72 points sounds like a decent week but when my whole team (should have) played twice, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a little bit disappointed. The thing is, this DGW has really taught me that managers love to rotate, even if their side has nothing to play for at all.
For example, Ederson and Laporte played just once each. I misread the use of Laporte, so he was a mistake. The keeper meanwhile picked up eight points, but he failed to feature against Brighton, where Bravo made a mistake.
The Spurs pair of Vertonghen and Sanchez did me well, although I struck lucky with the Belgian going off before they conceded at West Brom on Saturday.
My midfield was a massive disappointment. An assist from Demarai Gray against Arsenal was the sole attacking contribution from any of my five chosen players. This was really disappointing, particularly as Mkhitaryan featured in a 5-0 win, and Martial got the nod to start for United against Brighton.
Up front, Giroud’s goal saved me somewhat, with Rashford fluffing a similar chance to Martial, failing to impress Jose in their 1-0 loss.
Well, here we are; the final week of the season. It’s absolutely flown by for me, I dunno about you, but what a season it’s been. Hopefully some of the below might be able to help you when it comes to winning your mini leagues this weekend, but do bare in mind that the final day always throws up some odd team selections. This Sunday, with many teams left with nothing to play for, there could be a fair few changes and experimentation before everyone goes off for the summer!
In goal I’m going for Karius at home to Brighton in the last game Klopp has to fine tune his team before the Champions League final in Ukraine. It should be a party atmosphere at Anfield with Liverpool finishing off a good season with CL qualification and the Seagulls already safe. On the bench, Pope will also be looking to end strongly as he hopes to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye one last time before the World Cup.
At the back Sanchez keeps his place with Spurs finishing their Wembley campaign against Leicester. Jones also comes in with United at home to Watford and the England man being present for their last two clean sheets. In games against Arsenal and Brighton without him, United conceded a goal in each. Away from home I’m plumping for both Kompany and Moses, in respective fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle. The Saints are all but safe, not that I think they’d have beaten City anyway here. On the bench, Ward comes in to the fold with Burnley hoping to finish their brilliant campaign on a high at Turf Moor when Bournemouth visit.
Hopefully my midfield picks this week improve on what they mustered last week – mind you they can’t really do too much worse. After being burnt by Martial against Brighton, I’m going back to him in the hope Jose gives him one final chance before the cup final (and a possible summer move?). Alongside him are column favourites Zaha and Arnautovic. Both players are at home this weekend and will be keen to head off for the summer leaving their fans with memories to cherish. Both players have been brilliant this season and I wouldn’t put it past either being great one last time. On the bench, Bernardo Silva (who I expect to start) and Phillips, who once scored a worldie at Selhurst Park, take their places for the final time.
So Morata toiled up front for Chelsea in midweek after being given the start over Giroud, mustering just two points in yet another blank performance. In comparison to the Spaniard, Aubameyang has just two less league goals than him this season, and the Arsenal forward didn’t play a Prem game until February 3rd! It all means that I think Conte goes back to Giroud ahead of the FA Cup final, and St James’ Park is where the Blues travel on Sunday.
The Frenchman at Arsenal who effectively pushed Giroud out partners him in this team, as I think Wenger picks Lacazette for his final game in charge. The striker has five in five appearances since his return from injury and didn’t feature in midweek as the Gunners played for 75 minutes with 10 men. Finally, I’m choosing Ings to complete the lineup, as Liverpool look to score some goals after a couple of lacklustre league results just recently.
To end, I just want to say thanks to all those that have followed the column this year. The Differentials XI has been a little different(!!) this season in that it hasn’t been a set team, but hopefully over the course of the campaign some of the previews and picks have been helpful to you in some way. As ever, good luck in the final push this weekend, whether you’re playing in a mini league for money or just for pride, I hope you end on a high! Cheers.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)