Over these final few weeks of the season I’ll be sharing a few bite size insights into the all-important run-in that will hopefully give you something to think about as you aim to boost your team up the overall rankings or make a late dash for the title in your mini-league. It’s designed to just start the conversation on the topics and give you a few extra things to think about as you plan your moves. So, here we go!
This might seem like a wacky place to start but van Persie produced some impressive stats last weekend. He may have missed a penalty (with van Gaal confirming he’ll be off spot-kick duty from now on) and notched himself ‘nil pois’ in the process but a closer look at the stats shows he was a threat throughout. He made it through the full 90 minutes, had 14 touches inside the penalty box (2nd only to Vardy over the GW), 10 attempts on goal (2 more than 2nd place Sanchez), 6 shots inside the box (1st), at least 2 more shots on target than anyone else all weekend whilst also creating more chances for his team mates than any other striker in the game.
His price tag is hefty and he hasn’t lived up to it. United are struggling to score goals. He’s only just returning from injury. However, with stats like these there is an awful lot of potential for the last few gameweeks; if RVP can reproduce the threat he showed last week then he’ll surely grab some goals before the season is over.
I believe in miracles. However, let’s just assume QPR and Burnley are down. On the contrary, the third relegation spot is still very much anyone’s guess. Just 2 points separate Sunderland in 18th and Aston Villa in 14th. All 5 teams have it all to play for; these guys can’t afford to be on their summer holidays already (unlike a certain Chelsea midfielder) and will be putting everything they have into ensuring their team beats the drop. That alone should make all 5 teams worth considering for the final weeks of the season. Add to that the fact that all but Sunderland have 2 home fixtures out of 3, whilst the Black Cats have a double gameweek in GW37, and we’ll see that there’s plenty of potential remaining in these teams that can’t afford to lose. Here’s a player to consider from each one:
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke – 73 points, 10 goals and only 2 blanks since the beginning of March says all you need to know.
Newcastle: Papiss Cisse – Newcastle are in free fall after 8 straight defeats but 11-goal Cisse is now back in contention after serving his 7 game suspension.
Leicester: Jamie Vardy – He’s been in terrific form and is the heartbeat of all Leicester do going forward.
Hull: Ahmed Elmohamady – 2 assists in as many games against tough opposition shows he can bring in some points as the season draws to a close.
Sunderland: Connor Wickham – With 2 goals in his last 3 games we could see him hit the sort of form that kept Sunderland up this time last year.
Just a quick note on Vardy’s potential for the last few games. If we exclude the ‘anomaly’ game from early in the season where Leicester beat Man United 5-3 and Vardy picked up a goal, 4 assists and 21 fpl points then his home returns have actually been very disappointing, even recently. That United game is the only home match Vardy has scored in all season whilst he’s picked up 3 goals on the road since GW30. On top of that he also only has 3 assists on home turf compared to 4 whilst away. This may be indicative of Leicester’s playing style but with 2 home games out of 3 remaining don’t be surprised if Vardy doesn’t produce what we might hope he does.
Kane has been fantasy football gold-dust so far this season. His low starting price combined with his incredible points returns have led to a massive 91.2% ownership within live squads. However, with just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 5 games, 2 away fixtures to come and Pochettino seemingly wanting to avoid the Europa League it could be time to roll the dice with the young England striker. It’s dangerous because if he does well you could lose a lot of ground overall but he’s never going to help you catch anyone or make big leaps in the overall rankings simply because of his high ownership (unless you have the courage to captain him!). Alternatives to the Spurs star would be the aforementioned Benteke (if you can raise the funds), Cisse or Vardy. Otherwise, you can take a punt on Austin rescuing QPR or a Sunderland striker with the extra fixture.
Differential Captain Picks
Everyone will captain Aguero this week. If you’re looking to climb the rankings by going against the grain and selecting a different captain here are a few options.
Christian Benteke – He’s got form on his side and is coming up against a West Ham side with nothing to play for.
Alexis Sanchez – 4 goals in his last 3 appearances for the Gunners makes him a prime MNF captain option.
Phil Jagielka – 2 goals in his last 5 matches and 6 clean sheets from the last 7 home games means he is producing at both ends of the pitch, especially whilst at Goodison Park. Has every chance of making double figures against a feeble Sunderland side.
"Taking no risks is the riskiest thing of all. So, in order to avoid risks, I will take risks" (Juan Manuel Lillo)