Fantasy Premier League managers holding Manchester City assets should feel confident of further attacking returns in their second Double Gameweek 25 fixture.
Another poor defensive showing from Everton on Saturday leaves much work for Marco Silva to do ahead of Wednesday’s Goodison Park encounter with the defending champions.
Another win for Wolves has further highlighted the credentials of their assets, some already popular and others only recently emerging.
Meanwhile, at Turf Moor, Burnley continued to show improvements that could impact FPL investment but Southampton
Everton 1-3 Wolves
Goals: André Gomes (£5.4m) | Rúben Neves (£4.9m), Raúl Jiménez (£6.7m), Leander Dendoncker (£4.3m)
Assists: Cenk Tosun (£6.5m) | Matt Doherty (£5.3m), Joao Moutinho (£5.2m), Diogo Jota (£6.0m)
Raúl Jiménez (£6.7m) continues to strengthen his appeal as a cost-effective forward with his ninth goal of the season against Everton. He now has attacking returns in four of his last six matches and remains one of the most active FPL players in the penalty box this season. Only Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) have had more efforts in that area of the pitch than Jiménez’s 56 in 2018/19. Furthermore, no Wolves players created more chances than him at Everton. With Newcastle (home), Bournemouth (away), Huddersfield (away) and Cardiff (home) the next four opponents for Wanderers, the Mexican international is expected to be in high demand.
Since the 4-3 win over Leicester in Gameweek 23, Jiménez has also outscored colleague Diogo Jota (£6.0m) by 21 points to 11. The latter had just one effort on goal at Goodison Park but still managed a third match in a row with an attacking return, assisting Leander Dendoncker‘s (£4.3m) goal. Once again, that’s good news for Jota’s owners as he continues to prove capable of goals and assists. He did pick up a knock on Saturday, but has since returned to training and won’t be risked for the FA Cup
There was great news for those who have kept faith in Matt Doherty (£5.3m) through a recent dry spell as he’s registered returns in both of his last two matches. The right wing-back was unfortunate not to have earned a penalty for his side in the 3-0 win over West Ham in Gameweek 24, and his direct attacking play finally paid dividends as Leighton Baines (£5.0m) fouled him in the box on Saturday. The fact that Doherty remains such an advanced outlet for Wolves makes him a hugely important asset for this run of games they are on. Jiménez and Jota were the only of his team-mates to register more touches in the final third at Goodison Park, their 19 just one higher than his 18.
Defensive returns are still sporadic for Doherty and his colleagues, André Gomes‘ (£5.4m) goal meaning they still have just one clean sheet in their last eight league matches. The return from a three-match suspension for Willy Boly (£4.6m), replacing Romain Saïss (£4.2m), still could not stop Wolves from conceding.
Joining the mix for those yet to capitalise on the budget options at Wolves is esteemed midfielder Joao Moutinho (£5.2m). His assist for Jiménez’s goal was his seventh of the season, but the vast majority of those have come in just the last six Gameweeks. With just one between Gameweeks 1 and 19, the Portuguese international has registered six in his last six. Since Gameweek 22, Moutinho has averaged more than two key passes per game, so shrewd investment in him could reap rewards, especially with Newcastle, weak to set pieces, the next opponents.
Dendoncker seems to have solidified his place in the Wolves team now, with starts in each of the last four Premier League matches, at the heart of a 3-5-2. The Belgian has popped up in plenty of dangerous positions in recent weeks, scoring his first top-flight goal for the club on Saturday. Dendoncker is now drawing Fantasy attention to himself as a regular starting £4.3m midfielder.
“I’m very happy for him, he’s working very hard. He had a very good chance in the first half. He helped the team which is the most important thing.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
There are currently some concerns over the fitness of Rúben Neves (£4.9m), who was forced off the pitch in the 49th minute with an injury. An integral part of Wolves’ midfield, he could be sorely missed in the upcoming matches, although if he were to be absent Jiménez would probably assume his penalty duties, having scored one against Spurs in Gameweek 11.
“He had to go out, he was in pain and was not able to continue, so let’s assess him now. It was a kick.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
“After the injury, he had in the last game we managed his week and when I took the decision to start with him. Leighton made a test [in the] morning and the feedback was good and he told me he was in the condition to start the match. Of course, I took that decision. You know if I didn’t have Leighton I would start with Jonjoe Kenny but in that moment the feedback was good and I took that decision.” – Marco Silva
However, the defensive problems for Everton were not exclusively limited to their left flank. Mistakes at the back were rife again, and the Toffees looked especially susceptible to set pieces. It did not take much for Wolves to score as they only had five shots in the box, four of which were on target, three finding the back of the net. Given how many more chances Manchester City are likely to create on Wednesday night, we could be in for a very one-sided heavy win if the Toffees don’t tighten things up. Owners of Leroy Sané (9.7m) and other City options likely to start at Goodison Park certainly have reasons to be optimistic.
“We gave away many, many things too easily. It was more or less what has been happening in recent games when we are at home. If Wolves had come here and caused our team a lot of problems I would congratulate them. But when you see that they take advantage of our mistakes, it makes it a tough afternoon. Early on, they got a penalty really from nowhere. In a tough moment, we reacted and scored an important goal. But after that, you cannot give the ball away because they get a free-kick and score from it. We knew what they were going to do and they did it. In the second half we tried and we started it well to try to achieve. But again, we gave the ball away and in transition, they scored the third goal.” – Marco Silva
Richarlison (£6.8m) owners were treated to an all too familiar performance from him on Saturday afternoon. It was his fifth blank in six Premier League matches as he was largely anonymous at Goodison Park. While his problem in recent weeks has been poor accuracy from a high volume of shots, Richarlison didn’t muster a single effort against Wolves, his only real contribution to proceedings being his two key passes played. Since returning to his favoured position on the left flank of attacking midfield once again, there has been little improvement in either his style of play or underlying statistics, suggesting he really is reaching the end of his usefulness to Fantasy managers, especially with a Blank coming up in Gameweek 27. However, it’s a trip to Watford in Gameweek 26 which might convince some Richarlison owners to give him one more week to torment his former employers.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) was the most dangerous Everton player against Wolves, handing slight encouragement to anyone hoping for some returns from him against Manchester City. No player from either side had more shots, either total or in the box, at Goodison Park on Saturday, with the Icelandic international also boasting the joint-most touches in the penalty area too. As per usual, no Everton player created more chances than Sigurdsson either. However, manager Marco Silva is keen to get more from the other attacking players at his disposal to take the pressure off Richarlison and Sigurdsson. Cenk Tosun (£6.5m) is the latest to be given a chance at centre-forward having started there the last two games.
“(Sigurdsson and Richarlison) are the players, one has scored 10 the other has scored nine, who are important for us. But, like I told you, you cannot put all the pressure on one or two players. We have to solve the problems collectively and it is a moment for some players to come (to the fore) because you cannot always expect Richarlison or Gylfi to score. Andre scored on Saturday but some of the other players have to show that capacity because they are there to do that and have the quality to do that. But, I agree with you we cannot put all the pressure on these two players.” – Marco Silva
In central midfield, Tom Davies (£5.1m) continued to deputise for Idrissa Gueye (£4.8m), who has not featured due to an unspecified injury for the last two matches. The Senegalese international was also subject of a late January transfer deadline day bid from Paris Saint Germain which Everton rejected, with some media reports suggesting Gueye is not quite in the right frame of mind to play again yet.
Everton XI (4-1-4-1): Pickford; Baines (Kenny 37′), Zouma, Keane, Coleman (Calvert-Lewin 73′); André Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Davies, Walcott (Lookman 60′); Tosun.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Boly, Coady, Bennett; Jonny, Moutinho, Neves (Saïss 49′), Dendoncker, Doherty; Jota (Costa 77′), Jiménez (Traoré 89′).
Burnley 1-1 Southampton
Goals: Ashley Barnes (£5.6m) | Nathan Redmond (£5.3m)
Assists: Peter Crouch (£4.5m) | Jan Bednarek (£4.0m)
Ashley Barnes (£5.6m) continues to fulfil his statistical potential as he scored for the second match running at the weekend. He came into Southampton’s trip to Turf Moor having matched several captain candidates for goal threat in previous Gameweeks and was a constant menace on Saturday. No player on the pitch even came close to his seven shots on goal, all of which were in the box, four on target.
Barnes was unlucky not to earn a penalty in the first half when he was clearly wiped out by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (£4.4m), but referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved, booking the Burnley man for simulation instead. In the end, it took a stoppage-time handball to give the Clarets a penalty which Barnes dispatched to earn a point. Whether he is designated taker is still uncertain, this was Burnley’s first spot-kick of the season while potential alternative candidate Chris Wood (£6.2m) was off the field at the time.
“I must mention the mentality of Ashley, to remain calm and focused. To have been not given that penalty and then being booked for simulation is incredible. So to then get a last minute penalty after seeing so many chances stay out, and slot it home, was fantastic for him and I thought we deserved more than a draw today.” – Sean Dyche
With an expected goals (xG) score of 2.39 to Southampton’s 0.74, Burnley should have won the game considering the number of quality chances they created. While coming away with just a point might be a bit frustrating for Sean Dyche, the fact that his side is looking dangerous again is worth noting for Fantasy managers. For the early part of the season, betting on clean sheets against them proved a decent tactic, but things have been turned around now. The Clarets have failed to score in just one of their last eight Premier League matches.
“It all has to come together at some point and I’m very pleased that the signs are strong at the moment. Six games unbeaten in the Premier League is not easy and the mentality of those performances has been key. It shows there is a strength to us, which we’ve always had, but now it’s coming back and you can sense it.” – Sean Dyche
Burnley were boosted by another second-half substitute’s appearance for key midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m). Impressively, the Icelandic international created more chances than any other player involved in the match, despite playing just 32 minutes. In that time he played five key passes. Gudmundsson is definitely a player to keep an eye on as he steps up his return to full fitness. Brighton (away), Newcastle (away) and Crystal Palace (home) are three of Burnley’s next four opponents, while they are already confirmed to be playing in every Gameweek between now and the end of the season following their FA Cup exit.
Despite Gudmundsson’s return, Dwight McNeil (£4.4m) continues to hold his place in the Burnley team on the left-wing. He has made that position his own with starts in the last six matches now, which has seen his Icelandic colleague used more on the right. Crucially, budget-man McNeil still has excellent underlying data in the last four Gameweeks. His nine chances created in that time is just one fewer than Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), is the same as Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) and one more than Eden Hazard (£10.9m).
Getting his first taste of life at Burnley was Peter Crouch (£4.5m), who came on as a 76th-minute substitute for Wood. While it’s unlikely that the former Stoke man will start many games, it is encouraging to see him involved so soon since arriving at Turf Moor. Despite playing just 14 minutes in Gameweek 25, the only player to have more penalty box touches than Crouch was goal-scorer Barnes, and it was him who earned the assist for Jack Stephens‘ (£4.2m) handball too.
“Coming off the bench, the biggest impact is scoring a goal. But I’ve been involved in the penalty. I know I can still make an impact at this level. That’s what I’ve been brought here to do. Thankfully it’s gone for us and we managed to get a point and hopefully there’s a few more and a few goals to come.” – Peter Crouch
Not for the first time this season, Danny Ings (£5.5m) was withdrawn with a hamstring problem. He left the field of play in the 27th minute, leaving Shane Long (£4.7m) to lead the Southampton line. As has been previously discussed, Ings’ fitness problems are really starting to count against him when it comes to Fantasy appeal. He has completed 90 minutes in the Premier League just once since Gameweek 11.
However, Nathan Redmond (£5.3m) finally got his first attacking return since Gameweek 19 after promising so much in his previous two outings. While his underlying statistics have not offered much recently, he had just one shot at Turf Moor, the former Norwich man is certainly doing well on the eye test, continuing to operate as a centre-forward for his side. A bit more luck in Gameweeks 23 and 24 and he could have been staring at a run of three goals in three games.
After such a run himself, James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) blanked for the first time since Gameweek 21 on Saturday afternoon. The central midfielder had been Southampton’s most creative player in the four matches prior to the trip to Turf Moor, but a different role on the right of a 3-5-2 formation seemed to hamper that. He played just one key pass all afternoon and had just one effort on goal.
Jan Valery (£4.0m) was left on the bench, with Ward-Prowse covering for him, while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (£4.4m) was left out with a head injury. That meant that youngster Callum Slattery (£4.5m) was able to make a Premier League debut in the middle.
“I know that a few fans are upset that we didn’t take a transfer in the window but if you look exactly then you see there are a lot of new players in this team if I speak about Slatts for example or Kayne Ramsay or Yan Valery. A lot of new players who didn’t play before so I feel we have changed a lot in this team. Not with new transfers or new signings but by giving the young players a chance to play. They show that we can count on them, we can trust them and I think that’s the most important thing for us.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
The recently unearthed rough diamond of Jan Bednarek (£4.0m) recorded his biggest Gameweek score of the season so far at Turf Moor. While Southampton conceded in stoppage time, the Polish international had already provided the assist for Redmond’s opening goal. Bednarek created two chances in the game, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for whether he can keep that form going.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley; McNeil (Brady 81′), Cork, Westwood, Hendrick (Gudmundsson 58′); Wood (Crouch 76′), Barnes.
Southampton XI (3-5-2): McCarthy; Vestergaard, Stephens, Bednarek; Targett, Armstrong (Valery 77′), Romeu, Slattery, Ward-Prowse; Ings (Long 27′), Redmond (Austin 87′).