First a review of Gameweek 23
There were some big shocks in the Premier League in week 23, with only one team from the top half managing to win. That team was Man City, and their 4-0 thrashing of West Ham puts them level on points with Liverpool in fourth and only 1 point from second.
With goals quite scarce this week (aside from Man City the rest of the 19 teams in the league only got 15 goals between them) it was defensive players who shone, and this is reflected in the week’s Dream Team lining up in a 5-3-2 formation. Hull’s Eldin Jakupović thwarted Man United at Old Trafford to pick up 11 points in goal, while Scott Dann was the standout player of the week with his goal and clean sheet earning him 15 points in Crystal Palace’s crucial 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Gameweek 24 Preview
The opening game of this weekend is a big one, with Chelsea hosting Arsenal at Stamford Bridge at lunchtime tomorrow. The last time these two sides met was a hugely significant day in the title race – Chelsea slipped to a 3-0 defeat but subsequently changed formation to 3-4-3 and went on a devastating 13-match winning streak in the league. That’s put them firmly in pole position in the title race and they now sit 9 points clear of closest challengers Tottenham and Arsenal. They’ve won their last 8 home games in the league by an aggregate score of 24-3 and despite the defeat earlier in the season will have little to fear from an Arsenal side who’ve won just one of their last 4 away games in the league and were beaten at home by Watford in midweek. Furthermore, Arsenal have a wretched record at Stamford Bridge; Chelsea have won 6 of the last 7 meetings here and in the last 3 of those have scored 10 goals without reply. Gary Cahill (£6.5m) could therefore be the pick here, having scored in each of Chelsea’ last 2 home games and holding experience of keeping Arsenal’s attack at bay.
At 3pm Everton are at home to Bournemouth and the home side should be confident of picking up 3 points here, They’re on an unbeaten run of six games in the league and have kept clean sheets in four of those. In their last two home games they’ve put three past Southampton and four past Man City, and a defence as leaky as Saturday’s visitors’ provide further opportunities for goals. Bournemouth have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions and conceded 3 goals in five of their last six away. Seamus Coleman (£5.7m) has a goal and two assists from his last three games, and with clean sheet points in three out of four and a favourable fixture list coming up he could be a shrewd choice.
In the evening game Tottenham host Middlesbrough in a game that features the league’s joint-best defence against the worst attack. Spurs have conceded just 16 goals in their 23 league games so far and have kept 10 clean sheets, while Boro have scored only 19 goals and have failed to score in 9 of their 23 matches. The smart money is on another Spurs clean sheet, and the standout defensive player in terms of Fantasy Football points is Kyle Walker (£6.2m). He’s contributed 6 assists this season, as well as playing the full 90 minutes in each of the 10 games that in which Spurs have kept clean sheets. In the attacking third Dele Alli (£8.9m) is still very much in form, with 8 goals and an assist from his last 7 appearances.
On Sunday Manchester City’s impressive home run (just 1 defeat in their last 20 at the Etihad) should be extended against Swansea. The Swans have picked up recently under Paul Clement, winning 3 of their last 5, but this is still 5th against 17th and the likes of Kevin de Bruyne (£10.5m) and Raheem Sterling (£7.7m) against a side who’ve conceded 52 league goals this season. That’s 5 more than Hull City and at least 10 more than anyone else in the league! Jesus (£9.1m) was impressive on Wednesday night against West Ham, scoring and assisting in the 4-0 rout, and if he gets the nod ahead of Agüero (£12.8m) again then he could pick up more points here.
To finish off, one Fantasy Football pick from each of the remaining fixtures:
Crystal Palace v Sunderland – Patrick van Aanholt (£5.0m)
Hull v Liverpool – Sadio Mané (£9.0m)
Southampton v West Ham – Shane Long (£6.1m)
Watford v Burnley – Daryl Janmaat (£4.5m)
West Brom v Stoke – Peter Crouch (£4.9m)
Leicester v Man United – Paul Pgoba (£8.4m)
Best of luck for this weekend, and we’ll bring you another update later this week