Tom Fenley, our PlayON Pro and last year’s official Fantasy Premier League winner, takes you through the Premier League fixtures for Gameweek 33.
Sat 18 Apr 2015 – Premier League
Crystal Palace v West Brom 15:00
Sunderland were the latest victims of Alan Pardew’s re-invigorated Crystal Palace side. The 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light was Palace’s fourth consecutive win, with a total of 11 goals scored in that period.
Yannick Bolasie’s hat-trick provides further reason to back the many budget options available in the Eagle’s attack; the winger is joined by Glenn Murray, Jason Pucnheon and Wilfied Zaha as viable selections in our PlayON teams.
Meanwhile, Tony Pulis’ energising effect at West Brom appears to have worn off. The Baggies twice lost the lead to bottom of the table Leicester City, eventually losing the game 2-3 at the Hawthorns. Following a disappointing 4-1 defeat to QPR, it is clear that the defensive resilience that Pulis had instilled has all but disappeared. Having now conceded ten goals in their last three matches, the West Brom defence is no longer worth the investment that offered so much value in recent times.
Key Players: Glenn Murray, Boaz Myhill.
Everton v Burnley 15:00
Aaron Lennon put the Toffees ahead against Swansea, and they looked well set for victory until Seamus Coleman’s inexplicable handball conceded a penalty to the Swans. Jonjo Shelvey scored to ensure a rather life-less match ended 1-1.
The half-hearted performance suggests Roberto Martinez’ team may have run out of steam, after a fine period where they picked up three wins in a row. However, Everton should remain difficult opponents to break down for Burnley; the Toffees back-line have conceded just twice in four matches and have four clean sheets in five at Goodison.
Burnley have scored just one goal in six matches, and whilst Sean Dyche’s back-line have been performing relatively well – with two clean sheets in four and only a single goal conceded to in-form Arsenal last weekend – their lack of cutting edge could cost them. Danny Ings has not found the net in seven matches, and has had just 5 shots on target from 13 attempts in that dry spell. With time running out for the Clarets this needs to improve fast.
Key Players: Aaron Lennon, George Boyd.
Leicester v Swansea 15:00
The Foxes secured all three points at the Hawthorns courtesy of late goal from Jamie Vardy. The striker now has a pair of goals and two assists in his last three outings. The victory provided Nigel Pearson with back-to-back wins for only the second time this campaign. A kind run-in and momentum building make Leicester a side to consider over the coming weeks, especially with their budget price-tags in PlayON.
A Jonjo Shelvey spot-kick recovered a point for Swansea when they hosted Everton. Garry Monk’s side showcased their resiliency, coming back from a goal down in spite of losing Batefimbi Gomis to injury early on.
The Swans will be without Neil Taylor – who picked up a 10th yellow of the season to earn a two-match suspension. Kyle Naughton is out for the season, leaving Angel Rangel as the only recognised full-back in the squad. Marvin Emnes replaced Gomis and is likely to be their solitary fit striker, leaving Monk with a depleted squad ahead of what could be a tough trip against a side fighting relegation.
Key Players: Jamie Vardy, Gylfi Sigurdsson
Stoke v Southampton 15:00
The visit to West Ham saw Stoke end a run of three straight defeats, thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s stoppage time equaliser. It was just reward for a brave fightback by the Potters, who largely dominated after going behind to an Aaron Cresswell free-kick early on.
Their 65% possession in that match shows that Mark Hughes has built a fluent, passing side but, with 45% of their goals this term being conceded at set pieces, some of the solidity displayed in previous seasons has been sacrificed.
Southampton won a third consecutive match at St Mary’s, defeating Steve Bruce’s Hull 2-0. The highlight of the 2-0 victory was undoubtedly the first league goal in fifteen appearances for striker Graziano Pelle. Unfortunately, the Saints have not fared so well on the road this season. The 1-1 at Chelsea was a fine result, but 1-0 losses to Everton and West Brom either side of that draw indicates this is likely to be a close affair.
Key Players: Marko Arnautovic, Kelvin Davis.
Chelsea v Man Utd 17:30
Chelsea struck late to secure a third consecutive victory at QPR – Cesc Fabregas’ 88th minute strike the difference between the two sides. Jose Mourinho’s side have been goal shy of late in front of their own fans, failing to score more than one goal in four of their last five at home, with three of those games ending 1-1. This marks a stark downturn in attacking returns given they had scored at least twice at Stanford Bridge in the previous 10 matches.
Man Utd should be confident heading to Stanford Bridge after the convincing 4-2 defeat of local rivals Man City provided a sixth straight win. Louis Van Gaal has clearly developed the players understanding of his systems and the result’s have been spectacular – with 12 goals scored in their last four. They will likely find it tougher this weekend against Chelsea’s vaunted back four.
Key Players: Eden Hazard, Wayne Rooney.
Sun 19 Apr 2015 – Premier League
Man City v West Ham 13:30
City looked indifferent at Old Trafford as they folded to a fourth defeat in six games, an awful record for the current champions. Manuel Pellegrini will see this fixture, against a side in equally woeful form, as an opportunity to get back on track. Sergio Aguero’s brace will be welcome after a 5 game drought; the Argentine once again becoming a difficult option to ignore in our PlayON squads. Despite their travel sickness, City have been performing well at home, with three straight wins, ten goals scored and none conceded in those games.
West Ham have won just a single match in their last ten outings. Aaron Cresswell opened the scoring against Stoke with an impressive free kick but Sam Allardyce was left lamenting his side’s inability to hold on for the win. The Hammers have lost four of their last seven on the road, failing to find the net in four of those trips.
Key Players: Sergio Aguero, Adrian.
Newcastle v Tottenham 16:00
Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool was hardly surprising given recent form and the mood around the club can’t have helped. The Magpies have lacked a cutting edge with top-striker Papiss Cisse suspended, scoring only once in four games. It is challenging to see any option worthy of investment in PlayON.
Spurs have looked disjointed in recent games, culpable of some sloppy defending and lacking cohesion in the final third. The goal-less draw at Burnley, followed by a chastening 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, suggests the squad may well have given up the fight for the season. This match offers a chance for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to re-find some verve against a team that they are more than capable of dispatching by a convincing margin.
Key Players: Jack Colback, Harry Kane.