EPL Game Breakdown: March 18th

We get a full slate of Premier League action this weekend as there’s no FA Cup in sight for this final set of games before the international break. The following article breaks down the six games taking place on Saturday from 3pm onwards and includes form, set piece takers and player picks.

Crystal Palace vs Watford

Selhurst Park, 15:00 GMT (11:00 EST)

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace Breakdown

Palace are on something of a roll under Sam Allardyce and surprised everyone by winning 2-0 at West Brom last time out, wingers Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend both netting. Even more pleasing for Allardyce is the fact they have not conceded a goal for two successive games. What they do still hold is the worst home record in the entire division and have just three wins at Selhurst Park all season long. With a very tough end to the season, beating teams like Watford is crucial.

Crystal Palace Set Piece Takers

Corners – Yohan Cabaye, Andros Townsend

Penalties – Christian Benteke

Crystal Palace Player Picks

Andros Townsend ($7,300) – Townsend’s 25-point effort last week was the sixth straight game where he has achieved double digit points.

Yohan Cabaye ($5,100) – Two assists in as many games for a player who offers excellent value at just over $5K.

Watford

Watford Breakdown

Another side that, like Palace, had last weekend off due to a postponement, the Hornets come into this one off the back of a ding dong 4-3 loss to Southampton, Troy Deeney, Stefano Okaka and Abdoulaye Doucouré getting the goals. It means the ‘Glory Hornet Boys’ have not won in three games and have now conceded 47 goals this season, which is worse than Palace. It’s actually six games since they last kept a clean sheet, in the 0-0 draw against goal shy Boro, and you have to go back to the 1-0 win against Hull on October 29 to find the next most recent clean sheet.

Watford Set Piece Takers

Corners – Tom Cleverley, Jose Holebas

Penalties – Troy Deeney

Watford Player Picks

Troy Deeney ($5,400) – Deeney has five goals in the last six league games and the Watford captain also has a penchant for strikes against Palace, scoring four in the last three clashes.

Jose Holebas ($4,200) – Holebas’ crossing stats have stayed at a steady 4.7 crosses per game all season and his status as one of the two corner takers always makes him look attractive.


Everton vs Hull City

Goodison Park, 15:00 GMT (11:00 EST)

Everton

Everton Breakdown

The Toffees got back to winning ways last weekend, the 3-0 rout of West Brom coming courtesy of goals from Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku and an unlikely source in the shape of Morgan Schneiderlin. Everton have lost just once at home all season and are currently in the midst of a run of five straight wins, four of them including a clean sheet. Their 47 goals scored is the best total outside the top five and 30 of them have come at Goodison. Simply put, Everton look very, very strong whenever they’re on home soil, especially this weekend.

Everton Set Piece Takers

Corners – Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas, Gareth Barry

Penalties – Leighton Baines

Everton Player Picks

Romelu Lukaku ($9,600) – Premier League joint top scorer on 19 goals, the Belgian striker has scored in five straight home games.

Ross Barkley ($8,500) – Barkley has an assist in two straight games and scores well enough across a number of categories to mean he hardly ever drops below double figures.

Hull City

Hull City Breakdown

Hull fans still believe in manager Marco Silva’s credentials as an escape artist, his latest feat a 2-1 win over Swansea City that included a brace from Everton outcast Oumar Niasse. The striker won’t be able to play here and boy would they love to have him as their away record is shocking. It’s just one win all season away from the KCOM and seven goals scored is the worst total in the Premier League. 31 goals conceded away from home is also the worst of any team, and it’s hard to see them getting anything from an in-form Everton.

Hull City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Kamil Grosicki, Andrew Robertson

Penalties – Tom Huddlestone

Hull City Player Picks

Kamil Grosicki ($6,800) – The Polish winger has hit double digit fantasy points in three successive matches, and in none of those games has he registered a goal or an assist.


Stoke City vs Chelsea

Bet365 Stadium, 15:00 GMT (11:00 EST)

Stoke City

Stoke City Breakdown

Stoke are the latest side to have the unenviable task of facing Chelsea and do so after earning a spirited 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City a little over a week ago. The Potters have been very good on home soil this season and are on an eight-game unbeaten run at Fortress…Bet365 Stadium?! However, just one of those games has been against a top six side, and even then it was a draw against Everton. In the reverse fixture, Stoke twice pegged Chelsea back in a 4-2 loss on December 31st, so that’s something to bear in mind.

Stoke City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Xherdan Shaqiri, Charlie Adam, Joe Allen, Glenn Whelan

Penalties – Charlie Adam

Stoke City Player Picks

Joe Allen ($4,800) – Usually scores well across various categories and should pick up plenty of defensive points against a side as good as Chelsea.

Chelsea

Chelsea Breakdown

Chelsea remain 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 2-1 win at West Ham, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa both scoring a goal apiece. The stats don’t lie as Chelsea have the joint best defence in the league (20 goals conceded) and the second best attack (57 goals scored). No one else has kept more clean sheets than Chelsea’s seven, and the Blues have lost just twice away from Stamford Bridge all season, conceding a stingy 12 goals in 14 games.

Chelsea Set Piece Takers

Corners – Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Eden Hazard

Penalties – Eden Hazard

Chelsea Player Picks

Diego Costa ($10,200) – Has scored in consecutive Premier League games and has 17 goals for the season.

Eden Hazard ($9,000) – Back on a decent run of form from a fantasy perspective and has hit double digits in all of the last three matches for the Blues.


Sunderland vs Burnley

Stadium of Light, 15:00 GMT (11:00 EST)

Sunderland

Sunderland Breakdown

David Moyes’ side are sleepwalking into the Championship and suffered a third successive defeat last time out, 2-0 at home to Man City. Since the 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace, things have gotten very bad indeed, and the Black Cats have not scored a goal in those three matches. Even more worrying is the fact that Jermain Defoe’s goals have dried up. After Middlesbrough, they are the league’s second worst scorers on just 24 for the season, and at the other end, have conceded 50 times. Only Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth boast a worse record defensively. Losing at home to a Burnley side that doesn’t win away would be the final nail in the coffin of a team that is six points from safety.

Sunderland Set Piece Takers

Corners – Adnan Januzaj, Seb Larsson, Wahbi Khazri

Penalties – Jermain Defoe

Sunderland Player Picks

Jermain Defoe ($6,000) – If Sunderland are going to win any game it’s a home one against Burnley. To do that, Defoe will need to have his shooting boots on.

Burnley

Burnley Breakdown

Burnley’s form has hit the buffers somewhat, five games without a win meaning that they are a mere seven points off the drop. Last time out the Clarets narrowly lost 2-1 at Liverpool, Ashley Barnes getting the only goal in a game that stretches their winless run away from home to 14 games. Yet, you get the feeling that if they are going to arrest that run somewhere it will be against the Premier League’s worst side in Sunderland. Given the form both teams are in, this game is a very hard one to predict.

Burnley Set Piece Takers

Corners – Robbie Brady, Scott Arfield

Penalties – Andre Gray

Burnley Player Picks

Robbie Brady ($6,500) – In two of his last three starts, Brady has hit double digits for fantasy points.

Andre Gray ($5,200) – Burnley’s top scorer on eight goals, and it would hardly be a surprise were he to make it nine, or even 10, here.


West Ham vs Leicester City

London Stadium, 15:00 GMT (11:00 EST)

West Ham

West Ham Breakdown

The streaky form of West Ham continued last weekend when they went down 3-2 at Bournemouth, Michail Antonio and Andre Ayew both scoring. It means that Slaven Bilic’s side have won just one of the last six games, and they have conceded over two goals a game over that period. In fact, West Ham own the fifth worst defensive record in the entire division having conceded 49 times. The teething problems at the London Stadium do persist; however, against sides in the bottom half they rarely lose on home soil.

West Ham Set Piece Takers

Corners – Robert Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini

Penalties – Mark Noble

West Ham Player Picks

Michail Antonio ($7,700) – Well out in front of every other West Ham player with nine goals and he is their biggest goal threat on a weekly basis.

Sofiane Feghouli ($5,500) – Feghouli has hit double digits for fantasy points in three of the last four games.

Leicester City

Leicester City Breakdown

What a midweek for Leicester City, who are now Champions League quarterfinalists following the 2-0 win over Sevilla. In the Premier League, it’s a very different story, the Foxes still just three points above the relegation zone. However, under new boss Craig Shakespeare they have won the last two games including the 3-1 win over Hull City where Christian Fuchs, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal saw them through. Leicester are yet to win away from home this season and have scored a measly eight goals away from the King Power.

Leicester City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Marc Albrighton, Riyad Mahrez, Demarai Gray

Penalties – Riyad Mahrez

Leicester City Player Picks

Riyad Mahrez ($7,200) – Mahrez has a goal or an assist in his last two games in all competitions.

Jamie Vardy ($6,100) – Vardy is another who has seen an upturn in form of late, and he has notched double digit fantasy points in four successive games.


AFC Bournemouth vs Swansea City

Vitality Stadium, 17:30 GMT (13:30 EST)

AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth Breakdown

Eddie Howe will know that a win here almost certainly makes them safe as it would lift them to 33 points. That is all because of a moral boosting 3-2 win over West Ham last weekend courtesy of a Joshua King hat trick. Scoring goals has never been a problem for Howe’s team, and it’s at the other end where the issues exist. It’s now nine games without a clean sheet, and there’s nothing to suggest that run will end any time soon.

AFC Bournemouth Set Piece Takers

Corners – Ryan Fraser

Penalties – Joshua King

AFC Bournemouth Player Picks

Joshua King ($6,200) – King now has seven goals over the course of the last five games.

Ryan Fraser ($6,100) – The young Scot put in 10 crosses to set him on his way to a 13 fantasy point day last weekend.

Swansea City

Swansea City Breakdown

Swansea City find themselves a mere three points off the drop zone after losing a six pointer at Hull City, Alfie Mawson’s late header not enough to stop them going down to a 16th loss of the season. The 61 goals that the Swans have conceded is the worst of any side and the arrival of Paul Clement has done nothing to stem that flow. It’s now three losses in a row away from home, but they do always tend to score a goal, and it’s seven games since Swansea failed to score in a league game.

Swansea City Set Piece Takers

Corners – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Penalties – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Swansea City Player Picks

Gylfi Sigurdsson ($11,200) – Sigurdsson has an assist in four successive games and over 20 fantasy points in his last two matches.