What kind of world do we live in where a second place Manchester United team can travel to the Etihad and beat the dominant first place team, Manchester City, with a spirited comeback, then lose limply at Old Trafford the next weekend to bottom dweller West Brom? An exciting one where anything can happen! So as always, expectations are good to have going in, but it’s up in the air how things will actually turn out.
West Ham v. Stoke (Monday)
Not all six pointers are created equal, and this is not exactly balanced. 19th place Stoke City needs this one much more than 15th place West Ham. But if the visiting Potters can indeed scratch and claw those three points, we could definitely end up looking back on this as a major fortune changer for either or both teams.
In a West Ham campaign mired in underperformance and injury, the latest bad news has Michail Antonio out for the rest of the season, so Marko Arnautovic looks to remain the Hammers’ all-important player on the offensive end. As bad as things have seemed, London stadium has offered recent respite, as the Hammers have lost only once in their past six home games in the league. That makes it a truly Sisyphean uphill battle for the visiting Potters, who have won only once on the road all season.
It wouldn’t be quite on the same level of West Brom emerging victorious at Old Trafford, but if Xherdan Shaqiri, Mame Biram Diouf and company can take the three points in London Town, there’s going to be a serious infusion of excitement and pressure in the relegation battle from here on out.
Brighton v. Tottenham (Tuesday)
The Seagulls are in poor form, with three losses and a draw in their past four league games, having conceded at least two goals thrice in that stretch. However, sitting in 13th place with 35 points and five to play, Brighton will not face an extreme amount of pressure to perform in this one.
Tottenham is in a similarly cozy-ish position, albeit at the other end. Chelsea’s comeback to beat Southampton plus the rebounding Citizens outclassing Spurs at Wembley was a disappointing combination, but the North Londoners remain fairly comfortably in the vital fourth spot with a seven point advantage over the Blues. With Spurs boasting the third-most away goals in the league, and Brighton actually conceding more at home than on the road, we can easily glean what the betting markets are thinking without jetting to Vegas.
With less on the line than the Monday game, how much passion will we see in Tuesday’s affair? Shall the managers rotate line-ups to keep key players fresh? Can Harry Kane regain his goal scoring mojo, or does Christian Eriksen keep things going? Will Glenn Murray score to up his tally to a baker’s dozen on the season? Tune in to find out!
Does Tuesday mark the start of GW35 for any of your fantasy leagues? If so, then mark your deadline. For those in the thick of GW34, how are your picks holding up after a weekend of play? Which game are you most keen on, and which fantasy players do you need to perform? How do you feel about Manchester City winning the title in backdoor fashion thanks to United’s shock loss? Let us know in the comments and be sure to join in the live chat!