Every week we review three studs and three duds from the previous round of Premier League action. Which players shone brightest in Gameweek 26? Who flattered to deceive?
PlayON Price: £11.6m
GW 26 Points: 3375
Chelsea stretched their impressive unbeaten run to 10 games under interim manager Guus Hiddink with an empathic 5-1 victory over Newcastle, ensuring that the teams above them will be looking over their shoulder. Whilst they are still trying to salvage a shocking start to the season, fans will be happy to see the Blues firing on all cylinders once again.
Hiddink’s side were bright and eager to get forward on Saturday, with Pedro netting twice in a standout performance that served as a reminder as to why they paid £19 million for his services in the summer. His brace matched the total he had managed in his previous 19 appearances, but he and his teammates will be full of confidence going forwards after such a dominant display.
With Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard also performing well, Chelsea once again look dangerous and all fantasy managers will be considering bringing in a player or two. Pedro & co. head to France to face PSG midweek, before travelling to Southampton for Gameweek 27 to face a Saints team who are also in brilliant form.
Kolo Toure (Liverpool)
PlayON Price: £6.2m
GW 26 Points: 2370
It isn’t often that Liverpool centre back Kolo Toure finds himself in the headlines for the right reasons, but the Ivorian had an impressive game in Liverpool’s 0-6 thrashing of Aston Villa, and a mammoth week in fantasy football.
Not only did Yaya’s younger brother help shut out a poor Villa side, but he also popped up with a rare goal as he headed in his side’s 6th in the 71st minute. It was his first goal since 2011 and first for Liverpool, and he could not hide his delight as he celebrated wildly by running half the length of the pitch before sliding on his back. His over-the-top and comical celebration caught the attention of many Twitter users, but the Villa fans (the few remaining) were not impressed with his theatrics. The emphatic victory moved Jurgen Klopp’s men up to 8th, and the likes of Roberto Firmino, Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are also tempting prospects.
Troy Deeney (Watford)
PlayON Price: £8.5m
GW 26 Points: 3250
While Watford have slipped down the table since the start of the year, the Hornets are still putting together an impressive campaign in their return to the Premier League.
Quique Sanchez Flores’s men picked up their 5th away win of the season on Saturday with a 1-2 victory over Crystal Palace, leaving the Eagles now 9 games without a win. It was the Watford captain, Troy Deeney, who powered their performance by bagging both goals and causing havoc for the Palace defence. He opened the scoring from the spot after 16 minutes; an area he has excelled at this season with a league best 5 penalty conversions. Emmanuel Adebayor levelled at the end of the first half, but Deeney added his second with 7 minutes remaining with a smart finish from Ben Watson’s cross.
Deeney and Watford face Bournemouth in GW 27, which should be a fascinating battle between the promoted sides.
Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa)
PlayON Price: £6.8m
GW 26 Points: -820
It was a particularly bleak afternoon at Villa Park on Saturday, as the home side were humiliated by Liverpool in a 0-6 thrashing. Aston Villa remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table, having picked up a measly 16 points from 26 games.
It is the first time since 1983 that Villa have conceded 6 at home, and manager Remi Garde apologised to the fans after the game. There was a lot of room for post match finger pointing, but ultimately Villa need to improve as a team if they are to remain a Premier League club next season. The entire eleven could feature here, but it is Leandro Bacuna who had the worst showing after making numerous errors, giving the ball away for Liverpool’s third and receiving a yellow for elbowing Coutinho. He was subbed off after just 66 minutes, which is about the time Villa Park started to empty.
PlayON Price: £6.2m
GW 26 Points: -505
Problems continue to mount for Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace, who have not won a league game since beating Stoke just before Christmas. They will now be without left back Papa Souare for the next three matches, as he saw red in the 94th minute of their 1-2 loss to Watford on Saturday. It was a violent tackle on Valon Behrami, which gave referee Robert Madley no choice but to show a straight red to the Senegalese defender. Alan Pardew will be furious with Souare’s decision making, as Palace already have depth problems with James McArthur, Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, and Joe Ledley all on the injured list.
Souare will now miss Palace’s F.A Cup tie with Tottenham, plus fixtures against West Brom and Sunderland. With Palace’s form and mounting selection issues, their entire squad will be avoided by most fantasy managers.
Danny Simpson (Leicester City)
PlayON Price: £6.3m
GW 26 Points: 445
It was an enormous weekend in the title race, with both Spurs and Arsenal gaining ground on league leaders Leicester with huge victories. Arsenal came from behind to beat the league leaders, but you have to wonder what would have happened had Danny Simpson not been sent off. He owes his teammates (and a few fantasy managers) a big apology.
The Foxes were playing brilliantly and had a well deserved lead after 45 minutes, but things went horribly wrong at the start of the second half. Simpson picked up his first yellow for a late tackle in the 51st minute, and just three minutes later he was given his marching orders after pulling on Olivier Giroud’s arm. Although soft, Simpson should have known better and he left his teammates with a formidable challenge.
It proved to be too much, as Arsenal stepped up the intensity and levelled through Theo Walcott with 20 minutes to go. Leicester put in a shift worthy of a point, but they had it cruelly snatched from them when Danny Welbeck glanced home a header at the death of the match.