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Dublin: 6°C Sunday 28 February 2021
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Fantasyland: The European hangover begins

Man City take on Chelsea, in what is undoubtedly this week’s biggest game as far as Fantasy Football players are concerned.

Manchester City's Edin Dzeko and his team-mates stand dejected during this week's Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Manchester City's Edin Dzeko and his team-mates stand dejected during this week's Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

WITH MAN CITY’S Champions League exit confirmed this week, and Chelsea on the brink of elimination from the same competition, don’t be surprised if there isn’t quite the same verve as usual, when the two sides compete against one another this Sunday.

In contrast with their respective records in Europe though, their form in the league has been excellent, with City currently top and Chelsea only four points behind them.

And indeed, their European exit represents good news for Fantasy Football aficionados – at least now, there’s less chance of Sergio Aguero getting injured in a meaningless (in Fantasy terms) midweek game.

Two players to pick this week

Jack Wilshere: Arsenal have been inconsistent so far this season, so you can never be too sure whether to pick many of their players, but Jack Wilshere is a notable exception. The midfielder scored his first goal in two years in the Champions League during the week, and Arsene Wenger claims he is almost back to his best. Accordingly, Wilshere represents a reliable long-term pick as he is unlikely to be displaced anytime soon from the Arsenal side, given his immense talent. Select him now, as he’s still relatively cheap at 6.4m, while he’s also likely to thrive against a weak Aston Villa team this weekend.

Luis Suarez: Love or loathe Luis Suarez, there is no denying his exceptional talent. The striker has started the season on fire, and scored a brace, as Liverpool comprehensively beat Wigan 3-0 last week. Most Liverpool fans would probably shudder at the thought of where they’d be without Suarez this season, though largely thanks to the Uruguayan’s brilliance, they sit only eight points away from the fourth Champions League spot. They’ll face a tougher encounter than last week’s match away to Swansea, but Brendan Rodgers’ side are in great form at the moment, therefore they should have enough to defeat the Welsh outfit.

Two players to avoid this week

Joe Hart: A model of consistency last season, Hart appears to have lost some of his confidence this year, falling out with Mancini a while back and looking generally less-than-assured between the sticks for City. And he’ll surely have a tough time this Sunday, as Mancini’s men face one of their toughest fixtures of the season – away to Chelsea.

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Romelu Lukaku: The on-loan striker has looked impressive at times this season, but was unable to face parent club Chelsea last week. In his absence though, West Brom produced arguably their best performance of the season. Consequently, it would be a surprise if Steve Clarke opted to change his team around, with Lukaku’s rivals for a starting spot, Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie, both getting on the scoresheet against the London club. In addition, their upcoming game, away to an improving Sunderland, is by no means a guaranteed three points, irrespective of their fine form.

Predictions:

Sunderland 1-1 West Brom

Everton 2-1 Norwich

Man United 3-1 QPR

Stoke City 2-2 Fulham

Wigan 2-1 Reading

Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal

Swansea 1-2 Liverpool

Southampton 2-2 Newcastle

Chelsea 2-2 Man City

Tottenham 2-1 West Ham

How my team got on last week

For one reason or another, none of my defenders played. Thankfully, the rest of the team coped admirably, leading to a just above average score of 55 points.

Who’s leading TheScore.ie Primera Division?

Liam Boyle’s excellently named Jäger Bombich Albion are now on top, with 736 points, closely followed by TheScore.ie’s resident golf columnist, Neil Cullen, whose team, Riggins’ Rovers, have 728 points.

Don’t touch that dial… here’s the sport on TV this weekend>

The Magnificent 7: Overhead kicks>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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