Our latest Scout Notes article rounds up all the goals, assists, Fantasy talking points and manager quotes from Sunday’s only Premier League fixture.
Wolverhampton Wanderers followed up their midweek win over Chelsea with a last-ditch victory over ten-man Newcastle United, with – who else – Matt Doherty popping up to hand his side another three points.
Newcastle United 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Goals: Ayoze Perez (£6.1m) | Diogo Jota (£5.9m), Matt Doherty (£5.0m)
- Assists: Salomon Rondon (£5.8m) | Helder Costa (£4.8m), Diogo Jota
Wolves are one of only two Premier League clubs without a clean sheet in the last eight Gameweeks, but that would scarcely seem to matter with regards to the appeal of Matt Doherty (£5.0m).
While the days of a Wolves defensive double-up are – for now – a thing of the past and the ownerships of Ryan Bennett (£4.2m) and Rui Patricio (£4.6m) slowly ebb away, Doherty’s meteoric rise from unproven Premier League rookie to the second-best value-for-money FPL player of 2018/19 (averaging 14.80 points per million spent, narrowly behind Andrew Robertson’s 14.84) continues unabated.
The Irish wing-back has gained over 1.1 million new owners since Gameweek 1 yet it is somewhat surprising that Doherty still only features in fewer than one in five FPL squads – the abundance of thriving mid-price/premium defensive options this season plus Wolves’ recent woes at the back perhaps accounting for that.
Doherty left it late on Sunday to register his third attacking return in as many games, nodding in the visitors’ winner in stoppage time after what had been a frustrating afternoon for those Fantasy managers who owned the West Midlands’ clubs most popular FPL assets.
Wolves’ defenders lost their clean sheet with less than a quarter of the match played, while Raul Jimenez (£6.1m) – the third-most-bought player of Gameweek 16 – was named only as a substitute and emerged from the bench with half an hour remaining for a dreaded “one-pointer”.
Doherty began the match in fairly restrained manner but came into the match slowly but surely, going on to register more touches in the final third than any other player on show at St. James’ Park.
All three of his efforts on goal came in the final half an hour, meanwhile, with DeAndre Yedlin‘s (£4.5m) dismissal on 56 minutes perhaps a contributing factor in his increasing prominence in the Newcastle box.
Doherty had headed over from a corner and seen a curling shot palmed away by Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) before his last-gasp winner, which came after Diogo Jota‘s (£5.9m) shot had been parried into his path following a lightning-quick breakaway.
The last half an hour was a curious affair, as ten-man Newcastle took the game to their visitors and Nuno Espirito Santo’s troops seemed content to hit the Magpies on the counter-attack.
The Wolves boss acknowledged that his side had been perhaps fortunate to claim all three points:
I think we didn’t do the best of performances.
In the second half, everything changes with the red card of Newcastle, we control the game. And we had more possession.
Trying to find a way is not so easy to unblock a team with one man less. We were lucky in the end, we had chances before, but in the last minute to get a second ball from the goalkeeper. We were lucky, but happy of course.
Jimenez posed more of a threat in half an hour than the lively but wasteful Adama Traore (£5.3m) did in his hour-long showing and the Mexican striker came within inches of scoring his fifth goal of the season with a rasping effort that bounced down off the underside of Dubravka’s bar and out again.
While his owners will rue this one-point return, Jimenez remains an excellent option in the budget strikers’ bracket: in the last four Gameweeks, no FPL forward has recorded more attempts on goal or shots in the box than the Mexico international.
Sunday was a reminder to Santo that, as profligate as Jimenez can be regarding goal conversion, he remains by far Wolves’ biggest attacking threat in attack – and Traore is certainly no suitable deputy as a “number nine”.
Jota is slowly adapting to life in the Premier League, too, after his early-season struggles saw him drop £0.6m in price in FPL – no player has suffered more a price fall in 2018/19 to date.
It could well be that playing with a genuine left-footer behind him in Ruben Vinagre (£4.3m) is proving beneficial, with the previous incumbent in the left wing-back slot, Jonny (£4.3m), perhaps having a detrimental effect on Jota given the Spanish defender’s tendency to drift inside onto his stronger foot and into the same dangerous areas that the midfielder ought to have been occupying.
Vinagre is offering more width and entering the opposition penalty box much less often than Jonny was, and as a result, Jota’s average number of touches in the area has increased.
Last season’s top scorer volleyed Wolves in front after being picked out by Helder Costa (£4.8m) and it was from Jota’s parried shot that Doherty headed into an empty net in the final minutes of the match.
Another budget asset to catch the eye in attack was Newcastle’s Salomon Rondon (£5.8m).
The Venezuelan striker was a real presence up front for the Magpies in the first half especially and was inches away from a goal of his own when his 22nd-minute free-kick crashed against Rui Patricio‘s (£4.6m) crossbar – Rondon’s owners at least getting a consolation assist when the on-loan West Brom forward picked up the loose ball and crossed for the much-improved Ayoze Perez (£6.1m) to nod in.
No other player had as many attempts on goal in this match and, in the last six Gameweeks, no FPL asset has registered as many attempts on goal or shots in the box than the Newcastle target-man.
Rafael Benitez had matched Wolves in a 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 for this match, with Yedlin and Matt Ritchie (£5.8m) deployed as wing-backs as they had been at Turf Moor two weeks ago.
Yedlin was moved to centre-back after half-time as Federico Fernandez (£4.4m) was withdrawn and it was from this alien position that the American committed the professional foul on Jota that led to his dismissal.
Benitez was incandescent at full-time regarding that sending off and an alleged elbow by Willy Boly (£4.6m) on Perez later in the match:
The ball was far away and he was close enough to see it was not a clear chance. He [Jota] was pulling him and he [Yedlin] was pulling him – but I don’t want to talk about that as it’s so obvious. I think the team was doing well enough to win the game – it’s very difficult in these situations.
So if you see the incidents today. It’s so obvious – the red card and the elbow in the face of Ayoze Perez. We need the VAR right now.
Newcastle United XI (3-4-2-1): Dubravka; Lascelles, Fernandez (Manquillo 45′), Clark; Yedlin, Diame, Ki, Ritchie; Atsu (Kenedy 88′), Perez; Rondon (Joselu 85′).
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss (Jiminez 59′), Neves, Vinagre; Costa (Moutinho 75′), Jota; Traore (Gibbs-White 59′).
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