With just over 10 weeks left in the season, we channel our focus on last minute differentials and a push in many mini-leagues. This week, our favorite matchups include: Everton / Palace, Swansea / Burnley, City / Leicester City, Newcastle / United, Southampton / Liverpool, and Chelsea / WBA. After an early bloodbath last weekend (in the Saturday matchups), most teams were saved by a combination of Salah and/or Kane as captain. The Liverpool-Tottenham thriller single-handedly lifted the game week average by some +13 points.
Winning the armband this week, we are still inclined to give it to Aguero. Burnley managed to keep City at bay, limiting scoring to an early goal by Danilo while managing an equalizer late in the game. This week, City face Leicester who are also coming off a draw against Swansea. With a lack of other options, Pep will likely still apply Aguero up top, while mixing up his midfield. Man City have won their last 12 home matches, of which, there have been over 2.5 goals scored. Accompanying Aguero, we’ve listed Lukaku and Firmino as decent options.
Lukaku and United have someone fallen off the radar as reasonable fantasy options given difficulty establishing cohesiveness as a side and general inconsistencies in FPL returns. We do think United is setup well to put together a strong haul here, similar to their 4-1 win back in November. Man Utd have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 6 matches which should also bode well for United defensive units.
Firmino manages to keep his place in our side as Liverpool marches undefeated in the last 16 of their 17 matches. Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in 8 of their last 9 matches and should steamroll a Southampton side which has failed to win the last of their 6 home matches.
In midfield, Hazard, Sterling, Lingard, and Bolaise lead. Yes, Chelsea are in disarray having lost 4-1 to Watford. Conte will likely see the door at the end of the season, bringing way to new management. At the same time, Chelsea are going up against WBA this week while playing at home. This could not be more of a one-sided affair on paper. West Brom have failed to win 23 of their last 24 matches. Sterling is our surrogate for City even though the threat of rotation increases with each week City remains at the top of the league. Lingard and Bolaise are our value picks for this week.
Lingard does seem somewhat unsustainable given the long-term mix of Sanchez coming in (United played Sanchez-Lingard-Matta last week). We do still think the price tag and fixture against a relatively mediocre Newcastle side make him worth keeping for one more week. Bolaise is our punt of the week. Undoubtedly, Everton got rinsed by Arsenal and have underperformed in recent weeks. Bolaise’s return is by no means an easy fix for the squad, but it is worth noting how far forward he is playing which should land itself to opportunities to pickup fantasy points.
Defensively, City, Liverpool, United, and Chelsea are the premium sides with good chances of keeping cleans. For more moderate priced defenders, we do think Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth, and Stoke are worth considering. There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Brighton’s last 8 away games (they play Stoke this week). There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Burnley’s last 4 games.