Have you seen this yet?
The man scoring that goal helped Newcastle United move to 4th place in the Premier League on Wednesday night – enough to qualify them for next season’s Champions League (should Chelsea lose in Munich at the end of May).
It’s nearly a decade since Newcastle United were last in the Champions League. You’d be fair to assume it’s been that long since we last reported on the Kantar Media Premiership. Not quite. But a lot has happened – in real-life and in fantasy land – and we wanted to nip in with a post on what to expect between now and the season end…
Real-life first. By about 17:00 on Sunday 13th Man City will be crowned Champions. You’re probably wondering how we know that. Wonder no more. They’ve overcome a dip in form which had threatened to ruin all the groundwork they had put in up until about March, and the return of this guy has – somewhat romantically and somewhat annoyingly – seemed to spark the revival. The win over Man United on Monday means they head into the final two games in pole position; win both those games and they’re Champions.
Newcastle, chasing the Champions League, are the only team who can alter this path when they host Man City on Sunday. They’re trying to fight off Tottenham, who are level on points, for 4th place, and Chelsea, who have an FA Cup Final and Champions League final for distraction. And actually, Arsenal’s hold on third is not guaranteed – they go to West Brom on the last day, a team and a ground that aren’t always as accommodating as they’d like.
The scrap to stay up will probably be more exciting. Since we last reported, Wolves have gone and there’s a shortlist of 5 teams who could be joining them. Wigan, with memorable wins over Man Utd, Arsenal and Newcastle, seem like they’ve done enough, particularly given that they will face a down beaten Wolves on the last day. Their other game is against Blackburn, who are still 3 points from safety and who will need to pull off a miracle at Chelsea on the final day to ensure survival. Bolton and QPR will face off for 17th; put your money on Bolton – QPR travel to Man City on the final day. Aston Villa have been drab all season long but won’t be dragged into it.
This frenzy over the next 2 weeks means there are lots of points up for grabs in the final two fantasy gameweeks. And there are plenty who will be chasing them. Stephen Callow’s wevewonitfivetimes probably won’t be. He’s been on top for most of the season and is now 209 points clear at the top. Providing there isn’t mammoth scoring week like there was last week, he’s got the league wrapped up.
Trying to ruin that will be Kantar Media’s Jonathan Brown. Even with a Rubbish team he’s managed to work his way up to 2nd place thanks to some shrewd captain choices over the past few weeks. Only 100 points separate Ruina Eam in 3rd and Jefford’s Giants in 13th. It’s been a sorry slip for Mark Jefford – look back at the table in Gameweek 12 and you’ll see him on top. Danny Kay is another one who has found the run-in tough; earlier in the season he looked to be Kantar Media’s only hope for a top 5 place – he’s now languishing in 20th. And Chris Branford’s Terminal Decline, after showing great promise, have finally lived up to their name, and now sit in 25th heading into the final 2 gameweeks.
So unfortunately, thanks to wevewonitfivetimes, we won’t get the photo-finish we’d hope – not for top-spot, anyway. Because there’s a lot to play for elsewhere, and I’m sure teams have got their own personal rivalries that are still to be resolved. The Killer Bees of W9, for instance, are rock-bottom, and their manager, Charlie Gordon, is set to be declared the worst (ahem) manager at Kantar Media. But Jennie Beck, Sara Reid and Karen Alexander are within a strong gameweek’s reach, so the season isn’t over for him yet. The tension will be similar at S4C – Chris Morris and Huw Jones both scored 91 points last week, and with Huw’s Swans Flying High only 20 points ahead of Chris’ Brian Munich, I wouldn’t want to be sat between them right now. The NMA, too, have an internal battle going on, with Andrew Moffat’s Newspaper Detectives leading Henry Vernon’s Henry’s Heroes by just 24 points – as RvP has shown on multiple occasions this season, that’s a point difference just one player can overturn.
And so you should get selecting. Make sure to use transfers wisely – and use your wildcards if you haven’t already; there are no bonus points for having them in stock at the end of the season. My tip (not that 24th warrants me to give you one) is to get/keep Aguero in your team – he’ll score at least 4 over these last 2 games.
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