Two mid-range Fantasy Premier League assets were deployed in very advanced positions in the latest round of pre-season friendlies, namely Marko Arnautovic and Ryan Sessegnon.
There was a whole host of FPL talking points from Crystal Palace’s most recent warm-up match in particular, including a brace for exciting defender Patrick van Aanholt, another strong performance from budget forward Alexander Sørloth and a clue to a starting £4.0m defender.
Meanwhile, Cardiff and Wolves recorded big wins but Huddersfield face a potential defensive selection problem after defeat to League One Accrington Stanley.
In this latest Scout Notes article, we’ve got all the goals, assists and Fantasy talking points from another round of pre-season fixtures.
Halmstads 1-6 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Christian Benteke (£6.5m), Patrick Van Aanholt x2 (£5.5m), Sullay Kaikai, James McArthur (£5.0m), Jason Puncheon (£4.5m)
- Assists: Andros Townsend x2 (£6.0m), Alexander Sørloth x3 (£5.0m)
Patrick Van Aanholt (£5.5m) netted a brace as Crystal Palace put six goals past Swedish side Halmstads.
There was also a hat-trick of assists for striker Alexander Sørloth (£5.0m), who has now started two matches in a row as a centre-forward, scoring in his previous outing.
Also pertinent from a Fantasy perspective, £4.0m right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka made his second start in a row for the Eagles while defender Jairo Riedewald (£4.5m) was once again deployed in central midfield in the absence of Luka Milivojevic (£6.5m).
Forward Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) missed this fixture due to a family concern back home while Christian Benteke (£6.5m) picked up a foot injury in the first-half.
It was Benteke opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Andros Townsend (£6.0m) won the ball and laid it off to the Belgian striker to fire past the goalkeeper.
Halmstads equalised immediately after though, meaning Palace are still without a clean sheet in pre-season. Gabriel Gudmundsson set up Pontus Silver who finished underneath Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) in his first involvement of the Eagles’ Scandinavian tour.
That was when Benteke was replaced by Sullay Kaikai after sustaining a knock to his foot.
Alexander Sørloth (£5.0m) played a one-two with Van Aanholt, who then rifled a shot from the edge of the box into the far corner of the goal to put Palace back in front.
Straight from the kick-off, the pair threatened again. This time Van Aanholt’s cross to Sørloth was headed into a defender, but the Dutch full-back picked up the scraps and scored the rebound to make it 3-1.
The promising Kaikai got the fourth goal. Having received the ball from Sørloth, he side-stepped two defenders on the edge of the box and blasted the ball into the net from range.
Sørloth completed his hat-trick of assists when he laid the ball off to James McArthur (£5.0m) who curled his effort into the net for 5-1.
Budget midfielder Jason Puncheon (£4.5m) came on as a substitute and rounded off the scoring after Townsend had found him in the penalty box.
CRYSTAL PALACE XI (4-4-2): Hennessey; Van Aanholt (Souare 65’), Sakho (Jach 71’), Tomkins (Kelly 71’), Wan-Bissaka (Ward 65’); Schlupp (Puncheon 65’), Riedewald, McArthur (Lokilo 71’), Townsend (Williams 71’); Sørloth, Benteke (Kaikai 18’).
Tavistock 0-6 Cardiff City
- Goals: Junior Hoilett (£5.5m), Joe Ralls (£5.0m), Gary Madine x2 (£4.5m), Bobby Reid (£5.5m), Danny Ward (£4.5m)
- Assists: Greg Cunningham x2, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (£5.0m)
Forward Bobby Reid (£5.5m) was deployed on the right-flank of attacking midfield in Cardiff City’s 6-0 win over Tavistock, although the former Bristol City man still got on the score-sheet.
Meanwhile, there were surprise goals for Gary Madine (£4.5m) who led the line for the Bluebirds in Devon.
Left-back Greg Cunningham’s shot inside the first minute was parried by the goalkeeper straight into the path of Junior Hoilett (£5.5m), who opened the scoring easily.
Joe Ralls (£5.0m) netted the second after connecting with a Hoilett cross. His initials header was saved but he bundled the rebound over the line.
Madine scored his first goal for Cardiff since arriving in January when he found space on the edge of the area to find the bottom corner for 3-0.
Reid scored the fourth goal after another scintillating run from Cunningham. The full-back exchanged passes with Hoilett before pushing on into an advance position and crossing into the box where Reid scored on the half-volley.
Madine, who according to local press looks fitter and sharper now than he did in his goalless first six months at the club, added a second in the 29th minute. The former Bolton man getting his head to a loose ball and looping it over the goalkeeper for 5-0.
In a fractured second-half, substitute Danny Ward (£4.5m), playing up front, volleyed home a cross from fellow replacement Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (£5.0m) in the 69th minute to round off the scoring.
Aron Gunnarsson (£4.5m) is back with the squad after playing at the World Cup with Iceland, but did not feature against Tavistock.
Sol Bamba (£4.5m) and Kenneth Zohore (£5.0m) were the only other senior players rested, the latter given time off following the birth of his child over the weekend.
CARDIFF CITY XI (4-2-3-1): Etheridge; Cunningham (Bennett 60’), Manga, Morrison (Connolly 60’), Peltier (Richards 60’); Ralls, Paterson; J Murphy (Harris 60’), Hoilett (Damour 60’), Reid (Mendez-Laing 60’); Madine (Ward 60’).
Wycombe 0-1 West Ham
- Goals: Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m)
- Assists: Mark Noble (£5.0m)
Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) scored in his first match of pre-season and having seemingly retained his starting berth as a centre-forward. Whether he was chosen by Manuel Pellegrini as a result of Andy Carroll’s (£5.5m) injury and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s (£6.5m) extended leave or because he’s the first-choice striker is yet to be confirmed, though.
Elsewhere in the side, new signing Andriy Yarmolenko (£7.0m) was deployed on the right-flank of a front-three, on the opposite side to Robert Snodgrass, while Artur Masuaku (£4.5m) was used at left-back again.
Yarmolenko played particularly well and linked up smartly with his new team-mates.
The only goal of the game came in the first-half when Mark Noble (£5.0m) played an incisive ball over the top, collected by Arnautovic inside the penalty area wide of the goal.
The Austrian showed great strength to hold off the defender, bear down on goal and slot under Ryan Allsop in the Wycombe net.
WEST HAM XI (4-3-3): Adrian; Masuaku, Ogbonna (Haksabanovic 74’), Diop (Oxford 79’), Zabaleta (Byram 62’); Cullen (Fernandes 45’), Obiang, Noble (Rice 62’); Snodgrass (Samuelsen 74’), Arnautovic (Hugill 45’), Yarmolenko (Holland 45’).
Fulham 0-0 Reading
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
Fantasy managers were handed a boost over the weekend as FPL midfielder Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m) returned to an attacking position.
The youngster had been deployed as a left-back in the Whites 4-2 win over Crawley Town but lined up on the left-flank of an attacking front-three against Championship side Reading.
The addition of full-back Maxime Le Marchand (£4.5m) has obviously freed up Sessegnon to play higher up the pitch and he made his first appearance for Fulham since signing for the London club on Thursday.
Up front, Aboubakar Kamara (£4.5m) started a second successive match leading the front line while new central midfielder Jean Michaël Seri (£5.5m) did not feature in the fixture.
Both sides had chances to go ahead in the game but neither set of attacking players could convert them.
FULHAM XI (4-3-3): Rodak (Ashby-Hammond 60’); Le Marchand (Jenz 45’), Odoi (Djalo 60’), Ream (S Sessegnon 12’), Christie (Fossey 60’); Cairney (O’Riley 60’), Johansen (Cisee 45’), de la Torre (Kait 60’); R Sessegnon (Francois 60’), Kamara (Fonte 60’), Kebano (Thorsteinsson 60’).
Young Boys 0-4 Wolves
- Goals: Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.5m), Helder Costa (£5.0m), Leo Bonatini (£5.0m), Rafa Mir (£4.5m)
- Assists: Bonatini, Cavaleiro, Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.5m)
Budget striker Rafa Mir (£4.5m) scored his second goal in as many pre-season matches as Wolves thrashed Swiss champions Young Boys. However, the young Spaniard did not start the encounter.
Left-winger Diogo Jota (£6.5m) and wing-back Barry Douglas (£5.0m) were the only members of Nuno’s probable first-choice XI not to start the match. Neither of them were risked after sustaining minor injuries in training.
Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.5m) opened the scoring in the 26th minute. He finished off a move carved out by Leo Bonatini’s (£5.0m) run, which took him through three tackles before setting up his team-mate.
Cavaleiro soon turned provider as he played a through-ball into Helder Costa (£5.0m), who chipped it over an on-rushing goalkeeper in the Young Boys net.
Ruben Neves (£5.0m) began the move which led to Wolves’ third goal, winning the ball under pressure in his own half before finding Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.5m), whose perfect pass set-up Bonatini. The Brazilian jinked round the defence and slid it under the goalkeeper to score his first goal since December.
Mir netted the fourth and final goal in the 88th minute, pouncing on a back-pass, taking it round the goalkeeper and finishing cooly.
WOLVES XI (3-4-3): Ruddy (Norris 45’ (Sondergaard 83’)); Boly (Hause 63’), Coady, Bennett; Giles (John 63’), Gibbs-White (Watt 63’), Neves (Goncalves 63’), Doherty (Batth 63’); Cavaleiro (Enobakhare 45’), Bonatini (Ashley-Seal 63’), Costa (Mir 63’).
Accrington Stanley 3-0 Huddersfield Town
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
Huddersfield Town could face defensive complications in the early part of 2018/19 as captain Christopher Schindler (£4.5m) was forced off 30 minutes into their defeat to Accrington Stanley.
The German centre-back reportedly felt an injury while stretching, although manager David Wagner has played down the serioiusness of the knock.
With Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen (£4.5m) still on extended leave from World Cup duty with Denmark, Terence Kongolo (£4.5m), Jon Stanković and Michael Hefele may be competing for both central defensive berths in Gameweek 1.
The fact that Huddersfield lost this pre-season friendly to the League Two champions without Schindler or Jorgensen in the side does not bode well for the Premier League season ahead.
Further up the pitch, budget forward Collin Quaner (£4.5m) started another match deployed on the right-flank of attacking midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
There was some promise shown in the first-half by Alex Pritchard (£5.0m), linking up well with Sean Scannell. Chris Löwe (£4.5m) also had a chance to score from an advanced position after putting up two assists in Huddersfield’s first pre-season game.
However, Accrington went in front in the 20th minute when striker Billy Kee picked up a poor clearance on the left and played a through-ball to Kayden Jackson who scored.
Jackson netted the second shortly afterwards, intercepting a short back-pass from Florent Hadergjonaj (£4.5m).
In the final moments of the match Steve Mounié (£6.0m) gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Sean McConville put straight into the corner of the net.
Huddersfield clearly miss their World Cup stars and will be grateful that Aaron Mooy (£5.5m) and Ramadan Sobhi (£5.0m) will be returning to training this week. Rajiv van la Parra (£5.0m) was also absent with a minor injury.
HUDDERSFIELD FIRST XI (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Williams, Schindler, Stankovic, Hadergjonaj; Billing, Hogg; Scannell, Pritchard, Quaner, Depoitre.
HUDDERSFIELD SECOND XI (4-2-3-1): Coleman; Löwe, Kongolo, Hefele, Smith; Sabiri, Daly; O’Brien, Ince, Kachunga; Mounié.
Bury 0-0 Liverpool
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
A fairly strong Liverpool side was held to a 0-0 draw with League Two side Bury on Saturday, although there was a welcome return for Virgil Van Dijk (£6.0m) and Joel Matip (£5.0m).
The two players were deployed together at centre-back in the first-half, the latter being one of the many players hoping to compete for Dejan Lovren’s (£5.0m) berth while he is away on extended World Cup leave. Fellow competitors Ragnar Klavan (£4.5m) and Joe Gomez (£5.0m) were used in the second-half, the latter at right-back.
Loris Karius (£5.0m) returned in net to make his second start of pre-season and has now been involved in all the friendlies amid speculation over Jurgen Klopp’s interest in a new goalkeeper. Danny Ward, who started against Tranmere Rovers, was not involved at Bury.
Matip came close to assisting Divock Origi in the seventh minute with a forward ball, but the striker’s shot was straight at Joe Murphy in the Shakers’ goal.
The Cameroonian international then headed a James Milner (£5.5m) wide of the post.
In the second-half Adam Lallana (£7.0m) had an effort cleared off the line before Rafael Camacho failed to convert Naby Keita’s (£7.5m) lay-off.
LIVERPOOL FIRST-HALF XI (4-3-3): Karius; Moreno, Matip, Van Dijk, Clyne; Jones, Fabinho, Milner; Sturridge, Origi, Ojo.
LIVERPOOL SECOND-HALF XI (4-3-3): Karius (Grabara 60’), Robertson, Klavan, Phillips, Gomez; Lallana, Keita, Chirivella; Solanke, Camacho, Woodburn.
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