Tom Fenley, our PlayON Pro and last year’s official Fantasy Premier League winner, takes you through the Premier League fixtures for Gameweek 38.
Arsenal v West Brom
The Gunners were held to a scoreless draw by Sunderland despite dominating possession (75%) and are now unable to finish second after a second consecutive draw. After failing to record a shot on target in the first half against Manchester United they improved in the second period, Theo Walcott finding an equaliser off Tyler Blackett, their only goal in three matches. Arsene Wenger’s side managed plenty of attempts against the Black Cats, but finding the right players for our PlayON squads will be problematic with the manager indicating some will be rested ahead of the FA Cup Final.
West Brom have exceeded expectations in what looked like a tough run-in. The 3-0 win over Chelsea at the Hawthorns adds to a win at Old Trafford and a draw with Liverpool in their last four matches. That form suggests the Baggies will give a Arsenal a difficult last game; four clean sheets in five epitomises Tony Pulis’ steadying influence since joining he club.
Aston Villa V Burnley
The 6-1 demolition by Southampton may be a timely reminder for Tim Sherwood that a tendency to rely on attack can easily back-fire. A more resilient defence will be integral to achieving a result at Wembley.
A home tie against relegated Burnley is unlikely to be too much of a test defensively for the Villans in preparation for the FA Cup Final – the Clarets have scored just twice in eleven games. However, back-to-back clean sheets show that Sean Dyche’s side have attempted to retain some pride.
Chelsea V Sunderland
The Champions were understandably off the pace last week – conceding early, then losing Cesc Fabregas to a red card in the 3-0 loss to West Brom. Jose Mourinho has stated that his strongest line-up will be deployed here but the Blues will be without Fabregas, and with Eden Hazard also likely to be unavailable, Diego Costa’s supply could be reduced as he makes a second start in eleven games.
The Black Cats battled to a goalless draw at the Emirates that secured a third consecutive clean sheet and survival for the Wearside club. Dick Advocaat has instilled discipline to a now well-organised back-line, though with safety achieved, Sunderland would be forgiven if that resolution wavers on the final day.
Crystal Palace V Swansea
The Eagles appeared to know exactly how to spoil Steven Gerrard’s farewell party, soaking up the Red’s pressure whilst using their forwards pace to hit on the counter to earn a well-deserved 3-1 win at Anfield. Palace have failed to win in three matches at Selhurst Park, and will be eager to give their vocal fans a positive end of season send-off.
The Swans managed to recover a two goal deficit against City before collapsing to a 4-2 defeat. The fans should still be happy with a record breaking season under Garry Monk. Having won their last two away matches, including the impressive victory at the Emirates, they should be full of confidence. This encounter is set to be an exciting finish for the two forward-thinking teams.
Everton V Spurs
The Toffees finally reached the top half of the table with Romelu Lukaku’s injury time strike providing a 2-1 win over West Ham. Many will be considering the Belgian this weekend in PlayON, and with good reason considering his hat-trick on the final day of the 2012/13 season.
Spurs had been looking like they were trying to avoid a Europa League spot, but a 2-0 win over Hull provided a second win in seven matches and kept them in sixth, one point behind Liverpool. Nacer Chadli scored his third in five games to give the Belgian an 11th goal of the campaign – one ahead of Christian Eriksen. Spurs have only beaten QPR and Newcastle in their last seven away trips so could struggle here.
Hull V Manchester Utd
The Tigers third consecutive defeat leaves their top flight status in the hands of Newcastle. A win for the Magpies would relegate Steve Bruce’s side. Hull need to win this match to stay up, but if Newcastle draw, The Tigers superior goal difference could yet save them. Having scored at least once against the other top six sides at the KC Stadium this term, they still stand a slim chance of survival.
United have not kept a clean sheet in five matches but have only lost five away games this season. The 1-1 draw with Arsenal was not enough to give them a realistic chance of reaching third, with a seven goal swing required if they win and the Gunners lose. A fourth place finish is mission accomplished for Louis Van Gaal, and the Dutchman may experiment here ahead of a busy summer.
Leicester City V QPR
The Foxes are now a remarkable fourteenth in the table. The 0-0 draw with Sunderland was their fifth clean sheet in six matches – having only conceded to Chelsea in that incredible run. It was the first time Nigel Pearson’s side have failed to score in nine games -with seventeen goals in the previous eight implying an end of season party awaits as they welcome QPR to the King Power.
QPR achieved a first home win in ten matches with the 2-1 victory over Newcastle courtesy of second half strikes from Matty Phillips and Leroy Fer. Rangers have only picked up 7 points on the road this season, and the 6-0 loss at the Etihad on their last away trip suggests they are unlikely to stop Leicester here.
Manchester City V Southampton
City’s 4-2 victory at the Liberty was their fifth successive win and guaranteed the runners-up spot for last years Champions. Twenty-one goals in their last six matches at the Etihad shows they have hit a level of form that makes their assets almost indispensable in our PlayON teams when in front of their own fans. Yaya Toure’s brace against the Swans brings him onto our radars for the final Gameweek, whilst James Milner has started the last three and has a goal in each of the last two games.
A fourth win in five matches at St Mary’s arrived in spectacular style as Southampton dispatched Villa 6-1. However, on the road Ronald Koeman’s side have been poor of late – losing five of their last six and failing to find the net in half of those games.
Newcastle V West Ham
Emmanuel Riviere’s first goal for Newcastle provided false hope for the travelling fans as they lost the lead against QPR to remain in danger of dropping out of the Premier League. After two substitute appearances, it is likely top scorer Papiss Cisse will lead the line in a game the Magpies must win to ensure survival, though John Carver could be saved embarrassment if Hull are unable to manage a result at United.
Stewart Downing gave the Hammers the lead against Everton but only for six minutes as Leon Osman equalised and Romelu Lukaku netted to deny Sam Allardyce a result in potentially his last match as manager. West Ham are without a win in eleven matches away from Upton Park and have scored just once in their last five away outings.
Stoke V Liverpool
Stoke failed to follow up the 3-0 win over Spurs with another victory after being held to a goalless draw at Turf Moor. However, four wins in their last six at the Brittania with three clean sheets in that period, as well as the performance against Spurs implies The Potters have a fair chance of ending a respectable season on another high.
Liverpool were completely outplayed by Crystal Palace in the 3-1 loss and have lacked a cutting edge of late, only two wins in eight points towards a lack of goals that will surely need to be addressed over the summer. Top scorer Steven Gerrard may not appear here nor their player with the second highest goal tally, Raheem Sterling who looks likely to follow Gerrard out of the clu