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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 37

Preview
Two to go. Is your title race as close as the Premier League? Do you need to make changes to your side to differentiate from those ahead of you? This week we will provide two alternative value picks that could help to make a difference to your side and provide you with extra points from players your rivals don’t have.

This gameweek kicks off again on a Friday night – the fantasy gods are testing our commitment, and indeed concentration – with Everton hosting Burnley. Bournemouth welcome Tottenham to the south coast for the early Saturday kick-off, after which there as many as two 3pm kick-offs: West Ham v Southampton and Wolves hosting Fulham, who have won three in a row, conceding not a single goal.

The battle for the title continues on Saturday night, when Liverpool travel to face a Newcastle team managed by their old boss Rafa Benitez. Then, on Monday evening, Manchester City host another former Reds head coach when Brendan Rodgers and Leicester visit the Etihad. At the other end of the table, Cardiff need to beat Crystal Palace to have any chance of saving themselves from relegation; Brighton, the only other side in danger, are at the Emirates to play Arsenal on Sunday.

But we ignore all of those fixtures when selecting our fantasy captain, who may be making his farewell appearance at a ground he has illuminated for seven seasons…

Captain’s pick

Eden Hazard has three goals and one assist in his last three games against Sunday’s opponents, Watford. The Hornets haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games, and they have shown a susceptibility to being played through in recent weeks. The killer blow has often come as defenders’ eyes move away from their man and towards the ball – much like they did when conceding the opener to Wolves’ Raul Jimenez last week (below).

Watford use their wide midfielders in central areas, with their full-backs pushing on to provide the width; but this opens up counter-attacking opportunities in these areas, which is just where Hazard likes to operate. With seventh place seemingly now out of reach for Watford, their minds will surely be on the FA Cup final later this month; Chelsea, by contrast, need the win to keep their top-four destiny in their own hands.

Value selection

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Diogo Jota is classed as a midfielder in Fantasy Premier League, but he has made a huge impact for Wolves this season playing off Jimenez as the second striker. The Portuguese attacker has two goals, one assist, one clean sheet and three bonus points in his last three games, and is second only to his strike partner in accumulating fantasy points this season.

This weekend Wolves host Fulham, who have been in good form since their relegation was confirmed – but spaces are likely to open up for Jota in between Fulham’s back line, as the full-backs get drawn out to deal with the advanced runs of wing-backs Matt Doherty and Jonny. This could provide decent opportunities for Jota to create and perhaps even finish chances in the box.

Another value selection

Everton seem to have turned a corner in recent weeks, both in terms of results and fixing the leaky defence that plagued them earlier in the season. The Toffees have clean sheets in their last four home games – all of which came against top-six teams in Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Marco Silva’s men host already-safe Burnley on Friday night, and still have an outside chance of claiming seventh spot. The majority of fantasy managers looking at Everton defenders go for Lucas Digne, and with good reason – the Frenchman is the highest-scoring fantasy defender outside the top six. But his opposite full-back Seamus Coleman provides an alternative that might be worth the risk as you hunt down anyone ahead of you in Fantasy Prem. Burnley tend to remain compact centrally, so the spaces that Everton may be able to exploit should be out wide – exactly where Coleman may prove to be important.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 37

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