A remarkable north London derby is the main focus of our latest Scout Notes article, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane both on target to further their credentials as premium Fantasy forwards to consider – especially with fixture swings imminent for both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
We also dissect West Ham United’s win at Newcastle United, a victory in which the Hammers recorded only their second clean sheet of the season. The impact of two-goal Javier Hernandez on Marko Arnautovic‘s Fantasy appeal is particularly worthy of scrutiny.
As usual there’ll be all the goals, assists, injury news, Fantasy talking points and manager quotes from the two games at the Emirates and St. James’ Park.
Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) x2, Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m), Lucas Torreira (£4.9m) | Eric Dier (£4.8m), Harry Kane (£12.4m)
- Assists: Granit Xhaka (£5.3m), Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) x2, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | Christian Eriksen (£9.2m), Son Heung-min (£8.3m)
Where to start with the analysis of a harum-scarum north London derby that emerged as an early candidate for game of the season?
The premium forward debate might be a good place to begin.
No Fantasy Premier League player scored more points than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) in Gameweek 14, with the Gabonese striker now the leading points-scorer among FPL forwards as a consequence.
In recent weeks we have highlighted the paradoxical nature of Aubameyang’s performances: often anonymous for long periods of matches and posting unremarkable underlying attacking statistics but utterly deadly when presented with a goalscoring opportunity and able to conjure up space around the opposition box at will.
That he is the Premier League’s leading goalscorer is all the more remarkable given that over half of his appearances have been on the left flank, but in the wing-back system that Unai Emery has embraced in recent weeks the Gabonese forward looks an even more potent threat.
Aubameyang started centrally on Sunday in a 3-4-2-1, with Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.7m) dovetailing behind him.
Those two midfielders were sacrificed at the break to allow substitute Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) to play alongside Aubameyang, with Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) also sent on and deployed in “the hole” as the system was tweaked to a 3-4-1-2.
Lacazette and Aubameyang in tandem together in central positions is a mouth-watering prospect, particularly given the fixtures ahead of the Gunners in December.
Lacazette came off the bench to grab Arsenal’s third goal with a deflected effort on 73 minutes, with Aubameyang’s brace having been sandwiched by two Spurs goals earlier in the match.
The first of the former Borussia Dortmund striker’s efforts came from the spot, but his second goal emphasised his unerring accuracy in front of goal at the moment: Aubameyang latching onto a Ramsey pass and hitting a curling first-time effort past an utterly helpless Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) from outside the Spurs box.
Aubameyang certainly trumped Harry Kane‘s (£12.4m) underlying stats yesterday: the Gabon international had more penalty box touches, attempts on goal and shots in the box than the Spurs man, also creating two chances (to Kane’s none) for his team-mates – one of which was the assist for Lucas Torreira‘s (£4.9m) nerve-settling fourth goal.
Those who pay heed to attacking KPIs and suchlike will no doubt be aware that Kane is statistically the more attractive option over the course of 2018/19, however, as the graphic below from our Members’ Area shows:
One other thing to comment on is Aubameyang’s high goal conversion rate: for anyone thinking this is unsustainable and will drop, the Gabonese forward actually finished 2017/18 with a goal conversion rate of 32.3% for the Gunners – the same as it is now.
Kane, along with many of his team-mates, was quiet yesterday, with his goal coming from the penalty spot. The England striker lacked much threat from open play, with his only other effort on target being a free-kick attempt that Bernd Leno (£4.8m) tipped over.
It was only last week, however, that we were gushing over the Lilywhites’ 3-1 win over Chelsea and allowances perhaps have to be made for the “form out of the window” nature of local derbies such as these.
Kane played alongside Son Heung-min (£8.3m) in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with the “out of position” Korean midfielder winning the penalty that Kane subsequently converted.
Dele Alli (£8.9m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) showed glimpses of promise and nothing more, though the Danish midfielder was again the beneficiary of Kieran Trippier‘s (£6.1m) absence at set-pieces – Eriksen’s 29th-minute free-kick being nodded in by Eric Dier (£4.8m) to level the scores at 1-1.
Spurs’ defence had a real off-day, most notably Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) and Juan Foyth (£5.0m) at centre-half – both of whom were each culpable for one of Arsenal’s goals. Vertonghen was also dismissed late in the match after collecting two bookings, so will miss the visit of Southampton in Gameweek 15.
Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) will not be available for Arsenal’s trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday, meanwhile, after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Sead Kolasinac (£4.9m) once again caught the eye from an attacking perspective, giving Serge Aurier (£5.8m) a torrid afternoon down the Arsenal left and creating more chances than any other player on show. For the second week running, Kolasinac also recorded more penalty box touches than any of his Arsenal team-mates.
Arsenal’s defensive record (two clean sheets in 14 matches) is, of course, a huge disclaimer, but from a purely attacking perspective, there are few sub-£5.0m defenders around who are currently posing the same kind of threat as the Bosnian wing-back.
Mesut Ozil (£8.2m) missed out with a reported back spasm, though Emery’s terse comments (taken from the Arsenal website) after the game suggest all may not be well between him and the German midfielder:
Arsenal XI (3-4-2-1): Leno; Mustafi (Guendouzi 71′), Sokratis, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Mkhitaryan (Lacazette 46′), Iwobi (Ramsey 46′); Aubameyang.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-4-2 diamond): Lloris; Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Davies (Rose 82′); Sissoko, Dier, Eriksen; Alli (Winks 79′); Son (Moura 79′), Kane.
Newcastle United 0-3 West Ham United
- Goals: Javier Hernandez (£6.2m) x2, Felipe Anderson (£7.1m)
- Assists: Robert Snodgrass (£5.3m), Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m), Jack Wilshere (£4.8m)
Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) left the north-east with only an assist to his name as West Ham put three goals past in-form Newcastle without reply.
Instead it was Javier Hernandez (£6.3m), making only his third start of the season, who emerged from St. James’ Park with a double-digit haul on an afternoon when the Hammers’ attack really clicked into gear.
Hernandez was paired with Arnautovic in attack in an adventurous 4-4-2, with Felipe Anderson (£7.1m) and Robert Snodgrass (£5.1m) providing width on the flanks.
All four of those players registered Fantasy returns and Manuel Pellegrini paid tribute to his attacking quartet at full-time:
Arnautovic, Anderson, Snodgrass and Hernandez, four players – all of them have quality, all of them have pace, they have ability, that’s the point.
It wasn’t just one player today. The four offensive players and the players in the middle that they had, they are quite good and will create problems against anyone.
While Arnautovic had more penalty box touches than any other player on show, his only real sight of goal came when rounding Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) in the first half – only to be pushed too wide for a shot and the attack subsequently fizzling out.
The Austrian was perhaps a little off the boil, failing to pick the right pass on a handful of occasions as West Ham repeatedly broke away, though could have had another couple of assists after creating big chances for Anderson and Hernandez in the second half.
Though his penalty box touch count suggests otherwise, Arnautovic wasn’t quite getting in the same dangerous, central positions that Hernandez was occupying on Tyneside and didn’t register a single shot on goal in the entire 90 minutes.
Hernandez is a predatory striker by nature and there is a sense that, if given an extended run alongside Arnautovic in the team, the Mexican forward would perhaps impact on Arnautovic’s goal threat by inhabiting the danger zones in the opposition area.
“Chicarito” indeed should have added to his brace with two glorious chances that he sent wide from inside the Newcastle box.
Pellegrini discussed Hernandez at full-time:
It has not been easy for Chicharito this season, because he arrived after the World Cup without holiday, without pre-season. After that he was five weeks ill, and it’s not easy to recover your best moments.
But I know he’s a scorer and a player who plays very well inside the 18-yard-box, so I started with him today because before that he was not able to play a complete game. I am very happy for him and for the team.
The Anderson bandwagon continues to gather momentum, meanwhile, with the mid-price midfielder scoring for the fourth time in as many Gameweeks.
In truth, the Brazilian had an indifferent start to the game but rapidly became a menace as the match wore on and should have indeed had a second goal to his name after wasting a presentable opportunity provided to him by Arnautovic on 67 minutes.
All this spells bad news for Grady Diangana‘s (£4.5m) owners, of course, with the youngster nowhere to be seen in the Hammers’ match-day squad.
West Ham clocked up their second clean sheet of the season, though had to ride their luck on occasion when Ayoze Perez (£6.1m) wasted two gilt-edged chances. Issa Diop (£4.3m) and Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) were excellent at centre-half, however, and fully merited a shut-out.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.1m) limped off on 55 minutes, with the problem reported as a hamstring injury in Monday’s press conference.
It was an afternoon to forget for Rafael Benitez, who switched to a back four after the successful use of the wing-back system at Burnley.
Javier Manquillo (£4.4m) was brought in at left-back in place of the surplus centre-half, Ciaran Clark (£4.5m), though struggled on his wrong side and highlighted just how much the Magpies are missing the injured Paul Dummett (£4.4m).
Perez and Salomon Rondon (£5.7m) were profligate in attack, with the strike pair having 11 attempts on goal between them and only hitting the target with two of them.
Perez’s substitution was cheered by the home support, with Benitez having this to say on the matter after the match:
He had some chances and fans are expecting he should score. It’s part of the game. We created enough chances to score goals.
I think we have to understand that everybody wants to win, starting with the players. Ayo is working really hard for the team.
Matt Ritchie (£5.8m) picked up his fifth booking of the season, meanwhile, and will miss the trip to Everton in midweek.
Newcastle United XI (4-4-1-1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Manquillo; Ritchie (Atsu 54′), Diame, Ki, Kenedy (Shelvey 70′); Perez (Joselu 78′); Rondon.
West Ham United XI (4-4-2): Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbeuna, Diop, Cresswell (Masuaku 54′); Snodgrass, Rice, Noble (Wilshere 85′), Anderson; Arnautovic (Obiang 71′), Hernandez.
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the price of just £15.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 130+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.