Game Week 23 of the Fantasy English Premier League delivered plenty of thrills and spills. We saw two 7-goal thrillers, Arsenal’s brilliant win over Chelsea, and a crucial win for relegation-threatened Newcastle United.
Fantasy Premier League managers were spot on with a couple of inclusions, but this Gameweek was largely dominated by wildcards, by players who are often neglected by the managers.
Here are five standout performers from Matchday 23:
5. Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal – £5.4m – 15 Points
Arsenal welcomed top-four and crosstown rivals, Chelsea, to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening. The Gunners started on the front foot and got rewarded for their bravado after just 14 minutes into the first half. Alexandre Lacazette left a couple of defenders for dead before squeezing the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga, putting Arsenal 1-0 ahead. Six minutes before the half-time whistle, Arsenal’s ever-reliable defender, Koscielny doubled their advantage, heading the ball in from close range. He was impeccable throughout the tie and helped his side to a rare clean sheet.
Arsenal Goal 2nd Laurent Koscielny The Bosss! ROCKS pic.twitter.com/WzKZXVMBcS
— Danish Ahmed (@DanishA51400078) January 20, 2019
Arsenal take on Cardiff in the first match of Gameweek 24. The Gunners are the outright favourites to bag all three points, and FPL managers would be wise to keep Koscielny in their respective squads.
Also Read: Top 5 encounters between the London rivals
4. Danilo – Manchester City – £5.1m – 15 points
Having seen Liverpool extend their Premier League lead to 7 points, Manchester City just had to come up with a fitting reply. Huddersfield, even away from home, was never supposed to be too big a challenge, and in the end, the reigning champions, once again, lived up to the hype. Danilo, who has barely gotten the chance to feature this season, was fortunately chosen to start the match and promptly rewarded his coach’s faith by hitting the back of the net after just 18 minutes of play. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane added two more goals to wrap up a comfortable outing.
💯 @ManCity become the 1st team across major European leagues to reach 100 goals in all competitions this season
🇧🇷 Danilo is the 17th different player to score for City this season
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 20, 2019
Manchester City’s next Premier League commitment pits them against Newcastle, away from home. They could end up with yet another clean sheet, which makes Danilo a lucrative choice.
Also Read: Top 5 moments of the weekend
3. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – £13.5m – 15 Points
Premier League leaders, Liverpool, were forced to dig deep to bag all three points against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. The visitors started brightly at Anfield and wasted no time standing on ceremony. Their efforts finally paid dividends in the 34th minute when Andros Townsend converted from close range. Liverpool’s famed front three were quiet until the goal but sprung back into life in the second-half. Salah converted just minutes after the restart, restoring parity for the Reds. Roberto Firmino added another, a few minutes later, but Liverpool were, once again, pegged back by James Tomkins’ 65th-minute equaliser. Salah and Sadio Mane converted two more chances for the hosts to take the Tie away from Palace, who got a consolation goal through Max Meyer in injury time.
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) January 21, 2019
Liverpool’s next fixture sees them welcome Leicester City to Anfield. Salah is expected to be included in the starting XI and will need to be at his sharpest if the league leaders are to bring the Foxes down.
2. Diogo Jota – Wolves – £5.9m – 19 Points
The Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder was at his majestic best as his side beat Leicester City 4-3 in a dramatic Saturday afternoon affair. The hosts came into the match trailing Leicester by two points. Desperate for a win, Wolves started the game on the front foot and got themselves ahead through Jota fourth-minute opener. Ryan Bennett doubled their 8 minutes later, handing Wolves a 2-0 half-time lead. Leicester came out all guns blazing in the second half and restored parity by the 51st minute. Jota restored Wolves’ advantage in the 64th minute, but Wes Morgan’s late strike, once again, pegged the hosts back. Finally, three minutes into the stoppage time, Jota popped up to send the home fans into a frenzy. By netting the winner, he became the second Portuguese ever to score a Premier League hat-trick – behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
Diogo Jota's last-gasp strike against Leicester secured @Wolves all three points and the striker the Premier League player of the week award after bagging a hat-trick in their entertaining 4-3 win over Leicester
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 21, 2019
8th-placed Wolverhampton host 10th-placed West Ham United in their next Premier League commitment. This match, too, is expected to go down to the wire and having Jota in the squad doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
1. Fabian Schar – Newcastle – £4.6m – 21 Points
Fabian Schar starred with a brace as Newcastle United cruised to a 3-0 home win over relegation rivals, Cardiff City. The win helped Newcastle climb to 16th, a place, and two points, above the drop zone. A brace for a defender is indeed a rare occasion, but the beauty of his opener makes his performance even more special. The right-back picked up the ball around 50 yards from goal. Using a clever change of pace, he evaded Cardiff’s first challenge and instigated a menacing solo run towards goal. With three dumbfounded defenders in front of him, he cut inside, took a calculated touch, before cushioning an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.
— citizen of life🇪🇸🇬🇹🇳🇬 (@Ehiogieeddy) January 19, 2019
Newcastle host defending champions, Manchester City, in the next round, which almost guarantees a couple of goals. City defenders will also keep a close eye on Schar’s movement, which would directly affect his attacking contribution. He was brilliant on Matchday 23, but probably won’t be that successful next week.