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Joe Allen and Cesc Fabregas can impress during Liverpool v Chelsea

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Football News

The Premier League marathon enters its sprint phase this week as the battles for survival and European football look set to become equally intense.

Sunderland and Everton have very different challenges in their final two games of the season, as the Black Cats look to secure another campaign in the top flight, while the Toffees attempt to give Roberto Martinez his own faint hope of survival.

With the added incentive of sending rivals Newcastle down, Sunderland will be determined to follow up a hard-fought win over Chelsea with another three points, all the while keeping one anxious eye on Norwich's game with Watford.

The Canaries are in dire straits after losing at home to Manchester United, and they will be hoping their key men can put in some big performances.

As always, it's agonisingly close to call, so here are three of the trickiest choices when selecting your DraftKings fantasy team.


Joe Allen vs Cesc Fabregas

A season ago, comparing Joe Allen and Cesc Fabregas would have been a non-starter, but the former has proven he deserves to stay at Liverpool, while Fabregas just hasn't been at his best this year.

Allen's sudden resurgence saw him grab a goal against Watford, and he was also instrumental in the 4-0 Merseyside derby win over Everton. Not only is he a good passer of the ball, he also makes important tackles, and they are worth +1 point.

Against Bournemouth, Fabregas gave a reminder of his best qualities with an incredible three assists, which of course earned him +18 points altogether. Yet, that meant over a third of his assists all season came in one match. Again, he has also completed more passes than any other Chelsea player this season, but their midfield has massively underperformed.

On the surface, Allen may fall behind Fabregas. For instance, the Spaniard has created 61 chances, while the Reds midfielder has just 11, but that is partly because Allen has played far less. When he has featured, he has shown that he is willing to fight for his place at Anfield, and that makes the final games of the season huge for him.

Jermain Defoe vs Romelu Lukaku

Jermain Defoe and Romelu Lukaku are at very different stages of their careers, but both have been absolutely huge for their respective clubs this season, and the Everton man thoroughly deserves a place at one of the big clubs as Manchester United and Chelsea hover.

Defoe, meanwhile, proved he's still got it with the winner against Chelsea, and that was his 15th of the season. He might be 33, but he is likely to give John Stones and co. a hard time with his runs through the middle of the defence.

If Sunderland do stay up, Defoe's record of nearly three shots per game will have played no small part in it. However, Lukaku is the more complete player right now, which makes him the best choice on DraftKings.

The big Belgian has six assists over the course of the campaign, compared to Defoe's one, and this is key since assists earn +6 fantasy points. He also has over three shots per game, each of which earn +1 points.

Everton's defensive record may be pretty woeful - they have conceded 52 goals this season - but with 60 goals against, Sunderland's is even worse. Bizarrely, Everton also play much better away from home, which gives Lukaku a further edge.

Robbie Brady vs Almen Abdi

The Premier League has had its fair share of stars this season, but there have also been a great deal of underrated players.

Almen Abdi scored another fine goal from range for Watford against Aston Villa, and while he has gone under the radar, he is definitely worth his salt not least because of the number of shots he tries from outside the box. Alone, they are worth +1 for off-target and a further +1 for on-target, and his superb crosses are worth a further point.

Brady will be hoping to come to prominence as Norwich struggle to keep themselves afloat. The Irishman beats Abdi's total with three goals and two assists, and while Watford have little to play for, the Canaries know it is now all or nothing.

With a record of nearly two shots per game and 54 chances created this season, he needs to make sure he keeps Norwich in control, or else Abd will be ready to pounce on the other side.

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Jermain Defoe
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