Another high scoring round in 33, with 29 goals scored again, one shy of three a game on average. Whilst United beating City is not the biggest shock result, to do so from 2-0 down cat half time certainly is. The comeback for the Red Devils keeps the Citizens with just one hand on the title for now.
At the other end West Brom managed a point but ten points in five games won’t happen for them, especially when three of those five are United, Liverpool and Spurs. Losses for Stoke and Southampton keep them stuck in the bottom three and the favourites to join the Baggies in the Championship next season, although Huddersfield, Palace and Swansea aren’t far away.
Danny Welbeck took top billing last round, scoring two and assisting one to top score with 16. Harry Kane managed to beg a goal out of the review panel, but for Fantasy that remains with Eriksen, who was second place with 15.
Big round for 34, with 14 games, stretching through to next Thursday. Plenty of action then and a couple of double game weeks to boot:
Crystal Palace v Brighton (Game of the Round)
With the title pretty much wrapped up, and the top four almost decided as well, my GOTR focus is on the relegation battle. Both these sides sit outside the bottom three going into the weekend, but Palace could drop in if Southampton win their game in hand. Brighton are further up the table, and seven points clear of danger, but could be pulled right back in with a loss here so all to play for.
No win for either in their last two and patchy form all season. I’m backing the home advantage to be telling. Palace win.
Southampton v Chelsea
Early game Saturday sees Chelsea travel to St Mary’s. Poor form on both sides, only a solitary Chelsea win in the last five for both sides. Southampton losing three on the bounce remain in the drop zone and look good to go down.
37 previous meetings have seen 21 Chelsea wins and eight draws. The Blues also similarly proficient at beating the Saints away, so no home ground boost for the strugglers. Not a bad time to play Chelsea with their recent form, but they will still win this.
Burnley v Leicester
7th vs 8th here. Burnley dropped off mid-season, but have come back strong, winning four on the bounce. Leicester were beaten by Newcastle last week, but were unbeaten in the four prior. Just the five priors in this one, with the Foxes winning three and the Clarets one, but the one was at Turf Moor. Too hard to pick here, sticking on the draw.
Huddersfield v Watford
Two poor sides in form tables here. The Terriers have one points from the last five, whilst the Hornets have four. Watford are more prolific in front of goal than the hosts, but have also conceded more on average.
In December’s reciprocal game, Huddersfield ran out 4-1 victors. This one should be closer though and I reckon the away side are in with a shout.
Swansea v Everton
Everton took a good point from the Merseyside derby against a weakened Liverpool side and will look to add to improved recent form in this one. Swansea were held by basement side West Brom and have just one win in five.
13 previous meetings see the Toffees lead the head to head 6-2 (five draws), including a 3-1 victory earlier in the season. With a few key attackers likely missing for the Swans, I sense an Everton victory.
Liverpool v Bournemouth
Liverpool were held last week, but progressed to the Champions League semi-finals midweek with a second win over Man City in a week and third for the season. Both sides going well form-wise, losing only one each in the last five.
The Reds took this one out 4-0 back in December, but may suffer something of a European hangover. I still see them having the quality to take this out against a side they’ve only lost once to in the top flight.
Tottenham v Man City
Fresh from crashing out of Europe and a second league loss of the season to rivals United, City travel to the capital to face Spurs. They can wrap up the title this week, but require a United loss to do so, which is unlikely.
The United loss was the only blemish in the last five for the Citizens, while Spurs have won all games in the same time, conceding only three goals along the way and sit comfortably in the top four, ten clear of Chelsea in fifth.
These two have met 41 times at this level, with Spurs leading 23-12 in wins. In fact, the 4-1 loss earlier in the season was the only loss in the last five for Tottenham against City. With a bit of a battering to their confidence, I can see City stumbling again here.
Newcastle v Arsenal
The early Sunday game sees Arsenal travel north to St James’ to face the in-form Geordies. Rafa has produced miracles with the Newcastle squad to take them to the top half and likely safe in the PL for another year. Both sides have won the last three on the bounce, but all Arsenal’s have been at home. In fact, the Gunners’ away form has been poor, winning only three of 15 on the road all season.
Their form against the Magpies is a lot better though, winning 26 and drawing ten from 45 matchups, including 1-0 in Round 18, a scoreline they’ve won by the last three times the sides met. Arsenal have also won all of the last five. The history swings massively to the Gunners, but the current season away form and Newcastle’s recent run make this interesting. Draw?
Man United v West Brom
Not too much to say here. Second against bottom; United flying high after beating City; wins in all the last five for the Red Devils while the Baggies have just three all season; United leading 15-3 in the head to head from 23. All signs point to a home win.
West Ham v Stoke
Both these sides are in poor form, with just one Hammers win in the last five for either side, and are both in the relegation fight, though the Hammers are five clear at this stage.
West Ham won 3-0 in round 18 but the head to head is tighter, with five wins apiece from 17. That means the draw is the most common result, with seven of them. That said, with the poor form for the Potters and good form for Arnautovic, I see another Hammers win.
Brighton v Tottenham
Into the double up games now, with all sides from here playing their second games of the round.
Just the one head to head for these two, with Spurs winning 2-0 back in December. With the, coming off what I think will be a win over City, I see them two good for the Seagulls.
Bournemouth v Man United
These side have met five times at this level, with United leading 3-1. The Cherries’ only win was at home but I don’t think that will help them too much, with the Red Devils on a great run of wins. Away win.
Burnley v Chelsea
The Clarets are in the better form here and already have a win over the Blues this season, 3-2 in round one. Have the wheels come off at Chelsea? Possibly. If I’m picking an upset victory this round, I think Burnley will be it.
Leicester v Southampton
Closing out the round sees the Foxes host the Saints. 23 previous meeting have produced nine Leicester wins, six Southampton wins and eight draws. The Foxes though won the last meeting 4-1 and are in the better form, so I see them taking this one out.
Harry Kane (12.9m) is top of the picks this week. Given he’s got two games and has shown his desire to get goals this week, he’s a good choice to bring in after returning from injury.
Leicester play twice this week so no surprise that Vardy (9m) is popular given he’s been scoring well.
United have two winnable games as well so the remaining three of the top five are all from the Red Devils – Pogba (7.8m), Lukaku (11.6m) and Smalling (5.5m) all brought into over 100,000 teams.
Elsewhere, I’d be focusing on the two-game players. Aside from the top five, Eriksen (9.4m), Lingard (6m), Sanchez (11.5m), Son (8.4m) and Mahrez (9m) would be on my radar.
If you think Chelsea will beat the form slump, also look to the likes of Willian (7.2m), Hazard (10.6m) and Morata (10.4m) for their two games.
Further outside the box, if you want to ride Burnley’s good from, look at one or two of Barnes (5.4m), Cork (4.5m), Wood (6.3m) or Lennon (5.4m).
Captain choices largely go with the above. Big picks for me this week would be Pogba, Lukaku and Kane. Otherwise, take more of a gamble on Eriksen, Barnes or Vardy.
Bet of the Week
Not the greatest overall last round, picking four from ten, but that did include a $3.60 draw in the Merseyside and $3.40 Burnley win.
Odds for my picks this week:
Crystal Palace v Brighton – Palace $1.83
Southampton v Chelsea – Chelsea $1.83
Burnley v Leicester – Draw $3.10
Huddersfield v Watford – Watford $2.88
Swansea v Everton – Everton $3.00
Liverpool v Bournemouth – Liverpool $1.22
Tottenham v Man City – Spurs $2.63
Newcastle v Arsenal – Draw $3.50
Man United v West Brom – United $1.14
West Ham v Stoke – West Ham $1.91
Brighton v Tottenham – Spurs $1.33
Bournemouth v Man United – United $1.57
Burnley v Chelsea – Burnley $3.75
Leicester v Southampton – Leicester $2.00
If you’re yet to sign up, NEDs are offering some great first deposit bonuses. You can take full advantage of this and sign-up here. Hopefully there are plenty of winners above!