The game week 38 rankings give me mixed emotions because on one hand I am a Chelsea fan and I get to see them lift the trophy this week. But at the same time it means the end of the Premier League season and the end of fantasy football.
This week I was going to do my traditional rankings but whilst doing it I realized it was even more impossible than normal because half of the games this week have no bearing on anything giving managers creative license to blood new players ready for next year or try slightly different tactics. Therefore, I thought I would go game by game and just quickly give my thoughts on the teams and few players on either side that stand out to me.
Before I start I would just like to say I hope you have had a great season this year and before long we will all be back excited to start a new season. Be sure to check out fakepigskin.com over the summer for some transfer reaction articles as well as team by team pre-season previews as we near the start of the 2015/16 Premier League.
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All kick offs are 3pm Sunday this week so check your respective website for their roster lock times.
Chelsea vs Sunderland
Chelsea: The Champions have had nothing to play for now in the last three games and we have definitely seen that at times. Against West Brom the effort was there but the commitment perhaps wasn’t and let’s be honest we don’t really know how much they are training and preparing during the week. However, I would expect most of the first team to play if they are available because you don’t get many chances in your career to lap up the home applause on the day you are crowned champions. Terry, Ivanovic and Hazard are all dead certs to start because they have been ever present in the League this year. Courtois should start given Cech’s injury but don’t be surprised if Jose throws a last day Cech on at some point to take the deserving applause he will get. I expect Felipe Luis at left back but that is no certainty and who partner’s John Terry is anyone’s guess. In midfield there will be no Fabregas however, I do expect Matic, Loftus-Cheek and Willian but beyond that it’s hard to guess so I wouldn’t gamble on any other Chelsea midfielders. Upfront I half expect Drogba to start in what will probably be his last game at the Bridge but I cannot be sure enough to recommend any Chelsea players
Sunderland: I imagine there were a few sore heads in a London hotel Thursday morning after Sunderland clinched survival on Wednesday night. Based on that I am not sure how much they prepare for this weekend or how determined they will be to ruin Chelsea’s big party on Sunday. I would sit the defence and Pantilimon for sure and the only attacking player I would risk is Jermain Defoe.
Man City vs Southampton
Man City: The Blue side of Manchester has clinched second and really have nothing to play for this week. However, I think the fact they are playing a team that do have something to play for means they will at least begin the game trying to win. Hart is still a top ten keeper this week but there is a risk Caballero may be given a game and in the defence it is very hard to tell who they will go with making them all a risk this week. In midfield I do expect Toure and Milner to play in what could be their last game at the Etihad and Silva should be present. Lampard will see some time in what could be his last ever Premier League game but I wouldn’t want to play him this week. Upfront I do expect Aguero for at least a half and that should be enough for him to do something for you and then I think we see Bony because he will be a big part f their plans next season.
Southampton: Playing for 6th this week means we won’t see Southampton resting on their laurels. I expect the same team as the one that thrashed Villa last week but I don’t expect quite the same success. However, if Man City do zone out at some point Southampton could take advantage making Pelle, Mane and Long all decent plays this week. I do expect City to score at least one so don’t put too much faith in Gazzaniga and the defence.
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Arsenal vs West Brom
Arsenal: This one is not quite a dead rubber but it is close because the chances Man United score enough against Hull to make this game matter is very thin. Wenger will probably look to balance the fact that they don’t want to risk losing with trying to make sure his side are fresh for the cup final. I expect the back four of Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Monreal to play and they have a shot for a clean sheet making them and Ospina decent starting options this week. Upfront Giroud will lead the line with Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez all decent options with the chance to score. Wilshere and Coquelin will likely be the other two but they aren’t worth starting whether they play or not.
West Brom: An on form Saido Berahino is a good call given that he is a streaky player. The midfielders aren’t of great interest and the defence and goalkeeper are not people I would risk against Arsenal this week but then I would have said that last week too!
Man United vs Hull
Man United: Starting at the back with the De Gea/Lindegaard situation and right now I am not expecting De Gea but this is one to monitor if you have him. Lindegaard is a sneak play against a Hull team who struggle in front of goal. The defence is always tough to call with United but I do expect to see Smalling, Jones and Rojo making them solid options in a game that could easily see a clean sheet come their way. In midfield Valencia should play as will Mata, Fellaini and Herrera but beyond that it’s tough to predict. Of those four Mata and Fellaini are my favourite choices. Upfront is likely to be Van Persie but it could be any one of the three of him, Falcao or Rooney making it hard to trust any. I have no interest in Falcao and would rank them Van Persie, Rooney, Facao right now.
Hull: Hull have absolutely nothing to lose on Sunday because for all intents and purposes they are down so they need to go all guns blazing which is good for their attack but not for their defensive options. I could easily see this being either a multiple goal stunner or a massacre by United. Jelavic is the best option with N’Doye a close second and I would consider Huddleston in the midfield but they are the only players in the team I would consider this week.
Stoke vs Liverpool
Stoke: A real dead rubber for Stoke who are comfortably a mid-table team so don’t expect them to go out of their way to do anything special (not that they normally do). With Walters out injured I think I will just leave Stoke alone this week.
Liverpool: They need to win to finish 5th and make sure they qualify for the Europa League but to also make sure they qualify without having to play the stupidly early qualification rounds. I don’t know where Sterling’s head in or what Liverpool think of him so he is untouchable for me right now. Gerrard is a sneaky play because it’s impossible to see him going out without some sort of magic moment. Henderson and Coutinho are both midfield options I would use and I consider Skrtel, Lovren and Mignolet safe plays with clean sheet potential.
Everton vs Tottenham
Everton: Nothing but pride for Everton to play for this week making it tough. Coleman and Lukaku are permanent fixtures if I own them and I don’t think that changes but beyond that there isn’t anything exciting. Tottenham need to win to be sure of Europe so I think they will score limiting the value of Jags, Stones and Howard.
Tottenham: Chadli and Eriksen are must plays but beyond that there are no obvious options. I see Everton scoring so that limits this defences usefulness and Kane is so cold right now that I think he might be a bit burnt out and that is a concern for your team this week.
Crystal Palace vs Swansea
Crystal Palace: Really who know in this one because both teams have nothing to play for? I’m going to say Pardew goes for the jugular and will give Bolasie, Puncheon and Zaha carte blanch to enjoy themselves and end the season on a high point. Murray is not guaranteed to start making him a risky option upfront. Who will play out of Ledley, McArthur and Jedinak is hard to judge but none are thrilling options this week. In defence I would be tempted to use Dann as he can score and Swansea may already be on the beach.
Swansea: I just don’t see them busting a gut away from home on the last day of the season. I expect Palace to score limiting the usefulness of this defence and Fabianski in goal (I have him just outside my top 10). In the middle of the Park Ki and Siggy are the best options with Shelvey a potential choice if you need someone solid in the middle.
Newcastle vs West Ham
Newcastle: Just ugh frankly. Cisse if he is match fit and Janmaat because he is a beast but that is it. They will probably survive but my god they have been bad this year.
West Ham: Big Sam is going to Newcastle this week with one aim. To humiliate and relegate his former club but just because he aims for that doesn’t mean his slumping team can provide it. Valencia is an option upfront and I like Cresswell and Jenkinson in defence and Adrian in goal.
Leicester vs QPR
Leicester: There will be a party in Leicester this Sunday and don’t be surprised if that party is met with a few goals against the already relegated QPR. Ulloa and Vardy are deep options, Cambiasso is a deep option in midfield but I wouldn’t want any of the defenders or goalkeepers because Charlie Austin has his own celebration to commemorate.
QPR: Austin will want to mark his first England call up with a goal and it would not surprise me in the slightest if he does just that against a Leicester defence which has been leaky at times. The rest of the team could go either way this weekend and could show spirit like last week or they may just capitulate in the party atmosphere in Leicester. Do not use QPR’s keepers or defenders and it seems only Austin and Fer are viable fantasy options this week.
Aston Villa vs Burnley
Aston Villa: Villa will want to bounce back from their trouncing last week and Christian Benteke especially will want a good game with the prospects of a big money summer move. Burnley’s defence has been stout at times so I don’t expect Villa to go crazy but I would still look to use Benteke and perhaps Delph if I need a cheap midfield option. I think Danny Ings will sign off with a goal meaning there are better options than this Villa defence this week.
Burnley: Realistically the only guys I am using are Danny Ings and George Boyd this week because they are the two most exciting players and I do expect there to be at least one goal for Villa limiting the defence as a top option. There isn’t much more to say but while QPR have been a disgrace at times this season the same cannot be said of Burnley who tried to build their team around a solid defence but unfortunately couldn’t score enough goals to stay up and their grit and determination will be missed in the Premier League.
Right there you go for my twist on the week 38 rankings given all the potential for this week to be a dud. If you have been following my rankings either for the whole season or from mid-way through then thank you for taking your time to read my article and I hope you have done well this season. Be on the look-out for a our previews for each team in the weeks leading up to the season because the Premier League will be back before you will even remember it went away.