There were big hauls for two of Crystal Palace’s budget options on the opening weekend of the season.
Meanwhile, Eden Hazard (£10.5m) assisted in his brief appearance from the Chelsea bench and Callum Wilson (£6.0m) was at the heart of the key incidents in Bournemouth’s win over Cardiff.
In our latest Scout Notes article we take a look at three of Saturday afternoon’s Premier League result.
BOURNEMOUTH 2-0 CARDIFF CITY
- Goals: Ryan Fraser (£5.5m) | Callum Wilson (£6.0m)
- Assists: Wilson, Simon Francis (£4.5m)
Callum Wilson (£6.0m) threw some complication into the Bournemouth penalty situation on Saturday afternoon. It had been believed that Josh King (£6.5m) was the designated spot-kick taker but after Wilson was fouled in the area, he claimed responsibility for the resulting penalty. However, the fact that he saw his effort saved by Neil Etheridge (£4.5m) may actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for the 8.2 percent of managers invested in King. The next Bournemouth penalty should almost certainly be handed back to the Norwegian.
Despite his penalty-miss, there will still be some interest in Wilson who came away with a goal, an assist and one bonus point. It marks a dramatic improvement in his output at the end of 2017/18, considering that he was involved in more goals against Cardiff than he was in 13 Premier League games prior to this one. He proved a constant threat to the Bluebirds and actually registered more touches and shots in the penalty box than any other player in the 3pm kick-offs. The fact that he is £0.5m cheaper than King will obviously further his appeal in the transfer market this week, with a trip to West Ham up next. He has scored a hat-trick away at the Hammers before, although that was at the old Upton Park, not the new London Stadium. There were still reasons for King owners to be positive though. He was only one touch in the penalty box behind Wilson, although only shot once.
Meanwhile, Ryan Fraser (£5.5m) backed up his selection in our Scout Picks this week by scoring the opening goal of Bournemouth’s new campaign. He boasted the highest goal conversion rate of any Cherries’ player last season and continued that theme in the first half. With King having registered nothing more than the standard two points priced at £1.0m more, any Fantasy managers hoping to tap into Bournemouth’s kind run of fixtures may find better value in the Scottish winger. Not only did Fraser hit the back of the net at the Vitality Stadium, he established himself as the set-piece taker once more, assuming responsibility for three corners. In fact, only Christian Eriksen (£9.5m) and Alexis Sánchez (£10.5m) have created more chances than him so far.
Bobby Reid (£5.5m) was given the opportunity to lead Cardiff’s line at Bournemouth after Kenneth Zohore (£4.5m) missed the match with a groin injury. The former Bristol City man also had a role from direct free-kicks too. Meanwhile defender Sol Bamba (£4.5m) played in midfield again with Aron Gunnarsson (£4.5m) missing out. The centre-back had a rather poor performance but should not stay in that role for too long with Harry After (£5.0m) eligible for the next match, now that he won’t be facing his parent club.
“Kenneth’s got a bit of a groin niggle. I thought he was going to be fit on Friday, but he just felt it a little bit. I hope (he will return against Newcastle), but I thought he’d be fit for today. But you don’t know with injuries. Gunnars will probably be a couple of weeks. We’re building him up so he doesn’t come back and break down again. There’s no need to rush him now because we’ve got Harry Arter coming in so there’s no rush on that.” – Neil Warnock
BOURNEMOUTH XI (4-4-2): Begovic; Daniels, Aké, S Cook, Smith (Defoe 93); Fraser, Surman, Gosling, Brooks (Francis 67); Wilson (Mousset 94), King.
CARDIFF CITY (4-5-1): Etheridge; Bennett, Peltier, Manga, Morrison, Peltier; Hoilett, Paterson (Murphy 62), Bamba, Ralls, Mendez-Laing (Ward 62); Reid (Madine 89)
FULHAM 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE
- Goals: Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m), Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m)
- Assists: Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.0m)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka may not be a starting £4.0m defender for much longer, but that have more to do with a likely price-rise before Gameweek 2. The youngster was named in the Crystal Palace starting XI at Fulham, as predicted, also proving to be one of the stand-out performers in the match. He took up advanced positions on the right flank, even emulating team-mate Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) at times and that style of play earned him an assist for Wilfried Zaha’s (£7.0m) goal. As we said, his start was not unexpected but after his performance on Saturday, we can tell he is not going away, with Roy Hodgson keen to praise him the man who can offer exceptional value in Palace’s back-line.
“I thought he was excellent, both defensively and offensively. Playing his eighth game in the opening game of the season in a fantastic atmosphere against a team that has just come up, and a player in Ryan Sessegnon who has had a wonderful season and is obviously a bit of a flier. So to do what he did today, he will sleep well tonight and if you [in the media] are going to give him a few pats on the back, I am more than happy to add my voice in the praise, because I thought he did very well.” – Roy Hodgson
Also demonstrating the potential for value in the Palace defence was Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m). The budget defender spent all of pre-season deployed on the left flank of midfield and scored on two occasions. On Saturday, he found the net in competitive circumstances at Craven Cottage to reward the 0.9 percent of managers who were brave enough to include him in their squads. The security of his place in the starting line-up remains to be seen in the coming weeks, considering new signings, so it is worth monitoring his situation before jumping on him too fast.
Zaha’s role as an important figure in the Crystal Palace team was assured once again as he delivered on pre-season promise with a goal. He was operating in a front-two with Christian Benteke (£6.5m), demonstrating that the fitness of other strikers at the club will not affect his ability to play in the forward line. In fact, Hodgson even went as far as to discuss FPL ‘talisman theory’ in his post-match quotes. Well, sort of…
“In many teams, there is a player of that type. A player who is a talisman and a player that the team really depends upon. I am not sure that every day Pep Guardiola or Mauricio Pochettino have to answer the questions about Kevin de Bruyne or Harry Kane or even Eden Hazard [at Chelsea], and we are lucky that we have a player like they have, who is a game changer. It is not unusual then, of course, that in a transfer window, you will get speculation about interest, and we have said that we want Wilf Zaha here at Palace for as many years as we can have him.” – Roy Hodgson
Meanwhile, Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) bucked the pre-season trend to prove he was the number one Crystal Palace goalkeeper with an impressive display at Craven Cottage. Even though new signing Vicente Guaita (£4.5m) played more minutes this summer (360 to 225), the Welshman is firmly the favourite now. He made six saves in the match, earning two extra points and one bonus, including two magnificent stops to keep the clean sheet intact. Hodgson handed his backing to him after the full-time whistle, furthering his Fantasy appeal.
“Yes, very happy (with Hennessey’s performance). He ended the last season exceptionally well and played very well around that time, so even though both goalkeepers have done well in the pre-season matches, I had no reason to take the shirt from Wayne. And obviously, today that decision was justified.” – Roy Hodgson
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m) did not score on his second competitive debut for Fulham, but his Fantasy potential remains fairly high. The Serbian striker was on direct free-kicks duty and also had more shots than any other forward has managed so far.
Fulham left-back Joe Bryan (£5.0m) went off injured in the second-half with an ankle problem. After signing from Bristol City on deadline day, he was forced into starting without much preparation, as Maxime Le Marchand (£4.5m) had to play at centre-back. That was because Denis Odoi (£4.5m) and Tim Ream (£4.5m) were both unavailable through suspension and injury respectively. The former should be back in the frame for Gameweek 2, which would allow Le Marchand to return to left-back and remove the pressure on fellow new signing Luciano Vietto (£4.5m) having to fill in. Furthermore, it should stop Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m) being called back for defensive duties too. But the whole situation is worth monitoring, especially for the 10.2 percent of managers in possession of Sessegnon.
“Bryan has some ankle problem but I cannot give you more clear answer. I expect it’s not specialist or so hard. These people have two training sessions and only one and I use today Joe Bryan after working only one day with us and Vietto who was working only one day with us.” – Slavisa Jokanovic
Goalkeeper Fabri (£4.5m) made seven saves on his debut, more than any other goalkeeper so far in 2018/19, which may be to his favour when his competitors become available. Fellow new signing Sergio Rico (£4.5m) was on the bench for the match and Jokanovic explained after the match that Marcus Bettinelli (£4.5m) could eventually be in the frame too, throwing some doubt over that position within Fulham’s team.
“Marcus Bettinelli start working with us this week, first day we have opportunity for kicking the ball and last two days he make complete work with the team and I am here to take decision who will be on the goal, on the bench and in the stands. I cannot give you another answer.” – Slavisa Jovanovic
FULHAM XI (4-3-3): Fabri; Bryan (Vietto 71’), Le Marchand, Chambers, Christie; Seri (Johansen 82’), Cairney, McDonald; R Sessegnon, Mitrović, Schürrle (Kamara 61’).
CRYSTAL PALACE XI (4-4-2): Hennessey; van Aanholt (Souaré 92’), Tomkins, Sakho, Wan-Bissaka; Schlupp, McArthur, Milivojevic, Townsend (Kouyaté 88’); Benteke (Sørloth 83’), Zaha.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0-3 CHELSEA
- Goals: N’Golo Kante (£5.0m), Jorginho (£5.0m), Pedro (£6.5m)
- Assists: Willian (£7.5m), Marcos Alonso (£6.5m), Eden Hazard (£10.5m)
Eden Hazard (£10.5m) was another returning World Cup star to throw a spanner in the works with his earlier than anticipated arrival on the FPL scene for 2018/19. He was named on the bench for Chelsea as they faced Huddersfield Town and came on to assist Pedro’s (£6.5m) goal in the second-half. The Belgian may not be considered for a home match against Arsenal but with Chelsea facing Newcastle (away), Bournemouth (home) and Cardiff (home) in the three following Gameweeks, Hazard may be turned to for Fantasy inclusion. His 15-minute cameo may be of concern to Pedro (£6.5m) and Willian (£7.5m) owners as one of them will likely have to make way for him when he inevitably returns to the starting line-up, unless he is used as a false-nine in place of Alvaro Morata (£9.0m). Those players may get a stay of execution for at least one more Gameweek though, after these comments from Maurizio Sarri:
“I think that Eden in this moment cannot play for 90 minutes, he has to improve and have training. I thought yesterday the best thing for him was to play 15 or 20 minutes when the opposition were probably tired.” – Maurizio Sarri.
It was Jorginho (£5.0m) who took Chelsea’s first-half penalty, which suggests he is certainly in the conversation over who the Blues’ designated taker is. Although it should be considered too early to brandish him with that title given that Hazard was watching on from the bench. If Jorginho were to emerge as the number one choice then he could offer exception value at £5.0m. Also offering potential in that bracket is N’Golo Kanté (£5.0m) who, like Paul Pogba the day before, scored upon his return from winning the World Cup with France.
Of particular Fantasy interest in the match was the performance of Marcos Alonso (£6.5m). It had been expected that the Spanish defender would offer less potential this season now that he had been pushed back into a back-four in the 4-3-3 system. However, he was far forward enough to be fouled for Chelsea’s penalty and also hit the cross-bar in the second-half. His clean sheet and assist took his match score to nine points, similar to the returns that could have been expected of him last season. With appealing fixtures on the horizon and 16.2 percent ownership, Alonso clearly still deserves to be in the Fantasy conversation.
Huddersfield may well look to continue using their 3-5-1-1 or 3-5-2 formation when they play big sides. Even though they lost the match, Sarri explained that the system complicated things for his side.
“It was a really hard for us. They played all matches in pre-season in 4-2-3-1, only one match in 4-3-3. We have never seen them play 3-5-1-1, so we were not ready to this situation, for us it was a problem.” – Maurizio Sarri
In goal for Huddersfield was Ben Hamer (£4.0m) who, as predicted, was given the nod over Jonas Lössl (£4.5m) after playing more than him in pre-season. While he conceded three goals, it is worth being aware of him for future reference when looking for a playing option in his price-point. He appears to be the only active £4.0m goalkeeper in FPL right now.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN XI (3-5-1-1): Hamer; Kongolo, Schindler, Zanka; Löwe (Diakhaby 71’), Mooy, Billing, Hogg, Hadergjonaj; Pritchard, Mounié (Depoitre 45’).
CHELSEA XI (4-3-3): Kepa; Alonso, Rudiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta; Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 68’), Kante, Jorginho; Pedro (Moses 81’), Morata, Willian (Hazard 76’).
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