The Chelsea forward was the standout player of the weekend but he was not alone in impressing from midfield, while Martin Skrtel's quickfire double against Arsenal made a splash
Where else to start but the incredible roasting that Liverpool gave to then-Premier League leaders Arsenal at Anfield? Brendan Rodgers's men were uniformly excellent as they swarmed all over the Gunners but, for fantasy points, two players in particular stood out.
Unsurprisingly, the goalscorers did best and Martin Skrtel (5) benefited from defensive points, too, as he headed home the first two and only let in one at his end, taking home 14 points - mighty for a centre-back. Youngster Raheem Sterling (5), meanwhile, delivered his best return of the fantasy season with 12 thanks to his double in Saturday's most extraordinary game.
The individual performance of the weekend, though, was from Eden Hazard (9.5). The Chelsea forward hit his first hat-trick in English football with an irresistible performance, with a clean sheet boosting his tally to a magnificent 18 that nudged him ahead of Yaya Toure as the second-highest points-gatherer of 2013-14.
There were plenty more fine contributions from midfield, too. West Ham captain Kevin Nolan (6) flourished even without the suspended Andy Carroll, blasting two goals against Aston Villa for another 13 points - a handy and affordable bonus for the 10.58 per cent of managers who picked him this week.
Wayne Routledge (4.5) was the star of the south Wales derby, enjoying a goal, an assist and a clean sheet as Swansea City battered Cardiff City 3-0. The much-travelled winger took home 11 points, by some distance his most impressive return of the season so far.
Finally, he may be a new addition to the game but surely Tom Ince (5.5) will enjoy more than a flat 0% selection rate next week after picking up 10 points in his first Premier League match. The Crystal Palace midfielder, on loan from Blackpool, was credited with a goal and an assist as he took to the top flight with ease.
|GAMEWEEK 25 DREAM TEAM
There was no messing about from Wes Brown (4) this week - the Sunderland defender picked up his third red card of the season in just the fourth minute on Saturday, instantly sinking to the bottom of the pile for individual points with a hopeless return of -2.
Only his Newcastle counterpart, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (4), joined him in negative figures as the Frenchman conceded the penalty from which Hazard sealed his treble at Stamford Bridge. Even with Brown's three sendings-off and time out with injury to take into account, the Magpies defender has scored eight fewer points than the Black Cats man over the whole season - even diehard Toon fans may have to drop him next week.
The highest-profile defensive disaster, of course, was at Anfield, where Per Mertesacker (5) and his Arsenal colleagues were taken apart by Sterling & Co. So strong previously this season, the German was lucky to walk away from Saturday's early kick-off with just the zero points to his name, alongside several similarly struggling colleagues.
Among the other zeroes was West Brom's Ben Foster (4.5). Backed by Pepe Mel to be England's No.1 at the World Cup this summer, the goalkeeper struggled against a debutant-inspired Palace and conceded three goals, extending a poor fantasy season.
And there could not be a losers section this week without highlighting Manchester United's frustration by Fulham on Sunday. Held off for long periods despite a bombardment of crosses, the Red Devils were largely uninspired and Wayne Rooney (8.5) was among the many culprits, the England international picking up points only for playing 90 minutes.
It was a remarkably quiet week for suspensions and on-pitch injuries but one development from Saturday's fallout from Manchester City's draw at Norwich City may be of concern to fantasy managers.
With Manuel Pellegrini confirming that both Alvaro Negredo (8) and Edin Dzeko (7.5) have been playing through injuries in recent weeks out of necessity, a shake-up in your forward line may be required until the likes of Sergio Aguero (10.5) have returned to action.
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