Our latest set of Scout Notes focuses on three more matches that were staged on Saturday.
Liverpool and Arsenal played out an entertaining draw at the Emirates, but Fantasy owners of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the Reds’ defence went away empty-handed from the end-to-end encounter in north London.
Watford were beaten by Newcastle United on Tyneside but there was plenty of encouragement for Isaac Success and co. as the unfortunate Hornets peppered their hosts’ goal with shot after shot.
Finally, Leicester City secured a stirring 1-0 win over Cardiff City in their first match since the tragic events at the King Power Stadium last weekend.
We’ve got all the goals, assists, manager quotes, injury news and FPL talking points in the article below.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
- Goals: Alexandre Lacazette (£9.7m) | James Milner (£5.6m)
- Assists: Alex Iwobi (£5.5m)
The majority of Fantasy managers who owned a Liverpool asset going into Gameweek 11 would have been left disappointed by the result at the Emirates on Saturday evening, with James Milner (£5.6m) – in 4.2% of Fantasy Premier League teams – the only Reds’ player who emerged from the 1-1 draw with Arsenal with anything more than appearance points.
It was a case of what might have been for many, with Liverpool’s backline only denied a clean sheet by Alexandre Lacazette‘s (£9.7m) late equaliser and a handful of Jurgen Klopp’s players coming within a whisker of delivering an attacking return.
Sadio Mane‘s (£9.8m) owners had perhaps the most frustrating afternoon, with the Senegalese midfielder somehow emerging from this Saturday evening encounter with his fifth blank in six league appearances.
Mane was denied a perfectly good goal in the first half when being flagged for offside for following up a Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) shot that hit the woodwork, despite being behind the ball when the Brazilian forward struck his initial effort.
Mane was then (rightly) denied an assist despite playing a key role in his side’s goal, with his cross from the left flank being palmed away from its intended destination by Bernd Leno (£4.8m) and into the path of goalscorer Milner on the edge of the Arsenal box.
Mane’s goal threat was minimal, with his only effort being a deflected shot from distance late in the game, but he did come within a whisker of turning in Mohamed Salah‘s (£13.0m) fizzed ball across the box on 69 minutes.
The Egyptian’s performance was perhaps similar to what it was in the match against Manchester City in Gameweek 8: not vintage Salah, but lively enough to be the pick of Liverpool’s front three.
Salah had more penalty box touches than any other player on show at the Emirates and caused the fit-again Sead Kolasinac (£4.9m) plenty of problems in the Arsenal left-back position, but from a Fantasy owner’s point of view the Egyptian had an irksome tendency to delay his shot until crowded out by a swarm of red shirts.
Indeed, the only effort on goal that Salah didn’t have blocked was a desperate, wayward shot late in the match from outside the box.
Salah could so easily have emerged from this encounter with an assist, however, having provided two of the three excellent opportunities that Virgil van Dijk (£5.9m) had throughout the game.
The Dutch centre-back has yet to score a league goal for the Reds since his move earlier this year and his underlying attacking statistics – so impressive in the tail-end of 2017/18 – had taken a bit of a tumble this campaign, with the former Southampton stopper having recorded only four shots in the first ten Gameweeks of the season.
Van Dijk could easily have had a hat-trick in this match, though, striking the post with a looping header from a Milner corner and being twice denied by Leno when found unmarked by Salah’s deliveries.
The Dutch international was his usual imperious self at centre-half – something that couldn’t be said for Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.0m) at right-back.
Arsenal clearly targeted the England defender down their left flank and not for the first time this season the youngster was found wanting, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) tormenting the full-back in the first half especially.
Alexander-Arnold, of course, remains a dangerous threat in attack – creating Firmino’s big chance on Saturday – but the worry from an FPL owner’s point of view is that Klopp may see him as a defensive liability on current form and increasingly turn to Joe Gomez (£5.1m) and perhaps even Nathaniel Clyne (£4.6m) to shore things up at right-back.
Gomez might well have started there had Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) been fit and available, but the Croatian centre-back missed out with a minor injury.
Jurgen Klopp discussed his side’s failings on the wings and when exacting the press on Saturday:
When you have a compact formation you give the opposition the opportunity to pass into a certain place and then you press. It’s not that complicated.
But Arsenal had two or three options to pass the ball, and that makes life pretty uncomfortable for the three midfielders. We were too high on the wings.
We’ve done it outstandingly well in the past but we didn’t do that in the first half. Millie [James Milner] was the one who saw it for us. He was not happy about it, he was animated.
It’s good that we could change it at half-time. The problem wasn’t the three that played [in midfield]. We couldn’t change – we had no defensive midfielder on the bench, which meant it was really difficult.
Hendo wasn’t there. Then we had to think size-wise at set-pieces, to make sure that was organised. It was not too cool. The best way to go into a game is to do it right from the first moment and we can build on that, and we didn’t do that.
Offensively it was very good, we played football, got in behind the lines, had chances and scored a goal, but defensively it was not as good.
Klopp also gave an update on Lovren and his injured players on Monday morning ahead of the trip to Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League:
We will take pretty much everyone. Clyney is ill and will not be involved, but Dejan and Naby are back in the travelling squad.
Hendo was close, but not close enough. He needs two proper sessions for his fitness, which he will get at Melwood, with Shaqiri and hopefully Clyney if he is back from illness. They both should be fine for the weekend.
Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) will miss the match against Red Star on Tuesday for personal/political reasons, perhaps increasing his chances of a start against Fulham next Sunday.
Andrew Robertson (£6.4m) wasn’t quite as prominent in attacking positions as Alexander-Arnold, though did have a well-struck low shot saved by Leno in the first half.
Firmino’s FPL points drought continued, meanwhile, and the Brazilian hasn’t delivered an attacking return for his owners since Gameweek 5.
Despite looking out of sorts in his all-round play, Firmino nevertheless could have been on the scoresheet when nodding a Milner delivery wide in the second half, having earlier struck the post in the incident that led to Mane’s disallowed goal.
Aubameyang’s owners experienced a similarly frustrating afternoon as the Gabonese forward blanked for only the second time in eight matches, despite getting the better of Alexander-Arnold.
We have highlighted in recent weeks how Aubameyang had been defying the underlying attacking statistics when converting six shots on target into as many goals, but here the run was to come to an end.
The closest Aubameyang came to a goal was an effort that deflected wide into the side netting but the Gabon international could well have registered an assist at least when Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m) nodded his cross wide with Alisson (£5.7m) clutching at thin air.
His strike partner, Lacazette, was back on the scoresheet after successive blanks, grabbing Arsenal’s equaliser with a superbly taken curling effort having earlier gone within a yard of opening the scoring when fizzing a low shot wide of Alisson’s post.
As has been the case for some time now with Lacazette being stationed centrally and Aubameyang out wide, the French forward posed the bigger goal threat of the two, registering more penalty box touches, attempts on goal, shots in the box and efforts on target than his fellow premium striker.
Mkhitaryan, preferred to Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) on the right flank, and Mesut Ozil (£8.4m) were something of a disappointment once again, though the German at least made more key passes than any player in an Arsenal shirt.
Iwobi was introduced as a second-half substitute and went on to provide the assist for Lacazette’s goal, with Unai Emery having this to say about the Nigerian winger after the match:
We need every player and the characteristics he has are important. Iwobi can impact highly in the match, also in the beginning of the match when we play with him starting on the bench.
Today, I think he started on the right and then he was better on the left. He had an impact in some moments on the match, like with our goal. His energy is important, his quality. But he can do better also.
He scored against Chelsea, there’s been a lot of matches, I want him to be nearer the box to score more and I think that he can. I think he is very young and he is improving, but I have ambition because he can do more.
The game’s stand-out players were ones that will be of little interest to Fantasy managers, with Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) – restored to midfield after a stint at left-back – and Lucas Torreira (£4.9m) bossing the match in the centre of the park.
Budget defender Rob Holding (£4.4m), meanwhile, started his fifth successive match and emerged from the draw with two bonus points.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac (Welbeck 81′); Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan (Iwobi 68′), Ozil, Aubameyang (Ramsey 73′); Lacazette.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah (Matip 90′), Firmino (Shaqiri 80′), Mane.
Newcastle United 1-0 Watford
- Goal: Ayoze Perez (£6.1m)
- Assist: Ki Sung-yueng (£4.7m)
Watford’s mini-run of good form came to an end at St. James’ Park on Saturday but Javi Gracia – and owners of the Hornets’ Fantasy assets – will be wondering quite how they didn’t emerge from this encounter with Newcastle with a positive result.
Watford had ten more shots in the box than their hosts and five big chances to United’s one, though luck was not on their side when Ayoze Perez (£6.1m) nodded in the Magpies’ only clear-cut opportunity of the match from Ki Sung-yeung‘s (£4.7m) rasping free-kick on 64 minutes.
Gracia’s troops should have been out of sight in the first half, cutting Newcastle open time and time again and wasting a hatful of chances.
Adrian Mariappa (£4.2m) highlighted the Magpies’ weakness at set pieces when wasting two excellent opportunities from the same corner-kick, while “out of position” midfielder Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) – who has been given a lot of column inches on this site over the last fortnight – spurned two glorious opportunities of his own as Watford ran Rafael Benitez’s side ragged.
Isaac Success (£4.6m) attracted plenty of FPL investment over the last week and the Nigerian striker ought to have emerged from this match with at least one attacking return from his positive display, seeing the best of his three efforts saved by Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) – Watford’s only shot on target, somehow – before teeing up Roberto Pereyra (£6.4m) after the interval for a shot that crashed off the Magpies’ crossbar.
Success was also denied an assist when a superb last-gasp tackle from Kenedy (£4.9m) prevented substitute Andre Gray (£6.0m) from tapping in the budget striker’s pass.
Watford’s afternoon was summed up when another replacement, Stefano Okaka (£5.0m), blazed a shot high and wide with minutes to go.
The Hornets boss bemoaned his side’s finishing after full-time:
If you don’t score and don’t kill the game then things happen like today. There were a lot of players with clear chances. We have dominated the first half, much better than in the second. It is difficult creating chances at Newcastle, but we have created lots of chances today.
How many players had good chances to score? Stefano, Roberto, Mariappa, Gerard and Isaac. My feeling is we shot more on target [than just once] but yes, we had many chances, from different situations. It is difficult to understand, to accept the result.
Jose Holebas (£4.8m) returned at left-back in Gracia’s only change to the side that won 3-0 against Huddersfield in Gameweek 10 and owners of the Hornets’ defensive assets can count themselves unfortunate not to have banked a third straight clean sheet, with Newcastle having the second-lowest expected goals (xG) total in the Premier League this weekend.
Gracia explained his decision to recall Holebas in place of Adam Masina (£4.3m) at left-back:
We thought the characteristics of Jose were better to play today, but not because Adam plays better or worse. Everybody knows Adam is a very good player. I am very happy with him.
For the Magpies and the Fantasy managers who invested in their defence, there was a second consecutive shut-out – though there weren’t too many encouraging signs that clean sheets would become a regular occurrence given the ease with which Watford carved them open.
Federico Fernandez (£4.4m) and DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) topped up their clean sheets with bonus, but Jamaal Lascelles’ (£4.8m) owners were to lose out as the Newcastle captain was one of three players substituted with an injury throughout the game.
Speaking of his crocked players, Benitez said:
There are a couple of muscle problems with (Jonjo) Shelvey and (Yoshinori) Muto. We will see what is going on.
Jamaal (Lascelles) had a little problem with his shoulder in a training session the other day, but we will have to wait a little bit and see how they are.
For Muto, it was the calf, but still it’s too early to know what he has (done).
Perez – dropped for this fixture for Salomon Rondon (£5.7m) in Benitez’s only change – and Ki came off the bench to combine for United’s winner and the Magpies’ boss paid tribute to his replacements after full-time:
The three of them made a contribution because they were working hard, but also on the ball, they were quite good.
Ayoze (Perez) was trying to hold the ball and run, looking for the second ball; Ki was good on the ball and (Fabian) Schar also, we know he has quality on the ball.
The three of them gave us something and in a difficult game, we needed maybe these kind of things.
For those looking at Kenedy as a budget midfielder, the Brazilian was perhaps Newcastle’s man of the match for the third time in four Gameweeks – though as we alluded to above, the on-loan Chelsea star’s performance was as commendable for its work ethic rather than anything to excite Fantasy managers.
That being said, Kenedy had more shots on goal than any player at St. James’ Park on Saturday – albeit four of his five efforts were from distance and none were on target.
Troy Deeney (£5.9m) missed out for Watford once again due to injury, while Etienne Capoue (£5.1m) picked up his fifth yellow card of the season and will miss the Gameweek 12 match against Southampton.
Newcastle United XI (4-4-1-1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles (Schar 46′), Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey (Ki 51′), Diame, Kenedy; Muto (Perez 45′); Rondon.
Watford XI (4-4-1-1): Foster; Femenia, Cathcart, Mariappa , Holebas; Hughes (Okaka 77′), Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Success(Chalobah 85′); Deulofeu (Gray 67′).
Cardiff City 0-1 Leicester City
- Goal: Demarai Gray (£5.4m)
- Assist: Ben Chilwell (£5.0m)
On an emotionally charged afternoon in South Wales, Leicester City delivered a commendable away performance and emerged with a win that even the staunchest Cardiff City supporter would have found it hard to begrudge.
Ben Chilwell‘s (£5.0m) FPL owners were the real winners from a Fantasy point of view, with the Leicester left-back delivering a second assist in three Gameweeks and adding a clean sheet and maximum bonus to go with it.
Just six defenders have created more chances than Chilwell this season, though it must be said that his assist for Demarai Gray‘s second-half strike came from his only key pass of the game.
Leicester were one of only two Premier League clubs to register a shut-out this weekend, though Harry Maguire (£5.5m) missed out on the clean sheet points after being substituted on 27 minutes – further updates are awaited on the severity of the England defender’s injury.
Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) and James Maddison (£6.9m) were unfortunate not to register an attacking return in the first half when referee Lee Probert missed a blatant Sol Bamba (£4.5m) handball that prevented Vardy’s goal-bound shot from hitting the back of the net. Maddison had mis-hit an effort straight to Vardy in that same incident and would have subsequently banked an assist.
Maddison has been unlucky not to collect an assist from his set-piece deliveries in recent weeks (two of his crosses being headed onto the woodwork) and the summer signing from Norwich City was again denied points when Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m) nodded his 36th-minute corner wide.
Vardy, meanwhile, could have wrapped up the win late in the game but was thwarted by Neil Etheridge (£4.5m) when clean through on goal.
While neither player is in scintillating form, Burnley – who have conceded 13 goals in three fixtures and more efforts on goal, big chances, shots on target and attempts in the box than any side in the division – are the visitors to the King Power Stadium next weekend and the pair are surely worth keeping for that fixture at least.
At £5.4m, Gray may also have a few short-term takers after his second attacking return in as many weeks.
For Cardiff, Josh Murphy (£4.8m) was lively while not posing the same kind of threat he has managed in recent weeks, being denied by Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m) with his only sight of goal.
Victor Camarasa (£4.5m) is a name that continues to intrigue, meanwhile.
The budget midfielder clipped the bar with a free-kick and had another presentable chance blocked in the Leicester box, while the presence of Bamba and Sean Morrison (£4.8m) at set-piece situations means a second assist of the season can’t be too far away.
Camarasa twice found Bamba from corner-kick situations, while Morrison racked up an incredible nine touches in the penalty box on Saturday, more than Vardy and opposing “striker” Callum Paterson (£5.2m) managed combined.
Morrison has recorded more penalty box touches than any FPL defender this season.
Harry Arter (£4.9m) picked up his fifth booking of the season and will miss Gameweek 12, meanwhile.
Cardiff City XI (4-4-1-1): Etheridge; Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Camarasa, Gunnarsson, Arter (Ward 80’), Murphy (Madine 85’); Paterson.
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire (Evans 27’), Chilwell; Ndidi, Mendy; Albrighton, Maddison (Iborra 83’), Gray (Simpson 71’); Vardy.
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