15 March 2019
The funny thing about Bournemouth – takes a cursory glance at their recent form (W3, D2, L5) – which suggests they are inconsistent. But looking at their season overall tells a different story. They are unbeaten at home to teams outside the Top Five, for examples. Winning seven, drawing four. So, the reason they are 12th and looking down and not 9th and looking up is because of their away form. Newcastle’s recent revival has taken them to within one place and 3pts of their hosts. But their best work takes place at home too. Just 2pts from their last six matches on the road suggests this won’t be an away win. But I’m not convinced of a home win either.
Hot Shot – Wilson (BOU) is back. Goal and assist last week. Play him.
Midfield General – Fraser (BOU) has never been away. Goals and assist last week. Play him.
Case for the Defence – Hmm. Goals likely, so pass.
Burnley’s 18pts from a possible twenty-four at the beginning of the year looked like relegating relegation talk to the past. But three defeats on the spin have left them within reach of Cardiff, who are the only team below them not already resigned to Championship football next season. There are plenty of teams above within reach of Burnley, of course. But they can’t afford any slip-ups. Of which there have been plenty this season. Leicester looked to have turned the corner in their two recent wins under new boss Brendan. However, they haven’t travelled well lately (D1, L3). But Vardy – at last – looks more like his old self.
Hot Shot – Vardy (LEI) has five in five.
Midfield General – Westwood (BUR) is in form. A consecutive goal and an assist.
Case for the Defence – Pereira (LEI) has surprised a few this season. 106pts y’know.
West Ham’s Dr Jekyll are in better fettle than Tottenham and Man United over the last four at home. It’s a good job though, as their Mr Hyde has put them in the Bottom Three over the same quota away. Already condemned Huddersfield have been a free hit for most this season and the Hammers should be able to knock another nail in their Premier League coffin. 7th place is not out of the question if they can muster some consistency over the final few furlongs. Then next season could look rosy, if they can keep their star players. Declan Rice’s call up to the England squad is not good news in this respect.
Hot Shot – Arnautovic (WH) has gone off the boil since January, but has a goal in him.
Midfield General – Anderson (WH) hasn’t delivered a lot lately. But, likewise, has the tools.
Case for the Defence – Rice (WH). England’s latest midfield call-up is a defender according to FPL.
It’s difficult to know what the impact Wednesday’s Champions League assignment will have on Liverpool. Three months ago, even on two cylinders, they would’ve had enough to get the job done here. But not much has gone to plan in the league lately. Three away draws on the spin is a surprising statistic. No goals in the last two is shocking. But they have been efficient v Bottom Half teams this season, winning 14 of their 15 matches. The one black spot being the obligatory frustrating draw with their plucky neighbours, so doesn’t really count. Fulham haven’t shown anything since the opening fortnight of the season, apart from a half-hour flurry against Brighton in January. And have lost nine of their last ten. Likely ten from 11.
Hot Shot – Sturridge (LIV) could be a wildcard. Scored in his last two visits to the Cottage.
Midfield General –Salah (LIV) is due one. But Mane (LIV) makes a case.
Case for the Defence – Robertson (LIV) is the top gun among Defenders.
Everton’s record v teams below them is outstanding (W6, D2). There just aren’t enough of them. Their 11th place suggests they are bang average. And that’s about the size of it. But only 2pts from a possible 21pts v those above them should embarrass a team of their stature and ambition – and one of those was the obligatory plucky point v their illustrious neighbours, so doesn’t really count. And tells you that this is another away win for Chelsea. Thursday night might’ve taken a bit out of their legs, but they have plenty to play for in the scramble for a Top Four place.
Hot Shot – Higuain (CHE) hasn’t made the impact that he and Chelsea hoped. But slim pickings I’m afraid.
Midfield General – Hazard (CHE). Would be nice if he could sign off in style before Real come a knocking.
Case for the Defence – Keane (EVE) is back to his best after a poor start to his Everton career.