People say this every year, but I can’t remember a Premier League season as dramatic as this for a long while. A team that finished 7th last season is 4 wins away from the title, the defending Champions are not even sure of European Football next season, 2 of the newly promoted teams look to be safe for another season at the top table and one team could end their long trophy drought yet finish outside the Champions League places! Crazy, crazy season! But what does it all mean for your Fantasy teams? With only 4 games left it’s pretty clear which direction your league is going in, but in some leagues, you may or may not be playing for “fun tokens” (Thanks to Jordan Belfort!) and a 2nd, 3rd or 4th place finish might be all important. With that in mind lets take a look at the Fantasy implications of this weeks action…
LIVERPOOL 3-2 MANCHESTER CITY
A totally enthralling contest at Anfield! One of the best games of Football you are likely to see! It had drama, goal mouth action, a sending off, moments of real quality, and it was abundantly clear why these 2 teams are battling it out for the title. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring and it’s refreshing that manager Brendan Rodgers has integrated him and Phillipe Coutinho into his starting line up. A few weeks ago it was a constant Fantasy head ache when they were essentially one player and you didn’t know which one would play from one week to the next. Coutinho scored the winner and was a constant threat, it’s hard to argue against he or Sterling going forward, both excellent plays. Luis Suarez and Danny Sturridge were a disappointment, but I wouldn’t worry about either going forward. Jordan Henderson was red carded and will not be available for selection until the final Sunday of the season. Martin Skrtel scored the Redmen’s second, but again, they conceded 2 goals and the goal saved him from a bad outing. City we’re excellent in the second half, showing great character to claw back a 2 goal deficit. David Silva was instrumental in everything they did. He has a wonderful ability to pop up in dangerous positions and affect play. One of the more intelligent Footballers you are likely to see. He scored and had the assist for the Johnson OG, and was a studs width from a 3rd for City after an excellent move to carve Liverpool open. The Football gods giveth then they taketh away! Agüero returned, and Touré limped off injured, keep an eye on the status of both going into week 35.
MAJOR TAKE AWAY- Keep an eye on Sturridge and Touré, can’t afford to carry an injured player at this late stage.
SWANSEA 0-1 CHELSEA
Chelsea kept hot on the heels of Liverpool with a comfortable if unconvincing win over Strugglers Swansea. Your Chelsea defenders we’re as reliable as ever, and Cech is the best keeper in Fantasy and worth every penny of his transfer fee. Again Chelsea we’re a little toothless up top and Demba Ba seems to be in pole position to keep his place with the winner here and some European heroics midweek against PSG. He had 8 Fantasy points and with Sunderland at home on tap he might be worth the 7.4m outlay in week 35. Swansea were killed off by the red card for Chico Flores and didn’t pose much of a threat going forward. They are in real trouble though and I like Bony to grab an important couple of goals over the next few weeks in their survival fight.
MAJOR TAKE AWAY- Chelsea are rock solid and reliable at the back.
FULHAM 1-0 NORWICH CITY
Fulham and Norwich deserve their spot among the top matches this week as this was a massive game for both teams. Fulham had to win to have any hope of survival. Norwich had to win to open up a cushion with Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal being their final 4 opponents. Fulham defended manfully under intense pressure from the Canaries, but I still think you would be mad to consider any of their defensive players. Keeper David Stockdale made some fantastic stops including one from Van Wolfswinkel that you should seek out if you haven’t seen already. Hugo Rodallega scored his second in 2 games and looks to have cemented his place in Felix Magath’s plans. I would say he is worth a look at 5.0m but that price is sure to rise so get in quick. Our old pal Dejagah was back on the subs bench though and missed a glaring chance to seal the game in the dying seconds. He’s back firmly off the radar…or is he? Who knows, his Fantasy value is as erratic as his style of play! Norwich were desperately unlucky in their first game under caretaker boss Neil Adams, they created several chances and weren’t able to capitalize. Robert Snodgrass hit the bar with a delicious free kick…bear in mind he has that in his locker against any team, and could still be a factor the next few weeks. Nathan Redmond is another interesting guy, he was promoted back to first team duty and has the pace and trickery to cause teams problems, but I can’t willfully advise putting him in your line up this close to the finish line. As for Van Wolfswinkel and Hooper…it’s over guys, forget them. Barren.
MAJOR TAKEAWAY- Norwich don’t have anyone to put the chances away. Steer clear.
WEST BROM 3-3 SPURS
Lots of Fantasy goodness in this game and again West Brom concede an equalizer at the death when it looked like 3 precious points were in the bag. A fast start from the Baggies saw Mattej Vydra open the scoring within 30 seconds, then Chris Brunt double the lead on 4 minutes. Neither of these guys should be on your radar, Vydra scoring only his 4th of the season. Stephen Sessengnon scored the 3rd goal for the hosts, and he is a player I have always liked, he could make an impact late in the season, but again, it’s crunch time and you have to gauge wether you trust him or not with your league on the line. Spurs are entertaining to watch if a little bit of a car wreck. Manager Tim Sherwood describing their defending as “horrendous” was a touch generous I thought. They got back into the game with an OG from Olson, and then Emanuel Adebayor missed a penalty! I’m still in on him, but not as much as I was…he’s a risky play for the transfer fee, but the upside is big. Christian Eriksen scored again and I seem to remember writing that he is worth looking at as Spurs are trying to see what they have with him and indeed most of their squad. Harry Kane scored his second in 2 games, and at £4.4m he is certainly worth a look, he is locked in as the starter up front alongside Adebayor the rest of the way, in my opinion.
MAJOR TAKE AWAY- Expect goals and Fantasy points when Spurs play.
BEST OF THE REST….
Palace beat Villa with a goal from Jason Puncheon, his 3rd in the last 2 games. Great value at 5.1m and is a very talented player when he wants to be. Villa are ready for the summer.
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Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0 with a fluke goal, a cross come shot that went in from Erik Pieters. Stoke could be a source of clean sheets at home. Newcastle are also ready for the summer.
Cardiff kept survival hopes alive with a win at Southampton. A goal from Cala sealing the victory. Jordon Mutch is the only Cardiff player you should consider. I do wonder if the injury to Jay Rodriguez will derail the rest of the Saints season.
In a game with Champions League and relegation implications Everton beat Sunderland with an own goal from Wes Brown. Gerard Delofeu was instrumental in the build up. If he makes his move from Barcelona permanent he should be on your radar for next season at the right price.
WRITTEN AND COMPOSED BY NEIL DONOHOE FOR THE FAKE EPL. FOLLOW ON TWITTER @NEILDONOHOE