Having cast an eye over those sides with Strong schedules yesterday afternoon, we now assess those with less favourable fixtures over the final four Gameweeks. The Toffees’ chase for fourth has the potential to come unstuck, whilst the Canaries’ hopes of survival are starting to look slim at best:
Four defeats in the last five and with a caretaker manager left in charge for the remainder of the season, the Canaries look in desperate trouble. Sitting just two points above the drop zone, the remaining four fixtures pit them against Liverpool, United, Chelsea and Arsenal – games which suggest Norwich may be staring relegation in the face before long.
Without a goal in the last three and with a single clean sheet in seven matches, Neil Adams’ side are toiling at both ends of the pitch. Those still holding the likes of Robert Snodgrass and Martin Olsson will surely be looking for a way out as their prospects go from bad to worse for the run-in.
Roberto Martinez’ men have the form but the remaining fixtures look testing as the Toffees attempt to pip Arsenal in the chase for fourth spot. United and City are the final two visitors to Goodison, whilst trips to Southampton and Hull will be far from straightforward, given their respective home records.
Kevin Mirallas’ owners will already be eying up an exit route after the Belgian was benched against Sunderland last weekend, whilst those who opted to double up on Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines may be prepared to let one of the full-backs go at this point. Romelu Lukaku remains capable of delivering the points and blanking unexpectedly in equal measure, but with both United and City set for doubles in Gameweek 37, some will be making plans to part company with the big Belgian as the schedule tightens for the Merseysiders.
A testing trip to West Ham this weekend is followed by back-to-back home games against United and Liverpool before a visit to struggling Fulham on the final day of the season in what may be a must-win match for the Cottagers. Tony Pulis’ side have surpassed themselves in recent matches, serving up four clean sheets in the last five, whilst Jason Puncheon has come to the fore as a budget midfield option, netting three times over the previous couple of matches.
Whilst Puncheon’s current form may be enough to earn him further starts in our Fantasy teams, owners of the likes of Joel Ward may be happy to bench for those two home games in particular – a recent 12-point haul against Chelsea at Selhurst Park suggests he’s more than capable of upsetting our expectations, though.
Be Wary Of…
Alan Pardew’s side are stumbling towards the finishing line after a series of dire displays. Four straight defeats in a run which has also seen them fail to find the net highlights just how lacklustre the Magpies are without Loic Remy on board – changes to their formation have had little effect and with rumours of in-fighting intensifying, few will back them to take anything from trips to Arsenal and Liverpool. Home games against Swansea and Cardiff perhaps offer optimism – if fit, Remy has shown he could run riot but with a host of injuries still hampering his squad, Pardew’s main men are likely to be given a wide berth.
A defeat against Arsenal last night ensures the Hammers are still three points short of the 40-point mark, meaning their survival is not yet assured. Sam Allardyce’s side now square up to a Palace outfit with four clean sheets in five before travelling to The Hawthorns where West Brom have notched three times in each of their last two at home. With games against Spurs and City seeing out the season, our faith in the Hammers is set to dwindle – Kevin Nolan’s owners are likely to move him on after he missed out with a hamstring problem last night, whilst Andy Carroll owners could hold for the next two before cashing in.
Three defeats in the last four and with their top scorer sidelined for six months, the Saints are starting to falter as the season comes to a close. Last week’s home loss to struggling Cardiff will have dented confidence in Mauricio Pochettino’s charges – Everton and United are the final two visitors to St Mary’s, whilst trips to Villa and Swansea are afforded an extra edge, with both home sides still looking to clinch survival. Given their consistency over the season, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert cannot be written off, but with a single clean sheet in five and Artur Boruc still struggling with injury, few will be looking to invest in the Saints backline from this point onwards.