Gameweek 35 would see a massive clash between North London’s finest as title-chasing Spurs would take on local rivals Arsenal, who themselves are in pursuit of an unlikely top four finish. With so much at stake, who would come out on top? Elsewhere, there were some vital matches at the bottom, with Hull travelling South to take on Southampton at St. Mary’s. On Sunday, their relegation rivals in Swansea would host a Manchester United side that look like they may be set to climb into those top four positions. Just hours later, their neighbours City would have a chance to strengthen their hold on their top four position.
Anyway, here is the FPL Updates gameweek 35 review…
Eldin Jakupovic – Swiss goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic would be the hero of the hour as Hull City took what could turn out to be a vital point as they left Southampton on Saturday evening. With a two-point advantage over relegation rivals Swansea City, Hull would look to widen their gap, and hopefully secure their safety with a game or two to spare this season. However, they found themselves under the cosh for large spells against a Southampton side that put out a wealth of attacking talent in Manolo Gabbiadini, Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond. Having missed a host of chances earlier in the game, Saints would have a golden chance to win it from the spot, however, Jakupovic would stop Tadic’s penalty to secure a massive point for the Tigers.
Gary Cahill – Despite recent pressure from Spurs in second position, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side look set to record yet another Premier League title win. One strong performer for them this season has been none other than England International centre-half Gary Cahill. The former Bolton and Aston Villa defender has been integral alongside David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta this campaign, in a back three that has seen Conte take praise on many occasions. Their attacking potency alongside their defensive solidity has been a key factor in their success this season, and all that combined with good squad depth and a lack of injuries to key players has seen Chelsea record what will likely be a very impressive title win.
Kieran Trippier – Like London rivals Chelsea, Spurs success has also been driven by a great deal of strength in depth, and Spurs have this in abundance, esepecially in the full-back positions, where Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies have been ready to step in at a moment’s notice. The former has had to wait for his opportunities but in recent weeks has been immense. They recorded a massive victory in the North-London derby against neighbours Arsenal, in what will have been the final match of this kind to take place at the Lane. In a cagey affair where neither side really took the match by the scruff of the neck in the first half, Dele Alli gave Spurs the lead in the second period. Just seconds later, Harry Kane went down easily and won a penalty to seal the three points. Kane stepped forward and slotted home to seal a massive victory.
Jose Fonte – West Ham United travelled to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon, knowing that a win would likely secure their Premier League safety after a largely disappointing season. Many a neutral has found it pleasing to see the club retain the services of manager and former player Slaven Bilic. Having made a number of January signings, the Hammers have seen differing performance and inconsistency from many of their players. One player who impressed in their weekend goalless draw was Portugal’s Euro-winning centre-half Jose Fonte. Having signed from Southampton in January for £8 million. They held firm at the back to deny the Potteries a victory that would have seen them into ninth. Jack Butland proved to be the difference between the sides, as he made several superb saves to earn a point.
Emre Can – Liverpool’s German midfielder Emre Can scored arguably the goal of the season at Vicarage Road on bank holiday Monday as Liverpool recorded an important victory in their pursuit of a top four finish. Right on half-time, Lucas Leiva dinked a superb ball into the path of the former Bayern and Leverkusen man, who swivelled into a bicycle-kick, which flew past Heurelho Gomes and into the top left corner of the net. In the second half Watford chased an equaliser, but to no avail. The Reds would survive a later scare, though, as a bouncing ball deep in the area wasn’t cleared, before it fell to Seb Prodl, who hammered a volley against the angle of post and crossbar.
Joshua King – Few players have impressed in the Premier League this season, as Norwegian midfielder come forward Joshua King. The former Manchester United forward has undoubtedly been the Cherries star-player this season, netting 15 goals and averaging one every 170 minutes, better than Eden Hazard. Having already been linked to some of the league’s bigger sides, Bournemouth will likely face a struggle to retain the services of the former Manchester United man, but they will make sure they are able to secure a hefty fee for his transfer. He netted the winner, as Bournemouth relegated a dejected Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It would be King’s 89th minute winner who would seal the Black Cats’ fate.
Pedro – Chelsea strolled to victory in impressive fashion at Goodison Park on Sunday as they dismantled an Everton side that have been superb on their own turf of late. Former Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku failed to shine against his former club, as rumours circulate about a Stamford Bridge return. Pedro opened the scoring in the 65th minute, as he cut onto his left foot before unleashing a brilliant strike from 25 yards. Gary Cahill doubled the lead fifteen minutes later when he finished on the rebound when Eden Hazard’s free kick was saved. Willian completed the rout when he converted from Fabregas’ cutback late on.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a dramatic late free kick at Old Trafford to snatch an unlikely point in Swansea’s fight for survival. The match was shrouded in controversy, though, as it appeared that Marcus Rashford had dived to win a penalty on the stroke of half time for the Red Devils, as Wayne Rooney stepped forward to convert from the spot. Despite seeming fairly comfortable, United would live to rue their missed chances when the Swans were awarded a free kick twenty yards from goal. With ten minutes, remaining Iceland international Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped forward as he so often does and delivered the big moment as he curled a wonderful effort past a helpless David De Gea. This keeps Swansea just two points behind Hull in the battle for survival.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City let their rivals gain some ground in the battle for a top four finish as a late equaliser from Gabriel Jesus was all that came between them and an embarrassing loss to a Middlesbrough side preparing for Championship football next season. Former City man, Alvaro Negredo, would open the scoring against his former club as he curled into the corner after 38 minutes. Sergio Aguero would level from the spot after Leroy Sané went down easily in the box to say the least. However, ‘Boro looked to have won it when Calum Chambers scrambled in, to the delight of the ‘Boro faithful. However, Gabriel Jesus would power in a header off the bench to rescue a point for City that sees them stay ahead of United.
Alvaro Negredo – It’s been a difficult season for former Manchester City forward Alvaro Negredo, who swapped Valencia for the North-East and Middlesbrough in the summer. The ‘Beast’ as he was so fondly known during his spell with City, netted against his former side at the weekend when he collected the ball and curled past Claudio Bravo in the City net. The goal has seen the Spaniard take his tally to nine goals and four assists in the Premier League this season. It’s been difficult playing in the league’s poorest attacking side, and as a striker who feeds on a good delivery, Negredo has likely suffered as a result. It will be interesting to see where the forward plays his football next season, as Middlesbrough seem set for a quick return to the Championship.
Ashley Barnes – Burnley recorded their first away win of the season as they ran out 2-0 winners over a Crystal Palace side whose performance was really out of character given their recent form over experienced boss Sam Allardyce. Barnes opened the scoring when Stephen Ward picked him out before he slid a finish through Wayne Hennessey in the Palace net. Burnley remained solid at the back, as they have so often this season, and would bide their time until the 85th minute when Andre Gray would seal the points. The former Brentford and Luton Town man would drill home with five minutes remaining, much to the delight of boss Sean Dyche. The win sees the Clarets as the last side to record an away win this season, but their boss won’t care, as they look to have secured survival.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)