Our round-up of the Gameweek 37 action concludes with the final three matches to be contested on Wednesday.
Burnley 0-3 Liverpool
- Goals: Roberto Firmino (£9.1m), Nat Phillips (£4.1m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.3m)
- Assists: Andy Robertson (£7.2m) x2, Sadio Mane (£11.7m)
- Bonus Points: Robertson x3 Firmino x2 Phillips x1
Liverpool continued their well-timed run for a Champions League place with a contradictory victory at Burnley.
The scoreline was emphatic, as might be expected from a game in which the Reds out-shot their hosts 20 to 10. But Jurgen Klopp’s men were sloppy enough to only find the target with three of those shots, even if all of them found the net.
Such contrasts were of no interest to most Fantasy managers, however. The bottom line for the 41.1% who owned Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) – and the many who also captained him – was a first blank in seven starts.
The goals were instead shared around, with the cut-price charms of centre-half Nat Phillips (£4.1m) further boosted by a first-ever league strike to go with a second clean sheet from the past four Gameweeks.
He was excellent on the night, leading the way for clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI), with 11, and aerial duels won (nine), and could consider himself unlucky to be awarded just the one bonus point.
The maximum went to Andy Robertson (£7.2m). He set up two goals, including the opener for Roberto Firmino (£9.1m), who has found some fine late-season form involving three goals and an assist from his last four starts.
Burnley were predictably combative, but the goals have dried up over the last two Gameweeks for Chris Wood (£6.5m) – although he did miss a big chance to open the scoring last night – and the defence is equally out of sorts, having conceded seven times in that spell.
That meant no dream debut for Clarets keeper Will Norris (£4.0m), who was a surprise choice ahead of Bailey Peacock-Farrell (£4.0m).
Burnley manager Sean Dyche explained that decision post-match:
Will has been terrific, to be fair to him, in and around the group, and that’s why he’s been on the bench a number of times, and it’s just out of respect to him.
A last-day trip to Sheffield United might persuade owners of Burnley players to stick with what they have, but Liverpool’s must-win home clash with Crystal Palace is where most of the Fantasy interest will be.
Burnley XI (4-4-1-1): Norris; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Westwood, Cork (Vydra 76), McNeil, Gudmundsson; Brownhill; Wood.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Rhys Williams, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Milner 86); Salah, Firmino (Oxlade-Chamberlain 81), Mane (Tsimikas 90+2).
West Bromwich Albion 1-3 West Ham United
- Goals: Matheus Pereira (£5.4m) | Tomas Soucek (£5.2m), Angelo Ogbonna (£4.7m), Michail Antonio (£6.6m)
- Assists: Said Benrahma (£5.9m), Aaron Cresswell (£5.6m), Jesse Lingard (£6.6m)
- Bonus Points: Antonio x3 Lingard x2 Soucek x1
West Ham kept their European ambitions bubbling nicely with a come-from-behind win over West Brom.
Three of the side’s key Fantasy assets this season found the net.
Tomas Soucek (£5.2m), once owned by more than 1.7m managers, scored for the first time in eight Gameweeks, while the 29.4%-owned Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) broke a four-match drought to set up Michail Antonio‘s (£6.6m and 9.3%) late clincher.
Another big performer for the Hammers, Aaron Cresswell (£5.6m), made it 11 assists for the season, but his first since Gameweek 27, and the in-form Said Benrahma (£5.9m) chipped in with a third return from the last four matches.
The only downsides involved a missed penalty from Declan Rice (£4.7m), whose well-struck spot-kick beat Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone (£4.6m) but hit the post, and an injury to Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) in the warm-up, with no immediate news on the severity of the suspected knee issue.
David Moyes said after the game:
[Fabianski] kicked a ball and felt his knee, so it is something to do with his knee, I don’t know what he has done if it is bad or not too bad – we have no idea.
No [there was no debate about who would take the penalty]. Jesse has been asking for it and he has already asked me again. I think there are a few wanting them now but overall I told Dec to take it and he knew that he was on them if we got one.
The win means the Hammers have much to play for in Gameweek 38’s visit from Southampton, with a draw ensuring sixth place and a Europa League spot, while the rather more questionable prize that is a place in the Europa Conference League play-off round could be theirs even if they lose to the Saints.
Such riches are the stuff of dreams for the Championship-bound Baggies, but Matheus Pereira (£5.4m) continued his one-man form tornado with yet another haul last night.
The 5.5%-owned midfielder’s sixth goal in eight matches (he also three assists) was his most fortunate. His corner went straight in, with a strong early suggestion that Soucek had actually flicked it on for an own goal.
Since racking up 21 points in a Gameweek 30 masterclass at Chelsea, Pereira has been a major force among midfielders, joint-top for goals (six), shots on target (13) and big chances created (five).
A trip to Leeds on Sunday will be tough, but Pereira is close to fixture-proof at present, having been involved in goals against Liverpool and Arsenal in recent weeks.
West Brom XI (4-4-1-1): Johnstone; Furlong, Bartley, Ajayi, Townsend; Phillips, Gallagher, Maitland-Niles, Yokuslu; Pereira; Robson-Kanu.
West Ham XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna; Soucek, Rice; Benrahma, Lingard, Fornals; Antonio.
Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal
- Goals: Christian Benteke (£5.5m) | Nicolas Pepe (£7.6m) x2 Gabriel Martinelli (£4.9m)
- Assists: Andros Townsend (£5.5m) | Keiran Tierney (£5.2m), Martin Odegaard (£5.6m)
- Bonus Points: Pepe x3 Townsend x2 Benteke x1
Roy Hodgson’s final home game as Crystal Palace boss prompted Arsenal attacker Nicolas Pepe (£7.6m) to spoil the party and deliver only his second double-digit haul of an up and down season.
The midfielder started and finished the scoring, with a degree of tetchiness between the teams and a Palace comeback to keep things interesting in between.
Pepe has now scored in consecutive starts for the Gunners, but those managers tempted by the 1.2%-owned star’s differential potential for Sunday’s visit by Brighton should be aware that this is the first time he’s managed that milestone all season.
Palace striker Christian Benteke (£5.5m) has proved to be much more consistent over the run-in, with his second-half equaliser making it four goals in as many starts for the Belgium international.
He’s another differential in the making, with 1.6% ownership, and there would be a certain irony should he, a former Red, score at Anfield on Sunday to mark ex-Liverpool boss Hodgson’s last match as a manager.
And if sentiment doesn’t so it for you, stats might do.
Benteke leads the way among forwards for goals, attempts (19) and shots on target (10) during his current purple patch, although he did have a Double Gameweek 35 to boost his numbers compared to some.
The striker came off after 78 minutes last night, however, with Hodgson delivering some post-match news on the Belgian and Tyrick Mitchell’s (£3.8m) condition:
Chris [Benteke], it looked like he was feeling something around his ankle or Achilles. I’ve not checked up with physios yet. Tyrick [Mitchell] I wasn’t quite so aware, I think that could quite simply be the fatigue.
As for Arsenal, coach Mikel Arteta has trusted in youth for much of the campaign, with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe (£4.2m) and last night’s goalscoring substitute Gabriel Martinelli (£4.9m) cheap ways into Sunday’s match.
A place in the Europa Conference League could be up for grabs for the Gunners… should they actually want it.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Tomkins, Cahill, Mitchell; Kouyate, McCarthy (Riedewald 82), Schlupp; Townsend, Zaha, Benteke (J Ayew 79).
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Holding, Chambers, Gabriel, Tierney (Xhaka 78); Elneny (Martinelli 78), Partey; Saka (Odegaard 65), Pepe, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.