Our round-up of Wednesday’s Premier League action begins with the three early kick-offs.
A win for Everton and a defeat for Tottenham Hotspur kept things interesting in the race for seventh, with the team finishing in that position qualifying for the UEFA Europa Conference League play-off round.
Providing the clubs in contention actually want to qualify for the new tertiary tournament and don’t view it with the same disdain they did the Intertoto Cup, it should ensure Spurs, Everton and Arsenal (who beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday) are near enough full strength in Gameweek 38.
Spurs (and with a massive goal swing, Everton) could still overhaul West Ham United in sixth place on the final day, so Fantasy managers should still be able to call upon their key assets from these clubs on Sunday amid the possible end-of-season rotation elsewhere.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1-2 ASTON VILLA
Ollie Watkins‘ (£6.4m) remarkably consistent run of FPL form continued in north London, with the Aston Villa striker notching his 23rd attacking return of the season.
He has blanked in only one of his last eight appearances, a run that coincides with him racking up the most penalty box touches in the division.
He registered six shots in the area against the Lilywhites, only one fewer than Spurs managed as a whole.
The galvanizing effect of the return of Jack Grealish (£7.5m) can’t be underestimated, with Villa looking more like the side we saw in the first half of the campaign.
A home fixture against a defensively sound Chelsea is hardly in his favour but Grealish as a Gameweek 38 punt would otherwise be worth exploring.
As for Spurs, they might have ‘something to play for’ on the final day, but you’d never tell by Wednesday’s flat display.
It was a bad day all round for their Fantasy assets, with an anonymous Son Heung-min (£9.7m) not producing a single shot or key pass, Gareth Bale (£9.2m) benched due to the demands of the swift fixture turnaround and Harry Kane (£11.9m) perhaps trying too hard on what may have been his farewell appearance in front of the north London faithful.
It’s just one goal in four Gameweeks for Kane but the chances keep coming, with only Christian Benteke (£5.5m) having had more shots among FPL forwards in that time.
Sergio Reguilon (£5.6m) had a topsy-turvy evening, claiming the assist for Steven Bergwijn‘s (£7.0m) strike before scoring a comical own-goal to bring Villa level.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED
Joe Willock (£4.8m) scored for the sixth straight match as Newcastle United edged out Sheffield United in the final game of the season at St James’ Park.
His Fantasy Premier League ownership has increased almost tenfold in the last two Gameweeks and he is the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer from Gameweek 30 onwards, despite starting just three matches in that time.
Already among the top five most-bought FPL midfielders of Gameweek 38, there was a late scare in the win over the Blades when he walked gingerly from the pitch.
There was, thankfully, positive news on Willock from Steve Bruce at full-time – but less encouraging updates on fellow injury victims Joelinton (£5.7m), Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.2m) and Martin Dubravka (£4.8m):
Joelinton has a knock. Saint-Maximin, we don’t know yet if it’s a calf injury or whether it’s just a kick as well so we’ll see how he is. Dubravka has a bit of a hamstring but I don’t think there’s anything too bad. Joe Willock is just fatigued.
Fulham await Newcastle in Gameweek 38 and there is encouragement for Willock’s new and existing owners in the fact that the Cottagers are without a clean sheet in their last nine matches, conceding 18 goals in that time.
The Mapgies’ shut-out on Wednesday was, as it happens, their first since Gameweek 27 and only their second on Tyneside in 2020/21.
EVERTON 1-0 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Everton kept up the pressure on Spurs as they defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0.
Richarlison (£7.8m) ended a ten-game goal drought with the game’s only goal, nodding in a Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m) corner.
But it’s Everton’s defence that has caught the eye over the last few months from a Fantasy perspective.
The Toffees have registered eight clean sheets from Gameweek 25 onwards, which is the best record in the division.
It’s on the road where they have really excelled, with six shut-outs in their last seven fixtures away from Goodison Park.
That good form on their travels will be put to the test in Gameweek 38 but a match at the Etihad mightn’t be all that daunting, with Manchester City likely to have one eye on their upcoming UEFA Champions League final clash with Chelsea.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) has blanked against the might of Wolves and Sheffield United in consecutive Gameweeks but perhaps there could be some belated, unexpected joy at a mind-elsewhere Manchester City, who have shipped eight goals in their last three matches.
James Rodriguez (£7.7m) missed out against Wolves, with Carlo Ancelotti explaining:
James is out because he was a little bit tired. He didn’t play, he was out, then he played against Sheffield, we prefer not to take a risk.
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