English football returned this weekend after the final international break until the end of the season. With a full 2 weeks to lay out their plans for the Double Gameweeks and organise their wildcard squads, most FPL managers would be happy with the outcome as the gameweek panned out almost as expected with a majority of the high owned players giving good returns. Here are 5 things we learned from Gameweek 32.
Title decider set for Derby Day
It’s like it is written in the script for Manchester City this season. With their 27th win of the season, Pep Guardiola’s men are now within a win to bring back the EPL trophy to the blue half of Manchester – and what better way to be crowned champions than by beating derby rivals Manchester United. Pep Guardiola, for one, will take immense pleasure in getting over the line with a victory over Jose Mourinho. Both teams come into the match with routine wins as Sanchez and Lukaku saw off Swansea City and David Silva and co. made light work of the Toffees. An easy run in after the derby for both Manchester clubs make their players easy choices to have in the squad but FPL managers must be careful with City’s rotation as they still have to contend with the Champions League.
Spurs end Stamford Bridge hoodoo to all but confirm UCL spot
Mauricio Pochettino and his team were finally able to get one over Chelsea after years of agony as their 3-1 win at the Bridge condemned the Blues to Europa League misery barring a shocking collapse from the North London club. With 8 points now separating the 2 London sides and a fairly straightforward run in for Spurs till the end of the season, securing the coveted 4th UCL spot should come easily for Pochettino’s team. Dele Alli found the perfect day to turn up after a difficult season as he scored twice against the Blues for the 2nd time in 3 matches, and with Kane back in reckoning and 2 double GW’s to come, Spurs prospects surely seem very enticing. The same can’t be said for Chelsea’s players, who look tired and disinterested, and Antonio Conte, who is trying his best get his severance package and leave the club before the season ends.
Arnautovic brace helps bring some calm to the London Stadium
After the horror show at the London Stadium last time out, some kind of response was needed from David Moyes and his team and they came up with the perfect answer. The hammers thrashed fellow relegation rivals Southampton in a 3-0 victory with summer arrival Marko Arnautovic scoring a brace to take his tally up to 9 for the season. The Hammers moved up to 14th spot, 5 points above 18th placed Southampton and 2 more victories in the remaining 7 matches should be enough for survival. However, the victories won’t come easy as all but 1 of their remaining fixtures are against teams in the top half of the table. The condition of the Saints is even worse as they too face 6 teams from the top half of the table but are already 2 points off safety.
The race for survival heating up with 6 pointers
It’s the time of the season when the “proverbial 6 pointers” come into play and although the race at the top of the table is virtually over, the relegation scrap is in full swing. Newcastle got the better of Huddersfield to move to 12th place. Chelsea loanee Kenedy, who has 2 goals and an assist in the last 2 matches, is looking like a great bargain option at just £4.8. Fellow relegation strugglers Crystal Palace, Brighton, Swansea, West Brom and Stoke all suffered defeats with only West Brom and Palace managing to get on the score sheet. Luka Milivojevic scored his 9th goal of the season while Wilfried Zaha, who is the 2nd highest scorer at just 4 goals, earned the penalty to take his assists tally to 5 and the Ivorian looks like the key to Palace avoiding relegation.
A look around the grounds
Elsewhere, Mo Salah took his tally to 29 for the season, just 2 behind the all-time Premier League record, and Andy Robertson, who has failed to give a good return just once in the last 6 GW’s, continued to be a great option at the back. Jamie Vardy took his own tally to 15 for the season with a goal against Brighton. The Englishman has now scored in 6 of his last 8 matches and continues to be a great mid-price budget option. Burnley forwards Barnes and Wood kept up their good form with a goal each. Barnes has now scored in the 4th match running and is an absolute steal at just £5.4. Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also settled well to life in the Premier League. The Gabonese international has already scored 5 goals in his first 6 matches and Arsenal’s easy fixture list can give him the chance to add a few more.