We are after GW37, my score was 70 points which gave me a very little promotion from 64 820 to 59 763. So my dream about top 10k is done, but there will be a time to summarize my season, my good moves and my mistakes. The last thing left for me, is to have some fun with the last gameweek so… I’m going to have fun. There is absolutely nothing to defend, so it’s time to attack 😉
GW38 fixtures difficulty:
I bold the names of the teams, that have something to fight for:
- Manchester City
- West Ham
- Sheffield United
- Aston Villa
- Manchester United
- Crystal Palace
- Newcastle United
So in fact, we have 8 teams that have still a reason to fight for and my first conclusion is that there is only one team among those, that is ranked high in terms of fixtures difficulty. It’s Tottenham. Their opponent – Crystal Palace – have lost 7 consecutive games!
Liverpool 4 – 0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Burnley
Leicester 3 – 0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 2 – 3 Chelsea
Aston Villa 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Manchester United
Wolverhampton 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
Their goal difference over this period is awful, only 2 goals scored and 17 goals lost which is 2,42 per game. I think Tottenham assets deserve much more attention, then they actually get. If we add, that Palace will be without their 4 (four !!!) basic defenders: Mamadou Sakho, Gary Cahill, James Tomkins & Patrick van Aanholt I’m not sure if this fixture isn’t same easy as Manchester City vs Norwich.
Before we move on, let’s have a look on the numbers for GW38, below you will find xG & xGA for this GW, but in a context. Have a look on the last column but keep in mind the previous ones, which will tell you whether the team is rising or falling down in terms of the particular stat:
What else they play for?
I really doubt that Sterling could score 4 goals to catch Vardy, neither Salah in his current form is able to do it in my opinion. But in fact we should list and consider 5 players as ‘still in the race for golden boot’:
Jamie Vardy – a current leader with 23 goals, faces Manchester United. It’s extremely important game for both sides, to be or not to be in the Champions League next year. Vardy is in a fine form and tbh Leicester’s underlying stats are better then I thought they are. They actually favour Leicester to win this game! But it doesn’t take into account the fact, they will be without Caglar Soyuncu & Ben Chilwell and the other fact that R.Bennett was doing terrible vs Kane in the previous game. (btw. likely this time he will cover Anthony Martial!). It’s a tough game for weakened Leicester team, they have to put more emphasis on defending, but on the other hand they need a win to get a promotion.
Danny Ings – incredible season for this guy, he faces Sheffield before his own stands (which isn’t actually The Saints advantage), but look at this: The Blades have 2nd worst xGA based on teams current form (previous 4 games), although the results don’t reflect this. His underlying stats neither aren’t impressive, but remember how clinical he is, he needs a half of a chance to grab a goal. In those circumstances: Vardy having tough game, Sheffield having nothing to play for, he will have his chances…
Aubameyang – if someone could explain how is this possible to beat Liverpool & City and then lose to Aston Villa, please do explain. Watford have to win this game but on the other hand don’t let The Gunners to score tons of goals (because goals difference might matter). The Hornets have improved slightly in the back, but once again the results don’t reflect this. Aubameyang hasn’t had a single shot on target vs Liverpool & Aston Villa, last time when he scored a goal was 4 games ago vs Leicester with only 1 shot on target. This doesn’t encourage me to bring him on board.
Mohamed Salah – he was really poor in terms of finishing in the few previous games. He could have easly scored vs Chelsea, Arsenal and Burnley, but he didn’t. I think this doesn’t give him a confidence before last game in the season while being still 4 goals behind Vardy. Maybe I read this wrong, but his body language vs Chelsea (smiling, relaxed, being so happy for his team mates goals) makes me thinking, that he already gave up on a golden boot. On the other hand, Necwastle are still without 4 centre backs: Lascelles, Lejeune, Schär, Krafth should be all out. Couldn’t be better to say a good goodbye in a style?
Raheem Sterling –
5 shots on target 2 goals vs Watford
4 shots on target 3 goals vs Brighton
No matter what we think about his golden boot chances, he should be included in your lineup for this GW. Fine form and explosiveness is exactly what we are looking for against poor Norwich
So it’s between Ederson and Nick Pope. The Brazilian is almost guaranteed to keep a clean sheet (Norwich scored only 1 goals after resumption). Chris Wood said, that Brunley is going to fight for Nicky Pope to help him win the trophy and tbh I keep my fingers crossed, because he deserve it and it would be a bit romantic story. But the underlying stats are slightly against this, based on last 4 games Brighton have a bit improved in attack while Burnley have a bit worsened in the backline. I’m not sure if I would tripple up on Burnley defense, probably only if I couldn’t find any better alternative.
KDB assists record
KSB is 1 assist short to equal Thierry Henry record from 2002/2003 season when he managed to assist 20 times. I think The Belgian is going to beat this record, not only equal it. The opportunity is huge, a dream one because of the opponent. And look how tough is this to have 20 assist in a single season. Neither of Lampard, Fabregas and Ozil were able to achieve that for years. It’s a chance to make a stamp in the history. What’s more important he is still the best in terms of expected assists after resumption (0,77 A per game) and might be on penalties!
Arsenal – Watford
- As i mentioned above, I have no idea how it might goes. Arsenal have nothing to play for, Watford have everything to play for. This is literally the one and only argument I can find to predict something in this game, and it’s non-football argumentation so I don’t fancy it. I can’t rule out that Emiliano Martinez will find a spot in my team, but it’s only due to his price.
- It’s not a risky prediction but I expect Watford at most one goal.
Burnley – Brighton
- These days it’s easy to say: Burnley will keep a clean sheet. Sure, they likely will do everything to do it and combined with their good defending abilities this is for me enough strong argument to double or even tripple up on their defense. But, don’t blame yourself and don’t be to harsh for yourself if they won’t.
- Pope to win a golden glove
Chelsea – Wolves
- This one is tough. I can’t wait to watch this game and I have to choose between this and United… Chelsea is as bad in defending as good in attacking. This makes me fell, that both teams will score so you shouldn’t look for a clean sheet in this game.
- Christian Pulisic is in a superb form, his performance vs Liverpool was outstanding and what’s even more important he maintains this form since the resumption. Chelsea have fantastic attacking underlying stats at Stamford Bridge (second best behind City after resumption and over the whole season! The Blues are doing better in front of their own stands than Liverpool!). On the other hand Wolves are best in terms of defending away from home over the whole season and 3th best after the resumption. So great attacking stats vs great defending stats. But let’s turn things around. Wolves don’t score much goals away from home and it hasn’t changed after the lockdown, while Chelsea is the best team in terms of defending before it’s own stands! So the conclusion should be, that The Blues won’t lose this game at Stamford Bridge.
Crystal Palace – Spurs
- Tottenham to keep a clean sheet & win
- Tottenham to score at least 3 goals
- Harry Kane to score at least 2 goals
Everton – Bournemouth
- Bournemouth to score a goal
- Dependent on the circumstances (how the game will pan out) I expect Bournemouth to not lose this game. I think this might be a low scoring result, something around 0-1 or 1-1
Leicester – Man Utd
- Martial to score a goal
- This is a tough one to predict because of the huge steak, but also because of Leicester injuries which make if even more difficult to predict. R. Bennett was terrible against Tottenham & Kane so I really doubt that Brendan Rodgers is going to start him agains nimble and fast duo Martial & Rashford. On the other hand, he hasn’t much choice: Evans, Morgan, Justin, Bennett, Thomas, Johnson. Let’s be honest, this is a huge headache. Hence medical situation I expect The Foxes to play very deep, defensively with very rare counter attacks based on Vardy. I can’t see them scoring more than one goal in this game. But Manchester United don’t find themself good in the positional attack, though with their current attacking force, I can’t imagine them not being capable to break the defense and score agains the backline where we have 1) a big, heavy guy Wes Morgan (36 YO, 360 minutes in PL), 2) James Justin a youngster without any experience in big games (21 YO, 960 minutes in PL) and 3) Luke Thomas another youngster, even less experiences (19 YO, 180 minutes in PL). Johny Evans won’t be able to fix it all. I predict this game Manchester United will be played on the flanks with (Shaw/Williams + Rashford & Martial on the left & ABW + Greenwood on the right). The Red Devils should secure the middle and from there should pass to the wings, from one to the other. I expect Manchester United to win this game, but it’s too big game to expect a fusillade. I think that the left wing (from Manchester United perspective) will be more important in this game and I expect goals from there.
Man City – Norwich
- Manchester City to keep a clean sheet & win
- Manchester City to score at least 3 goals
- KDB to have at least 2 assists + scores a penalty if any appears (because of Real Madrid, surely there must be a penalty taker designated by Guardiola)
- I’m not going to try predict the starting line-up, it’s a pure hazard. I think that KDB should get his minutes because of the assist record. Pep said “We need to see how the players are ready for Madrid. I know them quite well but this game against Norwich and the way they are going to train this week, we are going to pay attention to how prepared they are for Madrid.” So following that we should expect a full strenght squad with Laporte, Walker, Fernandinho, D.Silva, KDB, Sterling, Mahrez & Jesus. But the pick is yours, I’ll show you mine below.
Newcastle – Liverpool
- Mohamed Salah to score at least a goal
- Liverpool to win this game
Southampton – Sheffield Utd
- Southampton to score at least 2 goals
- Danny Ings to score at least 1 goal
- Southampton to win this game
West Ham – Aston Villa
- My heart says different than my brain thinks. I want Villa to stay in the top division and (sorry Watford fans) I prefer Watford to get relegated. I think The Villans have enough quality to make this happen. They have tightened at the back which could be a key for the success (they are among best defending sides after resumption and they kept a clean sheet vs Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Sheffield while lost only one goal vs Newcastle, Wolverhampton & Everton). So I expect them to defend and to try to keep the ball far a way from their own goals. Up untill they won’t get an information that Watford leads, they should be very happy with 0-0. This is why I would avoid Michail Antonio for this game, though his form is incredible, The Villans priority will be to keep him quiet, so he might get a double covering.
- I predict a draw, likely 0-0 or 1-1
- Anotnio to blank
My Free Hit team
So “you can’t always get what you want”, because we are allowed only to have 5 midfielders and 3 players from a single team. You have to make sacrifices and don’t be too harsh for yourself if those players will score big in GW38. YOU JUST CAN’T HAVE THEM ALL!
So players which I desire but I decided to not include in my Free Hit are:
Bruno Fernandes – as I said above, I expect that the game between United and Leicester will be decided on the flanks. It doesn’t mean he can’t be involved, but this time I prefer both Martial & Rashford.
Christian Pulisic – another player with potential for points in GW38, but once again: Wolves are best team in terms of defending away from home over the whole season and 3th best after the resumption. Considering this fact, his potential for a big haul is much lower.
Mohamed Salah – I had him since the season restarted and it’s one of my biggest regret. Although I expect him to score against Newcastle I think he is extremely wastefull and need a lot of chances to convert.
Trent Alexander Arnold – he has his records so maybe it’s time to give him a bit rest and let Williams a bit game time? Maybe this is a wishfull thinking but I’m not ready to accept this risk on a Free Hit.
Michail Antonio – he is in superb form, but Aston Villa improved at the back and is going to fight for each piece of grass to survive in Premier League. Part of the plan could be to give Antonio a special cover.
David Silva – yes, you read correctly, David Silva won’t be included in my Free Hit squad. I know everyone expect a romantic story, that Silva scores a hat-trick in his last Premier League game and everyone around focus how to help him to end up his career in a style. But there are other individuals around, KDB with an assist record to break, Sterling (I doubt) for the golden boot, Jesus aiming to prove that he could potentially replace Aguero. Does Silva have any special motivation to score big points in this game? He is happy anyway, he will be touched, maybe during the game his mind will be focused on the final whistle, what’s then? Empty stadium, how to thank the fans, how to hide his tears? Everyone around thanking him for his wonderful career, maybe they will formulate him the lane? It will be very emotional moment so I doubt he can focus his mind on the game. And in terms of FPL, not having him when almost everyone is going to have him, could backfire but could also pay off.
So this is how is see my fundamentals. Considering that I’m going to play 3-4-3 but more likely 3-5-2 I need to fill up this squad with 1 GKP / 1 DEF / 1 MID / 1 FDW or 1 GKP / 1 DEF / 2 MID + Greenwood. Of course I want 3 City players so one of MID/FWD has to be from City.
Jesus & Son variant
Mahrez + Son + Greenwood variant
My only regret is to sacrifice Pope because I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for his clean sheet and of course he is likely to get some BPS as always, but I can’t just afford him.
Rest of the team looks perfect to me, I like Mahrez with his 10% ownership, I love Son with 8.5% as my differential:
vs Everton 78 ‘2 shots on target
vs Arsenal 89 ‘2 shots on target 1 goal 1 assist
vs Newcastle 90 ‘2 shots on target 1 goal
so I expect him to do well against injured Eagles. I’m happy to have Tarkowski because of his attacking potential and I’m delighted to have Serge Aurier (7,5% ownership), I expect Spurs to build-up high vs Crystal Palace defending very deep, so again wings should have a lot job to do (btw. he has 7 assist this season). If only I could have Pope I would swap then Pieters with Williams, but it is at it is so I want to have double Burnley in my back line. I really like this team!
I was bad this season at picking captain and this is a chance to leave a good impression 🙂 Sterling is the very obvious one, I saw someone talking that he could be even a differential pick but I really doubt that, especially among top managers. If you’re looking for a safe pick, go ahead. I’m looking for a differential. I’m between KDB and Kane, and most likely it will be the Belgian, because:
- He aims for assists record
- He might be on penalties again
- He was rested, 63′ vs Brighton and 0′ vs Bournemouth
- He had 6 (six!!!!) key passes vs Watford, 2 shots 1 on target
- Guardiola want to ‘test’ his players before Madrid
- I really like this guy and I think he is actually the best footballer in Premier League
- He is midfielder so he gets more point than forward by a default
- I saw on Twitter among #FPLcommunity plenty of teams without him and for me this is crazy
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