Double trouble second guessing José
This week is all about doubles. Not rum, or Jamie Vardy’s lookalike but game week.
That’s right, Fantasy friends, it’s one of those weeks that, come next Thursday, will either leave you feeling like Cristiano Ronaldo: smug. Or like Jack Wilshere: broken.
Given the FA Cup semi-finals, the smart move is to bring in some extra Manchester United players, if you didn’t blow your transfers last week. Like me. I’m already furious at my expected kicking. Like Carlo Ancelotti’s wife after another refereeing mistake.
Anyway, the danger with that, of course, is trying to second guess José Mourinho’s selections with a Europa League semi-final on the horizon.
Best of luck.
11am kick-offs unless stated
Bournemouth v Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough are without an away win in 15 games, while Bournemouth come into the game on the back of successive league defeats.
Bournemouth have the third worst defensive record which gives Boro, with the worst offensive record in the league a glimmer of hope.
Hull City v Watford
Hull are only one place above the bottom three and two points clear of danger. However, Marco Silva will welcome a return to home soil this weekend having not lost a domestic home match in over three years as manager. Impressive.
Swansea City v Stoke City
Swansea are in the doldrums after five defeats in six. However, Stoke’s away form has been dire and this is a great chance for Swansea, who are very much in relegation last-chance saloon.
West Ham United v Everton
West Ham’s are limping over the safety line and there is a feeling of disorganisation at the ‘Ammers. Andy Carroll ... wait for it ... is injured, again.
With Ross Barkley’s tail up and Romelu Lukaku in the goals, an away win is on.
Burnley v Manchester United
Double-week klaxon comes with a caveat: that United have to take on Burnley at fortress Turf Moor in their first game, and then Pep’s Manchester City in their second.
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Palace won on their previous two visits to Anfield, and that’s before you factor in the scar tissue from the 3-3 draw under Brendan Rodgers three years ago. Conclusion: this is no home banker.
Unfortunately for Palace, who now looks odds-on to stay up, Liverpool appear to have the bit between their teeth to secure a top-four spot. A nervy home win.
Chelsea v Southampton
Never saw the Chelsea wobble coming, I’ll admit.
And with a steely, impressive Spurs breathing down their neck they are in need of a strong win here to steady the nerves.
A few choice Antonio Conte words this week should ensure three points.
Arsenal v Leicester City
If I was Arsène Wenger, I’d fear this one. Leicester did their club proud against Atlético and have restored all belief after strangely going Awol earlier in the season.
Not sure the Gunners have the self-belief for Vardy’s pace right now. Stick my neck out and go for an away win.
Middlesbrough v Sunderland
3.45pm Two doomed clubs going head to head. One without a manager, one with David Moyes. Can football get any more depressing.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
We all know that Harry Kane loves a London derby and this is another tough assignment for Palace, despite their excellent form.
Spurs won’t want to fade away as they did last season.
Manchester City v Manchester United
Familiar foes as Pep goes up against José once again.
United will surely look to suffocate City’s attacking talent and catch them on the break.
Should be intense.
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