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Six of the Best: Game Week 17

Written by Tamhas Woods

There were more shock results this weekend, with the biggest coming on Saturday evening, as Bournemouth beat thirteen-time Premier League champions Manchester United at Dean Court.

The lunacy of 2015 continued in fine fettle on Sunday, as relegation-threatened Newcastle poached a priceless win at Tottenham… and Aston Villa kept Arsenal down to just two goals. And for luckless Mourinho, the 9th defeat of the season for reigning champions Chelsea against high flying Leicester, finally cost him his job.

For all fantasy football managers, self assurance has been in short supply this season, and GW 17 has the potential to continue the trend of eyebrow-raising results.

1. Lukas Fabianski

VS West Ham (H)

West Ham are without midfield duo Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini due to injury, but with Swansea now bereft of Garry Monk this is a difficult game to call.

Marco Bielsa is now the bookies’ favourite to land the Liberty Stadium hotseat, but if the squad is still without an appointed manager on Saturday, Swansea are likely to play a ‘safe’ game against West Ham, returning to the basics that saw the Swans survive their first Premier League season four years ago. For that reason, Fabianski is a relatively safer inclusion, though by no means a banker for a clean sheet.

2. Pape Souaré, Joel Ward OR Damien Delaney

VS Stoke (A)

Having already lost at home to Watford this term, it would be typical of the current season if the Potters were to fall to Crystal Palace after their heroics in the last home game.

Palace are by far the more consistent side, and the Eagles will be full of confidence ahead of their festive trip to Staffordshire, making the inclusion of any Palace defender a potential masterstroke.

 3/4. Georginio Wijnaldum & Ayoze Perez

VS Aston Villa (H)

 No amount of spin and bravado can disguise the fact that Aston Villa now have nothing left but time – just 1,980 minutes of Premier League football to be precise. By contrast, Newcastle are still very much alive in their battle to avoid a second relegation in eight years, having overturned a half-time deficit to win at Tottenham.

 Including Newcastle’s two biggest attacking threats is strongly advised against a Villa side that is presently nothing but cannon fodder.

 5. Romelu Lukaku & 6. Riyad Mahrez

VS Leicester (H) / VS Everton (A)

Making his second consecutive appearance is Riyad Mahrez, who will visit Goodison Park as part of a team that has improved immeasurably since the 2-2 draw in February’s corresponding fixture.

With Everton’s vulnerability from set pieces remaining an issue, the Premier League’s most electrifying midfielder is set to make his mark yet again. Everton are also weaker on the left flank at present, representing a huge opportunity for the Algerian winger to add to what is already an impressive tally.

Though flying high in the league, the visiting Foxes will have concerns of their own. Like Everton’s propensity to concede ridiculous goals, the chemistry between Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku shows no sign of abating, and the big Belgian is now very much the league’s in-form striker after Jamie Vardy’s ‘party’ finally ended two weeks ago.

About the author

Tamhas Woods