After an intense period of football, the Premier League season has drawn to a close. Our final team of the week pays homage to some of the season’s best performers who ended the year in the best way possible, others who have started to grow into their roles, an unlucky few who couldn’t hold it together, and a departing Premier League great. For the last time (for a couple of weeks), this is the AlphaStack team of the week!
Kasper Schmeichel – total payout 18p; base payout 3p
After last week’s plethora of goalkeeping choices, this week we have very few. For the first time since the blog began, not a single goalkeeper featured in the top 10 base payouts this week. Ederson was the top performer but with a payout of 52p, we couldn’t really justify his inclusion. That meant we looked towards the bottom of the rankings, where Kasper Schmeichel was languishing on 18p. He only registered one save as Leicester let slip their Champions League spot on the final day. For anyone long Schmeichel in the final minutes, the last sequence of play would’ve been tough to take. He was on 32p in the 98th minute, but was tackled as he tried to round Jesse Lingard of all people, who slotted the ball into an empty net. Take 2p for being tackled, 5p for the ball hitting the net, and 7p for the error, and his score nearly halved in a matter of seconds.
Virgil van Dijk – total payout 72p; base payout 37p; 1 goal
It was probably about time VVD returned to the AS team of the week. Liverpool rotated heavily for their final game of the season at St James’ Park, and van Dijk stepped up to the plate as the team’s de facto leader after weeks of sub-par performances. After a slippery start with an early Dwight Gayle goal, Liverpool got a foothold in the game, and van Dijk looped a header over Martin Dubravka to tie the scores. He earned another 21p in the second half to finish on 72p, with a decent base payout of 37p. VVD’s partner, Joe Gomez, had the second highest base payout of the weekend with 43p.
Willy Boly – total payout 61p; base payout 46p
Adama Traore has struck fear into many a Premier League defender over the course of the season, but of course Willy Boly has not had to deal with his teammate outside of the training ground. Handling Christian Pulisic has been a similarly difficult task recently, but Boly managed well at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Despite conceding two goals, he paid out 61p and had the highest base score of the weekend with 46p. He won five tackles, had two attempts on target, seven ball recoveries and seven CBIs.
Jonny Evans – total payout 11p; base payout -4p
Given the way the game panned out for Leicester and Jonny Evans, it’s remarkable that he finished with a positive payout. His performance embodied the ‘tale of two halves’ maxim. He was on 49p at half-time, having notched seven CBIs and six ball recoveries, without having put a foot wrong. Just gone the hour mark, though, it all started to go a bit wrong. He committed a foul, was caught offside, and then gave away the penalty that gave United the lead (which he was also booked for). As the game drew to a close, he gave away another couple of free kicks before lunging in on Scott McTominay and earning himself a straight red card. The goal in the dying seconds really rounded things off badly, as Evans finished on a total payout of 11p and a base payout of -4p. As we said to begin with, despite giving away a penalty, being booked, also being shown a straight red card, and conceding two goals, Evans still managed a positive payout and that is quite impressive.
Kieran Tierney – total payout 68p; 1 goal, 1 assist
After his first appearance in the team of the week, it looks like Kieran Tierney has really found his feet. He’s moved with little fuss between left centre-back and left wing-back in Arteta’s 3-4-3 system, and was on hand to score one and assist another as Arsenal condemned Watford to relegation on Sunday. His base payout wasn’t inspiring at 28p, but Arsenal were under the cosh for much of the second half – he was already on 61p at half-time. While there is plenty of room for improvement in Arsenal’s squad, Tierney is looking like he will be a fixture for the next few years.
Michail Antonio – total payout 17p; base payout -8p
West Ham’s star man finished the season in a pretty pathetic fashion, given his run of great form since lockdown. He began the game on Sunday with a sell price of close to 50p, but three fouls and a squandered chance later, he was substituted with a payout of just 17p. With West Ham safe and Villa fighting for their survival, the first half produced little action, particularly in Villa’s third. Moyes took the opportunity to give Sebastien Haller 45 minutes of football, and this locked in Antonio’s worst payout in nine games. It feels wrong shoe-horning West Ham’s centre forward in at right-wing back, but he has turned out there for the Irons in the past.
Kevin De Bruyne – total payout 96p; base payout 45p; 2 goals, 1 assist
Manchester City’s Belgian star went into the final day needing two assists to beat Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a Premier League season. He didn’t manage to take the record for himself, but he did equal it, whilst also scoring not one but two goal of the month contenders. De Bruyne closed off the season with a near-max payout, his third 90+ score of the year.
David Silva – total payout 65p; base payout 40p
We found it gladdening that there weren’t any obvious candidates to partner De Bruyne in midfield. This paved the way for David Silva to stroll in on his final Premier League appearance, on the back of a really decent 40p base payout, fifth-best of the weekend. Although he had a quiet start to the game, he had three tackles won, four ball recoveries, and four shots on target as he aimed to go out on a high. Despite some rotation, The Magician has hit top form in his final few matches in a City shirt and it is a shame to see him go.
Josh King – total payout 67p; base payout 20p; 1 goal, 1 assist
For all the times we’ve given Josh King a battering for his poor base score, he and his Bournemouth teammates turned up when they absolutely had to – it was just too little, too late. King scored and assisted as Bournemouth won 3-1 at Goodison Park, earning a total payout of 67p. His base payout was good by his own standards at 20p. While he was tackled three times, he had a shot on target, two dribbles, seven ball recoveries and two CBIs.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – total payout 101p; base payout 42p; 2 goals, 1 assist
Star performer of the weekend was undoubtedly Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who signed off his Premier League season with a max score. The Gabonese forward pretty much had Watford relegated by half-time, having assisted Kieran Tierney and scoring two goals of his own – including an excellent bicycle kick. He had a strong base payout of 42p, on the strength of two shots on target, five ball recoveries and six CBIs, amongst other things. Arsenal fans will be hoping he can take this form into the FA Cup final this weekend.
Che Adams – total payout 68p; base payout 45p; 2 goals
After a really tough time beginning the season, Che Adams found his groove when football returned. He makes our team for the second week running having notched two goals against a Sheffield United side that really appears to have run out of steam. Adams’ base score was only 16, nothing to get too excited about, but he is beginning to look like a great option to partner Danny Ings. He may even need to replace Ings if a big club comes calling, and although he remains some way off, he’s flashing the potential required to do so.