Back at you again here at the Fake EPL with a look at the Fantasy implications of week 32. As I said last week, and I can’t stress enough, it’s time to be ruthless with your line ups. Every point is vital, every decision counts, try and make the right ones! As always there is great advice on this very site, even if we do say so ourselves. If you are leading your league, then it’s probably not a good time to eat away at that lead with multiple transfers, if however, you are playing catch up, weigh the risk/reward and attack, attack, attack. One huge week can change everything.
LIVERPOOL 4-0 TOTTENHAM
Another thrashing for Spurs, another thrashing handed out by the league leaders! Another clean sheet for Liverpool was a welcome bonus, and that is now 3 shut outs in their last 4 outings. This makes all 4 of Liverpool’s back line attractive propositions as they are all attacking threats. Skrtel and Agger in the air, and Flanagan and Johnson with the opportunity for assists with their marauding style from the full back positions. It was nice to see Coutinho and Sterling on the same field, both had fantastic games and both are solid Fantasy plays. Suarez, another goal…need I say more? Jordan Henderson weighed in with 8 points, but doesn’t score enough to justify the £6.9m transfer fee. Spurs flamed out yet again, and have major attacking problems. Adebayor missed this one and Soldado left the game injured. At this point I can’t recommend a viable Spurs player, they are leaking goals on a weekly basis.
MAJOR TAKEAWAY. SUAREZ AS YOUR CAPTAIN, WEST HAM AND NORWICH ON TAP.
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ARSENAL 1-1 MANCHESTER CITY
In truth this was a Fantasy disappointment. Two free scoring teams, one in pole position to win the title and one that needed a win to keep alive any fleeting hopes. What played out was an entertaining draw that didn’t offer a ton of Fantasy goodness. Mathieu Flamini grabbed Arsenal’s goal, a second half equaliser. He finished with 10 Fantasy points and considering he’s started in 0.1% of www.fantasypremierleague.com line ups it’s nothing to get excited about. Flamini is in the team to break up play and stop other teams playing. Lukas Podolski grabbed the assist but given his less than secure place in the team, he is way too expensive at £7.7M. I’m still in on Arsenal’s defenders but maybe not in week 33 with a trip to Everton looming. David Silva was the star turn for City, and the little man seems to be hitting top form and getting back among the goals. Edin Dzeko grabbed the assist and 5 points himself, at £6.8M he is pound for pound the best bargain in FPL, with the caveat being Sergio Aguero and his imminent return.
MAJOR TAKEAWAY. FANTASY BLIP FOR BOTH TEAMS, START WITH CONFIDENCE.
CRYSTAL PALACE 1-0 CHELSEA
Shock of the weekend at Selhurst Park as title contenders Chelsea fell to Palace. More people saw this coming than is given credit for, but if you’re asking me would I have benched my Chelsea players? I would have gave an emphatic no. John Terry, so reliable for mangers all season scored an own goal to give Palace the win, and in truth, every Chelsea player was a disappointment, except for maybe Peter Cech, whom you were probably happy to pick up 3 points from in a loss. Joel Ward and Julian Speroni were the stand outs for Palace with 12 and 7 points respectively. Both are nice plays if you can pick your spots. One thing that manager Tony Pulis has done with Palace is tighten them up significantly at the back. Cardiff and Villa are next up for Palace and those might be 2 such examples of nice plays. On an offensive note, I’m officially off the Thomas Ince band wagon (even at his tempting current price), he was unused in this game.
MAJOR TAKEAWAY. CHELSEA NEED STRIKERS, GOOD LUCK CHOOSING ONE OF THEIR’S FOR YOUR FANTASY TEAM.
MANCHESTER UNITED 4-1 ASTON VILLA
Even an anti David Moyes fly over couldn’t stop the outgoing Champions from gaining a comprehensive victory over Villa. Ashley Westwood gave Villa an early lead but a quick fire double from Wayne Rooney and goals for Mata (his first for the club) and Hernandez (under used in my opinion) wrapped up a routine win. Rooney should be in line ups, and that was always the case when Robin Van Persie went down for the season. He’s their talisman and best player, and with a kind schedule to finish the season he should put up some nice Fantasy scores the rest of the way. Mata is a tricky one for me. I’ve watched him in games this season and I just don’t think he is being utilized to the best of his abilities. He’s stuck out wide at times and being asked to perform defensive duties, and it takes away his attacking edge. I will say there are much worse players to gamble on when making your changes though, this could be the kick start to his United career. Javier Hernandez is of no interest as long as he’s on the bench, but I would keep an eye on Shinji Kagawa, there are signs that United might be solving that particular conundrum. Nothing of Fantasy note from Villa, it was only Westwood’s second goal of the season.
MAJOR TAKEAWAY. ROONEY, MATA AND KAGAWA SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR.
FULHAM 1-3 EVERTON
It’s looking like Fulham are going to be relegated. 5 points from safety and running out of games, coach Felix Magath needs a miracle after this defeat at the hands of a highly impressive Everton team. Ashkan Dejagah grabbed the goal for Fulham and contrary to what I have said in this column the past few weeks, he at least gives them a spark. That was his 3rd goal in the last 5 games and he is worth a speculative play, especially if you have ground to make up in your league. Everton were shaky in the first half but were spurred on by the play of Steven Naismith. The Scotsman grabbed and assist and a goal in a good second half showing…you can’t use him on a weekly basis in Fantasy though. Kevin Mirallas was also on the score sheet and is capable of having big days but they are hard to predict. Quiet days for Everton’s usual suspects of Baines, Coleman and Lukaku, but it would be harsh to give up on them now. All solid going forward. Ross Barkley left the game injured, keep an eye on it, he continues to be slightly under priced on FPL.Com.
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BEST OF THE REST
Southampton beat Newcastle 4-0 with a double from Jay Rodriguez and goals from Ricky Lambert and Adam Lallana. Jay Rod and Lallana have been diamonds all season and look set for a strong finish. Newcastle have been on the beach ever since they could no longer be relegated.
Stoke grabbed a 1-0 win over Hull. Odemwingie guys, as I’ve said a few times, goes on these scoring runs! Get him while he’s hot. I still like Rosenior, Davies and Long for Hull as cheap, upside starts.
Swansea completed a 3-0 win over Norwich. Nice to see De Guzman back among the Fantasy points and I still like Bony as an under rated striker down the stretch. Wayne Routledge has only 2 goals and 3 assists all season, he’s not start worthy. Bad day for Norwich, West Brom at home next up for them.
West Brom and Cardiff fought out a 3-3 draw. 2 Stories here, 5 of the 6 goal scorers should not be near your Fantasy team. The other was Jordon Mutch, he is the 13th highest scoring midfielder this season and yet still only in 7.9% of line ups. Don’t look at name value, look at production, Mutch is doing the business.
Sunderland lost 2-1 at home to West Ham on the Monday Night Football, and are in desperate trouble near the foot of the league. Adam Johnson came of the bench to grab their goal and hopefully this should see him back in the line up. Andy Carroll was on the score sheet for the Hammers and I’m still a believer he could make a difference the rest of the season.
WRITTEN AND COMPOSED BY NEIL DONOHOE FOR THE FAKE EPL. FOLLOW ON TWITTER @NEILDONOHOE.