Tom Fenley, our PlayON Pro and last year’s official Fantasy Premier League winner, takes you through the Premier League fixtures for Gameweek 32.
Sat 11 Apr 2015 – Premier League
Swansea v Everton 12:45
Swansea’s convincing 3-1 win over Hull arrived courtesy of a brace from Batefimbi Gomis; the striker is making a strong case for inclusion in our PlayON squads following his winner over Aston Villa in the previous match. Alongside a goal from Ki Sung Yueng – a fourth in eight for the South Korean international – and assists from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jonjo Shelvey, it’s the usual suspects to consider from Garry Monk’s side this week.
Everton are in their best form of the season with three successive victories for the first time this campaign. That run includes two clean sheets and Phil Jagielka’s winner in the 1-0 defeat of Southampton, as well as Seamus Coleman’s opener against QPR have put the Toffees defense firmly back on the radar for PlayON managers with the potential for points at both ends from Roberto Martinez’ back-line. However, a repeat of the goal-less draw these sides played out in November seems unlikely.
Southampton v Hull 15:00
Southampton return to home comforts after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat in the visit to Goodison. The Saints have lost by that score-line in six of nine defeats this season, a frustrating margin for a side that have kept 14 clean sheets this term. Southampton have lost their last five league meetings with Hull but sit 10 places above them in the table this season and will be expecting a third consecutive win at St Mary’s.
Hull are in trouble, seventeenth in the league, only two points above QPR and facing the toughest run-in of any side in the relegation battle. The Tigers have scored just twice in six away matches and could struggle here with top scorer Nickica Jelavic remaining side-lined with injury.
Sunderland v Crystal Palace 15:00
Jermaine Defoe’s spectacular effort at St James’ secured a first win in eight league matches for the Black Cats and Dick Advocaat’s only victory so far at the helm. Sunderland managed a 3-1 win at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture but face a Palace side revitalised under Alan Pardew. The defeat of their local arrivals was only their third win at the Stadium of Light this season and Advocaat will need to improve on that record for Sunderland to avoid the drop.
Crystal Palace’s battling performance over Man City displayed remnants of Tony Pulis’ time at Selhurt Park, but Pardew’s influence should not be underestimated with the 2-1 victory providing an impressive fourth win in five for the Eagles. Glenn Murray has five goals in as many appearances, an assist in each of the last two and the best minutes-per-goal ratio in the Premier League, making the striker worthy of consideration in our PlayON teams.
Tottenham v Aston Villa 15:00
It’s been difficult to predict how Spurs will approach a match this season. This was clearly demonstrated by the dull 0-0 draw with Burnley to follow up their exciting 4-3 win over Leicester. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in ten at White Hart Lane – winning seven of those matches. This includes a run of five victories in six matches, despite 12 goals being scored by the visiting sides in some high-octane encounters. It appears leaving your back-line exposed and planning to out-score your opponent is perhaps a viable tactic for Spurs with Harry Kane in the side.
Ten goals in five league games for Aston Villa shows they should be up for the challenge here. The 3-3 mid-week thriller with QPR was defined by Christian Benteke’s hat-trick, bringing his total to seven goals in those five matches. Tim Sherwood is bringing the best out of the Belgian and is the type of manager who should thrive in a meeting where attack is likely to be the best form of defense. Expect some goals for both sides.
West Brom v Leicester 15:00
After three clean sheets in a row at the Hawthorns, a 4-1 defeat to QPR was a surprising result for Tony Pulis’ side, especially given Ranger’s away form this season. Pulis will be expecting a much more resilient performance from his back-line after an atypical display saw them concede three before the break. Saido Berahino’s assist for the consolation goal re-affirms his appeal and Craig Dawson returns from suspension to reinforce the back-line.
The Baggies should, however, be weary of Leicester City’s threat with the Foxes scoring five goals in their last two and desperate for points to escape relegation. Nigel Pearson’s side ignited those hopes for survival with a crucial 2-1 win over West Ham. Esteban Cambiasso netted a fourth of the campaign, while Jamie Vardy served up an assist to continue his influential form.
West Ham v Stoke 15:00
The Hammers defeat at the King Power stadium will have disappointed Sam Allardyce following the victory over Sunderland, their only win in nine matches, hinting at a revival of form. West Ham have looked a different side since the New Year, unable to replicate their promising early season attacking verve and lacking the customary defensive solidity that often underpins Allardyce’s sides. These sides sit level on 42 points each and the 2-2 draw at the Brittania earlier in the campaign furthermore suggests they are evenly matched. Stewart Downing scored and provided the assist for the other goal in that draw but has failed to find the net in nine games.
The 2-1 defeat to Chelsea for the Potters was a third loss in a row for Stoke, a run that implies Mark Hughes’ side have also settled for a mid-table finish. Charlie Adam’s long range strike follows an assist in the previous match for Mame Diouf’s goal, the striker has three in six and scored in the reverse fixture so could break the deadlock here.
Burnley v Arsenal 17:30
A goal-less draw with Spurs at Turf Moor following the win against Man City implies this match may not be a foregone conclusion for a Burnley side that have been enlivened of late. The Clarets however, have struggled for goals, George Boyd’s winner over City is the only time they’ve found the net in five matches. Having the worst goal difference in the league will be worrying for Sean Dyche, especially with top-scorer Danny Ings in dreadful form, being without a goal in six.
Arsenal continued their excellent run, winning a seventh consecutive league match as they thrashed Liverpool 4-1 and confirmed themselves as the in-form team of the league. Alexis Sanchez scored twice when the Clarets visited the Emirates in a 3-0 victory and after a goal and an assist against Liverpool, his fourteenth and eighth respectively of the season, could prosper once again this week.
Sun 12 Apr 2015 – Premier League
QPR v Chelsea 13:30
After five losses in a row, QPR have remarkably scored seven goals in their last two. Their exciting 3-3 draw with Aston Villa, coming three days after the surprising 4-1 win at West Brom, has given them some hope of survival. Charlie Austin has spear-headed that attacking mentality in those games – with two goals and a pair of assists – while Matty Phillips has reasserted his potential as a PlayON pick by delivering a goal and three assists.
Chelsea should therefore be cautious of QPR, particularly after having conceded in their last three. Jose Mourinho’s side will, however, be confidant of a result after back-to-back wins over Stoke and Hull. Loic Remy scored the winner in both of those matches and is set to start with Diego Costa a major doubt for this London derby.
Man Utd v Man City 16:00
Man United head into the biggest match of the weekend in excellent form, their five successive wins pushing them above Man City into third place. An eight point gap over Liverpool also relieves the pressure on Louis Van Gaal’s side and twenty-two goals in their last ten games indicates the Dutchman has instilled some fluency in the final third. Wayne Rooney has been instrumental to this – scoring four goals in five after being moved further forward.
Manuel Pelligrini, meanwhile, has been struggling to get the most out of last year’s Champions. Three consecutive away defeats has all but destroyed any hope of defending the title and dropping to fourth place will be a blow to the manager’s chances of staying beyond the summer. Sergio Aguero has failed to score in five league starts, the Argentine’s worst period of the season but does have history with United, having scored five in six league matches against the local rivals.
Mon 13 Apr 2015 – Premier League
Liverpool v Newcastle 20:00
The mid-week FA cup win over Blackburn will have been a boost for Brendan Rodger’s side after back-to-back defeats to Man United and Arsenal left a top four finish very much out of their hands. Phillipe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson combined for the only goal of the match, the latter has four league goals in five games, flourishing in Steven Gerrard’s absence. Mamadou Sakho is a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury at Blackburn, but with seven clean sheets in nine prior to the United and Arsenal defeats a shut-out could still be worth backing in our PlayON teams.
Newcastle have never won at Anfield during the Premier League era and are likely to struggle again here. The Magpies lost a fifth Wear-Tyne derby in a row last weekend, their fourth successive defeat in the league and have scored just a single goal in that poor run.