There is now a large number of budget options at Burnley and Brighton who could prove excellent differentials in upcoming weeks.
While the two sides have experienced contrasting fortunes in recent months, both have assets who have been impressing statistically recently.
These are the focus of this latest Scout Notes article…
Brighton 1-3 Burnley
Goals: Shane Duffy (£4.6m) | Chris Wood x2 (£6.2m), Ashley Barnes (£5.6m)
Assists: Anthony Knockaert (£5.2m) | Barnes, Dwight McNeil (£4.4m)
Ashley Barnes (£5.6m) continued to prove he should be talked about seriously in the budget striker conversation this season. The Burnley man had been competing with the top premium options for goal threat in the four matches prior to Gameweek 26, which he finished with his second-best round score of the season.
Since Gameweek 23, the only player to have more shots on target than Barnes is Sergio Aguero (£11.5m), indicating the kind of company he is keeping. The striker now has seven attacking returns in his last nine matches and cannot be ignored with Tottenham (home), Newcastle (away), Crystal Palace (home) the next three opponents for Burnley. Also in form is Barnes’ strike partner Chris Wood (£6.2m) who has five attacking returns in his last seven Premier League outings for the Clarets, two of those coming against Brighton.
Out of the two players, Barnes appears to have slightly edged things in the penalty pecking order. The former Plymouth Argyle and Brighton forward has now scored two spot-kicks in as many Gameweeks, the second of which was at the Amex Stadium on Saturday night. Wood was the favourite for them last season but has not taken one in the Premier League in 2018/19, although the Clarets were not awarded one until Gameweek 24. Against Southampton, Barnes took the penalty but it was after Wood had been substituted. Meanwhile, Barnes’ goal against Brighton was converted after he had won it himself, so it’s hard to say that he has a cast-iron claim on spot-kicks currently.
“We’ve been brave to play two centre-forwards away from home. I think we’ve got excellent forwards, and their energy and pride is really helping us. They’re scoring goals and we’re making it difficult for the teams we’re playing against. When you have a front to your team the game has a different feel to it.” – Sean Dyche
“We get on very well. We were at Brighton together and there’s where the relationship started. We have just carried that through. We seem to have a good bond together and play up top very nicely and it was nice we were both on the score sheet.” – Chris Wood
Also continuing to make a name for himself as a differential option is young left-winger Dwight McNeil (£4.4m). He has started the last seven matches in a row for Burnley and registered his second attacking return of the campaign by assisting Wood’s second goal of the night. McNeil has now created more chances than any other midfielder priced £4.5m since Gameweek 23 and is joint-top for shots in the same bracket, offering a healthy balance between both statistics.
“We lost two important players in Robbie and Johann. That’s tough, but the group said ‘right, let’s get on with it’ because they believe in each other. I admire the players for that; ‘No excuses, we’re a group, let’s get on with it’ and that’s a powerful thing and they delivered again, Jeff playing out of position and excellent again and young Dwight. There aren’t many 19-year-olds rolling around the Premier League and not many in the fight scene and he’s handling himself very well. I’m really enjoying what he’s doing.” – Sean Dyche
Tom Heaton (£4.8m) looks as if he is slowly rebuilding back to what we knew of him from the 2016/17 campaign. He was the clear man of the match for Burnley on Saturday as he produced a string of unbelievable saves to restrict Brighton to just one goal. Heaton now has additional points for saves in each of his last four matches, indicating he could seriously profit from bonus if Burnley start keeping clean sheets again – with Newcastle and Crystal Palace among their next three opponents, that is a strong possibility.
“I know what a good keeper he is and his alertness made sure we were in good shape. He made saves I’d expect him to save because I know his quality.” – Sean Dyche
While Brighton suffered defeat for the fourth time in five matches, there were two players who showed Fantasy potential for the future. Pascal Groß (£6.7m) was comfortably the best player at the Amex Stadium from a statistical perspective, despite playing just 66 minutes. Nobody had more shots in the penalty box as him, while the German also topped the charts for chances created too. With Leicester (away), Huddersfield (home), Crystal Palace (away), Cardiff (home) and Southampton (home) the five fixtures to come after the Blank in Gameweek 27, owned by just 1.8%, Groß could prove an excellent differential.
Meanwhile, Shane Duffy (£4.6m) is offering goal threat once again, with no defender recording more shots in the penalty box in the last four Gameweeks as him. It should be no surprise that the centre-back nodded home his fifth goal of the season against Burnley.
Brighton were without Florin Andone (£5.0m) on Saturday evening, as he was starting the first of a three-game retrospective ban following an elbow in the FA Cup win over West Bromwich Albion. He is also due to miss Saturday’s fifth-round tie with Derby as well as the Gameweek 28 trip to Leicester.
“A big blow. We appealed. Our feeling on the incident was the action that he did was an action a lot of strikers do and he does it very regularly, where you are protecting yourself and the ball. You will see that action every weekend. The unfortunate thing was he caught him and we are also not saying the lad made a meal of it, because it was there to see. But there was certainly no intent in doing it.” – Chris Hughton
The problems are certainly mounting up for Brighton, who lost key player Solly March (£5.0m) to an ankle injury early in the second half. He was replaced by Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£6.7m), making his first appearance since Gameweek 11. It should either be him or Anthony Knockaert (£5.2m) who comes in for March if he is still not fit by Gameweek 28.
“He’s hurt his ankle. The physios did some work at half-time to see if he could run it off, but he wasn’t able to. Hopefully, it’s not too bad. Solly’s in good form at the moment. We hope it’s not a bad one. He’s in a very competitive squad and we want as many players fit as possible.” – Chris Hughton
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-3-3): Ryan; Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Montoya; Pröpper, Stephens, Groß (Bissouma 66′); Locadia (Jahanbakhsh 66′), Murray, March (Knockaert 48′).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley; McNeil, Cork, Westwood, Hendrick; Wood, Barnes.
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