Feast turns to famine this week. After last week’s banquet of double fixtures, this week we have only six matches on the menu, and only two of them are being served today. Let’s say grace and dive right in.
Since Alan Pardew’s sacking, caretaker Darren Moore has drawn with Swansea and pulled off a shock win at Manchester United. Moore’s victory at Old Trafford pulls him level for wins with Pardew, who had just one victory in a dismal 18 league games at the helm. Nevertheless, West Brom remain glued to the bottom of the table. With his team 9 points from safety with only 12 points still available, a win today is critical and Moore will have no choice but to throw everything he has at Jurgen Klopp’s men.
And that just might open up the game for the Reds, who are flying high on the wings of their 40-goal hitman Mo Salah. They just won both legs of their Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester City with an aggregate score of 5-1, and they beat Bournemouth 3-0 in the league. A goal for Salah today would tie him with Luis Suarez for most goals in a Liverpool Premier League campaign, and would also strengthen the Egyptian’s grip on the Golden Boot.
But fantasy managers who are giddy with anticipation over Liverpool’s prospects today will have to hope that the specter of rotation and managed-minutes does not rear its ugly head. The Reds are already nearly assured of a top-four finish, and they host Roma in the first leg of their CL semifinal in just three days. Klopp will certainly have an eye on that fixture when he makes squad and substitution decisions.
Watford have been sputtering lately. They are winless in their last five games, and they’ve dropped points in the 90th minute in two of their last three. Worse, a stomach bug has run through the camp and knocked several players out of training this week. The only victim that manager Javi Gracia has specifically named is Sebastian Prodl, but it is believed that there were others. Gracia will hope that his team’s fortunes take a turn for the better today: Although they sit in 12th place, a loss today would drop them into the relegation scrum taking place below them.
In contrast, the Eagles have been soaring lately. In a remarkable reversal after posting the worst start in EPL history, they’ve now opened up a 6-point gap between themselves and the bottom three. A centerpiece of the revival has been Wilfried Zaha, whose brace against Brighton made him only the third Eagle in history to register 20 Premier League goals. When these two teams last met in December, Sebastian Prodl kept Zaha quiet. But Prodl was one of the Hornets stricken by a stomach virus this week, so Zaha may get the better of him this time around. The Ivorian’s fantasy owners will certainly hope so.
Will Darren Moore pull off another shocker with a win over Liverpool? Will Jurgen Klopp field a full-strength side? Will Mo Salah be able to widen his lead over Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot? Will Watford stop the rot today, or will Palace continue their run of good form? Who’s playing for your fantasy sides today, and how are they doing? Come on in and let’s talk it over!