Sadio Mane and Mark Noble impress in Premier Fantasy, turn to strikers
What felt like one of the longest coronations has finally taken place and now that's done and dusted we can concentrate on the real issue -- who's going to win ESPN FC Premier Fantasy? Here's how the latest Gameweek panned out.
Sadio Mane (£6.8m) took centre stage with a hat-trick and 21 points against Man City. The Southampton man now has five goals in three matches and seven from his last six appearances, two of which were as a sub.
Two West Ham midfielders upstaged ESPN FC Premier Fantasy stalwart Dmitri Payet (£8.5m), who enjoys 41.6 percent ownership.
Mark Noble (£6.7m), owned by 2.8 percent of managers, scored twice against West Brom to bag 16 points. He hit 15 points last week as well and now has seven goals for the season -- his previous best, managed twice over eight campaigns, was four. And Cheikhou Kouyate (£6.4m), with just 0.8 percent ownership, recorded a goal and an assist for 13 points.
Swansea midfielder Andre Ayew (£7.0m) punished a hugely-changed Liverpool side with 15 points from two goals -- his first league strikes since late January.
Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow (£4.8m) gained 13 points from a clean sheet and a penalty save. He now has a very respectable 26 points from his last four starts.
We recommended Troy Deeney (£7.5m) as the man to benefit from a fixture with Aston Villa and the Watford skipper duly delivered, bagging a brace for 11 points.
Next week's double Gameweek is going to be vital, with eight teams in action twice. Picking sure-fire starters won't be that straightforward when it comes to Liverpool, who are home to Watford and then Chelsea.
All will depend on the outcome of this Thursday's Europe League semifinal second leg. With that in mind, the Reds made eight changes from last week's league team.
Man City warmed up for their own European D-Day by making five changes. They feature just the once in GW37, against Arsenal, but ESPN FC Premier Fantasy managers will hope they won't be stung for a second time by the omission of Sergio Aguero (£11.1m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£8.9m).
If you're one of the 5.7 percent who own Everton keeper Joel Robles (£5.1m), fear not. Roberto Martinez pledged to give Tim Howard (£6.2m) a fitting send-off by fielding him in the club's final two home fixtures. But the Toffees' double GW37 involves away matches at Leicester and Sunderland, so Robles will be back between the sticks.
The 22.8 percent who own Romelu Lukaku (£9.5m) can't be sure the striker will definitely feature in both of those trips, however. The Belgian was benched against Bournemouth, Oumar Niasse (£5.6m) making his first Premier League start instead.
For a supposedly conservative manager, Louis van Gaal has given his Man United team a very attacking look over the last three matches, fielding Anthony Martial (£8.4m), Marcus Rashford (£6.3m) and Wayne Rooney (£8.7m), albeit with the latter in a deeper role.
Midfielders have been chopped and changed however, with Juan Mata (£7.2m) and Morgan Schneiderlin (£6.4m) benched in the 1-1 draw with Leicester.
United are away at Norwich and West Ham in GW37. Strikers look your best option.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Maximising striker output from GW37 is likely to require investing heavily in those with double fixtures. The main contenders warmed up for the task with varying GW36 performances
Jermain Defoe (£7.6m) scored from the spot and fired in eight attempts, six of which were in the area, at Stoke. Sunderland host Chelsea and Everton, which muddies the waters as Defoe has scored just three of his 14 goals for the season at the Stadium of Light.
Troy Deeney (£7.5m) scored twice and all six of his attempts came in the penalty box against Villa. He has six of his 11 goals on the road -- a handy stat as the Hornets travel to Liverpool and Norwich.
Andy Carroll (£5.5m) had scored five goals in the three matches prior to the weekend's 3-0 win at West Brom, but he was subdued at The Hawthorns, reduced to just one attempt. He did provide an assist, however, and the Hammers will hope for greater returns from home matches with Swansea and Man United.
Anthony Martial (£8.4m) was also kept quiet against Leicester, with two attempts (both inside the area) and no chances created. That didn't stop him scoring his ninth goal of the season, though, as he prepares for trips to Norwich and West Ham.
Daniel Sturridge (£9.6m) has been given the nod up front for six of the last seven league matches for Liverpool, scoring five times. He managed four attempts, one in the area, at Swansea. Home matches against Watford and Chelsea should be more fruitful.
Diego Costa (£9.0m) was at the centre of a lot of the action against Spurs -- and not all of it was controversial. The striker only had one attempt himself, but provided an assist and created four chances in total. He's not the cheapest striker available, however, and away matches at Sunderland and Liverpool will be tough.