Fantasy Spotlight – Gameweek 38
The standout performers from Gameweek 38
There was little drama on the pitch in Gameweek 38, with most of the Premier League’s important issues already decided, although a bizarre incident at Manchester United livened the last day up.
Old Trafford was evacuated after reports of a bomb, with their game against Bournemouth having to be played on Tuesday night, bringing the Premier League season to an unusual low-key close.
Manchester City secured the final Champions League place and Arsenal edged out local rivals Tottenham for second spot after Spurs were thrashed at relegated Newcastle United, while champions Leicester City drew at Chelsea.
But which players stood out on GW38? Here’s the final Fantasy Spotlight of the season.
Tim Howard’s last game for Everton before returning to his United States homeland to play MLS football was a straightforward 3-0 home win against relegated Norwich City.
Howard hardly had a save to make in one of the easiest afternoons of his career as he received an emotional farewell from the Goodison Park faithful and signed off with a clean sheet.
It is often the case that a relegated side plays with freedom once their fate has been sealed and that was certainly true for Newcastle, who have two players in this week’s Fantasy Spotlight.
Right-back Daryl Janmaat made one goal and scored another as the Magpies beat Tottenham 5-1 at St James’ Park to end an unhappy season in fine style and there is plenty of positivity around the club, with Rafael Benítez looking set to stay on despite the drop to the Championship.
Leighton Baines missed out on Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2016, but the left-back was regardless in excellent form for Everton during GW38.
Set piece specialist Baines scored from the spot in a comfortable 3-0 win, hitting just his second goal of the season.
Héctor Bellerín has been one of the best right-backs in the Premier League this season and he was outstanding again as Arsenal brushed rock bottom Aston Villa aside on Sunday.
The young Spaniard picked up his sixth assist of the season and also contributed to yet another Arsenal clean sheet, the 18th he collected during the Premier League campaign.
A fresh face to the Premier League and a new name in Fantasy Spotlight, Jonjoe Kenny made his top-flight debut for Everton on Sunday and he was immediately impressive.
The young defender replaced Matthew Pennington in the first half and excelled, getting forward well to cut a cross back for Kevin Mirallas to score Everton’s third goal. Kenny is one to watch out for next season, whoever Everton appoint to replace their sacked manager Roberto Martínez.
A brace from Georginio Wijnaldum contributed to Newcastle’s fine home win against Spurs, taking the Dutch midfielder’s tally for the season to 11.
Wijnaldum has had an inconsistent year – four of his goals came in one game against Norwich – but it would still be a surprise if he lines up with Newcastle in the Championship in August.
Sunderland’s triumphant end to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at Watford on the last day of the Premier League, with Jeremain Lens scoring a fine goal for his side.
Lens had fallen out of favour under Sam Allardyce due to a perceived lack of work-rate, but his third league goal of the season showed he has enough ability and technique for top-flight football.
Sadio Mané has ended the season in terrific form – a cynic might suggest he has been putting himself in the shop window – and he was brilliant in Southampton’s 4-1 home win against FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace as the Saints secured sixth place and Europa League qualification.
Mané scored one and made one more for his side, ending his personal campaign with nine goals and 11 assists, a fine return considering he spent time out of the team for disciplinary reasons.
Liverpool rested their stars for GW38 with the Europa League final against Sevilla in Basel in mind, with Jordon Ibe among the young players to benefit.
Ibe has not quite replaced Raheem Sterling – as some onlookers believed he would this season – but his goal indicated next year could be a breakthrough season for the young winger.
It is hard to assess Olivier Giroud’s season, with the Arsenal striker boosting his goals tally for the campaign by hitting a hat-trick against a ragged Aston Villa side on the last day of the season.
Giroud ended up with 16 league goals, but the France international did not find the net for a three-month spell in the spring, which will be a concern to Gunners fans and Arsène Wenger.
Another striker to end the season strongly was Wayne Rooney, who has been playing in midfield for Manchester United in recent weeks.
A goal and an assist earned Rooney the man-of-the-match award as United beat Bournemouth 3-1, a result that was not enough to snatch fourth place out of the hands of their local rivals City.
United and England captain Rooney can now look forward to Euro 2016, where he is likely to be selected in his favoured striking role, rather than in a deeper midfield position.