It may only be 7 weeks until the World Cup begins but there's still plenty of life left in the Fantasy Premier League season and last weekend showed why the English Premier League is regarded as the best league in the world. The crazy events at the top of the table highlighted that there can be no more entertaining or unpredictable league in world soccer.
Jose Mourinho losing his unbeaten home record as Chelsea manager to bottom placed Sunderland after 77 games, must rank as the biggest shock of this season. I’ll talk about one of the Black Cats’ heroes in Connor Wickham below but goalie Vito Mannone’s EPL joint season high of 14 saves must take a huge amount of credit. Liverpool just about hung on at Norwich for a 3-2 victory but the Canaries ran them closer than a side just above the relegation zone should do.
Last week I wrote about how you should gamble at this stage of the Fantasy Premier League season and sign players that few others own. If you're still trying to make up ground in your league then another good tactic is to pick a different captain than everyone else. Most people will have Suarez, Rooney or Gerrard as captain this week but you can get one over your rivals by making Bony or Giroud your skipper and collecting double their points. This could backfire on you but if you want to catch-up your league leader, it might be worth a try.
This week I’ll take a look at 5 different players owned by less than 15% of teams who could help your team and another 5 who should be cut from your roster.
Five to pick up
Connor Wickham (striker) – Not many people predicted Sunderland taking 4 points from recent fixtures with Man City and Chelsea. Even less people predicted that 21-year-old Wickham would bag three goals against two of the Premier League’s powerhouses. A home fixture against Cardiff looks easy by comparison and with two fixtures in Gameweek 37, Wickham could be a very, very cheap pick-up. Gameweek 36 fixture – Cardiff
Wilfried Bony (striker) – The Ivory Coast striker could become a star on the World Cup stage this summer but before then he could provide some goals for your Fantasy team. He’s managed 14 goals in his first season for Swansea and has an easy looking run-in and could add some more. He’s been on my roster for a number of weeks now and I think he should also be on yours.
Gameweek 36 fixture – Aston Villa
Lukas Podolski (striker) – German Podolski rarely plays as a central striker for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners but he has grabbed an eye-catching four goals in his last two appearances from the left wing. Like many members of the Arsenal team, his season has been disrupted by injury but he has still managed 8 goals in 17 appearances. Gameweek 36 fixture – Newcastle
Raheem Sterling (midfielder) – After three goals in his last two games for title chasing Liverpool, Sterling is a pretty obvious choice but impossible to ignore. Since being moved to a central midfield role, the 19 year old has thrived and with Chelsea likely to field a weakened side on Sunday, he could add to his impressive recent goal tally. Gameweek 36 fixture - Chelsea
Juan Mata (midfielder) – After David Moyes was finally put out of his misery this week, Ryan Giggs will lead Man Utd into Saturday’s clash with Norwich. January signing Mata is sure to figure in a central role behind Wayne Rooney and with a further two home games to follow in Gameweek 37, the Spaniard could strengthen Giggs’ claim to the permanent manager’s role with some strong performances. Gameweek 36 fixture – Norwich
Five to cut
Kevin Mirallas – The Belgian winger has a torn groin muscle and will sit out the remaining three games of Everton’s season. Mirallas will be a big loss for Roberto Martinez’s push for the Champions League but he is expected to be fit for the World Cup.
John Terry – The former England captain limped off during Tuesday night’s Champions League semi with Atletico Madrid with a foot injury and Jose Mourinho has ruled him out of the rest of the Premier League season. Terry could yet recover in time for the Champions league final if Chelsea make it.
Petr Cech – Chelsea’s treatment table was full on Wednesday night as the 6’5" keeper joined his skipper on the sidelines. The Czech stopper has a dislocated shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. It opens up the intriguing possibility of a real battle for the jersey in the summer when Thibault Courtois returns from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.
Sylvain Distin – Veteran Everton defender Distin has a hamstring injury and is definitely out of Saturday’s trip to Southampton. It is currently unclear if the Frenchman will be able to return before the end of the season but at this stage it’s not worth hanging onto him.
David Silva – It was only last week that I suggested that Silva could emerge from Yaya Toure’s giant shadow and put in some devastating performances before the end of the season. However, the little Spaniard injured his ankle and could miss the rest of the season.
How did I do with last week’s predictions?
Five to pick-up
Christian Eriksen – 2 assists, 3 MOM bonus points – Hit
David Silva – Injured after 67 mins (see above) – Miss
Peter Odemwingie – 1 assist – Hit
Jon Flanagan – 2 goals conceded vs Norwich – Miss
Five to cut
Yaya Toure – Missed WBA game through injury, outside chance to return this week – Hit
Eden Hazard – Missed Sunderland game and will not play this week either – Hit
Daniel Sturridge – Not in the lineup vs Norwich but may play this weekend – Hit
Jordan Henderson – Suspended for another two games - Hit
Christian Benteke – Out for the season – Hit
Please note – All fantasy statistics are taken from fantasy.premierleague.com
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