FPL Gameweek 37: Review

Eden Hazard jogs over to the corner

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard” (CC by 4.0) by Ben Sutherland

The much-anticipated double gameweek 37 finally arrived, and with just one more week left after this it promised to be one with impact for Premier League teams and FPL managers alike. ‎This review was written on Tuesday the 16th of May, just after the Chelsea-Watford game, so some of the gameweek 37 games are still to be played.

Obviously the game that stood out this weekend took place at the Hawthorns, where a Chelsea victory over the home side would crown the Blues officially champions of the Premier League season 16/17. But there’s more. Second-placed Spurs hosted a United team focused on Europa League glory for their last ever game at White Hart Lane, while Liverpool, City and Arsenal are all still contending for Champions League football.

September 24th, 2016. Chelsea have just lost to Arsenal, 3-0, which leaves them 8 points from first place. A repeat of last season’s horrors is on the horizon, so Antonio Conte sleeps very little. He was brought in to get Abramovich the title, after all. He should try another formation, maybe an accordeon-like 3-4-3…

Fast forward to 8 months later. Chelsea are a victory away from crowning themselves champions of the Premier League season 16/17. No club has been able to find a proper and sustainable answer to Conte’s hard-pressing 3-4-3-machine. The only thing standing between them and glory is a West Brom side that seems to have switched off after reaching the 40-point mark remarkably early in the season.

The Blues dominate, the Baggies don’t fail to create some danger themselves, but in minute 75 the match is still scoreless. Conte brings on Willian and Batshuayi for Pedro and star man Eden Hazard. People frown. Minute 82, the excellent Azpilicueta has yet again boomed forward, he produces a low center and Batshuayi finishes. As Chelsea play down the clock it’s clearer than ever: the players are champions, and Conte is the champion-maker.

And as far as FPL in concernded, don’t expect too much from your Chelsea assets for the rest of the season. For the Watford match on Monday night, Conte changed his team almost completely leaving only Azpilicueta (who is the only player to have played every single minute of every game this season) and Hazard as the only two players retaining their starting position. The match against Watford was a humdinger resulting in a 4-3 win, Chelsea not surprisingly being vunerable at the back after all the changes but will probably be back to full strength for their final Premier League match of the season on Sunday.

Champions League tension

On Sunday, second-placed Spurs welcomed a United side that has set its sight on winning the Europa League as their entry ticket into the Champions League. Possible? Yes. Risky? Probably. In their last game at White Hart Lane before construction of the new stadium starts, the Spurs dominated most of the game. The likes of Eriksen, Alli and Kane caused United all kinds of trouble, while Vertonghen and co. kept it tight at the back. A header by Wanyama (after an ideal cross by left-back Davies) and a subtle touch by Kane (after an Eriksen corner) gave Rooney’s unexpected, and probably quite undeserved, goal in a 2-1 Spurs victory a merely statistical value. What remains for Spurs this week is an away game at reigning and reinvigorated Leicester and an away game at Hull in the final gameweek.

Elsewhere in London the two champions of irregularity West Ham and Liverpool faced off, with the Hammers having nothing left to play for and the Reds fighting to keep hold of third place. A double by Coutinho (as well as an assist), and goals by Sturridge and Origi sealed the easy deal for Liverpool, and with a home game versus relegated Boro on the agenda next week it seems that the likes of Coutinho, Wijnaldum (two assists against West Ham) and Nathaniel Clyne could be popular. Some Fantasy Football managers also find online casino games popular and the latest promotion we’ve seen this year is the Fruity King Promo Code 2017

Up North, Man City hosted Leicester as the Citizens still have their eye on Liverpool’s third spot, especially knowing that they have one game in hand (this week’s home game versus West Brom). City dominated large parts of the game which resulted in a 2-1 lead at half-time, courtesy of a Silva goal, a Gabigol penalty (he started instead of the not entirely match-fit Aguero), and an astonishing Shinji Okazaki (you read that right) volley. Leroy Sané assisted both City goals. The tempo dropped in the second half, though Riyad Mahrez kind of clumsily missed a penalty around the 77th minute mark to grant City the three points.

Finally, number 5 Arsenal faced the traditionally difficult task of winning at the Britannia, which turned out not to be such a difficult one this time. The Potters are safe and have nothing to play for anymore, while Arsenal can still make the top four if Liverpool or City slip up in their final games. The Gunners played a serious and concentrated match resulting in a 1-4 victory, courtesy of Giroud (twice), Alexis and Mesut Özil goals. The reinstated right back Bellerin provided for two of the four goals. FPL captaincy favorite Alexis produced the points, but also went off injured right after his goal in the 76th minute. Though Wenger stated afterwards that his star player is probably fine for the next match against Sunderland many FPL managers will still be crossing their fingers until Tuesday hoping his thigh injury was just from a kick and not a more serious strain.