1.) Is Leicester City's inspirational title bid beginning to crack?
Okay, a wobble yes, but Claudio Raineri's men still hold a 5pt advantage over title rivals Tottenham, a major advantage going into the final stretch of matches. But the road to the most unprecedented Premier League title has now hit a major stumbling block in the form of Jamie Vardy's irrational red card and possible extended suspension for verbally abusing the referee. While any other team that loses their most prolific striker at such a crucial point in the title race would be severely feeling the pinch, the Foxes have simply continued to get the job done. Danny Drinkwater, Shinji Okazaki, Leonardo Ulloa, N'Golo Kante and Leicester's impressive back line along with Kasper Schmeichel have stepped up when needed most, even when Vardy's goals have dried up. Do I imagine the pressure is now pilling on Raineri and his men? Sure, but as we have seen all season, the Foxes have found ways to rise above. The title race could very well go down to the wire, and with two unlikely teams vying for PL glory, the stage is set for a remarkable conclusion to the 2015-2016 season.
2.) Can Spurs over-haul Leicester City for the title?
On current form, Tottenham are playing their most exciting and thrilling football in what is shaping up to be a title race of the century. At the beginning of the season, no one would have counted Spurs and Leicester to be the sole rivals battling at the top of the table. Harry Kane has defied the critics and doubled up on another 20+ goal campaign that has launched Pochettino's side into the elite tier of Premier League clubs. With a squad performing so consistently well, simply finishing above rivals Arsenal is no longer good enough. While it would be heartbreaking for Leicester to have their fairy tale title push ultimately fail, you can't say Tottenham wouldn't be deserving champions. They have been one of the most electric teams this season and will welcome West Brom to White Heart Lane in Week 35 to continue their title push. No one should have any doubts over their title credentials and over-hauling Leicester looks more and more of a possibility than a pipe dream.
3.) Too little and too late for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle?
A first win under Benitez and an inspired draw have seen Newcastle pick up 4 vital points from their last 2 matches. New belief has been growing in the squad, but is it too little too late for Rafa and Newcastle? With only 4 matches remaining, Sunderland ahead by a single point and a crucial game in hand with Norwich hanging onto safety 2pts ahead, the deck seems fairly stacked against Newcastle staying up this season. The remaining fixtures pit Rafa against his old club Liverpool, then fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, relegated Aston Villa, and the final match coming at home against title chasing Tottenham. Of those matches, it is clear 6 pts must be won over fellow bottom table denizens CP and Villa with the Liverpool match probably the only other game in which Newcastle can hope to take some points. Sunderland have a much tougher final stretch facing among other teams Arsenal and Chelsea, so the writing is not yet set in stone. Even with their recent up tick in performances and increased belief in the squad, Newcastle will have to fight until the bitter end to hope for survival. If they do end up going down, at least they can say they went swinging.
4.) How will Aston Villa play out the season?
Aston Villa's return to the Championship has been confirmed, and no one can say they didn't see that coming. Their performances simply haven't been what was required this season, conceding the leagues most goals and scoring the fewest. Off the pitch trouble has also spread through some of the players with Agbonlahor and Lescott taking the most heat. The big question now is how will Aston Villa react? With 4 matches remaining, Villa still have the chance to finish on somewhat of a high note, if not for the fans, but themselves. Two ways that Vila can go about their remaining fixtures, continue to play without drive and passion as they have for most of the season, or give their fans something to cheer about as they start making plans for a promotion push from the Championship. Simply put, I think the fans are owed a little something from the end of this season. A winning run-out to the season means Villa's players can carry a more positive mentality through the summer preparations for a promotion push from the Championship. Otherwise they risk continuing the kind of lack luster performances that got them to where they are now. It would be tragic to see them slip down the tiers like Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.
5.) Can we please get a double week miracle?
For me, like many others, this double week has been a complete disaster. My main rival in the Official set up had previously used his wild card, bench boost and triple captain plays, leaving me with a huge advantage coming into the doubles of Week 33 and Week 34. But your best laid plans are only as good as the players you pick, and for me, I got many of my picks wrong. Whether that was because of rotation or injury, my fantasy side has struggled in the past two weeks as the consistent single game picks like Kane and Alli continue to rack up the points. However, 4 of the 5 double week teams are still to play and bring with them a crucial haul of points. The double week can giveth and the double week can taketh away. I just hope we can finish Week 34 on a strong note or my wild card and bench boost chips were futile.
How has your team done this week? With the limited fixtures in Week 35, who are you looking to bring into your side?