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Fantasy EPL: Round 27 Review / Round 28 Preview


Round 27’s main stories were Tottenham’s win (and clean sheet) over Arsenal, Sergio Aguero’s four goals, Manchester United’s loss to Newcastle and Liverpool’s on-field demolition of Southampton.

Let’s start from the beginning. In the most anticipated match of the round, Tottenham and Arsenal faced off in Wembley. Both Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan were in Wenger’s starting lineup. After an even first half, Harry Kane broke the deadlock at the beginning of the second, and The Spurs took control after that. The Gunners had their moments, but Pochettino’s men went out of the stadium as deserved winners.

Liverpool was the lonely road winner of the round. One-two combinations between Salah and Firmino decided the final outcome, although it could’ve been much worse for Southampton. It was a demoralizing and an absolutely uninspired performance by Southampton in the second half. It looked as if they had given up before even coming out onto the field. Pellegrino has some work to do if he wants to save his job. Manchester City blazed through Leicester, with Sergio Aguero having one of his yearly four-goal appearances. Sterling scored the first goal in the 5-1 victory, while De Bruyne assisted on the first three of those five. Chelsea cruised versus West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Hazard found the net twice, and he was assisted by Giroud (first goal) and his replacement Morata (third goal). Victor Moses scored the second one in the 3-0 win. Manchester United’s run of close wins finally took a turn for the worst in its 1-0 loss in Newcastle. Matt Ritchie was The Magpies’ hero, as Rafa Benitez got the better of his rival Mourinho. The Portuguese have never won in St. James Park.

Huddersfield put Bournemouth back in its place in a 4-1 drubbing. New signing Alex Pritchard and forgotten man Steve Mounie were the difference-makers. Everton beat Crystal Palace with three second-half goals by Sigurdsson, Tom Davies and Niasse. Milivojevic’s penalty in the 90th minute was a mere consolation goal. The Swansea vs. Burnley encounter was a close low-scoring one, as I predicted. The Welsh did manage to break through Burnley’s wall in the 81st minute. Ki was the scorer, his first of the season. West Ham also protected its home in a 2-0 victory over Watford. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored for the third time in his last four games, proving Moyes wrong not to trust him. The other goal was courtesy of Marko Arnautovic, his first game back after an injury. The only tie of the round was between Stoke and Brighton. Shaqiri canceled out Izquierdo’s first-period goal, and then Charlie Adam missed a penalty in the 90th minute in the 1-1 draw.


Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle), Mathew Ryan (Brighton), Loris Karius (Liverpool), Adrian (West Ham).
Defenders: Victor Moses (Chelsea), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Kyle Naughton (Swansea), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), John Collins (West Ham), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Alex Pritchard (Huddersfield), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle), Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke).
Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Steve Mounie (Huddersfield), Oumar Niasse (Everton), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).


Leicester vs. Stoke

– Leicester’s run in the FA Cup came to an end last weekend when it lost to Chelsea. Now, The Foxes will turn their full attention to the Premier League and the chase for a spot in the Europa League. First up, Stoke City. With Okazaki as the only injured player, they’re healthy and should make quick business of the bottom-dwelling Potters. The only question remains: How much will Riyad Mahrez be involved in this match, and in general, the rest of the way? A clean sheet is a definite possibility.

Bournemouth vs. Newcastle

– Bournemouth had enough time to forget about the loss to Manchester City and will look to get back to its winning ways against Newcastle. The Cherries haven’t lost in their last four home matches. Callum Wilson was quiet in his last two appearances, making me think he’ll make an impact this time around. The Magpies were impressive in the win over Manchester United, but I think that was more due to motivation than overall quality. A draw is the best they can hope for, although I do believe they’ll score.

Brighton vs. Swansea

– Brighton got past Coventry and will face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals. Winter signing Jurgen Locadia scored two goals and is a player to watch from this team for the remainder of the season. Izquierdo, who has adjusted to life in England, has had his form rise accordingly. Swansea crawled its way out of the relegation zone because of its streak of five games without a loss. It’s a match The Swans shouldn’t lose, but I have the feeling they just might.

Burnley vs. Southampton

– After the display against Liverpool, I will not trust Southampton (or any of its players) anymore until Pellegrino is the coach. Burnley hasn’t been able to win (or score for that matter), but I still consider them the favorite here. Gudmundsson and Arfield are my players to watch for this one.

Liverpool vs. West Ham

– Another game, another chance for Liverpool to rip through an opponent. Several times this season, The Reds looked unstoppable, and then they stumbled when least expected. They seem to be clicking on all cylinders again, as demonstrated in the 5-0 win at Porto in the Champions League. This is a great matchup for Salah, Firmino, Mane and the rest of the squad. Fantasy owners will be hoping they deliver.

West Bromwich vs. Huddersfield

– WBA is the prime candidate for relegation. Huddersfield is on the bubble. Alex Pritchard, a player bought in January, could be its savior. He looked great in his first full game with the club, and he will be looked upon to do even more with Mooy out injured. The battle for starts between Mounie and Depoitre, which has annoyed fantasy owners all season long, rages on. With Sturridge out, Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon are your bets to earn you some points from West Brom.

Watford vs. Everton

– Everton is constantly walking a tightrope, balancing out its terrible losses with impressive wins. Despite Watford’s recent struggles, this visit will not be fun for The Toffees. Is this the match when Richarlison finally breaks out of his slump? Deeney could also cause some troubles for Everton’s shaky defense.

Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham

– There’s nothing that says Crystal Palace could get anything out of this game. The Spurs have been in excellent form, proven by their splendid performance in Turin. Additionally, Palace is an ambulance room, whereas Tottenham’s roster is fully healthy (including Danny Rose). The hosts might score, but the visitors are just too good not to win.

Manchester United vs. Chelsea

– Oh my, oh my! As if Mourinho’s Chelsea departure wasn’t controversial enough, The Blues’ new manager started his own biff with the Portuguese troublemaker. Judging by Conte’s defensive tactics against Barcelona, this is going to be a tense chess match between two great minds. Who will win? Likely none. You’re better off benching offensive players from this contest.

Arsenal vs. Manchester City

– Due to their clash in the English Cup final on Sunday, Arsenal and Manchester City will play their league game on Thursday, March 1. Considering they will have played each other just a few days back, this encounter could be much less interesting than it could’ve been. You will need to pay close attention to who features in Sunday’s final, as some of those players might get rested for the Thursday match. There’s a small prediction I can make, though. De Bruyne and Aubameyang will find their way to the score sheet.

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