Mini-leagues are being furiously checked and the points difference between you and your rivals are being totted up. It’s the final day of the season.
Unlike the Premier League this one was always destined to go down to the wire, and so the key question as we enter the final weekend of Fantasy Premier League matches is whether or not you need to find a left-field pick to try and catch up with those around you.
Whilst the likes of Gareth Bale (£11.0m and surely the weekend’s safe captaincy choice), Theo Walcott (£9.2m), Juan Mata (£10.2m) and Robin van Persie (£13.7m) are sure to be the popular picks, perhaps your net needs to be cast a little wider in the search for a player who can give you that extra push over the finish line.
That player could well be Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (£9.6m).
Fresh from providing four assists in the Gunners’ 4-1 victory over Wigan on Tuesday night, the Spaniard goes to Newcastle to face a side who conceded six goals in their previous home game against Liverpool.
With Arsene Wenger’s men needing a win to secure a top four finish ahead of rivals Tottenham, Cazorla is sure to be crucial on an afternoon when he is likely to be a creative force.
Those four assists against Wigan took the Spaniard’s tally to 13 for the season, level with the likes of Walcott, Van Persie and Steven Gerrard for the campaign, with only three players registering more.
Add that to his 12 goals and you’ve got an extremely successful first campaign in England for the former Villarreal and Malaga man, but he’d only look back on it fondly if he can help his club into the top four. He has every chance to do just that at St James’s Park.
Elsewhere, Tottenham’s attempts to secure their own European football for next season will of course be helped by Bale as they host Sunderland, but it could be a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.0m) who proves crucial following two goals in his last two games.
Following their Europa League heroics, Chelsea host Everton seeking to make sure of their third place finish. Demba Ba (£7.8m) was cup-tied for the Benfica victory and so he could prove crucial as the Blues seek to make it an unhappy last game in charge for David Moyes.
Away from the challenge for Europe, Liverpool draw the curtains on their campaign with a home game against relegated QPR.
The Reds and retiring defender Jamie Carragher (£5.0m) will fancy their chances of keeping a clean sheet, but further forward in-form striker Daniel Sturridge (£7.3m) will be seeking to follow up last weekend’s hat-trick at Fulham with another impressive display. Against QPR’s defence he has a great opportunity.
As the campaign draws to a close, those who have impressed throughout it such as Michu (£7.8m) and Rickie Lambert (£6.9m) have chances to finish their seasons on a high as Swansea and Southampton host Fulham and Stoke respectively, whilst the champions Manchester United go to West Brom seeking a winning end to their season. Javier Hernandez (£6.5m) started and scored against Swansea last week and will be looking to do so again amidst the uncertainty surrounding the future of Wayne Rooney.
Everyone knows about the future of Roberto Mancini by now, and in his absence Manchester City will be looking to round things off with a victory at home to Norwich.
Their forwards have impressed at various stages throughout the campaign, but with two goals in his last two league appearances perhaps it’ll be Edin Dzeko (£6.8m) who steps up to the plate again this time.
His addition could prove vital as the campaign draws to a close and we all look forward to the next one.
Roll on August.
We’ll see you then.
And so in a flash of Robin van Persie’s left boot, of Shaun Maloney’s set-pieces, of Luis Suarez’s nutmegs and of Santi Cazorla’s passes it was all but gone. The 2012/13 Premier League season has nearly finished.
In terms of games played and of goals scored it might not be remembered as a vintage one, but it will always be recalled as the last campaign of the greatest old campaigner of the lot.
Sir Alex Ferguson has called it a day at Manchester United, something that will not perhaps hit home until we see David Moyes sat in his fellow Scotsman’s seat in the dugout when the new campaign begins in August.
United without Ferguson is a little like salt without pepper, like eggs without bacon and like Ant without Dec. It doesn’t look right, it doesn’t feel right and we don’t necessarily want to consider one without the other.
Typically, Ferguson bowed out with a Premier League title success which was as serene as any of the 12 he’d won previously, something in part down to the lack of a credible challenge put up by others but largely due to the remarkable consistency shown by his team.
With Van Persie leading from the front and thriving on the proper title challenge that he had left Arsenal for, United never really looked like letting the lead slip once they took it in November, and there have been few more worthy champions.
Previous holders Manchester City were never quite so convincing, with their failure to mount an impressive enough challenge ultimately seeing Roberto Mancini fall upon the sword which had been dangling nearer and nearer to him following yet another failed Champions League campaign. Next season promises to be an interesting one for a new look City.
But then the same can be said for United, Everton, Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and quite possibly Wayne Rooney. It’ll be more than just the kits that have changed come 2013/14, it’ll be the men wearing them too.
They, as ever, will be the focus of so much drama, glory, outrage and expectation.
Suarez, Gareth Bale, Juan Mata, Christian Benteke, Michu, Rickie Lambert. There were so many stars that lit up this campaign that it was hard to keep track of them.
You always knew where QPR and Reading were throughout their seasons, but that they have been joined by Roberto Martinez’s Wigan in being demoted to the Championship is a great shame.
Just 72 hours after completing one of the greatest stories in modern English football the Latics set a rather unwanted record. They are the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season.
Yet their Wembley success as well as that of Swansea City – and indeed League Two’s Bradford City, their beaten opponents in the Capital One Cup final – has shown that the potential for glory is there whoever you are. Perhaps we’ll see more teams grasp the nettle and go for broke in the Premier League next season as a result.
With United, City, Everton and Chelsea all in somewhat of a transitional stage – although Chelsea have one of those every six months – perhaps this could be a time for Arsenal, Tottenham and maybe even Liverpool to shine?
All have impressed at various points throughout this campaign and all can do so going into the next, when they’ll be joined by promoted Cardiff City, Hull City and one of Watford and Crystal Palace.
Such talk is for another day though, a day when we can really look forward to the new campaign as we put the old one behind us.
That day will come on Sunday, about 30 seconds after the final whistle on a season which sadly brings an end to the careers of men as distinguished as Ferguson, Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher.
They’ll be gone but not forgotten, just like this season will be too.
See you in August for the next one.
Nothing but BONUS points!!
GW37 Is done and dusted and we have only one week left.
As usual we take a look at the bonus points allocated by the Official game.
Do you agree / disagree??
Who was overlooked? Who got Bonus points and left you scratching your head thinking …How??
Tweet us your thoughts @FantasyYIRMA
In the Tuesday night games Santi Cazorla had the sort of game FPL managers remember for years with the Spaniard managing all FOUR assists in Arsenal’s 4-1 win which sees Wigan relegated only days after their magnificent FA Cup win.
Despite this Podolski’s 2 goals trumphed Santi’s 4 assists with the German striker getting the 3pt bonus allocation.
Mancini didn’t win anything for 12 months and as such was sacked. Harsh? Certainly in my opinion. Without him City had a decent 2-0 win against Reading with Aguero and Dzeko getting the goals. Special mention to Reading keeper who not for the first time this season came out of the game with double figure number of saves.
Silva takes the maximum 3pts with Auguero not far behind on 2.
Lampard got the maximum bonus for Chelsea against Villa and fair play to him for breaking the Chelsea goalscoring record. Fantastic goal record that many top forwards would be proud of!
Dempsey took the maximum for Spurs in their match up against Stoke with Adebayor receiving 2, to be completely fair this could have been swapped around and no one would have questioned it in my opinion.
Mirallas continued his great form for Everton and gets the max bonus allocation.
Suarez who?? Sturridge has really stepped up in the absence of the feisty Uruguayan and takes home 3 bonus points to sit nicely with his 3 goals against Fulham.
Howson and Snodgrass share the spoils with 3 bonus points each for Norwich in their 4-0 rout against WBA.
On a memorable day at Old Trafford, match winner Rio Ferdinand takes the 3 bonus points as Manchester United gave Sir Alex a great send off with a 2-1 win against Swansea.
Elsewhere Adam Johnson and Gouffran took the maximum spoils for Sunderland and Newcastle respectively.
|11 May 12:45||Aston Villa||1 – 2||Chelsea|
|12 May 13:30||Stoke City||1 – 2||Tottenham|
|12 May 15:00||Everton||2 – 0||West Ham|
|12 May 15:00||Fulham||1 – 3||Liverpool|
|12 May 15:00||Norwich||4 – 0||West Brom|
|12 May 15:00||QPR||1 – 2||Newcastle|
|12 May 15:00||Sunderland||1 – 1||Southampton|
|12 May 16:00||Man Utd||2 – 1||Swansea|
|14 May 19:45||Arsenal||4 – 1||Wigan|
Santi Cazorla (2)
|14 May 20:00||Reading||0 – 2||Man City|
With next season already promising to be hugely different given the dramatic developments at Old Trafford this week, cherishing this campaign suddenly looks to be even more important.
For Wigan Athletic, that seems to ring true more than loudly than for others.
The Latics will be FA Cup finalists at the weekend, but come Tuesday they could find that their eight-year stint in the Premier League is over. Should results go against them at the weekend, then nothing less than three points from their next match will do if they are to stay in the top flight. Unfortunately for them, that next match is at Champions League-chasing Arsenal.
The Gunners may have lost this fixture last season, but they simply can’t afford to do that now.
With Theo Walcott (£8.9m) returning to fitness and form then they certainly don’t look like doing that, and the England man could play a large part in confirming the Latics’ relegation.
Walcott scored and completed 90 minutes in both of his last two matches for the Gunners, taking his tally to 13 strikes and 13 assists during a hugely productive season.
As Arsene Wenger’s men close in on a top four place Walcott looks to be a hugely important figure, and he’ll enter the Wigan game high on confidence, which could end up spelling trouble for Roberto Martinez and his boys.
Any discussion about the battle for the top four – and of course your ongoing battles in Fantasy Premier League – isn’t complete without a mention of Gareth Bale(£10.9m), who takes his considerable talents to Stoke City this weekend.
Bale and Spurs might find it tough going there, but they should eventually come out on top in a match which is sure to see defender Jan Vertonghen (£6.8m) come under threat from Stoke’s attack.
Elsewhere, Everton’s Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) is sure to find support ahead of their Blues’ match against mid-table West Ham at Goodison Park.
The Belgian has been in fine form throughout the campaign and he’ll be determined to impress in his side’s final game in front of their own fans this season. Following the Blues’ goalless draw at Liverpool last week he could be one to back as they look to find the net again.
As for Liverpool, they go to a Fulham side still not safe from relegation just yet, and with both Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez unavailable then the onus is sure to fall on Philippe Coutinho (£6.7m) and Daniel Sturridge (£7.0m). Dimitar Berbatov (£7.1m) will of course be vital for the hosts.
At Berbatov’s former club, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last home match in charge of Manchester United brings selection issues with it, but he is likely to once again start with Robin van Persie (£13.7m) upfront for the visit of Swansea. Those prone to a little bit of nostalgia might like to back a few Fantasy points for Ryan Giggs (£6.0m) and Paul Scholes (£5.0m) too.
Back in the cold hard world of chasing the Champions League, Chelsea will be happy that Aston Villa are now all but safe as they prepare for a trip to Villa Park early on Saturday.
Rafael Benitez’s side will be in no mood to let up now as they look to finish as high as possible, and with the battle between Fernando Torres (£9.3m) and Demba Ba (£7.8m) sure to be dominating many thoughts, it is Juan Mata (£10.1m) who continues to make his team tick.
Somewhat bizarrely denied the winning goal at Old Trafford last weekend, Mata will be doubly determined to impress at Villa Park.
He could be a vital addition for your side.
Swansea manager Micheal Laudrup watched his opposition draw to the now former champions Manchester City 0-0 on Saturday and revealed he now has no option but to field his squad without his top scorer and currently most selected FPL player, Michu.
The Spaniard has managed to net an impressive 21 goals from the midfield position during an absolutely immaculate first season in English football and has gained several plaudits with his ‘Magic touch’ and not to mention has been one of the bargain buys of the season being signed by the Swans for only a fee of 2 million pounds! However, he had to be withdrawn during the second half of the league game against City carrying a hamstring injury. In his post match press conference Laudrup said- ”He has a hamstring problem. I am not sure if he has torn it but even if it is less than that, this will be his last game of the season”
It’s now nearly the end of a stressful season of FPL and the last thing that we that we could have possibly asked for is yet another injury to our long list of woes! And I’m sure the vast majority of you are already considering who to bring in for GW1, of next season, however it’s time to focus on the present and attempt to replace the lad, which is not going to be an easy task given the fact that he’s currently the cheapest FPL attacking player on the dream team! However, it’s a task which simply cannot be avoided.
What to consider from the players you pick-
Towards this stage of the season, consistency is only a minor aspect to consider! The main reasoning one should be putting in before making any changes at this moment of time is if the player has relatively easy fixtures in the up and coming 2 GW’s and that is mainly what the list below is based on!
Players you should consider-
Going through the list of possible midfield options within £1.5M of Michu’s current value, I have picked the following players as potential options to replace the Swansea talisman from now up until the end of the season-
Yet another Spaniard who’s endeared himself to his team’s fans is Santi Cazorla, having hit the ground running in his first year in English football, acquiring an impressive 12 goals and 9 assists for the Gunners since joining at the start of the season , he looks more than capable to add to his tally and help his team secure a place in the top 4! However, a recent slump in form has seen several FPL managers part company with him causing his price to drop considerably from £10.1-£9.5 Million, fixtures do look to be in his favor playing Newcastle and Wigan, both in the relegation scrap, which could really benefit those who do choose him to be the one to replace Michu.
Eden Hazard is one of the latest Belgian success stories in the premier league. Having such an immaculate start, his drop of form in the middle season was rather disappointing, however he has recently been on an impressive run of form and could be the right man to join your FPL team as his next games are to Aston Villa and Everton. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see him rack up a descent tally of points and finish the season in style!
Walcott has had his best season in Arsenal colours, being the clubs top scorer and even being compared by his manager , to a certain French lad who wore the infamous number ’14′ on the back of his shirt! However, his injury and slight dip in form has seen his price fall down to an extremely attractive £8.8m at the moment he’s on a half descent run of form. He finishes this season playing Newcastle and Wigan, which are must win games for the gunners if they are to stand a chance of finishing in a Champions League positions and he could, yet again, step up to the plate and be a vital part of his teams ambitions of finishing in the top 4!
Yet another one of the several Spaniard to have graced the premier league, is David Silva despite not reaching the standards he had managed to set for himself last year, in a rather dismal season he might well be finishing the season in flying colours! Despite the fact his City have had a rather poor season and have nothing much really left to play for in the league, they finish this season playing Reading and Norwich. Now priced at an descent £9.2M I’d be surprised if Silva didn’t hit some big points for your FPL team and help City secure that 2nd place position.
Philippe Coutinho has been an instant success at Anfield since joining in January.
The Brazilian international, has lit up Liverpool‘s side with attacking flair and has managed to build a stunning partnership with both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in only three months. However, with Suarez injured himself and Sturridge will have to rise to the occasion for Liverpool and will have to be key in their goals of finishing in a Europa League place! He even comes at a mouth watering £6.7m and could be set to light up your FPL teams finish to this season.
Many thanks for reading my guest post on FantasyYIRMA.com, feel free to give me a shout if you’ve got any queries in choosing between the bunch or anything FPL related on twitter @Fplmaestro Hopefully we all have a stunning finish to brilliant season.