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Fantasyland: Two-horse race set for thrilling conclusion

With squeaky bum time well and truly upon us, we identify the players that could make or break your season.

Cisse has been in excellent form of late.
Cisse has been in excellent form of late.
Image: SCOTT HEPPELL/AP/Press Association Images

IT’S TRULY BEEN a season to remember. And now, we approach the final hurdles of this exciting and consistently unpredictable journey.

And despite the constant surprises in the league this year, it seems that only two teams are in with a chance of triumphing, after several of this year’s other top teams – despite showing signs of promise at times – ultimately flattered to deceive.

Yes, it now seems to be a straight two-horse race between Noel Crowley’s Crilly’s Fella’s and Deceptively Slow, Paudie O’Neill’s perennial contenders, in TheScore.ie‘s Fantasy League.

Deceptively Slow are undoubtedly the league’s equivalent of Man City, having been at the top or thereabouts for the majority of the season.

Crilly’s Fella’s, on the other hand, are clearly Man United – despite enduring a few hiccups, they have seemingly peaked in recent weeks.

So can Crilly’s Fella’s snatch victory from under the nose of Deceptively Slow? Or will an outsider recover a seemingly insurmountable points difference between the top two and the rest? Stay tuned.

Two players to pick this week:

Demba Papiss Cisse: Many feared the worst when Newcastle lost Ireland striker Leon Best for the season through injury, but Cisse has proved a more than adequate replacement for the ex-Southampton man. This weekend, he faces a Liverpool side that have looked short of confidence in recent matches. Cisse, on the other hand, has been in fine form, scoring five times since making his debut for Newcastle in February.

Nikita Jelavic: Another seemingly fantastic January signing, it’s hardly a coincidence that the acquisition of Jelavic has coincided with Everton’s largely excellent run of form lately. They face a West Brom side who have only one point from their last three games. Moreover, at home, Everton are normally formidable opposition, having already beaten top sides such as Tottenham and Chelsea at Goodison this season. So expect Jelavic and the rest of Moyes’ side to thrive on Saturday.

Two players to avoid this week:

Sergio Aguero: I know it may seem like obvious advice, given that he’s injured, but how many of us have fallen into the trap of forgetting to change an injured player until it’s too late? Quite a few people I’d imagine. So, don’t wait until tomorrow when you’ll probably be too tired and hungover to do anything, take Aguero off your team now… What’s that? You wasted your substitution earlier in the week? You fool!

James McClean: The Ireland winger has demonstrated phenomenal form in the second half of the season, constantly proving a thorn in the opposition’s side with his surging runs, and chipping in with a few goals to boot. However, expect the youngster to have few opportunities to exhibit his talent on Saturday, given that Sunderland face a daunting trip to the City of Manchester Stadium. Although Martin O’Neill’s men shocked City in the reverse fixture between the sides, there’ll surely be a different result on this occasion, given City’s near-flawless home record.

Predictions

Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea

Everton 2-0 West Brom

Fulham 2-1 Norwich

Man City 3-1 Sunderland

QPR 1-2 Arsenal

Wigan 1-1 Stoke

Wolves 1-1 Bolton

Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool

Tottenham 2-0 Swansea

Blackburn 1-3 Man United

How my team got on this week

Just above average. Van Persie had one of his rare quiet weeks, while having Liverpool players in my team didn’t help either.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie league?

As stated above, Crilly’s Fella’s are now level on points with Deceptively Slow. This one looks as if it’s going down to the wire.

Additional writing by Ben Blake.

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