The week started with Chelsea only two points behind Liverpool and what was shaping up to be a title deciding game next weekend at Anfield but a huge flop by Chelsea has seen their title chances diminished. The Blues lost to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, breaking Jose Mourinho’s run of 77 unbeaten matches at home. The loss was inexcusable and it has taken Liverpool to a big favorite to win the title. Statistical models are now saying Chelsea’s chances of a Premier League title are in the 2-15% range, while Liverpool’s go as high as 85% in some models. Manchester City are now also back in the mix but they need Liverpool to make two mistakes. We’ve seen crazier things happen in football and considering how unpredictable this season has been, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chelsea beat Liverpool this weekend and make the last couple of weeks very interesting. Lets go ahead and see what happened in each game and if there are any fantasy developments that can help us finish off the season on a high note.
Tottenham and Fulham started off the weekend with a fairly easy win for Spurs. Christian Eriksen created two goals and finished with 8 fantasy points. Although 8 points doesn’t pop off the page, Eriksen’s play certainly did. He is Tottenham’s best player at the moment and is shaping up to be a player they can build around. He is the best midfield option over the last three gameweeks. To make things even better, Tottenham have Stoke City, West Ham, and Aston Villa left on the schedule. Younes Kaboul scored a goal and was a great choice for the weekend but Tottenham’s lack of clean sheets is troublesome and I’m not very confident Kaboul can reproduce the success consistently.
The four teatime matches produced nothing special. Aston Villa tied Southampton without any goals scored, Cardiff and Stoke City scored one each against each other, Newcastle lost to Swansea and Crystal Palace beat West Ham 1-0. Fantasy wise, the biggest contributors here were from Crystal Palace. Palace have won five Premier League games in a row and are not only safe from relegation but a contender for a top-side-of-the-table finish. Jason Puncheon came back to earth but still had 5 points and Mike Jedinak was incredible again with 18 points. Jedinak has averaged 12.7 points over his last six. Julian Speroni was also great and has averaged 13 over his last seven. The problem here is that Palace play Manchester City and Liverpool next. It’s hard to include any of their players against two of the top three teams in the league so I’ll have to pass on Palace players in the next couple of weeks. Another great performer from these games was Bony. The problem with Bony this year has been consistency, but with games against Villa, Southampton, and Sunderland left, he could be a good differential to close out the season.
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The late Saturday game saw the big Chelsea upset I spoke about at the beginning of the article. The Blues played “ok” to start the game but didn’t look particularly dangerous and failed to put Sunderland away when they should have. Things went south when Sunderland equalized and then went worse when they were given a late penalty in the 82nd minute. At first, it looked like Cesar Azpilicueta really did foul Jozy Altidore, but after watching the replay 15 times, I am fully confident there was no foul on the play. Altidore stepped on top of Azpilicueta, who was at least two feet away from him, and slid down to claim a penalty. It really was a tough call to make as a referee and Chelsea shouldn’t blame Mike Dean. They should be beating teams like Sunderland 3-0 if they think they deserve to win the title. I’m not taking any Blues against Liverpool next weekend but you can load up on Chelsea players for the final two games. They play at home to Norwich and at Cardiff City to close out.
On Sunday, Liverpool took advantage of Chelsea’s mistake. They beat Norwich 3-2 at home through a Luis Suarez goal and a fantastic display from Raheem Sterling. With Daniel Sturridge out, Sterling was involved in everything Liverpool did and proved why he’s been getting so much playing time this year. He will be a special player one day. I am even considering using him against Chelsea next week since I have him at a little over 12M pounds. Steven Gerrard had a solid eight points and continues to be a must own. Suarez is still a premium option, even against Chelsea, but I might give the armband to someone else.
In the later Sunday games, Arsenal beat Hull City 0-3 and Everton topped Manchester United 2-0. For Arsenal, it was all Aaron Ramsey. He made important runs down the middle and was involved in every goal. They had really missed him at Arsenal and they look completely different with him on the pitch. He is another must own player for the rest of the season. The Gunners play Newcastle, West Brom, and Norwich and have to win all three to ensure they play in the Champions League next season. There is lots of value to be had there. Everton’s win over United wasn’t too surprising and it seems like it may have cost David Moyes his job. Nothing is confirmed yet but Moyes is expected to be sacked before the weekend. The uncertainty over how a new manager could line up United decreases the value of Manchester players and I will look to avoid them for this weekend.
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On Monday, Manchester City saw off West Brom comfortably. The big news here was that David Silva was able to recover from an ankle injury and started the game. The problem was that he aggravated the injury and his status for next weekend is unknown. Yaya Toure missed out due to injury but could return next weekend as well. Sergio Aguero scored a goal and is a great option over City’s last four games. I may even consider giving him the Captain’s band next week due to Liverpool’s tough matchup against Chelsea.
How did your team do this week?