Only five more match weeks to go and we are firmly in “maximize points at all costs” territory. The time to hold on to players while they are injured or slumping is gone. If the first five weeks of the season are all about making strategic investments in players you want for the long haul, the last five are about getting over your pre-conceived notions about the season and players you have been holding onto dearly and make some very near-sighted decisions. With only five weeks left, near-sight is the only kind available. With that in mind, here are some observations about the remaining schedule that may help you make some of those tactical decisions:
- After this coming week when four teams – Bolton, Fulham, Stoke, and Wolves – play twice, there two teams that have more matches than the rest to close out the season – Spurs and Manchester City who both play twice during matchweek 36.
- Buy: Manchester City look particularly appealing with an extra match PLUS a relatively easy run-in that features Blackburn, West Ham, Everton, Spurs, Stoke, and Bolton. Spurs are the only top quality team there and they have them as part of a two match week.
- Sell: Everton on the other hand are a bit of a mess. They have a rash of injuries AND they have to contend with Man United, City, and Chelsea as part of their final five matches. Throw in a resurgent West Brom team and Wigan is their only relatively easy match and even that is on the road.
- Buy: Liverpool have three of their remaining five matches at home with the only exceptionally challenging match being Spurs trip to Anfield on the second to last week of the season. The balance features BRM, NUFC, @FUL, and @AST. Not a bad run in to bet on.
- Risky Buy: Wolves have looked to be falling apart since the international break but if you wanted to take a risk to try to make up some ground then you might want to give a try to a team with it all to play for and the following closing schedule: FUL, @STO, @BRM, WBA, @SUN, and BLA. Not exactly murderer’s row.
- Tough Call: The upside on Spurs is that they have more matches down the stretch which should figure as more points. The downside is that even after today’s match against Arsenal, they close with WBA (who have been strong), @CHE, BPL, @MAC, @LIV, and then BRM. Outside of the Blackpool match that’s a brutal run-in. Especially given the added pressure of trying to qualify for the Champions League while their rivals have much easier schedules.
- Sell: Aston Villa have had a rough season with the worst part being that the last five weeks aren’t likely to help. They start the run-in with solid opposition in STO and @WBA before a potential break in the form of WIG before it gets tough again @ARS and home against LIV. Not as bad as Everton’s last five weeks but certainly not the time to invest in a team that has struggled for most of the season anyway.
Now that I’ve given you as long a view into the future as makes sense, here is your regularly scheduled fantasy analysis for Matchweek 34: