ROUND 37: FANTASY EPL REVIEW
It’s obvious we’re coming to the season’s end when you see the highest fantasy EPL scorers list for the previous week and some rarely heard names have sneaked in. Most of the common names came from Arsenal’s current and former players. That’s because the Gunners’ last home game of the season wasn’t your typical last home game — it was Arsene Wenger’s last home match and the players made sure they sent him off in style with a 5-0 victory over Burnley.
The former player I was referring to above was Olivier Giroud. The French striker’s second half header against Liverpool gave his team a last ray of hope at reaching the Champions League. The Reds weren’t the only top four team that suffered a loss. So did Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Both lost 1-0 on the road. Pascal Gross gave Brighton the win over the Red Devils on Friday, while Jake Livermore’s 92’ strike stung the Spurs.
Overall, Round 37 was thin on goals, with only three contests jumping over the three-goal hurdle. Arsenal vs. Burnley was one, while the other two were Watford vs. Newcastle and Stoke vs. Crystal Palace. Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray were the goalscorers in Watford’s 2-1 win over Newcastle, whose goalscorer was Ayoze Perez. Crystal Palace defeated Stoke by the same score away from home, effectively relegating its opponent. Xherdan Shaqiri opened the scoring in the first half, but the Eagles came back in the second with goals from James McArthur (68’) and Patrick van Aanholt (86’). Manchester City somehow failed to find the net against Huddersfield, giving the visitors a valuable point in the 0-0 draw at The Etihad.
Bournemouth pushed Swansea further towards the brink with a 1-0 victory courtesy of Ryan Fraser. Southampton managed only a draw at Everton because of Tom Davies, whose 96’ strike tied the game at one. Nathan Redmond was the scorer for the Saints, his first goal this season. Lastly, Joao Mario and Mark Noble gave West Ham a significant 2-0 victory on the road at Leicester.
ROUND 37: HIGHEST FANTASY SCORERS
Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle), Mathew Ryan, Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Ben Foster (West Bromwich), Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth), Adrian (West Ham), Ederson (Manchester City).
Defenders: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal), Bruno (Brighton), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich), Joao Mario (West Ham), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), Mark Noble (West Ham), Tom Davies (Everton).
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea).
ROUND 38: FANTASY EPL PREVIEW
Burnley vs. Bournemouth
– After suffering a heavy defeat in London, Sean Dyche will want to end the season on a high note, especially since it was one of the best in club history. Therefore, I expect the Clarets to bounce back and come out on top. With Chris Wood out and Ashley Barnes questionable, fantasy owners in search of some help in attack should take a look at Sam Vokes. Gudmundsson and Lennon are also solid options.
Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich
– West Bromwich did its best to escape relegation, but as I said a week ago, it was too little too late. The Baggies will be battling teams in a lower league next season. Crystal Palace has been one of the best and most productive teams lately, a fact confirmed by Wilfred Zaha’s Player of the Month award for April. The Eagles should win and there’s a good chance we see a clean sheet as well.
Huddersfield vs. Arsenal
– With visits to Manchester City and Chelsea, Huddersfield’s prospects of assuring survival appeared bleak at best. However, David Wagner found a way to encourage his players and avoided defeats in both matches (one last weekend, the other one midweek), ensuring his team plays in the Premier League next season. Therefore, the Terriers go into their last game this season against Arsenal calm and happy. Arsenal followed up its demolition of Burnley with a poor display the King Power Stadium, where Leicester won 3-1 on Wednesday. Mavropanos earned a straight red 15 minutes into the clash. This should be a free-flowing encounter. I give the advantage to the Gunners and I’d be foolish not to pick Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan as the main threats (if they start, of course).
Liverpool vs. Brighton
– Brighton’s win over Manchester United was huge, as it ensured one of the main favorites to drop out remained in the EPL. The Seagulls lost midweek to Manchester City – a predictable result. Liverpool is next on the schedule. Considering the Reds need at least a point to avoid potentially being caught by Chelsea, it is advisable for you to start any Liverpool player available, starting with Player of the Season Mohamed Salah.
Manchester United vs. Watford
– The Red Devils have a nice matchup as well and should be a great source of fantasy points in the final week of the season. Unfortunately, Romelu Lukaku is injured, so you’ll have to take a chance with someone else stepping up in attack. I’d go with Jesse Lingard.
Newcastle vs. Chelsea
– Chelsea will do its best to earn the three points and keep the pressure up on Liverpool, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blues leave St. James’ Park without them. Newcastle jumped up to the middle of the table and then got stuck on 41 points, losing its last four fixtures. I’m pretty convinced that both teams will score. Thibaut Courtois is questionable for the visitors.
Southampton vs. Manchester City
– The Saints’ prayers paid off as the team is practically in the safe zone. Four matches without a loss (two wins, two draws) combined with Swansea losing four in a row (including their head-to-head matchup on Tuesday) means that there are not going to be two Welsh clubs in the English Premier League next season (Cardiff finished second in the Championship). Manchester City is chasing history, trying to become the first EPL team to reach the century mark. I do not dare doubt Guardiola, therefore feel free to employ all your City players, especially Leroy Sane. The German winger had three assists in the 3-1 win versus Brighton two days ago.
Swansea vs. Stoke
– A depressive meeting of two relegated squads does not incite enthusiasm. Avoid players from this matchup.
Tottenham vs. Leicester
– Even though it seems highly unlikely to happen, Harry Kane is still within reach of Mohamed Salah on the top goalscorers chart. His 28 goals are three behind Salah’s 31. Kane’s teammates are going to try to set him up as often as possible, making him the most wanted fantasy player of the round.
West Ham vs. Everton
– The Hammers enter this game without any pressure after securing their place in the league with last weekend’s win at Leicester. Everton has nothing to play for either, so this might be a good opportunity for the managers to experiment a bit. Arnautovic and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez are questionable for West Ham. Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney have the same designation on The Toffees’ side.
That would be all for this season. Thank you for reading my articles and good luck in the last round.