Fantasy Spotlight – Gameweek 33
Who were the Standout Performers?
Leicester City’s 2-0 win at Sunderland nudged Claudio Ranieri’s side a step closer to the Premier League title in Gameweek 33, despite their nearest rivals Tottenham impressing with a superb 3-0 home win against Manchester United.
Elsewhere there were wins for Manchester City, Liverpool, Swansea City and Bournemouth, whose victory against Aston Villa means they are virtually relegated, but the game of the weekend was at Upton Park where West Ham played out a 3-3 thriller with Arsenal.
Which players stood out and booked a place in our team of the week for GW33?
It has been a difficult season for Wayne Hennessey, who should be looking forward to going to Euro 2016 with Wales, but has instead been in and out of the Crystal Palace team due to regular mistakes that have cost his team.
But it looks like a corner has been turned by Alan Pardew’s men, with a 1-0 home win against Norwich City on Saturday recording Palace’s first league victory of 2016.
Palace and Hennessey followed up that result with a creditable 0-0 home draw against Everton on Wednesday and they are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
Toby Alderweireld has arguably been the Premier League’s outstanding defender this season and he was supreme again as Tottenham rolled United over with a second-half burst of goals.
Alderweireld scored his side’s second with a brilliant header, taking his goal tally for the league season up to four. It was also Spurs’ third clean sheet in their last four matches.
Joel Ward provided the assist for Jason Puncheon’s winner in Palace’s vital win against fellow strugglers Norwich at the weekend and the full-back was excellent once again.
Many Palace fans believe Ward should have been called up for England duty by now, but the versatile defender has likely left it too late to make a late burst into the squad for Euro 2016.
Alberto Moreno’s Liverpool career appeared to be dwindling just a few months ago, but the Spanish left-back has been thriving under Jürgen Klopp, even promising there is more to come.
Moreno was on target in Liverpool’s 4-1 win against Stoke City on Sunday and he was in fine form throughout with a performance that earned him the man of the match award.
Alex Iwobi is quickly becoming a must-have bargain daily fantasy football player, with the Nigeria international enjoying a breakout season in the Premier League despite Arsenal slipping out of the title race in recent weeks.
Iwobi provided two assists as Arsenal drew 3-3 with West Ham in a pulsating encounter on Saturday and he now has two goals and two assists from his last three Premier League games.
A horrible miss was the biggest contribution Érik Lamela made to the first half at White Hart Lane on Sunday, but he came alive after the break with a sparkling showing for his side.
Lamela scored a goal, made another and picked up a clean sheet, earning a WhoScored rating of 9.2 in the process, making him the top-scoring midfielder for GW33. The turnaround in the form of the £25 million former flop signing is arguably Mauricio Pochettino’s biggest achievement at the club to date.
An injury-affected season has damaged Palace and Jason Puncheon’s hopes of pushing on, with his winner against Norwich surprisingly his first league goal of the season.
Puncheon was brilliant for Palace last season and, with an FA Cup semi-final on the horizon, the club will be hoping the fit-again playmaker could yet fire them to glory and rescue their campaign.
Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a firm fixture in Fantasy Spotlight in recent weeks and he earns a place in our team of the week yet again after another vital goal for his Swansea side.
Sigurdsson hit a stunning winner against Chelsea to bring his team up to the magical 40-point mark that virtually guarantees survival in the Premier League.
The Icelandic midfielder, who will be among the players to watch at this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament, has now scored four goals in five matches for Swansea. In the only recent game he did not score in, a 1-0 victory against Aston Villa, he got the assist.
Daniel Sturridge has been kept out of the Liverpool side by Divock Origi in recent weeks, with the Belgium international justifying his selection with another star role in Liverpool’s win over Stoke.
Origi scored two goals and was a constant menace, with the development of the young striker meaning his compatriot Christian Benteke is likely to be shown the Anfield door in the summer.
A run of six games without a goal had seen many daily fantasy football players stop selecting Jamie Vardy, but the striker was back in great form in GW33, scoring both goals for his side in a 2-0 win at Sunderland that leaves Leicester on the brink of the Premier League title.
Both goals were classic Vardy strikes, racing away from the defence to finish neatly, with the former non-league player now up to 21 league goals for the season, one behind Harry Kane in the race for the top flight’s Golden Boot. He’s valued at 12.9M on Fanaments in Gameweek 34.
While Vardy looks assured of a seat on the plane for Euro 2016, another player who might just be pushing his way into the thoughts of England manager Roy Hodgson is Andy Carroll.
The striker has had another injury-affected season but, when he is at his best, as he was in scoring a hat-trick in a terrific individual performance against Arsenal, he is almost unstoppable.
Carroll is unfortunate that England have so many talented striker right now, or four goals in three Premier League appearances could have booked him a place in the England squad.
Jamie Vardy is 12.9M on Fanaments (vs West Ham, 100M Budget) in their EPL contests