Fantasy Spotlight – Gameweek 35
The standout performers from Gameweek 35
Leicester City virtually wrapped up the Premier League title during Gameweek 35, their easy win against Swansea City followed up by Tottenham dropping points at home against West Brom.
Chelsea, Southampton and Manchester City were among the other winners on a weekend when Norwich City slipped into the bottom three, even as they didn’t play due to FA Cup matches.
But which players stood out enough to learn a place in Fantasy Spotlight for GW35?
Sunderland’s battling 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal on Sunday might just be crucial at the end of the season, with the point taking Sam Allardyce’s side out of the relegation zone.
Vito Mannone made a string of fine saves to deny a lacklustre Arsenal side at the Stadium of Light and, if the Black Cats are to survive, he will need to maintain that high level of form.
Jeffrey Schlupp has not started many games for Leicester this season, but he was introduced by Claudio Ranieri for the home game against Swansea City, partly to balance out the loss of pace in the side due to the suspension of Jamie Vardy.
It proved to be yet another masterstroke by the wily Italian manager, with Schlupp a menace throughout, providing an assist and a clean sheet from the back.
The fine form of Bacary Sagna has led to Pablo Zabaleta spending plenty of the campaign on Manchester City’s bench, but he was selected for their 4-0 win against Stoke City on Saturday and justified his inclusion with a fine assist and a clean sheet.
Sagna’s injury has created an opportunity for Zabaleta to shine, but incredibly his assist against Stoke was his first in the Premier League this season.
Many Liverpool players have shone under the leadership of Jürgen Klopp, but perhaps none more so than left-back Alberto Moreno.
The Spaniard was in superb form again at the weekend, providing two assists as the Reds raced into a 2-0 lead at home to Newcastle United in the first half, even though they were pegged back after the break.
Few Aston Villa players will emerge from this disastrous season with any credit, but one who might well have earned the chance to stay in the Premier League is midfielder Ashley Westwood.
He scored twice in Villa’s 4-2 home defeat to Southampton and was tidy in possession throughout, with both his goals also very well taken.
Villa did not put up much of a fight against the Saints on Saturday but Dušan Tadić still impressed, scoring two goals in a fine individual performance.
Tadić now has eight goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season as Southampton continue to hunt down a Europa League qualifying place.
Last season’s Player of the Year Eden Hazard finally opened his account for the campaign in Chelsea’s 4-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday, scoring a brace as his side eased to victory. It was by far his best performance of the season, with his WhoScored rating eclipsing all of his previous efforts this season.
Hazard’s form has been one of the main reasons behind Chelsea’s struggles this season, but the Belgium international looks to be getting back to his best ahead of this summer’s Euro 2016 and might just put a final nail in Tottenham’s lingering title hopes on Monday, for which he is valued at £10.5m on FantasyBet.
Cesc Fàbregas is another who found life hard earlier in the season but has been thriving under Chelsea’s interim coach Guus Hiddink, who will be replaced by Antonio Conte in the summer.
Fàbregas ran the game against Bournemouth, contributing three assists to take his tally to seven for the season.
Marcus Rashford may have grabbed the Manchester headlines, but the blue half of the city also has a young talent to hang its hat on in the form of Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho.
Iheanacho scored twice in City’s routine home win against Stoke during GW35, his fourth and fifth goals of the season, with the coolness of his finishing suggesting he has a huge future.
The 19-year-old, whose middle name is Promise, is certainly one to look out for.
While Tadić’s brace at Villa Park earned him most of the post-game attention, he was reliant on the energy, intelligence and hard running of Shane Long, who put in a typically all-action display.
Republic of Ireland international Long probably should have scored more than one goal but he also created two more for his side, who dropped the in-form Graziano Pellè to the bench.
Everything Ranieri touches seems to be turning to gold this season. Vardy’s suspension meant Leonardo Ulloa got a chance to lead the line alongside Shinji Okazaki and he was superb, scoring a double to take his tally to three goals in two matches.
Fitness permitting, Ulloa will also be expected to start for Leicester next weekend at Manchester United, with Vardy serving the second game of his ban. Leicester need a win at Old Trafford to secure the Premier League title.