EPL Game Breakdown: February 25th

Premier League action returns this weekend, and there’s a limited six-game slate this Saturday on DraftKings. This article goes through each game one-by-one, going through recent form, set piece takers and player picks.


Chelsea vs Swansea City

Stamford Bridge, 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)

Chelsea

Chelsea Breakdown

No clean sheets in three Premier League games signals no sort of crisis for Antonio Conte, who finds his Chelsea side eight points clear of a chasing pack headed by Man City. Last time out they could only take a point from Burnley, Pedro scoring the Blues’ only goal. Little has changed away from the 3-4-3 formation he has been playing since the first half of the 3-0 loss to Arsenal. Since losing to Liverpool in September, Chelsea have won eight consecutive games at home, conceding four times and are averaging well over three goals per game. The draw at Burnley was just the second time Chelsea have dropped points to a team outside the top six, and Swansea look unlikely to make that three.

Chelsea Set Piece Takers

Corners – Eden Hazard

Penalties – Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas

Chelsea Player Picks

Diego Costa ($10,100) – Costa, the joint third highest goal scorer in the Premier League, is up against the worst defence in the division.

Thibaut Courtois ($6,000) – In home games, Courtois rarely concedes and has a great shot at a win bonus every week.

Swansea City

Swansea City Breakdown

Recently appointed boss Paul Clement has dragged the Swans out of the relegation zone and onto 24 points, the team now four clear of the drop following the 2-0 win over Leicester City that came courtesy of goals from Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson. If you include the win against Palace, Clement has won four of his six Premier League games in charge, and got very close to taking a point off Man City at the Etihad just two matches ago. However, this is still a team that has conceded a Premier League worst 54 goals this season and up against a Chelsea team that doesn’t drop points at home.

Swansea City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Penalties – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Swansea City Player Picks

Gylfi Sigurdsson ($8,400) – Sigurdsson performances have been of the highest order all season long, and his cross category scoring is something to look to every week.


Crystal Palace vs Middlesbrough

Selhurst Park, 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace Breakdown

Relegation six pointers don’t come any bigger than the game at Selhurst Park this weekend. Palace have still only won a single game since the arrival of Sam Allardyce in December and lost 1-0 to Stoke City last time out. It means Palace are on 19 points, joint bottom of the league, but only three points behind Boro in 15th place. Allardyce’s charges managed just one shot on target in that match, and the plan to build a team that defends for its life is not working. In five of the eight games he has taken charge of, Palace haven’t scored, and the problems need to be solved at both ends. Be wary of their players from a fantasy perspective.

Crystal Palace Set Piece Takers

Corners – Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon

Penalties – Christian Benteke

Crystal Palace Player Picks

Andros Townsend ($6,600) – Townsend has now scored double digit fantasy points for four consecutive games.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Breakdown

Boro differ vastly from Palace in so much that they are one of the league’s best teams defensively and the 0-0 draw against Everton last time out was their 10th stalemate of the season. Whilst at one end they have the fourth best back line (27 conceded), at the other end no team has scored less than their 19 goals. Boro haven’t won in eight Premier League matches and are without a three-point haul this calendar year.

Middlesbrough Set Piece Takers

Corners – Adam Forshaw, Max Clayton, Adlene Guedioura

Penalties – Alvaro Negredo

Middlesbrough Player Picks

Victor Valdes ($4,400) – Boro’s chances of a clean sheet against this Palace team appear high this weekend.


Everton vs Sunderland

Goodison Park, 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)

Everton

Everton Breakdown

The Toffees go from facing one of the league’s best defences (0-0 v Middlesbrough two weeks ago) to playing Sunderland, who are fresh off a 4-0 thrashing at home to Southampton. Outside the top six, Everton are the next best team and are unbeaten in eight games in a run where they have failed to score in just one game. Ronald Koeman’s team have the sixth best goal total in the Premier League (40 goals scored). The Dutchman continues to set them up in a 4-3-3 formation that uses Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman for added width from full back.

Everton Set Piece Takers

Corners – Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley

Penalties – Leighton Baines

Everton Player Picks

Romelu Lukaku ($9,000) – Only Alexis Sanchez has more goals than Lukaku this season.

Ross Barkley ($7,300) – Barkley has double digit fantasy points in six of the last seven games.

Sunderland

Sunderland Breakdown

Sunderland remain bottom of the Premier League after losing 4-0 at home to Southampton last weekend, and the 4-0 win at Palace aside, things continue to look very bleak indeed for David Moyes. That was just their second away win all season, and they have lost nine of their games away from the Stadium of Light. Only Boro have had less then Sunderland’s 238 shots this season, and they are in the same position when it comes to shots on goal (73). Moyes continued with a 3-5-1-1 formation in the last game, Bryan Oviedo and Billy Jones providing the width and Jermain Defoe the lone striker.

Sunderland Set Piece Takers

Corners – Seb Larsson, Wahbi Khazri

Penalties – Jermain Defoe

Sunderland Player Picks

Vito Mannone ($3,700) – A save machine, if Sunderland are to have a chance of getting any points then the Italian must be at his best.


Hull City vs Burnley

KCOM Stadium, 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)

Hull City

Hull City Breakdown

Hull City are another side down the bottom of the league who have been revived by a change in manager and have only lost two of the five matches since Marco Silva arrived. One of them was the 2-0 loss to Arsenal last time out; however, they will feel hard done due to the nature of the goals. What will please Tigers fans more than anything else is the defensive improvement, the back line and goalkeeper keeping two clean sheets since Silva arrived. Before that, they had kept just one all season. Hull will set up as a 4-2-3-1 that can collapse to a 4-1-4-1 when they are looking to make a defensive stand.

Hull City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Evandro, Kamil Grosicki

Penalties – Abel Hernandez, Tom Huddlestone

Hull City Player Picks

Kamil Grosicki ($5,900) – Designated corner taker, and I don’t think it will be long until he gets a goal or assist.

Eldin Jakupovic ($5,200) – No home game is easier than Burnley, and I won’t be surprised to see him pick up a win and clean sheet.

Burnley

Burnley Breakdown

Sean Dyche’s team earned an admirable 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea last time out, Robbie Brady scoring their only goal. Of the 30 points that Burnley have, 29 have been won at home, and away form has been a real problem all season long. The Clarets have scored just five away goals, which is the lowest total of any team, and have not won a game. Dyche is expected to stick with the same 4-4-2 formation that he has been using most weeks of late.

Burnley Set Piece Takers

Corners – Robbie Brady

Penalties – Andre Gray

Burnley Player Picks

Robbie Brady ($5,300) – Excellent goal last time out and sooner or later the cross machine will get back in motion.

Tom Heaton ($4,500) – Even if he doesn’t get a clean sheet or win, Heaton is valuable for his expected high save count.


West Bromwich Albion vs AFC Bournemouth

The Hawthorns, 15:00 GMT (10:00 EST)

West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion Breakdown

Albion stretched their unbeaten run to four games by earning a 2-2 draw at West Ham, Nacer Chadli and Gareth McAuley scoring for the visitors. The Baggies have won five of the last six home games and have kept two consecutive clean sheets. West Brom have now scored the second highest number of headed goals this season (12) and face a Bournemouth defence that is second-to-last in that column (11 conceded). Manager Tony Pulis has stayed loyal to a solid 4-2-3-1 formation all season long, and that likely won’t change here.

West Bromwich Albion Set Piece Takers

Corners – Chris Brunt, Matt Phillips

Penalties – Nacer Chadli

West Bromwich Albion Player Picks

Matt Phillips ($7,000) – Eight assists already this season, and I don’t think it will be long until he builds on that.

Chris Brunt ($5,900) – One of the side’s preferred corner takers, Brunt has solid cross category performance.

AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth Breakdown

Bournemouth’s 2-0 defeat to Man City last time out means they have just one win in nine games, and the Cherries have failed to win in 2017 in all competitions. The problems lie in defence where the team have conceded at least twice in 10 successive games and rarely threatened City in that defeat. The cushion between themselves and the drop still lies at a healthy six points, and there are three teams between Bournemouth and 18th placed Hull City. Eddie Howe’s team have conceded 28 times away from home, the joint-worst total in the Premier League, and have lost five of the last six away from the Vitality Stadium.

AFC Bournemouth Set Piece Takers

Corners – Ryan Fraser

Penalties – Junior Stanislas

AFC Bournemouth Player Picks

Junior Stanislas ($6,500) – Stanislas has four goals and five assists this season and is Bournemouth’s danger man.


Watford vs West Ham United

Vicarage Road, 17:30 GMT (12:30 EST)

Watford

Watford Breakdown

The Hornets’ run of back-to-back wins ended at Old Trafford as they went down 2-0 to the top four challengers. That also brought to an end a four-game unbeaten run that lifted them to 30 points and almost certainly confirmed their Premier League status for another year. Manager Walter Mazzarri has been fielding three centre backs and twin wing backs all season long, and that has not changed since the transfer window. One thing that has is the make up of their forwards, Mauro Zarate and M’Baye Niang playing support roles behind Troy Deeney

Watford Set Piece Takers

Corners – Jose Holebas, Mauro Zarate

Penalties – Troy Deeney

Watford Player Picks

Mauro Zarate ($5,500) – Zarate has hit nine fantasy points in both his games for the club and is up against one of his former employers in West Ham.

Troy Deeney ($5,400) – Deeney has now reached seven goals for the season and is looking more threatening since the new signings have arrived.

West Ham United

West Ham United Breakdown

West Ham were unfortunate not to win last time out, a late goal from West Brom making it 2-2 after goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini. It means the Hammers sit in 10th place after a run of just one loss in five games. Away from home they have been strong all season long, scoring almost two goals per game and have won three of the last four fixtures. Manager Slaven Bilic has reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, Robert Snodgrass, Michail Antonio, Lanzini and Feghouli all combining to offset any drop off after the departure of you know who.

West Ham United Set Piece Takers

Corners – Manuel Lanzini, Robert Snodgrass

Penalties – Mark Noble

West Ham United Player Picks

Manuel Lanzini ($5,600) – Has been steadily improving all season and scored his fifth goal of the season last weekend.

Robert Snodgrass ($8,300) – Posted his first double digit haul (10pts) last weekend since arriving in January.