Regarding matters at or near the bottom of the table, Stoke was officially relegated on Saturday, while West Brom stayed quantum-mechanically alive not only due to their own big improbable win over Spurs in the dying moments, but also from Southampton conceding a last-gasp equalizer to Everton (in the sixth minute of four added on — now that’s quantum mechanics!). Following all of that drama, things are unsurprisingly extremely tense as we start up the second half of the double game week on Tuesday.
[Editor’s note: For the few brave souls who manage in the Fantrax +Bench League, you have a separate game-week for the six mid-week matches (twelve teams active). The deadline is just 15 minutes before the kick-off of the Tuesday match, so check the announced lineups and other news, and then adjust your roster if needed.]
Swansea v. Southampton
Fantasy managers, of course, were hurt by the lack of scoring or assisting on Saturday from players such as Dusan Tadic and Jordan Ayew. However, investment in Swans’ and Saints’ defenders/keepers was even more disappointing as neither side managed to keep a clean sheet. Now thankfully comes a second chance all around!
This shapes up as a real cracker between two desperate squads. It’s the ultimate six-pointer: 17th place visiting 18th place separated only by goal-difference (-19 to -26) at 33 points. There’s little chance of both being able to catch Huddersfield, so that leaves either Swansea or Southampton facing the chopping block. Meanwhile, there’s actually a mathematical possibility of West Brom escaping by quantum-tunneling past both teams. That would require a whole series of results to break just right for Albion, starting with a draw in this match.
Swans come home ruing their inability to earn even a single point from their visit to Dean Court. Aided by a deflection off defender Alfie Mawson that left keeper Lucasz Fabianski grasping at air, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser scored the only goal. The listless Swans suffered their third straight shut-out, leaving the team with a total of two goals scored across the past seven league games.
Of course, Southampton suffered an even bigger gut punch, as victory escaped the team’s grasp in the final seconds of extra extra time against Everton. Southampton had been down to ten men since minute 85 when Maya Yoshida saw red for his second yellow. A Tom Davies shot was helped by yet another deflection, this one through the feet of defender Wesley Hoedt (more quantum tunneling). Nathan Redmond went from hero to goat, having scored his first goal of the season that looked like the game winner, but now punished for unwisely saving the ball from the sideline just seconds before the final whistle. After all, a throw-in surely would have proved less dangerous than the Toffees being able to set up an unopposed cross.
The Saints have won only once in their past nine league affairs, and they won’t be helped by having to shift their defense around the now-suspended Yoshida... or will they? Jack Stephens is expected to fill in for Yoshida. Mario Lemina is also a major doubt, so Redmond will probably have an opportunity to show whether he is more hero or goat.
Two struggling teams, both in desperate need of a win: It’s like watching a train wreck and wondering which derailed passenger car might not fall off a bridge. Maybe they’ll both take each other down — What fun!
How did your fantasy teams fare in the weekend half of the double game week? What players do you have going? Please join in the live chat below and let us know!