Fantasy Football round 38 preview

In association with Monroes

This Sunday will see the Premier League season of 2019/20 brought to conclusion, 353 days after it kicked off on August 9 2019. It is unlikely that many would have foretold what the campaign would entail when Michael Oliver blew his whistle to open proceedings at Anfield last year but we are nearly there and what a day we have in store.

It is a three way shootout between Chelsea, Man United, and Leicester City (the latter two facing each other ) for the final two places at European's top table next season. At the other end of the table, Aston Villa, Watford, and Bournemouth will be scrapping for their lives as they look to avoid joining Norwich City in succumbing to the dreaded drop.

It is going to be thrilling and terrifying for the supporters of these teams but even more emotions will be felt by the managers in the Advertiser Tribal League in association with Monroe's Tavern.

Top three

Damien Ruigrok - Flying Dutchmen - 2,333

What must the nerves be like for Damien Ruigrok and his Flying Dutchmen? Four points clear at the top of table with only one round to go, every manager would love to be in his position, however, Ruigrok and his men have it all to lose and his challengers have it all to gain. Round 37 saw The Oranges bring home a very respectable 69 points. The defence was rock solid with goalkeeper Nick Pope (6 ), Phil Bardsley (8 ), and Lucas Digne (6 ) all securing clean sheets with Trent Alexander-Arnold picking up 13 points thanks to his wonder free-kick and assist against Chelsea on Wednesday. Up front Chris Wood and Mason Greenwood found the back of the net but Ruigrok will no doubt be asking more from his midfield who failed to trouble the score keepers. With only round left, the Flying Dutchmen do not want their wings to be clipped by profligacy in front of goal.

Declan Ryan - Decs Villains - 2,329

Hot on Flying Dutchmen's tails is Decs Villains. Declan Ryan's men had a big performance in round 37 securing 82 points and whittling the gap down to four after a poor round 36 enabled Flying Dutchmen to open up a 17 point lead. Captain Raheem Sterling lead the way for Villains by scoring an important 34 points thanks to his two strikes against Watford. Erik Pieters (12 ), Mason Greenwood (9 ), and Nick Pope (6 ) also chipped in with handy scores to set up the most exciting finish we have ever had to the Advertiser Tribal League. However, Ryan may be left ruing a costly transfer in round 36 which resulted in his charges being docked four points. The gap between The Villains and The Dutchmen - you guessed it - four points.

Iarla Burke - Walk In The Ji-Sung - 2,316

Thirteen points further back is Walk In The Ji-Sung in third place. Manager Iarla Burke will be quietly confident his team can close the 17 point differential between them and the summit and based on their round 37 performance of 80 points, anything is possible. Raheem Sterling (17 ), Trent Alexander-Arnold (13 ), and Matt Doherty (12 ) all put in double digit efforts with Christian Pulisic (9 ), Mason Greenwood (9 ), and Rui Patrício (7 ) also chipping in with vital scores. Burke and his players are incredibly well balanced with a solid defence and a devastating attack. While they might be slightly adrift from the top two, do not be surprised if the league trophy is draped in the menthol and coral of Walk In The Ji-Sung on Sunday at 6.15pm.

Top picks

With it all to play for on the final day, who are the players that will make the difference for Fantasy managers?

Olivier Giroud (Chelsea - £6.7 million ) v Wolves

The French World Cup winner has five goals in his last six games for Chelsea in all competitions. The only game of that run where he failed to hit the target was The Blues' woefully inept display at Bramall Lane where they were thumped 3-0 by Sheffield United and Giroud only got 24 minutes. So when the number 18 starts, he scores. On Sunday, Chelsea host Wolves at Stamford Bridge, needing a point to secure a spot in next season's Champions League. Wolves will be looking to tie down sixth spot and a place in the Europa League so this match has much riding on it for both sides. Giroud will start and he will score in a 1-1 draw.

Michail Antonio (West Ham - £7.1 million ) v Aston Villa

The Hammers will be playing top flight football next season after Wednesday's point against Man United was enough to confirm their status. Now the term 'one man team' is bandied about a lot but with the phenomenal efforts of striker (but midfielder in Fantasy ) Michael Antonio, it is the only word I will use to describe the 30-year-old. His eight strikes in six games saw West Ham pick up 11 points and pull away from relegation. On Sunday, David Moyes' charges welcome Aston Villa to east London. Dean Smith's men are above the drop zone thanks to a superior goal difference of one over Watford. With The Villains, Watford, and Bournemouth all playing away on Sunday, it is likely that goal difference will be the ultimate deciding factor when it comes to who is staying up and who is going down. Unfortunately for Villa, there are facing Antonio and if West Ham's number 30 is in the mood, he could do serious damage to Villa's goals against column and their survival hopes. Get him in your team.

Chris Wood (Burnley - £6.2 million ) v Brighton

A team of whom no one has really taken notice since the restart is Burnley. Sean Dyche's men were safe from relegation but not far enough up the table to challenge for European places so the Lancashire outfit have quietly gone about their business since they were mauled 5-0 by Man City. Four wins and three draws including a point away to champions Liverpool is a testament to Dyche's qualities to motivate his men. A man who has been integral to Burnley's efforts is Chris Wood who has bagged himself two goals in the last two outings. On Sunday, Burnley take on Brighton at Turf Moor. Graham Potter's men secured Premier League football next term with a dour 0-0 draw against Newcastle on Monday. I think the Seagulls will be on their holidays when they take on Burnley so I'm going for a 3-0 home win with New Zealander, Wood, to register on the scoresheet.

Don't miss a minute of action with Monroe's Tavern.

Remember you can catch all of game week 38's action live at Monroe's Tavern where punters can enjoy a delicious meal and a pint. Call (091 ) 583 397 to book a table.

Sunday:

Arsenal v Watford (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Burnley v Brighton (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Chelsea v Wolves (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Crystal Palace v Spurs (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Everton v Bournemouth (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Leicester City v Man United (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Man City v Norwich City (4pm ) SKY Sports.

Newcastle v Liverpool (4pm ) BT Sport.

Southampton v Sheffield United (4pm ) SKY Sports.

West Ham v Aston Villa (4pm ) BT Sport.

 

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