With plenty of managers using either their second wildcard or their free-hit chip in GW-31, it’ll be interesting to see which FPL players they opt for. Let’s have a look who has a favorable chance to grab three points and/or a clean sheet.
April 9, Friday
Fulham v Wolves
Relegation-dwelling Fulham is plenty motivated to challenge Wolves for a win that could see them escape the bottom three. On the other side, Santo’s men have nothing concrete moving forward other than trying to improve their dull season as much as possible. So expect the Cottagers to fight tough for this match.
* Wolves have never beaten Fulham in an away Premier League match in five previous meetings.
* Wolves were unbeaten in their first 10 league games in London after gaining promotion in 2018 but have since lost three of their last five.
* Fulham’s 2-1 defeat by Leeds last month snapped a run of seven straight home league victories in games played on Friday.
April 10, Saturday
Man City v Leeds
Marcelo Bielsa mentioned how much he’s looking forward to Pep Guardiola’s box of surprises. The Citizens have won 18 of their previous 19 Premier League matches, and they have been solid at the back. Leeds has the attacking ability to test the City defense, but Leeds’ own defense has conceded 48 goals in 30 league fixtures. This should be a fun game to watch with goals banging here and there.
* Man City is unbeaten in the last 41 league games against promoted teams at the Etihad Stadium.
* Pep Guardiola’s side has kept a league-high 17 clean sheets this season, on course to surpass its record tally of 20 shutouts in 2018-19.
* Leeds has secured 42 points from 30 games, the club’s best tally at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2001-02, when Leeds finished fifth.
Prediction: 3- 1
Liverpool v Aston Villa
This should be entertaining; both teams still have something to prove with few matches left to play. Liverpool is back in contention for a top-four spot, and after a loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League this week, the Reds will look to give a positive reaction against Aston Villa. The biggest problem Dean Smith’s side will face is the absence of captain Jack Grealish, which will be the difference in this fixture, despite Jurgen Klopp’s terrifying injury list.
* Villa defeated Liverpool 7-2 in October and is looking to complete its first league double over the Merseyside club since 1992-93.
* Juergen Klopp’s champions are looking to avoid a seventh straight league defeat at Anfield.
* Aston Villa has beaten Liverpool six times away from home in the Premier League, behind only Man United (12) and Chelsea (7).
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Chelsea’s unbeaten record under Thomas Tuchel took a shocking turn in West Brom’s 5-2 victory last weekend. However, the important win against Porto in the Champions League should give the Blues enough confidence. Despite facing fatigue, they still have enough quality players to dominate Palace. However, The Eagles front three of Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha, and Christian Benteke have enough ability to cause trouble for the Blues’ back line which is why it’s not going to be a one-sided game.
* Chelsea has won the last six league games against Palace, including a 4-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge in October.
* Chelsea is yet to lose a league game away from home since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January.
* Timo Werner has been involved in more goals than any other Chelsea player this season (5 goals, 6 assists).
April 11, Sunday
Burnley v Newcastle
Neither team has much of an advantage over the other, so the result depends on which Jekyl-Hyde team shows up wanting to win. A potential front four of Saint-Maximin, Willock, Wilson, and Miguel Almiron can cause a problem for Burnley’s tough defensive side. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this fixture.
* Burnley defeated Newcastle 1-0 at Turf Moor last season and is looking for back-to-back home victories against the Magpies for the first time since 1968.
* Burnley has failed to win any of the last six home league games, while Newcastle is winless in the last seven.
* Newcastle manager Steve Bruce is bidding to avoid a fourth successive away defeat by Burnley, having lost in 2009-10 with Sunderland, 2014-15 with Hull City and last season with the Magpies.
West Ham v Leicester
Leicester is in position to claim a Champions League slot next season, while West Ham is gunning to climb into that top four. The Foxes have been excellent in their away fixtures, losing just one, which gives them enough confidence to aim for all three points. However, the same can be said for the Hammers who had a stunning performance against Wolves last week.
* West Ham is winless in its last five home league games against Leicester.
* David Moyes’ side is looking for its first league double over Leicester since 1999-2000, following the 3-0 victory at the King Power Stadium in October.
* West Ham has scored in 25 different league matches this season, behind only Manchester City; on-loan midfielder Jesse Lingard has been involved in more goals (6 goals, 3 assists) than any other player since making his Hammers debut in February.
Tottenham v Man United
Jose Mourinho welcomes his former club and hopes his new team is motivated enough to aim for an upset in this fixture. Spurs still have enough to play for: a League Cup final against Manchester City plus a fight for a top-four slot. However, they have a terrible record in holding on to leads, whereas United prefers to make comebacks like last week against Brighton. The story is set.
* Tottenham has lost just one of the last eight home league games against Manchester United.
* If Spurs net twice, they will become the first team to score eight goals against Manchester United in a single Premier League campaign, following their 6-1 victory earlier this season.
* Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is unbeaten in the last 22 away league games and is looking to match Arsenal’s tally of 23 between August 2001-September 2002.
Sheffield United v Arsenal
Arsenal had a nightmare when Slavia Prague scored a last minute equalizer in Europa League play Thursday. Mikel Arteta surely has questions to answer as the Gunners haven’t been entirely good in the league, but visiting Sheffield is the perfect tonic to restore confidence against a team with nothing left to play for.
* Arsenal has not beaten the Blades away from home in the Premier League in four previous attempts.
* Arsenal has failed to keep a clean sheet in nine successive Premier League games, the Gunners’ third worst run in the history of the competition.
* The Blades have managed a league-worst 17 goals in 30 games this season.
April 12, Monday
West Brom v Southampton
West Brom has not completely lost hope of escaping relegation, and the side still has a few tricks left in the bag thanks to Sam Allardyce. The 5-2 win over Chelsea was a massive shocker and extremely important three points to grab. That should give them enough confidence to challenge Southampton. The Baggies have lost six of their last 12 matches, which isn’t that awful for a side struggling near the bottom of the table.
The Saints battled back from conceding two to beat Burnley 3-2 last week. But that gave them just their second win in twelve Premier League matches, which is why Ralph Hasenhuttl needs to find more solutions as soon as possible.
* Southampton has won each of its last four leagues games against West Brom, including a 2-0 victory at St Mary’s Stadium in October.
* Ralph Hasenhuettl’s side defeated Burnley 3-2 last time out but has not won back-to-back games since December.
* West Brom has found the net in just three of nine home league games under Sam Allardyce.
Brighton v Everton
The Seagulls won back-to-back matches against Southampton and Newcastle to run away from the relegation zone but then fell to Man United 2-1 last week. Brighton has everything to play for to stay safe, while Everton has a top-four race to run. The Toffees will look to use their quality players to step up and fight for all three points, but it should be not be easy.
* Brighton has not lost to Everton in any of three home league games.
* Everton’s nine-game unbeaten run on the road was snapped by a 2-0 loss to Chelsea last month.
* 24% of goals conceded by Brighton have come from headers this season, the highest proportion in the league, while Everton has scored 12 headed goals, more than any other team.
[All stats sourced from Reuters]
What are your predictions for the fixtures? What are your thoughts on the Man United v Tottenham game? What are your fantasy strategies for the week? Any popular player whom you hope will earn you points? Whom are you adding and dropping? Who’s on your watch list? Please let us know in the comments below!