It all comes down to this.
Whether you’re flying high at the top of your local leagues, battling for the top 100 nationally or just desperate not to lose face with friends, matchday 38 of the Premier League is a decisive moment for fantasy football players the world over.
Amid last-minute transfers, wildcards and triple-captaincies, it can be difficult to find true value in selections that could give you the edge over your rivals.
That’s where we come in.
Using Opta data, we have compiled a final selection of seven recommended players to draft in for this most dramatic of weekends…
If you were considering a Newcastle United goalkeeper but just didn’t have the guts previously, now is the time to be bold.
Martin Dubravka kept his first clean sheet of the season last time out as the Magpies beat Sheffield United 1-0.
Next up, they face another relegated side in Fulham, who have scored a league-low nine goals at home in the whole of 2020-21 – and only one since February.
West Ham’s unlikely quest for Europe looks set to end in success, and Aaron Cresswell has played no small part.
The full-back has recorded eight assists this season, the most of any defender in the division. The last time a West Ham player assisted more was when Dimitri Payet set up 12 goals in 2015-16.
The Hammers conclude their campaign at home to Southampton, who haven’t beaten David Moyes’ side in their most recent six attempts.
A fantastic achievement
— West Ham United (@WestHam) May 20, 2021
Only Patrick Bamford (16) has scored more league goals for Leeds United this season than Stuart Dallas (eight).
On Sunday, Marcelo Bielsa’s men host West Brom, who have the leakiest defence in the whole of the division, conceding 73 times in 37 matches.
Leeds are also unbeaten in four against the Baggies, winning three of those games by 10-0 on aggregate, while they have not lost a league game at home to this weekend’s visitors since January 2007.
90 – Stuart Dallas is the first player to score a 90th minute winning goal against Man City at the Etihad since Robin van Persie for Man Utd in December 2012. Grab. pic.twitter.com/Isk03QZtaX
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 10, 2021
Part of the reason Jesse Lingard found getting regular football tricky at Manchester United was the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, so it’s fitting he should be chasing a record held by the Portugal star.
Last season, Fernandes set a Premier League best by registering 15 goal involvements (eight scored, seven assisted) despite not appearing in the competition until as late as February.
Lingard, who made his Hammers debut on February 3, has recorded nine goals and four assists for Moyes’ men, a tally bettered only by Kelechi Iheanacho (12 goals, two assists) over the same time frame. Two more direct goal involvements against Southampton would see Lingard match Fernandes’ exploits in 2020.
With his midweek winner for Newcastle against Sheffield United, Joe Willock became the youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League appearances.
Remarkably, the Arsenal loanee – who is being tipped for a permanent move to the Magpies – has the best minutes-per-goal rate (127) of any Newcastle player in the league this season with at least three goals.
Should he net against Fulham, Willock will become only the second player for the club to score in seven Premier League games in a row, after Alan Shearer in 1996.
21y 272d – Joe Willock has now scored in six consecutive Premier League appearances, becoming the youngest player in the competition’s history to do so at the age of 21 years and 272 days. Unleashed. pic.twitter.com/eNKxu6UbvV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 19, 2021
Whether he stays at Tottenham or not, Harry Kane will be eager to get on the scoresheet at Leicester and boost his chances of claiming the Golden Boot.
His record against the Foxes is promising. Kane has managed 14 goals in 11 Premier League meetings with the team now bossed by Brendan Rodgers, more than he has scored against any other opposition. Those goals have come at an average of one every 65 minutes.
He has hit seven of those at the King Power Stadium, including four in one game in May 2017.
Could Liverpool’s top-four hopes be dashed by a former Reds player?
Christian Benteke has scored 10 league goals this term, his first double-figure return since he got 15 in 2016-17.
That season’s haul included a double away to Liverpool in April and, throughout his career, Benteke has enjoyed facing his old employers: only Andy Cole (eight) has scored more Premier League goals as a visiting player at Anfield than Benteke (five in four games).
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