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The Gameweeks just keep on coming and we’re loving it!
The 32nd round of the season begins on Saturday and there’s plenty to mull over.
Some of the best performers have dipped in form while others are on a resurgence. Here, we look at the best player to captain and three big tips ahead of the weekend.
But first, here’s a look at the tactical geniuses who make up the top five in our fans league this week.
WHO TO PICK AS CAPTAIN
Philippe Coutinho [8.4m] was our captain pick in Gameweek 31 and he didn’t disappoint. His goal from midfield saw him earn seven points.
This week, we’re backing Zlatan Ibrahimovic [11.4m] to do the business. The Swede scored a late equaliser from the spot and had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out for offside against Everton.
Manchester United travel to Sunderland who, to put it mildly, are in a spot of bother. Bottom of the table with only 20 points, the Black Cats look destined for the drop.
They also have the worst goal difference at home in the league (-12).
Williams handball & Ibrahimovic's 94th minute penalty goal. pic.twitter.com/YuMBI0B9vc— Abdi (@AbdiFooty) April 4, 2017
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER
Just a few more things to keep in mind when you set your team up for this round..
He may have escaped a ban from the FA for ridiculously kicking out at Vincent Kompany in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek but Diego Costa [10.6m] is simply not worth the hassle at the moment.
Not only does he come at a huge price, but is always one moment of madness away from a suspension. Given his recent form and frustration, a scenario like that seems increasingly likely.
The Spaniard has only scored twice in his last eight games which is a poor return considering his price tag and early season form.
In short, your money could be put to better use elsewhere, particularly with Ibrahimovic’s return to the fold.
Is Diego Costa in trouble? 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/d5UpCLffj7— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) April 6, 2017
HAZARD AND ALLI PRIME PROPERTY
If you haven’t gotten rid of Costa already, you could ditch him and use the extra cash to reel in one of these midfielders.
With Costa in a slump, Eden Hazard [10.2m] has picked up the slack, returning in six of his last seven matches including THREE Gameweek scores which hit double figures.
The Belgian is well and truly Chelsea’s go-to man at the moment and proved as much by scoring a brace in their 2-1 win over City, a game in which he also earned maximum bonus points.
Meanwhile, Dele Alli [9.0m] can’t stop scoring for Tottenham. He’s got four goals in his last five games and has also chipped in with three assists.
While Christian Eriksen [8.8m] is also a great option in midfield, his team-mate seems to get himself in more goal-scoring positions.
Heung-Min Son [7.0m] is doing well at the moment as a midfielder playing up front for Spurs but Harry Kane [11.2m] is on the road to recovery so the South Korean’s shelf life may not last the course of the season.
Dele Alli has now scored more goals this season (15) than any other U21 player in Europe's top five leagues. pic.twitter.com/dHl8P2T9tI— Uber Football Facts (@UberFootbalI) April 5, 2017
HULL TO KEEP GIVING HELL
Marco Silva has worked wonders at Hull City. They’ve gone from looking like relegation favourites to registering five wins and a draw at home in the league.
They haven’t been quite so impressive away from home though and that makes Sergio Aguero [12.7m] a good option as Manchester City entertain the Tigers this weekend.
However, there’s every possibility of Hull putting in a another resilient performance like the one we saw at Old Trafford. Beyond this round, they only have Spurs to play from the top eight teams this season.
The problem is they don’t have a standout goal-scorer to pin your hopes on or a serial supplier either. However, there’s plenty of value in their back-line to avail of.
Paul Merson being bang on about Marco Silva when he was appointed at Hull, obviously... pic.twitter.com/8isjO6HWKZ— Sport360° (@Sport360) April 6, 2017
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We’ve been here before.
But while Jose Mourinho’s ability to spitefully marginalise talented players at the drop of a hat is well-known, it’s Luke Shaw’s own position which gives this situation at Manchester United a sense of devilish deja vu.
Because it’s not the first time the left-back has had his work rate questioned, and while Mourinho’s choice of language is more coarse and cutting than Roy Hodgson or Louis van Gaal, it may be because the Portuguese is fed up with the message not getting across.
In 2014, in the wake of Van Gaal’s decision to place Shaw on a personal fitness plan, then-England boss Hodgson saw fit to reveal both he and former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino harboured concerns about his conditioning.
Unlike some of Mourinho’s previous attacks on players, this is an issue that is clearly not invented.
Exaggerated, perhaps, and amplified to the public to distract from United’s inability to win football matches, but Shaw has a problem and one that only he can solve.
Of course, it may not matter what he does on the training ground or pitch between now and the end of May – Mourinho’s mind may already be made up. But Shaw is in danger of following so many English talents into mediocrity.
If he is to fail under Mourinho at United, he’ll still undoubtedly earn a considerable well-paid five year-plus deal at another very good Premier League club, taking him past his mid-20s.
But it’s this kind of gilded existence that has accelerated the decline of so many before him – Shaun Wright-Phillips, Scott Sinclair, Joe Cole, Wayne Bridge, Micah Richards – in a league which hands out huge contracts to any young English player who’s enjoyed a handful of half decent appearances.
Shaw is an outstandingly good prospect, but with common wisdom telling us that England’s continual failures at major tournaments are, in-part, born out of an apathy to international football created by the wealth and comfort of domestic life, then maybe, just maybe, Mourinho has his best interests at heart.
Because if Shaw doesn’t heed this warning, like he hasn’t that of Pochettino, Van Gaal or Hodgson, English football will have created itself another footballer who had so much more to give but never needed to improve on those positive first few years. Deja vu, indeed.
Jose Mourinho is, how should we put this, an outspoken individual.
The Portuguese never hesitates to speak his mind. While he’s renowned for aiming jibes at opposing managers or ranting against officials, his players aren’t immune to his wrath either.
Mourinho will never shy away from criticising his team but every so often, he will single out a player.
Sometimes it sparks a reaction in the player in question, but it can all go sour very quickly as well.
The United manager has told Luke Shaw to improve his understanding of the game if he wants to win a regular place in the side.
Despite putting in a good performance in a cameo appearance against Everton on Tuesday, the 21-year-old seems to still have a target on his back.
“He had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.
“We need at this level the fantastic body to play football, but he cannot play (by relying on) my understanding of the game.
“He must understand, he must think, he must accelerate the process. He is 21, he is old enough to have a better understanding of the game. But today he has with a positive feeling.”
There have been other fine players who have bore the brunt of Mourinho’s criticism though so Shaw is certainly in good company.
Here’s the five players who have been called out by Jose:
“Ricardo Carvalho seems to have problems understanding things, maybe he should have an IQ test, or go to a mental hospital or something.”
– After Carvalho called him out for not playing him.
“It’s not even a game between me and him. It’s a game where a kid made some statements not showing maturity and respect. Maybe [it’s his] education, difficult childhood, no education, maybe [it is] the consequence of that.”
– Ronaldo and Mourinho worked well but always had a complex relationship.
“I’ve told him, one more match like that and he’s out. He has to play for the team and not for the public and himself.”
– The Englishman’s flair used to drive Mourinho crazy in his first Chelsea stint.
“It’s part of a process with him, too. It is one thing to play with Ramires and Oscar closing down opponents on each side, and Mata as a No10 behind a striker with his clever assists, clever passes and fantastic actions because he has great talent. But it is another thing to adapt to the way we want to play. In this moment, Oscar is my No10 and, if anyone tells me Oscar has not been Chelsea’s best player this season, I’d have to disagree.”
– On why Mata wasn’t good enough to start at Chelsea.
“We have different concepts of number 10, me and him.For me a number 10 does a lot of things, with the ball and without the ball. Who is my perfect number 10? Wesley Sneijder and Deco. Because they could defend, get in the box and finish goals? Yes.”
– Hazard always stated that his favoured role was behind the striker but Mourinho didn’t agree.