Our round-up of the Gameweek 24 matches continues with two fixtures contested on Wednesday evening.
We’ve got the main Fantasy talking points, headline injury news and salient manager quotes from the two games played on the south coast last night.
Bournemouth 4-0 Chelsea
- Goals: Joshua King (£6.3m) x2, David Brooks (£5.1m), Charlie Daniels (£4.2m)
- Assists: David Brooks, Joshua King, Junior Stanislas (£6.0m), Jordon Ibe (£5.0m)
After the acquisition of Gonzalo Higuaín (£9.5m) and the manner of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg performance against Spurs last week, Fantasy managers who owned Eden Hazard (£11.0m) and co. would have been optimistic that a corner had been turned in the Blues’ season.
While it is far too early to make a judgement call on Higuaín after his mediocre Premier League debut, there is something unquestionably rotten in the Chelsea camp at the present moment.
The eye-catching scoreline apart, Wednesday night’s match had a depressingly familiar feel to it for the 31.5% of FPL managers who own Hazard.
Despite total dominance of the ball for much of the opening 45 minutes and beyond (the Blues enjoyed more than two-thirds of possession), Sarri’s side could do very little with it.
The matches against Southampton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Arsenal were again brought to mind on the south coast, with Bournemouth content to soak up pressure and comfortably dealing with anything the Blues threw at them.
Except for an early Mateo Kovacic (£5.7m) header that Artur Boruc (£3.9m) pushed onto the bar, Chelsea created little of note – the visitors’ subsequent attempts on goal being speculative efforts from the edge of the box or outside of it that Boruc easily dealt with.
Only two shots on target followed after the interval as Chelsea capitulated at the back, with the Blues recording their heaviest league defeat in 23 years.
Hazard could probably still have emerged from this encounter with an attacking return, having recorded a match-high five key passes and carved out presentable chances for Cesar Azplicueta (£6.3m) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.2m) late on.
This was deja vu for Hazard’s owners, though, a fifth successive Premier League match without a goal and another fixture in which he patrolled the edge of the opposition box, repeatedly finding himself crowded out or frustrated at a lack of movement ahead of him.
Higuaín suffered a disheartening evening too, not registering a single shot on goal or key pass. The on-loan striker only touched the ball once in the Bournemouth area.
Jorginho (£4.7m) provided his critics with more ammunition with an ineffective display, while the usually solid centre-back partnership of David Luiz (£5.9m) and Antonio Rudiger (£6.0m) were repeatedly ripped apart.
Marcos Alonso (£6.5m) was benched for the first time in the league this season but his remaining owners can take some solace in that Emerson Palmieri (£5.2m) suffered a tough evening from a defensive perspective – not that Alonso would likely have fared much better.
Sarri commented on Chelsea’s display:
It’s very difficult to have an idea about the performance because we played very well in the first half. In the second half, we conceded a goal after two minutes and we stopped playing.
In the offensive phase we played not as a team but 11 players, so it’s very difficult to understand why because after what I saw in the first half there was the possibility to solve the problem.
We had 43 minutes to play so we could solve the problem, but not with that kind of reaction. I tried to understand. I spoke with the players after the match but it was also difficult for them to say why so I will try again tomorrow. I need to understand why because I need to solve this problem.
They are always able to react very well against big teams. When we play against a big team we are usually able to play with a very big level of motivation, but in this match, I think the problem was different because in the first half I saw a team with a very high level of motivation.
Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I’m not able to motivate them. But the team is very strong, it is also able to win without the coach.
A home fixture against Huddersfield in Gameweek 25 might be the last hurrah for Chelsea assets in many of our FPL squads but Sarri’s words about a lack of motivation in matches against inferior opposition are a worry, with some Fantasy bosses no doubt ready to pull the trigger even before this weekend.
All credit to Bournemouth, though, who
Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) then teed up King for the Norwegian’s second goal before Charlie Daniels (£4.1m) applied the cherry on the cake with a header from fellow substitute Jordon Ibe’s (£5.0m) delivery.
All this was done without top scorer Callum Wilson (£6.5m), who Eddie Howe gave an update on at full-time:
He’s just had a very minor knee operation just to clean out the knee. We don’t think he’ll be out very long, three to four weeks.
Brooks would have attracted more Fantasy attention after a man-of-the-match display and double-digit FPL haul but the summer signing from Sheffield United was forced from the field of play with an injury of his own on 68 minutes.
Howe said of the Wales midfielder:
David did a brilliant job beyond his years with his diligence, and then he showed his class at the other end as well so I’m pleased for him.
I need to speak to the physios and to David to find out the extent of his injury.
Ryan Fraser‘s (£6.1m) owners would have been slightly miffed to miss out on the points bonanza and indeed the Scottish winger didn’t register a single shot or key pass all game.
Owners needn’t worry too much: despite those statistics, the mid-price FPL option has still created more chances than any other midfielder in the last six Gameweeks.
Nathaniel Clyne (£4.4m) and Nathan Ake (£5.0m) were excellent and Howe paid tribute to his team’s defensive work after a second successive clean sheet:
The clean sheet is something we had to improve on. The whole team defended so well. You wouldn’t have thought we had struggled in that respect this season. Artur Boruc made a brilliant save which was pivotal, the two full-backs were brilliant as well as the centre-backs.
David Brooks and Joshua King were a threat going the other way, but also in dealing with Jorginho and in executing our tactical plan.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-1-1): Boruc; Clyne, Cook, Ake, Smith; Stanislas (Mepham 90′), Surman, Gosling, Fraser (Daniels 90′); Brooks (Ibe 68′); King.
Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 77′); Pedro (Willian 61′), Higuain (Giroud 65′), Hazard.
Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace
- Goals: James Ward-Prowse (£5.0m)| Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m)
- Assists: Matt Targett (£4.2m)| Andros Townsend (£5.8m)
Crystal Palace’s draw at St Mary’s came at a cost ahead of their Gameweek 25 meeting with Fulham, with James Tomkins (£4.3m) and Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.7m) picking up injuries and Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m) being sent off for two bookable offences.
Roy Hodgson said of his crocked players:
I don’t know yet, both with Kouyate, who jarred his ankle and played on bravely for 20-odd minutes, and with Tomkins, who was feeling his hamstring. I couldn’t possibly tell you today. We probably have to wait until tomorrow when they’re assessed.
Zaha, who had earlier scored his first goal in four months, was dismissed in the dying stages of Wednesday’s match, his second booking being dished out for the sarcastic applauding of his first caution.
Hodgson said of the Ivorian’s sending off:
Well, I think it’s disappointing that the player who perhaps provided some of the best entertainment during the 90 minutes with his performance was consistently fouled throughout the game wasn’t able to contain his frustration with that consistent fouling.
Protests over a foul which is not given which probably should have been, but then once he applauds the referee’s decision to give him a yellow card the referee, under the rules of the game and the instructions they are given he’s got no option but to send him off so there’s not much one can say about it.
Palace didn’t create much from open play in this encounter, though Mamadou Sakho (£4.9m) wasted two excellent opportunities from dead-ball situations: the French centre-back hasn’t scored this season and these were his first attempts on goal since Gameweek 6.
Vicente Guaita (£4.2m) returned from injury to take his place between the sticks, with the fit-again Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) only among the substitutes.
Guaita made fairly routine saves from Danny Ings (£5.5m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.1m) and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.4m) but was beaten when Matt Targett (£4.2m) crossed for James Ward-Prowse (£5.0m) to score.
This was Ward-Prowse’s third goal in as many league matches and the budget midfielder seems to have consolidated his position in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, having started the last five Premier League fixtures.
These returns appear unsustainable, however, with Ward-Prowse having scored from all three of his shots on target over the period in question.
His goal against Palace came from his only penalty box touch of the night and indeed after he had been switched over to right wing-back in the second half.
The return of Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m) is one to watch, of course, but Hasenhuttl has shown admirable faith in several of his youngsters since his appointment.
The Saints boss said of his side’s display:
We knew that it would be difficult today and they gave us
lesschances to win the ball early, always long balls and didn’t really play football or build-up.
For us, it’s always dangerous as we have to build up the game with patience and therefore we need to be in the right shape which takes time.
It doesn’t make any sense if the crowd tries to push us forward, they can be sure we always want to play forward but sometimes it is not possible against such a team.
Therefore we need to have time to find the right space and find the right moment and the goal showed that this moment will come.
Southampton XI (3-4-2-1): McCarthy; Bednarek, Vestergaard (Elyounoussi 75′), Stephens; Valery (Amstrong 62′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Targett; Hojbjerg (Slattery 84′), Redmond; Ings.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins (Dann 90′), Sakho, Van Aanholt; Kouyate (Schlupp 71′), McArthur, Milivojevic; Townsend, Ayew, Zaha.
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the price of just £10.
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.