Gameweek 32: Fantasy Preview
After a marathon 15-game week, we return to the normal 10-game slate with one game to check announced lineups -- Manchester United hosting Aston Villa.
Saturday, March 29 Manchester United (15-6-10) vs. Aston Villa (9-7-14) After a dramatic comeback to stay alive in UCL play and a clean sheet against West Ham, Manchester United looked toothless in their 3-0 loss to Manchester City. Robin van Persie is out injured and Chris Smalling is doubtful. The rest of the team looks aimless. Aston Villa's Christian Benteke has three goals in two games, but Villa's defense is porous.
Crystal Palace (8-4-14) vs. Chelsea (21-6-4) Crystal Palace, quivering near the drop zone, have only scored 19 goals in 26 matches but could get Marouane Chamakh back. After losing to Aston Villa, Chelsea rebounded with a 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal. Samuel Eto'o scored and then left with a hamstring injury. The Blues have the stingiest defense in the league, having conceded just 23 goals. Oscar's two goals were his first in 10 games. Andre Schurrle has four goals and an assist in four games. Ramires is suspended.
Southampton (12-9-10) vs. Newcastle (14-4-13) Jay Rodriguez has three goals in three games for the comfortable mid-table Saints. Adam Lallana broke his eight-game scoreless streak. The Magpies were awful at home against Everton. They desperately need Loic Remy, but he is still out hurt, and Tim Krul misses with a knee injury.
Stoke (9-10-12) vs. Hull (9-6-16) Stoke's well-traveled Peter Odemwingie has three goals in his last two games. Stoke are still without suspended Jonathan Walters but get Charlie Adam back. Hull lost at West Ham in a messy affair, giving up a penalty goal and an own goal. George Boyd and Allan McGregor are suspended.
Swansea (7-9-15) vs. Norwich (8-8-15) Wilfried Bony is the man for the Swans and has three goals and an assist in the last five games for a team drifting toward relegation. Michu's three games after returning from injury have been forgettable. The on-again-off-again Canaries continue their survival struggle and are getting good play from Robert Snodgrass.
WBA (5-13-12) vs. Cardiff (6-7-18) The Baggies have the fewest victories in the league and are in danger of relegation. Jonas Olsson is suspended. Cardiff are in the bottom three and have been ripped for 58 goals, second only to last-place Fulham.
Arsenal (19-6-6) vs. Manchester City (21-3-5) The Gunners blew a sure victory and gave up an own goal for a draw to Swansea. Olivier Giroud scored a goal for the first time in four games, Lukas Podolski his first goal in 2014. Seven Gunners are injured. Manchester City has six clean sheets in a row and are the second-highest-scoring team with 79 goals. Yaya Toure has five goals and an assist in his past four games. Sergio Aguero and Matija Nastasic are out. Edin Dzeko has three goals in two matches.
Sunday, March 30 Fulham (7-3-21) vs. Everton (16-9-5) The bottom-feeder Cottagers were piled on by Liverpool and have seen 70 balls shred their nets in 31 games. Fernando Amorebieta is suspended. Everton is inching closer to European glory and are loving Romelu Lukaku, who has scored three goals and an assist in four matches. Ross Barkley has two goals in two games and his sprint against Newcastle was a goal of the week candidate.
Liverpool (21-5-5) vs. Tottenham (17-5-9) The Reds have scored 84 goals in 31 games. Daniel Sturridge has 11 in 11 games, Luis Suarez 28 in 26 games. Defender Martin Skrtel has taken 12 shots and scored six goals. The Reds are much better defensively at home, having conceded just 13 goals at Anfield. Spurs were wiped out 5-0 against Liverpool earlier in the season. Christian Ericksen grabbed a brace and an assist last time out, his first goals in 11 games. Emmanuel Adebayor and Kyle Walker are injury doubts. Despite an assist in his last game, Roberto Soldado is a fantasy bust.
Monday, March 31 Sunderland (6-7-16) vs. West Ham (9-7-15) The relegation-threatened Black Cats got a goal from substitute Ki Sung-Yueng against Liverpool but continue to trot out Premier League failure Jozy Altidore. West Ham stopped a three-game losing streak against Hull. Leading scorer Kevin Nolan has gone four games without a goal.
Recommended fantasy captains: Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Wilfried Bony, and Romelu Lukaku.