With another reduced number of teams in Premier League action this weekend due to the ongoing FA Cup competition, there were only a few sides to select from for this week’s “Best XI” – though there has been a nice spread of action, with games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Everton continued their impressive performances against the big teams this season when they beat Arsenal 1-0 at Goodison Park, while Burnley earned a hugely impressive – and vitally important – away win at Bournemouth. Leicester and Crystal Palace also picked up wins on the road at Huddersfield and Newcastle respectively, while Liverpool’s Friday night trip to Southampton also saw them take the points. Let’s go for a 4-3-3 and see which players performed the best!
The FA Cup semi-finals take place this weekend in England. As a result, there will be only six Premier League fixtures played between Friday and Monday.
St Mary’s is where the action starts with the meeting of Southampton and Liverpool on Friday night. It’s a huge fixture in the Premier League title race with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds looking to go back on top with a win.
At the other end, Burnley will be hoping to take something from their game at Bournemouth as they look to shake off Cardiff City in the battle to survive relegation.
Arsenal and Chelsea are the only two teams from the top-four battle who are in league action over the coming days. Continue reading
West Ham have been having a fair to middling season in truth. At times criticised for poor performances, the Hammers have nonetheless staved off any threat of a relegation scrap thus far and find themselves ninth in the Premier League table. While they sit quite a distance from the European places – indeed, points-wise they are closer to the drop zone – they have managed to pull some decent results out of the bag, and this past weekend’s thriller at home against Huddersfield could be labeled many things, but never boring! Manuel Pellegrini has used his experience and past success in English football (one Premier League title and two League Cup trophies) to instill a sense of purpose throughout the side.
Though it is still mathematically possible the grandest of miracles aside, both Huddersfield and Fulham will be relegated from the Premier League this season. To put the clubs fate into more prespective there is 21 points left on the board and Huddersfield are 16 points from safety and Fulham are 13 and we can firmly discount either team from making a stunning comeback.
That leaves just one more team who will be playing in the Championship next season. And here are the main contenders: First up is the team in 18th and currently going down Cardiff City who have 28 points. Their last league game ended up being a massive result for Neil Warnock’s side who beat West Ham 2-0. Had they lost that game they would have lost touch with safety and been five points behind. Instead there is just a two point gap to the two other contenders.
Both Burnley and Southampton have 30 points each, although it is interesting to note that Southampton has a game in hand over Burnley and so does Cardiff. So out of these 3 teams who is the favourite to go down? The bookmakers have made Cardiff the favourites since there is a 2 point gap, but the best gage of this surely are the clubs remaining fixtures.
Cardiff will have to play 4 of their 7 games away from home and they have some very tough fixtures. Just look at their next two for evidence, Chelsea followed by Manchester City. They also have to play Liverpool at home and finish the season away to Manchester United. It is unlikely they will be picking up many more points although they will fancy getting maximum points against Fulham and Crystal Palace- the Palace match is at home and by the time they face Fulham, the Cottagers should be properly relegated.
Burnley have some tough games also and it should be noted that in a few weeks time they will come head to head with Cardiff in a fantastic ‘six pointer’ which will be played at home. But Sean Dyche’s team have a nightmare run in that sees the last 4 league games having to play Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal. That really could seal their fate.
Finally there is Southampton who out of the three teams look on paper to have the easiest run in and if they can continue their solid form they should be fine. The Saints only have to face one top 4 side in Liverpool in the run in and even then they will be at home. But they have a smooth run in which includes home games against Bournemouth and Huddersfield and they should be safe this season.
The relegation battle is hotting up, that is evidently clear and it seems like a straight run off between Burnley and Cardiff, our tip is that Burnley with such a tough final run in may just be the third and final team to be relegated.
Life really can be cruel at times. Sometimes, no matter what you try and do, things just don’t come off – nothing works, and all you are left with is frustration and confusion. Depending on which side of the London Stadium you were sitting in on Saturday, that could be either the exact opposite of what happened, or the embodiment of your weekend. For the neutral of course, while West Ham taking on Huddersfield may not necessarily seem like the most must-watch game of the weekend, this was an absolute cracker. It could be argued that, like West Ham fans, the neutrals felt the opposite of the aforementioned frustration. Huddersfield, however, really look in danger – they somehow managed to claw defeat from the grasp of victory, and hopes of a miracle continue to fade with each passing match. Continue reading
With the FA Cup taking place this weekend in England, the Premier League fixtures have been reduced but there are still some mouth watering ties for us to look over and debate about. Which teams will benefit this weekend and which players will be looking to make the difference and earn more fantasy points? Let’s take a look below.
Bournemouth v Newcastle
Newcastle could join Bournemouth on the same point (37) with a win here. The home side did get a win last weekend but that was against Huddersfield and have otherwise been poor. Newcastle’s form has been solid and they are scoring goals. Salomon Rondon is in great form and is Newcastle’s top performer with 41 points and he can brought into your team for just 7m. Newcastle to beat Bournemouth
Burnley v Leicester
Burnley have lost 3 games coming into this game and are in 17th and in danger of being relegated. Leicester have a new manager in Brendan Rodgers and they will not be afraid to attack. Jamie Vardy scored a brace last weekend and he is 11.5m to snap up but is Leicester’s best player in the fantasy rankings and gained 10pts last weekend. Burnley and Leicester to draw
West Ham v Huddersfield
West Ham have been in great form at home and should have no problems to beat Huddersfield. Felipe Anderson has 45pts for The Hammers and has already scored earlier in the season against Huddersfield, if he can do so again and put a good performance in he would be worth having in your team for 8m. West Ham to beat Huddersfield
Fulham v Liverpool
Fulham are going to be relegated this season and Liverpool are trying to win the title and there should be only one winner here. The Reds will be the massive favourites not only to win but score a few goals too. Goalkeeper Alisson rarely lets goals in and he is the best performing goalkeeper in ELF fantasy and can be brought into your team for 10m. He has a whopping 110pts already this season. Liverpool to beat Fulham
Everton v Chelsea
Everton have not been very good for the past four months and have won only odd games. They threw away a 2 goal lead at Newcastle last weekend and lost 3-2. Chelsea are hoping for a top 4 place and have improved, although could only draw against Wolves last weekend. Gonzalo Higuaín to score against Everton could be a shrewd move and the Argentina international is 10m and has already racked up 32pts for The Blues.
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This weekend we have another full schedule of ten EPL matches to look forward to. Here are the predicted lineups for every EPL game.
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Dann, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha
Brighton XI: Ryan, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Knockaert, Andone, Jahanbakhsh
Out: Speroni, Sakho, Souare (Crystal Palace); Balogun, Gross (Brighton)
There is another full list of Premier League fixtures this coming weekend with all games being played over Saturday and Sunday.
Spurs v Arsenal
Spurs XI: Lloris, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Aurier, Sissoko, Winks, Rose, Eriksen, Kane, Son
Arsenal XI: Leno, Sokratis, Koscielny, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Questionable: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs); Lars Koscielny, Stephan Lichtsteiner (Arsenal)
Out: Dele Alli, Eric Dier (Spur); Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Things were meant to be different under Unai Emery. He was the main anointed to oversee a complete overhaul of Arsenal, not just as a football team, but as a club and an organisation. And yet what we have seen from the Gunners this season has been very similar to what was witnessed over the latter years of Arsene Wenger’s tenure.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, Emery has inherited almost exactly the same squad that Wenger had to work with last season. Some additions were made in the summer, with Denis Suarez arriving on loan from Barcelona in the January window, but besides that, not much has changed in terms of personnel.
Or in terms of mindset either. Under Wenger last season, Arsenal went from the turn of the year to the very last game of the campaign without picking up a point away from home. As things stand right now, the Gunners have won just one of their last seven Premier League away days, also suffering a defeat away to BATE Borisov in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Emery wasn’t just appointed to impose a new style of play on a team that had lost its identity. He was appointed to change the mentality at the Emirates Stadium and the early signs are that he has so far failed to do that, at least going on the frailty of Arsenal’s recent performances on the road.
“We can have better balance [in performances] when we prepare by thinking it’s going to be very difficult,” Emery said after the defeat to Man City a couple weeks ago. “I spoke with the players [and told them] we need to think this match is very important for us. Every player needs to be ready, be focused and be thinking we need to win this match. We must impose ourselves from the first minute and throughout the 90 minutes but first is the mentality.”
Another away defeat in their next trip on the road – away to Spurs – would really expose the issues in the minds of the Arsenal players right now. Earlier this season it seemed that progress had been made under Emery. Now, that is in question. A rebuttal is needed. And soon.
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The 13th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City and Liverpool maintain their unbeaten starts, while Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Tottenham. Let’s take a look at the top points scorers from the weekend’s games…
GK: Jonas Lossl, Huddersfield – seven points
Jonas Lossl kept his third clean sheet of the season as Huddersfield won 2-0 away at Wolves on Sunday. The Dane now has 14 points from his last three games.