Huddersfield’s World Cup players are already in with a chance of starting in Gameweek 1 against Chelsea, according to manager David Wagner.
Meanwhile, we are starting to get more of an idea which Bournemouth strikers are the preferred option for Eddie Howe but their defensive situation remains very unclear.
There were also two noteworthy debuts for Brighton’s summer signings in their match against Nice, with some players starting to emerge as pre-season favourites for starts against Watford.
In this latest Scout Notes article we take a look at four more summer friendlies to see what impact they have on our Fantasy Premier League squads.
BOURNEMOUTH 3-1 AMIENS SC
- Goals: Jermain Defoe (£6.0m), Joshua King (£6.5m), Simon Francis (£4.5m)
- Assists: Ryan Fraser (£5.5m), Callum Wilson (£6.0m), Charlie Daniels (£4.5m)
Josh King (£6.5m) and Jermain Defoe (£6.0m) have both extended their pre-season goal tallies to two ahead of the 2018/19 season. The fact that they found the net in a behind-closed-doors friendly while Callum Wilson (£6.0m) awaits his first strike of the summer could indicate they may be further ahead in the pecking order for Gameweek 1. From the matches played publicly, King has registered the most minutes so far with 225, Defoe has 208 while Wilson has played just 160 minutes.
Elsewhere there was a second assist of pre-season for Ryan Fraser (£5.5m) who could offer some value in 2018/19. We recently discovered his potential to do well in 2018/19 with him boasting the highest goal conversion rate (16.7 percent) and chances created (38) tallies among Bournemouth players last season. So seeing Fraser get involved in the goals over the summer could be a sign of things to come for him.
Further back, more information is needed over what the Bournemouth back-three will look like. Jack Simpson (£4.0m), Nathan Aké (£5.0m), Steve Cook (£4.5m) and Simon Francis (£4.5m) have all registered 225 minutes so far. We will have to pay attention to friendlies against Real Betis and Marseille at the Vitality Stadium later this week, but with the games so close together manager Eddie Howe may split them across the two fixtures.
Either way, it’s worth noting that the Cherries’ back-line, regardless of what set-up has been used, are still yet to keep a clean sheet in pre-season. That and the uncertainty over personnel may make their defence an area to avoid when picking squads for Gameweek 1.
New signing Diego Rico (£4.5m) made his first appearance of pre-season, getting 45 minutes at left-back under his belt. The Bournemouth media team were certainly impressed with his performance claiming that he made some good overlapping runs with Fraser on the left-flank and forced Amiens’ goalkeeper into several saves. However, Charlie Daniels (£4.5m) did himself a world of good by getting the assist for Francis’ second-half goal ahead of a three-match run between Gameweek 1 and 3 while Rico serves out an outstanding suspension.
BOURNEMOUTH FIRST-HALF XI (4-4-2): Begovic; Rico, Mings, Simpson, Mahoney; Fraser, Surman, Arter, Brooks; Defoe, Mousset.
BOURNEMOUTH SECOND-HALF XI (4-4-2): Boruc; Daniels, Ake, S Cook, Francis; Pugh, Gosling, L Cook, Gosling, Ibe; Wilson, King.
NICE 0-1 BRIGHTON
- Goals: Viktor Gyokeres
- Assists: Davy Pröpper (£5.0m)
New signings Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£7.0m) and Florin Andone (£5.0m) made their first appearances in Brighton colours in a behind-closed-doors friendly in Nice on Tuesday. Each new recruit was treated to a 45-minute spell against the French team and they have some work to do to catch up with their colleagues in terms of game-time if they want to be in the frame for Gameweek 1 selection. Anthony Knockaert’s (£5.5m) 15-minute cameo in this one means that no other right-winger has been on the pitch more for Brighton this summer (310 minutes), while Glenn Murray (£6.5m) and Tomer Hemed (£5.0m) have registered 213 and 286 minutes to Andone’s 45, who was returning from an injury in this one.
Centre-back Leon Balogun (£4.5m) got 90 minutes for the first time in France as he still hopes for an outside chance of displacing either one of last season’s first-choice pair, Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) or Shane Duffy (£4.5m). This latest friendly was the first one since the morning of July 24 not to feature Dunk, who has racked up the most minutes of the trio (288) while a minor injury has curtailed Duffy’s pitch-time to 246, but still more than Balogun’s 170 following a late return from World Cup leave.
Gaetan Bong (£4.5m) got 90 minutes, although his chances of starting at left-back in Gameweek 1 look slim considering no Brighton player has registered more game-time than Bernardo (£4.5m) in pre-season (349 minutes). The new signing from RB Leipzig is also capable of playing on the left-wing but that position looks fairly locked down by Solly March (£5.0m), who has 329 minutes of pre-season match-time under his belt, with Markus Suttner (£4.0m) the back-up in the position. On the opposite flank of defence, Bruno (£4.5m), despite not being involved in France, is still clear of Ezequiel Schelotto (£4.0m) with 304 summer minutes compared to the latter’s 250.
Davy Pröpper (£5.0m) stands a very good chance of starting in the midfield for Brighton. He is level with Bernardo at the top of the Seagulls’ pre-season minutes charts (349) and has more assists than anyone else at the club so far (two). His second one came against Nice where he teed up Viktor Gyokeres to score the only goal.
BRIGHTON XI (4-4-2): Ryan (Button 45’); Bong, Balogun, Duffy (Pröpper 45;), Schelotto (White 45’); March (Suttner 45’), Kayal (Groß 75’), Bissouma (Stephens 63’), Jahanbakhsh (Bernardo 45’); Andone (Murray 45’), Hemed (Gyokeres 45’ | Knockaert 75’).
BOREHAM WOOD 0-1 CRYSTAL PALACE XI
- Goals: Jonny Williams
- Assists: Joel Ward (£4.5m)
Very little of Fantasy interest could be learned from this latest Crystal Palace friendly as a largely second-string side, labelled ‘as a Palace XI’ narrowly beat Boreham Wood 1-0. In fact, youngster Oliver O’Dwyer only ended up starting this match because Martin Kelly (£4.0m) got stuck in M25 traffic on the way to the ground. If anything, this was a match that helped us discount certain options from the Gameweek 1 selection picture.
For example, after Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) started the last match and overtook him for pre-season minutes, new signing Vicente Guaita (£4.5m) was given the nod for this largely reserve fixture.
Elsewhere Joel Ward (£4.5m) was used at right-back after Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.0m) registered his fourth start of the summer at the weekend. The latter remains the obvious choice in the lowest price bracket among defenders, even if Ward did put up an assist against National League opposition.
Hopes that Sullay Kaikai (£4.5m) might start in Gameweek 1, after three goals and one assist this summer, took a bit of a hit by his involvement in this ‘Palace XI’ at Boreham Wood. Although he should be fit and ready if Roy Hodgson needs to call on him; only Alexander Sørloth (£5.0m) has been involved as often as Kaikai this summer (331 minutes).
Goal-scorer Jonny Williams (not in FPL yet) was the stand-out player and is, according to local press, the most likely of this crop of players to push into the Gameweek 1 starting line-up conversation. His goal at Boreham Wood was the second of the summer.
CRYSTAL PALACE XI: Guaita; Souare, Woods, O’Dwyer (Brown 58’), Ward; Lokilo, Williams (Lumeka 81’), Kirby (McGregor 72’), Puncheon; Wickham (Daly 60’), Kaikai (Street 85’).
FC BOLOGNA 1-2 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
- Goals: Aaron Mooy (£5.5m), Steve Mounié (£6.0m)
- Assists: Florent Hadergjonaj (£4.5m), Chris Löwe (£4.5m)
Huddersfield Town’s returning World Cup stars all have a good chance of being involved when the Terriers host Chelsea on the opening day of the Premier League season, according to manager David Wagner. Aaron Mooy (£5.5m), Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen (£4.5m) and Ramadan Sobhi (£5.0m) got significant minutes against Bologna and are said to be in the right shape to start Gameweek 1, although they will need further minutes between now and August 11.
“Aaron looked good, as Zanka did. Jonas had some problems, which I think was obvious today in the 45 minutes he played, but we have seen this in training. At the end, like always in pre-season, and this counts for the players who come later into the pre-season as well, some players adapt quicker and make steps quicker, some need more time. I am not worried about it. This is the nature of the individuals, but especially Zanka and Aaron and for sure Ramadan, they look good and ready even if they need some further minutes. This is why it’s good to have this game on Friday as well.” – David Wagner
As alluded to by Wagner, Jonas Lössl (£4.5m) is more of a doubt for a Gameweek 1 start, although he still in the conversation. In his first action since the World Cup, he was responsible for Bologna’s goal. His throw into midfield went straight to the opposition allowing them to send Falcinelli in to score. If, as Wagner says, he has more work to do then Ben Hamer (£4.0m) will be more than capable of standing in for him initially, having registered more pre-season minutes than any other Huddersfield player so far (405).
Mooy opened the scoring for the Terriers, scoring from the penalty spot after Florent Hadergjonaj (£4.5m) had been brought down in the penalty area. Steve Mounié (£6.0m) added his second goal of pre-season in the second-half to go level with Laurent Depoître (£5.5m) at the top of the Huddersfield summer scoring charts.
Meanwhile, selection doubts hang over Scott Malone (£4.0m), Michael Hefele and even Collin Quaner (£4.5m) after some interesting post-match quotes from Wagner, on why the trio weren’t involved in Austria. Their situation has not been helped by the return of Huddersfield’s World Cup players.
“At the end, I was not able to guarantee them some game time. This is why we decided not to bring them with us because it makes no sense if I am not able to guarantee them game time. They work in Huddersfield individually. We had honest conversations with all three of them, not only last week when we left Huddersfield, but during the off-season and at the beginning of the pre-season as well. So far we were able to give them game time in the pre-season matches and time in training as well. So we have done our job as good as we were able to do to make them fit, but, as I said, this week I have seen it coming that I am not able to give them game time and we will see what happens when we are back in Huddersfield or until the end of the window.” – David Wagner
Malone remains the most popular defender in his price bracket with 14.1 percent ownership but seems very far behind Chris Löwe (£4.5m) in the pecking order at left-back. The latter chalked up his third assist in 311 pre-season minutes in Austria. Meanwhile, doubts over Quaner may be concerning to the seven percent who own the budget forward.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN FIRST-HALF XI (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Kongolo, Zanka, Schindler, Hadergjonaj; Billing, Mooy; Sobhi, Pritchard, Diakhaby; Depoitre.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN SECOND-HALF XI (4-2-3-1): Lössl; Löwe, Stanković, Schindler (Edmonds-Green 82’), Smith; Hogg, Mooy (Bacuna 67’); van La Parra, Kachunga (O’Brien 87’), Sobhi (Sabiri 67’); Mounié.
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