Usually as the Premier League season nears its end, the job of a fantasy manager starts to become a little easier. The under-achievers and stars of the season have long been recognised, making the final few weeks’ picks somewhat of a formality.
Then gameweek 35 happened…
The plans of fantasy managers all over the globe were ripped to shreds last week; David McGoldrick and Dominic Solanke are scoring goals, Aston Villa and West Ham are keeping clean sheets, Arsenal are making mistakes (well, some things never change).
If you’re staring aimlessly at your team – unsure of what to believe anymore – then never fear. Here’s your rundown of the best and worst picks ahead of gameweek 36.
After their capitulation away at Sheffield United, for once the Chelsea fans couldn’t blame the defeat on Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The £71m man was unlucky in the build-up to McGoldrick’s opener and could do little about the Blades’ other two goals.
At home to Norwich – the lowest scorers in the league by some margin – the Spaniard should be in for a quiet afternoon. At £5.4 he’s not cheap, though a precious clean sheet at this stage of the season could be huge in terms of your final standing.
On the other hand, Bournemouth’s Aaron Ramsdale could be in for a long evening at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Cherries have managed just four clean sheets in the league all season, and with City notching 14 goals in their last four games, Ramsdale won’t be relishing the trip.
Despite being known more for the defensive side of his game, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become a constant outlet on the United right and has been key to their good form since the restart.
Against his old employers he’ll no doubt be out to impress, and with the marauding Patrick van Aanholt his opposite number, Wan-Bissaka could be in for a fruitful afternoon as he looks to supply some of the hottest strikers in the league.
One side who can usually be relied upon for defensive solidarity is Burnley, and so it’s no surprise to see stalwart James Tarkowski the eighth-best performing defender in fantasy football.
Tarkowski’s Burnley face Wolves on Wednesday, and while the Clarets’ season may be just about done and dusted, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men have it all to play for with Champions League football on the line.
Wolves were in scintillating form last time out against Everton, and with the pace of Adama Traore and the power of Raul Jiménez, the Burnley backline will do well to keep Nuno’s men at bay.
The shrewd investors among you will have snapped up £8.3 Anthony Martial a few weeks ago. With four goals and an assist the Frenchman has been in fine form since the restart.
Classed as a midfielder for fantasy football purposes, Martial’s goalthreat could see you clock up the points in Gameweek 36 against a Crystal Palace side who have been in dismal form of late, losing five in a row and shipping 13 goals in the process.
One of United’s biggest rivals for a top-four place is Chelsea. Frank Lampard was rightly left furious following his side’s awful showing at Bramall Lane on Saturday, with the Blues boss hooking Mason Mount off at half time.
The youngster was at fault for the Blades opener, attempting to dribble out from the edge of his own box and being caught out, before McGoldrick broke his Premier League duck.
Despite a comfortable looking home clash with relegated Norwich, expect Lampard to ring the changes and Mount will most likely be the first to miss out.
Despite spending much of the season as deputy to Sergio Aguero, an injury to the Argentina international has seen Gabriel Jesus leading the City line.
The Brazilian hasn’t disappointed, notching two goals and two assists in his last two outings. Jesus will be keen to show Pep Guardiola that he can be the main man next season, and a home game against Bournemouth is the perfect opportunity to showcase his talents.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has enjoyed another stellar campaign for Arsenal, with the Gabon international yet again in the hunt for the Premier League Golden Boot – just three behind Jamie Vardy.
However, the Gunners travel to Anfield on Wednesday, and while Liverpool haven’t been at their imperious best since the restart, it’s difficult to see Mikel Arteta’s men taking anything from the home of the Reds.