Bale is a no brainer, but do you have a Lukaku too?
Chelsea are in the Europa League final after Fernando Torres finished off Basel, but let’s concern ourselves more with the final few weeks of our dear Fantasy Premier League- where we’ve been handed a rare double gameweek – just in time to finish the season off strong. Better Leighton than Evra, I guess.
I. Chelsea @ Manchester United: There are plenty of great matches for the neutral this gameweek, including the Merseyside derby, but we have to focus on Rafa Benitez’s in-form men as they look to cement their Champions League place against title winners Manchester United.
Sir Alex fielded a strong lineup at the Emirates last weekend, but it wasn’t enough for a win – as Arsenal came out with the 1-1 draw. I expect Robin van Persie to start his last game of the season against Chelsea this Sunday – as Swansea and West Brom are safe from relegation and I expect Sir Alex to give a run-out to the squad players in the final two fixtures. This one, however, will still see a strong lineup.
Chelsea, of course, have two matches this gameweek – both are extremely difficult, home to Tottenham and at Old Trafford, but of course Juan Mata is the main man to own across both matches. To a lesser extent Oscar and Frank Lampard could contribute- and they’re cheaper, but it’s Mata or Hazard down the stretch from a FPL perspective if you can afford them.
Andre Villas Boas (and Arsene Wenger) will be hoping that Manchester United can get the home win, but I wouldn’t be too sure after the average performance at Arsenal. I think Chelsea have enough up front, and on the counter-attack, to score at Old Trafford, so another Top 4 draw could be on the cards. An away win is not out of the question but I’ll stick with the score draw.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
II. Tottenham Double Gameweek (vs. Southampton, at Chelsea): Manchester City have the easier double gameweek opponents (Swansea and West Brom) but with little to play for, and a FA Cup final in a few weeks, Roberto Mancini could rest and rotate. Sure, Tevez, Aguero, Toure, Nasri and Silva are all superb picks – all studs – this week, but we have to stick with Bale & Tottenham as our fantasy friendly selections. They need six points from these two fixtures to control their European destiny.
Bale scored and delivered 10 fantasy points in a 2-1 win over Southampton in October, and I expect much of the same this time around. At the back, defender Michael Dawson is super cheap – just 4.4 million, and could be a nice acquisition as well. Defoe at 7.9m could keep Adebayor out of the starting lineup and deliver the goods too, but it really all is just about Bale at this point. His goal last week was lucky, and his assist even luckier than his goal, but great players make their own luck. Don’t miss out on some more luck down the stretch…
Prediction: 3-1 win over Southampton; 3-2 loss at Chelsea
III. Studs & Duds: In addition to Bale, Dawson and the aforementioned Manchester City studs (Tevez, Aguero, etc.) there are a number of cheap mid-priced options playing twice this gameweek. Romelu Lukaku is one, and he’s a stud. Arouna Kone and Wigan also have two matches, so the Ivorian is a stud along with cheap keeper Robles (4m) and midfielder Maloney (5.2m). Nothing wrong with season-long stud Michu as Swansea play twice, though he hasn’t delivered with the frequency and consistency this spring as he had in the fall and winter. Still a stud with two games left though the Premier League betting market has soured on Swansea as they have little to play for.
If those options aren’t enough, there are some solid single gameweek studs as well, including Podolski and Walcott for Arsenal at QPR – who are already relegated, and potentially Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov, home to Reading – also already relegated. Berbatov is a big risk with a calf injury so he’s just on the stud/dud fence and you’re better off with a Kone or Lukaku this week surely. Carroll and Sturridge are also nice options if you already own them, but if you don’t, stick with a double gameweek transfer like the aforementioned Kone or Lukaku – both of whom look good in the first goalscorers betting preview this weekend.
Potential duds this week include fashionable cheap Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn (4.3m) as John Ruddy could make his long awaited return from injury, and normally reliable Manchester United defensive options Rafael, Evra and De Gea, who square off against attack-heavy Chelsea. Everton are at Liverpool, so Baines and Fellaini lose their luster a bit after the show Sturridge & company put on at Newcastle last weekend.
IV. Gameweek 36 Best Eleven:
D: Dawson – Luiz – Boyce
M: Bale – Mata – Nasri – Michu
F: Tevez – Lukaku – Defoe
Subs: Robles – Walcott – Olsson – Azpilicueta