ROUND 29: FANTASY EPL REVIEW
Chelsea lost for the fourth time in five matches against Manchester City at the Etihad. A Bernardo Silva goal at the beginning of the first half was enough for Pep’s men to earn the three points. The most worrying factor for Chelsea fans and fantasy owners was the zero attempts on goal, a statistic highly criticized by everyone after the game, including Eden Hazard. Tottenham and Liverpool continued their winning streaks by defeating Huddersfield and Newcastle, respectively. Each earned a 2-0 victory. Salah and Mane were Liverpool’s executors, whereas Son bagged a brace for The Spurs. Arsenal extended its losing streak to three games with a loss at Brighton. Dunk and Murray gave The Seagulls a 2-0 lead, which was reduced by Aubameyang at the beginning of the second half.
Burnley finally won. They had to turn the score around at home against Everton, who took the lead through Tosun. Second-half goals by Barnes and substitute Chris Wood meant three points for Dyche’s men. Watford recorded its third victory in four games. It was deja vu from a week ago, as Deeney again grabbed the winner late in a 1-0 win. Swansea escaped further away from the relegation zone with a commanding 4-1 win over West Ham. It was West Ham’s second successive 4-1 loss. Ki was the player of the match, scoring two goals and adding an assist.
Southampton and Stoke played a goalless draw at St. Mary’s, while Leicester extended its five-game winless streak in a 1-1 tie versus Bournemouth. Mahrez saved the day for The Foxes in the 97th minute, after King had given the visitors the lead through a 35th-minute penalty kick. On Monday, we saw the game of the round at Selhurst Park in London, where Nemanja Matic’s 94th-minute firecracker brought Mourinho and his team three very important points. Crystal Palace was the better opponent in the first half and took a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time through Andros Townsend. A quickly taken free kick by Schlupp sent van Aanholt in a one-on-one situation with de Gea. The Dutch scored. At that point, it seemed the hosts were about to record their first ever Premier League victory over United. However, Smalling and Lukaku evened the scoring, and then came Matic’s moment, the Serbian’s first goal for The Red Devils.
ROUND 29: HIGHEST FANTASY SCORERS
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Loris Karius (Liverpool), Orestis Karnezis (Watford).
Defenders: Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Wesley Hoedt (Southampton), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Jose Holebas (Watford).
Midfielders: Heung-Min Son (Tottenham), Sung-Yueng Ki (Swansea), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester), David Silva (Manchester City), Nemanja Matic (Manchester United), Andre Ayew (Swansea), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Cenk Tosun (Everton), Troy Deeney (Watford), Joshua King (Bournemouth), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).
ROUND 30: FANTASY EPL PREVIEW
Manchester United vs. Liverpool
– If Liverpool wants to have a shot at 2nd place, it needs to get a result here. Andrew Robertson, John Henderson, and Wijnaldum are all questionable for The Reds. Phil Jones, Blind, Rojo, Martial, Fellaini and Herrera are the injured players on Mourinho’s roster. For fantasy purposes, I’d say this is one of the rare occasions to avoid Manchester defenders. Lukaku could have a good day, though.
Everton vs. Brighton
– After three losses in its last four games, Everton is slipping in the battle for 7th spot. It faces a Brighton team that has won three of its last four EPL fixtures. I expect both teams to score, and I’d give preference to players such as Jose Izquierdo, Glenn Murray, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun (if he starts). Ashley Williams (suspension) and Mangala (knee) are out for The Toffees.
Huddersfield vs. Swansea
– Huddersfield will look to quickly bounce back from the Tottenham loss, a game in which it wasn’t expected to compete anyway. Swansea has improved lately, meaning we should see goals in this one. With Ki playing his best football of the season and the Ayew brothers leading the attack, there’s plenty to like about the Welsh side the rest of the way. Bony, Fer and Sanches are out for the foreseeable future. Mooy and Kachunga are likely out for the home team, whereas Alex Pritchard is questionable.
Newcastle vs. Southampton
– This is a direct matchup between teams in the danger zone. The Magpies will look to continue where they left off the last time they played at St. James’ Park, when Ritchie gave them the win over Manchester United. I’d be shocked if Southampton manages to win this contest. I’m predicting Dwight Gayle to find the net. Yoshida, Davis, and Austin will be out for the guests.
West Bromwich vs. Leicester
– West Brom has one foot in the Championship. Leicester is having a difficult time finding a way to a win. Both squads will prefer not to lose here, so we might see a tightly contested, low-scoring match. Sturridge is still out for The Baggies, and Gareth Barry is questionable.
West Ham vs. Burnley
– How will Burnley do after its long-awaited win? Even though it faces a club that has conceded four times in each of the last two rounds, I think not so well. I see The Hammers stepping up here and earning the three points. The biggest problem for Moyes is his depleted defense. Winston Reid is doubtful, while Collins and Ogbonna are questionable. Arfield will miss the game for Burnley. After scoring from the bench in his last two appearances, I expect to see Antonio in the starting eleven.
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
– Crystal Palace was devastated after losing to Manchester United despite a valiant effort from its players. Stamford Bridge is far from the ideal healing ground. With the return leg against Barcelona coming up, Conte will look to sharpen the team’s senses. Therefore, the visitors will have a tough time getting anything. Kante, who fell ill before the City match, should be back. The same can’t be said for Bakayoko. A clean sheet is lurking. Morata and Hazard could go back to their scoring ways.
Arsenal vs. Watford
– Arsenal will look to build on its mid-week victory over Milan in Italy against a Watford team that has won three of its last four encounters. Although The Eagles will probably score, I expect The Gunners to end their EPL losing streak. Monreal is out and Bellerin is questionable for Wenger. Deulofeu is out for Marco Silva, while Holebas and Kiko Femenia are questionable. I like Ramsey’s and Aubameyang’s prospects on Sunday.
Bournemouth vs. Tottenham
– Tottenham, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Juventus in the Champions League, will go on a dangerous trip to Bournemouth. Son’s spectacular form will need to continue if The Spurs are not to be surprised here. Jordon Ibe, who has missed the last two matches for the hosts, is questionable.
Stoke vs. Manchester City
– Despite having its Champions League quarter-final birth wrapped up, Pep Guardiola was fuming after his team’s home loss to Basel. Sorry, Stoke! You’re going to suffer the consequences. I think a clean sheet is likely. Considering this contest will be played on Monday, I don’t think Guardiola will rest any starters. Jesus’ return makes things a bit complicated for Aguero’s fantasy value. Sterling, Fernandinho, and Delph are all questionable. If they’re out, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, and Zinchenko should start again.