Adrian Houghton highlights the performances of some more unexpected names, and also reminds managers how diligence will be essential around the busy festive season
By ADRIAN HOUGHTON
Week 17 of Goal.com's EPL Fantasy competition unearthed some real talents.
Arsenal's incredibly talented midfielder, Santi Cazorla, was in sublime touch against a sorry Reading outfit.
But his hat-trick was overshadowed by the immense quality of two promising players.
Christian Benteke, 22, a Belgium international and Aston Villa's new talisman. announced himself to the league with a powerful display against Liverpool.
Adel Taarabt, a year older, has always had unbridled ability, but against Fulham on Saturday he tore the club's west London rivals to shreds.
Every season there are young players who emerge as potential stars and this duo is no exception.
Fantasy managers should scour the market for hidden gems like these in the second half of the season – they can be invaluable.
With an average of four games in 12 days for each side, take note of the swift changes in the lockout system over the festive period.
Santi Cazorla – Arsenal (48 points)
The Spanish midfield maestro netted his first hat-trick for the club in a scintillating display to lift his side into fifth place on the table – £12,840,000.
Christian Benteke – Aston Villa (30 points)
A brace from the young Belgium international helped his team to an unlikely but impressive victory against Liverpool at Anfield – £9,940,000.
Adel Taarabt – Queens Park Rangers (30 points)This man could be anything if he puts his mind to it. He is a prodigious talent and his two goals earned the Rs their first win of the campaign – £8,720,000.
Peter Crouch – Stoke City (4 points)
The former England striker has gone stale after a fine start to the season and is in desperate need of a goal to lift his confidence – £6,700,000.
Sebastian Larsson – Sunderland (4 points)
Billed as one of the bargain buys in pre-season, but has failed to live up to that tag and is experiencing a horrid run of form, following a price decrease of £2,620,000 – £5,650,000
Martin Skrtel – Liverpool (0 points)
Had a day to forget, as the victim of Benteke's powerful performance and could not contain the big striker all afternoon – £6,570,000.