As the season winds ever closer to the finish, the races at both ends of the table are quite interesting. Clubs are vying for the EPL Championship and Champions League berths at the top. Liverpool remains in the top spot, but Chelsea and Manchester City will still have a say in the Championship race. With Everton in top recent form, we are witnessing a race for the final Champions League berth that may come right down to the end as Arsenal has stumbled a bit lately, but for the time being still sits in fourth. Then we have the dreaded relegation zone. Fulham has picked up steam lately as they look to prove they have what it takes to make a remarkable escape and stay up. Safe to say excitement will be at peak levels all the way to the finish. This only means one thing for our Fake Premier League teams: Our favorite players will remain in top form, bringing us ever closer to holding the coveted Fake Championship. Let’s take a look at the fantasy implications from last week’s action.
Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United
Those of you who have remained patient with United midfielder Juan Mata have been rewarded impressively the past two weeks. Mata continued his late season breakout in a big way, turning in your Man of the Fantasy Week performance as The Red Devils rolled Newcastle. On his was to scoring 19 points for the 8.1% who have stuck with him, Mata put two goals on the board and added an assist on a slick back-heel pass to Adnan Januzaj. With that goal and 78 minutes, Januzaj earned 8 points on the day. Super substitute Javier Hernández found himself in the starting lineup in this match, netting one of his own while also grabbing an assist for 11 points. Making his first start of the season between the pipes in relief of David De Gea was Anders Lindegaard and he made the most of his appearance. Lindgaard made 4 saves en route to a clean sheet and 7 fantasy points. Manchester United will see a break in league play in Matchweek 34, so make sure to substitute in other options.
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Manchester City 4-1 Southampton
City, for the moment, pulled within a point of table topping Liverpool who played Sunday, but the big news in this match was the injury of Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez. The forward who has been a steal at a price of 6.5m sustained a season ending knee injury which will also hold him from possible selection to the English national team for the nearing World Cup. Yaya Toure picked up a goal from the penalty spot just 3 minutes into the match to go with 90 minutes of play for a modest 6 points. Rickie Lambert equalized with a goal of his own from the spot in the 37th minute, but first half stoppage time goals from Samir Nazri(10 points on the day) and Eden Dzeko(11) put City ahead for good. City put on a clinical performance in the second half and forward Stevan Jovetic substituted on to add a late goal to seal the match for the home club. Toure and co have two matches in Matchweek 34, including a monumental match up when they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. A match that will certainly have major implications on the EPL Championship. You’re not going to want to miss this one.
Chelsea 3-0 Stoke City
Coming off an upset 0-1 loss last week at Crystal Palace, this match was as close to a must-win situation as Chelsea could experience at this point. Especially considering the top form that Liverpool and Manchester City have displayed. The Blues kept their home unbeaten streak in tact with a solid 3-0 defeat of Stoke. Midfielder Mohamed Salah got his first start and seized the opportunity well with a goal and an assist to lead the way for Chelsea with 14 fantasy points. Jose Mourinho decided to rest a few key players in this one as Eden Hazard and Oscar were out of the starting lineup. Hazard did substitute on for 32 minutes of play, but the 1 fantasy point for the 36.2% who selected him comes as a huge let down. Frank Lampard got on the scoresheet when his initial penalty kick was saved by Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic, but Lampard was able to send the rebound into the back of the net. Finishing up the scoring in this one was Willian who drilled one in from the edge of the box. The goal, along with 77 minutes on the pitch were good enough for 8 points.
Everton 3-0 Arsenal
Speaking of matches with huge implications, Everton’s result at Goodison Park pulled them within 1 point of Arsenal in 4th, with a game in hand. Everton came into this match on a five game streak and made light work of The Gunners to make it six straight. Forward Romelu Lukaku gave Arsenal’s back line fits for most of the match, picking up a goal and an assist. Selected by 23.9%, his impressive performance earned 12 points on the match. Also grabbing a goal in this one was Steven Naismith when he buried a Wojciech Szczesny rebound off a Lukaku shot. Goalkeeper Tim Howard turned aside 5 shots, keeping a clean sheet for himself and his defense. The third such performance during their six game tear. In Matchweek 34, we will see what Everton is able to do with their game in hand as they have two matches on the schedule, at Sunderland and then back home against Crystal Palace. Start ’em if you got ’em.
West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool
With Chelsea and Manchester City both winning their matches in the previous day, Liverpool was going to need a win to not only keep pace, but reclaim the top spot in the table. This one was not without some controversy on both ends of the pitch. A bit was left to be desired from the higher selected players such as Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Simon Mingolet. Despite the lack of fantasy points from Suarez, it was more of the same top form on the pitch as he earned yet another penalty. And, as Steven Gerrard has done many times this season, he made sure to capitalize to send the visitors up 1-0 in the 44th minute. The Hammers had an answer, though, as they netted one of their own just before the half in stoppage time. It’s speculated that a foul should have been called as Andy Carroll came in contact with Mingolet, causing the ball to be dropped only to be drilled home by Guy Demel. The match remained knotted up until another controversial call took place in the 71st minute. West Ham’s goalkeeper Adrian challenged an attacking John Flannigan in the box, resulting in a penalty. Again, Gerrard drilled it into the back of the net for his 10th such score on the season, bringing his fantasy point total to a match-high 15. Liverpool will welcome Manchester City to Anfield in Matchweek 34. A match certain to be filled with excitement and ginormous EPL Championship implications.
Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland
Wrapping up Matchweek 33 on Monday evening was a Black Cats visit to White Hart Lane. Unfortunately the visit also brings Sunderland seemingly one step closer to relegation. Playing with the poorest form in the league at the moment, the visiting side did jump out to a lead when Lee Cattermole scored his first goal for Sunderland on a Spurs defensive gaffe. The lead lasted for a mere 11 minutes as it was all Spurs until the final whistle blew. Christin Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor had a match, earning 15 and 13 fantasy points respectively. Eriksen took home a goal and 2 helpers, while Adebayor scored two goals. His first time scoring since February. Playing quite well and earning the praise of his manager, Harry Kane scored his first goal. He nearly had a second as he blasted a shot off Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone that was trickling towards the goal line before Adebayor was forced to clean it up as a defender loomed. Sunderland does have two games in hand at this point, but the reality of dropping grows ever closer as the season winds down.
Crystal Palace went into Cardiff City and walked away with a 3-0 victory further distancing themselves from the drop zone. Jason Puncheon totaled 16 fantasy points on the week with 2 goals in 90 minutes played.
Hull City defeated Swansea City 1-0 at home. George Boyd scored on a Liam Rosenior assist for 10 and 11 fantasy points respectively. Both playing the full 90 and benefitting from the clean sheet bonus.
West Bromwich Albion picked up a road win at Norwich City as Ben Foster made 4 saves for a 9 fantasy point, clean sheet effort. Morgan Amalfitano picked up the goal in 90 minutes of action for 10 fantasy points.
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Note: All fantasy data taken from Fantasy Premier League.
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