Nick Harris guides you through the penultimate weekend of fixtures...
Fixtures Analysis: There are few teams with much to play for at this stage of the season, but the race for Champions League places is still very much on, and Arsenal and Chelsea have good fixtures against Wigan and Aston Villa respectively. Tottenham Hotspur should also be considered away at Stoke, whilst Liverpool travel to the recently hapless Fulham. Both Manchester United and Manchester City have reasonable matches, against Swansea and Reading, but you have to be careful to avoid players likely to be rotated.
Transfers In: Theo Walcott (9.0) has found his scoring touch at a crucial time for Arsenal, and he is the best attacking pick available from Arsene Wenger’s side although Lukas Podolski (8.1) is also worth looking at if he is set to continue upfront. Their defence has tightened up recently, and Bacary Sagna (4.8) is perhaps the best choice if you are looking to capitalise on this.
Chelsea will be harder to predict, with Rafa Benitez no doubt set to rotate ahead of the Europa league final next week, but given the importance of the fixture, you would expect Juan Mata (10.1) to play some part, whilst Frank Lampard (8.3) will surely start after being rested against Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs have tricky fixture away at Stoke, so limiting your picks to Gareth Bale (10.9) might be wise, although if you think that Emmanuel Adebayor (8.0) can reproduce the display he turned in at Stamford Bridge he might be a worthwhile gamble.
Liverpool’s hopes of overtaking their city rivals Everton now look bleak after the goalless draw in the Merseyside derby last week, but they should still have enough to see off Fulham this weekend, with Martin Jol’s side horribly out of form. Daniel Sturridge (7.0) and Philippe Coutinho (6.7) are possibly the best choices for the trip to Craven Cottage, whilst Glen Johnson (6.5) offers the chance of points at both ends.
Manchester United might rest players again for their match with Swansea, but Robin Van Persie (13.7) will likely start, and Phil Jones (5.6) should feature somewhere on the pitch if you are hoping for a clean sheet. Manchester City have little to play for, but should see of Reading comfortably enough anyway, with Edin Dzeko (6.8) perhaps the man to have assuming he does not start in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Captain Choice: Theo Walcott gets the nod for the armband this week, with Wigan’s relegation likely to be secured at Arsenal’s hands on Tuesday night.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald