Fantasy Premier League: How Higuain has improved Chelsea's fantasy outlook


There were some familiar names at the top of the Premier League fantasy points leaderboard for Matchweek 25, which ended with Liverpool's 1-1 draw with West Ham on Monday.

Sergio Aguero led the way, thanks to his hat trick in Manchester City's 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday. Aguero finished with 40.5 points -- his biggest haul since he put up 45.3 points in the second week of the season, when he also notched a hat trick against Huddersfield Town.

Eden Hazard scored two goals in Chelsea's 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday and finished with 32.7 points. He is now back on top in terms of total fantasy points on the season, overtaking Mohamed Salah.

But Hazard wasn't even the highest scorer on his own team last week. That's because Gonzalo Higuain also scored two goals for Chelsea and finished with 33.1 points in just his second game with the club.

So, how excited should we all be about Higuain's performance?

Well, his brace against Huddersfield certainly wasn't a fluke. Higuain also took a team-high six shots in the game.

What was even more encouraging was the quality of the finishes on the two goals he scored. The first qualified as a big chance, with an xG (expected goals total) of 0.34, but Higuain's run to set himself up for the nifty through ball from N'Golo Kante was slick, and he still had to drill the ball high and hard to beat Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl at his near post.

Higuain's second goal was a stunning drive from well outside the box, with an xG of only 0.04. Kante got the assist on that one as well, with a simple layoff.

And Higuain could have had more. His first shot of the game deflected off a defender and was narrowly wide of the right-hand post. And another shot later in the first half was just wide of the left-hand post.

Kante set up Higuain's two goals, but Marcos Alonso also created two chances for Higuain, and Jorginho created one. And there was evidence of Higuain and Hazard quickly developing chemistry as well. Hazard completed 12 passes to Higuain, four more than to any other teammate. And Higuain completed nine passes to Hazard, five more than to any other teammate.

As reported in The Times, Hazard combined more often with Higuain against Huddersfield than he had with any player in Chelsea's previous four matches.

I don't want to make too much of one game -- especially a game against a team propping up the Premier League table and headed for relegation. It's also worth noting that Higuain was rather anonymous in his first game for Chelsea, failing to take a single shot in his 65 minutes on the pitch against Bournemouth.

But, as I mentioned in an earlier piece about Higuain, he did enjoy his best season ever under current Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri three years ago at Napoli, scoring a record 36 goals in 35 Serie A appearances. And I certainly liked what I saw from Higuain on Saturday.

I also liked what I saw from Hazard, who may be the biggest beneficiary of all from the Higuain transfer.

Hazard didn't score a goal in Higuain's first game, against Bournemouth. But he still looked much more comfortable back on the wing, as opposed to playing as a "false nine." Hazard took three shots, with two of them on target, had five chances created, and finished with 16.3 points -- his best game fantasy-wise since Dec. 26.

On Saturday, Hazard took four shots, with three of them on target, bagged a pair of goals, and more than doubled his fantasy output from the game before.

Chelsea's next fixture is a rather difficult one, playing at Manchester City, and then comes a home game against Tottenham. But their five opponents after that are Fulham, Wolves, Everton, Cardiff City and West Ham, with a game against Brighton to be rescheduled as well.

Higuain, now available as a Tier 1 forward, will probably be worth at least considering for your fantasy team in those weeks. And Hazard should continue to be one of the best options, if not the best option, at Tier 1 midfielder every week.