Welcome to NMA’s FPL & Fantrax virtual pub! Pull yourself a pint of something (tell us what!), settle in and join the chat!
There’s nothing with a beginning that doesn’t have an end, and we are almost at the end of what has been an enthralling English Premier League season. It has been a season filled with lots of drama, suspense and even some chaos (Manchester United).
With just one round of fixtures to go, the race for top four, Europa League and Europa Conference League places will go down to the last minute. Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester are involved in a three-horse race for the two remaining Champions League positions. Leicester’s defeat against Chelsea last time out puts both Liverpool and Chelsea in the drivers’ seats going into Finale Sunday. West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton are all lurking below with “mathematical” chances of qualifying for the Europa League, while even Arsenal FC is in the conversation with Everton and Tottenham for a Europa Conference League place.
The last round of fixtures saw the return of fans to stadiums all around the country, and they will have one last chance to see their favorite teams in action before the season comes to an end. Newly promoted Leeds United has been the revelation of the season. The Marcelo Bielsa led side secured a top ten finish with a 0-2 win at Saint Mary’s in the last round of fixtures.
All ten EPL fixtures are set to kick off simultaneously on Sunday, so the Fantrax crowd will be drunk on confirmed lineups in the hour between FPL and Fantrax deadlines.
Leeds v West Brom
The surprise team of the season goes toe to toe against already relegated West Brom in this last round of fixtures. Leeds have won their last 3 fixtures on the bounce and they will expect to extend their run against a West Brom side that is in a run of six games without a win.
Chelsea avenged the FA cup final defeat by putting Leicester to the sword in the league. That put Chelsea in the best position to secure Champions League qualification. A victory against a Villa side that has only won one in its last four fixtures will confirm the Blues for next season’s Champions League. Aston Villa without Jack Grealish has had a below par second half of the season that has seen them fall out of European contention. With Villa having nothing left to play for and Chelsea being under pressure to win, a close and lively encounter should be expected.
Prediction 1 - 2
Arsenal v Brighton
Arsenal has bounced back from Europa League semifinal disappointment by winning four consecutive games in the Premier League under Mikel Arteta. But it’s too little too late as West Ham’s win against West Brom put Europa League qualification out of the Gunners’ reach. Brighton will also be coming into the game in extremely high spirits after getting the better of League Champions Man City in a five-goal thriller in the previous round of fixtures. It should be noted that Arsenal still has a chance of qualifying for the less attractive Europa Conference League if Spurs and Everton both drop points. With mostly nothing but prestige to play for in this game, expect a highly entertaining but close fixture.
Prediction 3 – 1
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
The Reds have won their last three games in a row to put themselves in prime position to secure Champions League football for another season. A win in this fixture will confirm Liverpool for the tenth straight season. Crystal Palace comes into this game off the back of a defeat against Arsenal which was Roy Hodgson last home game as manager of the club. Roy Hodgson announcement of his decision to step down at the end of the season should serve as extra motivation for the Palace squad to give him a befitting send off by securing an unexpected win against Champions League candidate Liverpool. But ‘Pool’s quality coupled with Eberechi Eze’s injury should see Liverpool seal a fairly comfortable win.
West Ham v Southampton
West Ham goes into the last round of fixtures needing at least a draw against Southampton to secure Europa league qualification for the first time since 2016. Three points separate the Hammers from fellow Europa League chasers Tottenham and Everton. Southampton come into this game having nothing but prestige to play for. This should see us treated to a highly entertaining fixture. But West Ham’s quality should see them seal a win to secure Europa League qualification for next season.
Prediction 3 – 1
Leicester v Tottenham
Champions League chasing Leicester hosts a Tottenham team that has endured a miserable second half of the season. Leicester needs a win plus help from Aston Villa or Crystal Palace to stand any chance of Champions League qualification. Tottenham Captain Harry Kane might also be playing his last game for Spurs after declaring his desire to leave. Kane will also be extra motivated to perform in this match as he is tied on 22 goals with Liverpool’s Mo Salah in the race for Golden Boot.
Prediction 1 – 1
Wolves v Man United
With virtually nothing to play for, both teams will be looking to impress fans by putting on a show and ending the season with a win. United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer is again expected to ring in the changes as he prepares his squad to face Villareal in the Europa league final on the 26th of May. Wolves will be motivated to give their manager Nuno Espirito Santo a perfect send off after he announced his decision to step down at the end of the season amidst reports linking him to a Spurs move. The expected changes by United coupled with Wolves’ desire to give Nuno Espirito Santo the perfect send off should see us treated to a cagey affair.
Prediction 1 – 1
Man City v Everton
Just like their crosstown counterparts, Man City also has a European final to prepare for, so Pep Guardiola could protect key players. Then again, City’s final is a whole week away, so some stars might get minutes to keep them at prime sharpness for their most important match of the season. Everton come into this game on the back of a win against Wolves and also have a slight chance of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. However, the Citizens’ squad depth should be more than enough to round off their Premier League season with a win.
Prediction 2 – 1
Sheffield United v Burnley
Already-relegated Sheffield United hosts Burnley in this last round of fixtures. The Blades failed to build on their hugely impressive promotion season that saw them finish in the top ten. Burnley has enjoyed a much more impressive end to the season as they have scored more goals and the team fluidity has improved. Burnley’s highly disciplined defense should see them secure a clean sheet while scoring a goal or two at the other end.
Prediction 0 - 2
Fulham FC v Newcastle
Another already-relegated team, Fulham welcomes Newcastle to Craven cottage in this last round. Scott Parker side Fulham will be looking to bow out of the Premier League with a win. Visitors Newcastle will have one of the league’s most in form players, Joe Willock, on display looking to make it seven goals in seven games.
Prediction 2 - 2
What are your predictions for these fixtures? What are your thoughts on the top four race? Which teams do you pick to make it to Europa League and Europa Conference League? What are your fantasy strategy for the week? Any popular player on whom you will be relying to deliver your fantasy points? Whom are you adding and dropping? Please let us know your response to these questions in the comment section below, and if you hear of any late fitness news (e.g, Covid 19 positive news or injury), please share!