your duds and you have to do it now. Regardless of reputation and name value, you cannot cary any passengers if you hope to win your league. Study form, look at the schedule and get productive players into your team. It’s now or never.

CHELSEA 6-0 ARSENAL

I said in last weeks EPL wrap to stick with your Chelsea guys, and though i didn’t expect this, i was right to do so. Schurrle, Eto’o, Hazard, Salah and Oscar with a double were the scorers as Arsenal collapsed and had their title hopes effectively ended. A few weeks ago in this column i warned off picking up Andre Schurrle as i felt he was too inconsistent to fully trust, but considering he is listed as a midfielder at www.fantasypremierleague.com despite actually playing in a more advanced forward role, he may now be of interest. His finish on Saturday certainly showed his striking instinct. For your Arsenal players this was one to forget all around. Particularly if you had Kieron Gibbs in your line up as he was mistakenly sent off for deliberate hand ball. It was actually Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain that handled it. A farcical case of mistaken identity on a similarly farcical day for the Gunners.

Major take away- Chelsea defenders, Chelsea midfielders…no brainers. Chelsea attackers…tread carefully.

CARDIFF 3-6 LIVERPOOL

Safe to say if you have had Danny Sturridge or Luis Suarez in your Fantasy team this season, you are probably doing pretty well. The dynamic duo were at it again as the red men ran riot in Wales. Suarez bagged a hat trick and an assist as well as 3 bonus points and a full 90 minutes for a massive 20 points (40 if you follow my advice and leave him as your every week captain). Sturridge with a goal and an assist and 90 minutes had a solid 9 points also. Martin Skrtel bagged a brace from the back, but Liverpool concede a lot of goals and it’s risky strategy to rely on goals to keep a defenders head above water and they have some tougher tests coming in the next few weeks. Jordan Mutch continues to have a nice season for Cardiff, you could do a lot worse at 4.5M, he is the 13th highest scoring midfielder this season and continues to be a pivotal player for the Bluebirds.

Major take away. Suarez as your captain. Set it and forget it.

MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 FULHAM

If there is one player you might consider over Mr Suarez to be your, set it and forget it captain, it has to be Yaya Toure. The big man bagged his first career hat trick against Fulham with 2 nonchalant penalties and a bon fide goal of the season contender to cap it off. That performance garnered an impressive 22 points and he remains one of the most reliable performers in the game. Toure’s midfield partner in crime Fernandinho grabbed himself a goal, and somewhat surprisingly it was his 4th in 10 games. The Brazilian is one of the first names on Manuel Pellegrini’s team sheet and an under rated Fantasy asset. We’ll disregard Martin Demichelis for now, he seems to only excel in Kompany’s absence, but the goal was nice if you took a one week flier on him. From a Fulham perspective….Avoid….Avoid….Avoid. Sorry cottagers.

Major take away. Don’t disregard Fernandinho, he has more in his locker than protecting his defense.

WEST HAM 0-2 MAN UNITED

Could the men from Old Trafford be turning a corner? With the talent they have at their disposal it would certainly be a big boost for Fantasy managers. In truth this was a very workmanlike win from United and West Ham caused them little, if any problems. The story of the day was a stupendous volley from Wayne Rooney almost from the half way line. Hammers keeper Adrian won’t want to see that one again, but it was fantastic technique from the England man, who completed a double and in truth should be back in Fantasy line ups with Robin Van Persie sidelined the rest of the way. As for West Ham, i’m still on board with Adrian as they are pretty well drilled and capable of keeping clean sheets, and i still think Andy Carroll could finish strongly.

Major take away. Thats the Rooney managers spend their money on.

BEST OF THE REST

Everton beat Swansea 3-2 and all 3 of their goal scorers are solid plays, Baines, Lukaku and Barkley. Jump on Barkley now, i see his price rising. Wilfried Bony continues to hit the back of the net for the Swans.

Hull pipped West Brom 2-0 at the KC stadium. Liam Rosenior grabbed a goal and along with Curtis Davies has been a nice cheap defensive play all season long. Shane Long was on the score sheet against his old team and though he is not prolific he can go on scoring runs.

Newcastle and Palace played out a tight affair with Pappis Cisse bagging the 94th minute winner. Again, there is a lot of talent in Newcastle’s team but zero consistency. Bad news for Thom Ince managers, though i believe in the talent, he was a sub on Saturday and at this stage not a viable option.

Norwich took a big step toward safety with a 2-0 win over troubled Sunderland. I do keep stressing the point, but you won’t find better value than Robert Snodgrass, even at his adjusted price of £5.9M. 3 goals in the last 4 games and at the centre of every Norwich attack. If you didn’t catch Tettey’s goal then try and do so…it was a scorcher.

An entertaining game at White Hart Lane saw Spurs beat Southampton 3-2. Lallana and Rodriguez have just been pure gold for Fantasy owners and both were on the score sheet again. Spurs boss Tim Sherwood is said to have an eye on next season so expect some younger players to get a chance, Christian Eriksen should see plenty of minutes after his double in this game. Adebayor seems to be reverting to type unfortunately. Criminal waste of talent.

Capping week 31 off was a hammering for Aston Villa at the hands of Stoke who ran out 4-1 winners. Benteke’s goal was nice for his owners and he’s firmly in the upward trend column of late. Peter Odemwingie was among the goals again. He tends to have spells like this, try and catch on while he’s hot.

WRITTEN AND COMPOSED BY NEIL DONOHOE FOR THE FAKE EPL. FOLLOW ON TWITTER @NEILDONOHOE

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