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May 2, 2014

Gameweek 37: Fantasy Preview

This is a double game week for Aston Villa, Manchester United, Manchester City, Hull, Sunderland and West Brom. The West Ham-Tottenham fixture is the only match wherein announced lineups will be available to check before the five-day gameweek locks.

Saturday, May 3 West Ham (10-7-19) vs. Tottenham (20-6-10) Big Sam’s team are treading water, knowing survival is just about assured, but offer little excitement and no fantasy value. Once-invincible Adrian has not had a clean sheet in 11 games. Kevin Nolan is without a goal in nine straight.

Spurs were gifted a chance for Europe after Everton’s awful showing at Southampton.

Aston Villa (9-8-18) vs. Hull (10-7-18) Gabriel Agbonlahor scored last week for the first time since New Year’s Day, but Villa continues to plummet and are feeling relegation heat.

Hull pulled points out of thin air at Craven Cottage with goals from transfer gems Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long.

Manchester United (18-6-11) vs. Sunderland (8-8-19) While the 4-0 victory was against lowly Norwich, Ryan Giggs has elevated the Red Devils’ intensity level and got braces from Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata. Rooney, however, is struggling with illness and a tight groin. Mata has five goals in the past four games. There’s a chance Robin van Persie will play.

Sunderland’s 4-0 win over Cardiff barely lifted them out of relegation danger. Connor Wickham is on fire with five goals in three games. Fabio Borini and Emanuele Giaccherini are also in form.

Newcastle (14-4-18) vs. Cardiff (7-9-20) The Magpies are terrible and have lost six straight and scored only 10 goals since Jan. 1. Putrid!

Cardiff are the league’s doormat and have defender Cala suspended.

Stoke (11-11-14) vs. Fulham (9-4-23) Stoke, with Ryan Shawcross suspended, have nothing to play for, while Fulham are about to pull the relegation parachute cord. The Cottagers have conceded a staggering 79 goals against only 37 scored. Steve Sidwell is an injury doubt.

Swansea (10-9-17) vs. Southampton (14-10-12) Wilfried Bony is carrying Swansea on his considerable shoulders. A brace last time out gives him 15 goals for the season.

Southampton have little to play for. Rickie Lambert is dealing with a knock.

Everton (20-9-7) vs. Manchester City (24-5-6) Everton wilted in their bid for a Champions League spot, giving up two own goals in the first 30 minutes against Southampton. Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are expected to return.

Manchester City has the inside track for the title. Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko got goals against Crystal Palace. David Silva is available.

Sunday, May 4 Arsenal (22-7-7) vs. WBA (7-15-13) The Gunners easily disposed of lifeless Newcastle and are four points clear for the final Champions League spot. Mesut Ozil finally scored a goal, and Olivier Giroud has two in three games.

The Baggies have survival in sight with no legitimate goal scorers.

Chelsea (24-6-6) vs. Norwich (8-8-20) Chelsea’s shock 0-2 result at Anfield threw the Premier League title race into a tizzy. The Blues played in midweek and crashed out of the Champions League. John Terry and Eden Hazard are back. Ramires is suspended. Demba Ba has two goals in his last three Premier League games. Petr Cech is an injury doubt; Mark Schwarzer had eight saves and a clean sheet against Liverpool.

Norwich have lost five straight games and are tied with Crystal Palace with the fewest goals scored at 28. The Canaries also have the worst road record with 14 losses out of 18 played.

Monday, May 5 Crystal Palace (13-4-19) vs. Liverpool (25-5-6) Palace, with survival guaranteed, were flat at home against Manchester City. The team has only 28 goals and will face an aroused visitor after a bitter 0-2 defeat at Anfield against Chelsea. After being shut out for only the third time this season, expect goals from Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who has not scored in his last four games played. Jordan Henderson is suspended.

Tuesday, May 6 Manchester United vs. Hull Game two in the week for both clubs.

Wednesday, May 7 Sunderland vs. WBA Game two in the week for both clubs and a major confrontation with relegation implications.

Manchester City vs. Aston Villa Game two in the week for both clubs and a key to City’s title aspirations.

Recommended fantasy captains: Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Juan Mata and Connor Wickham.