Following our write-up of Newcastle United v Crystal Palace earlier today, we now turn our attention to two more teams whose Fantasy assets perhaps have limited appeal in the season run-in.
Burnley have a favourable match in Gameweek 34 (Cardiff City at home) but face three of the “big six” and an in-form Everton thereafter.
Bournemouth’s remaining five fixtures look more agreeable but three of those games are away from home and the out-of-sorts Cherries have lost ten of their last 11 league matches on the road.
Most significant of all, perhaps, is that neither of these clubs have two fixtures in Double Gameweek 35.
Bournemouth 1-3 Burnley
- Goals: Ashley Barnes (£5.7m) own-goal | Chris Wood (£6.2m), Ashley Westwood (£4.6m), Ashley Barnes
- Assists: Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) | Ashley Westwood, Chris Wood
From a fixture difficulty perspective, Bournemouth
A home game against Fulham in a fortnight’s time is certainly eye-catching but the well-documented weaknesses in the Cottagers’ defence
The Cherries’ atrocious away form has been much discussed over the last few months but wins on home soil have dried up too and it’s now four matches without a victory at the Vitality Stadium.
Eddie Howe’s side sit in the bottom three of the Premier League form table when clubs are filtered by their last eight matches (home and away) and only Huddersfield Town and Fulham have scored fewer goals in that time.
The south coast club did face the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in that run but have also failed to beat Cardiff, Newcastle and Burnley since their 4-0 hammering of Chelsea in Gameweek 24.
The return to fitness of Callum Wilson (£6.6m) and David Brooks (£5.1m) ahead of the Cherries’ fixture swing in Gameweek 30 was seen as a positive and, while Wilson, Joshua King (£6.6m) and Ryan Fraser (£6.3m) have each delivered one double-digit FPL haul since then, the goals perhaps haven’t quite flowed as anticipated.
Fraser was a little unlucky not to deliver an attacking return on Saturday, as it was from his teasing free-kick that Ashley Barnes (£5.7m) bundled the ball into his own goal on three minutes: a touch from Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) en route depriving the Scotland international of an assist.
King later flashed a header wide from another Fraser cross and Wilson blazed over a great opportunity that the Scottish winger carved out for him in stoppage time, the 22nd such “big chance” that the diminutive wide-man has supplied this season – no Fantasy asset has created more.
An off-the-boil Wilson also headed over another clear-cut chance from a Brooks cross in the first half, with the Wales international perhaps the pick of the hosts’ players on Saturday amid some flat performances.
Howe’s words after the game were damning:
The disappointing thing for us in recent weeks is we have not quite seen the clear philosophy we want and that hurts me more than anything.
We are going to have to go away and figure out why we are not seeing that and work towards delivering a better product.
Very few times have I felt in my management career that I have a looked at a team and not quite seen what we have worked on. We are just going through one of those phases at the moment where it is not quite coming off for us.
You have to prove your worth every game, every training session, every moment. You are part of a team at this level and you have to continually prove you are good enough to play in it.
Now, obviously I pick the team and I have not picked a good enough team at the moment. We are going to have to review everything we do.
Asmir Begovic (£4.3m) was handed a second successive start but the Cherries’ goalkeeper had something of a horror show between the posts, being caught under an Ashley Westwood (£4.6m) cross for Chris Wood‘s (£6.2m) headed equaliser and then failing to deal with another delivery for the Barnes goal that sealed Burnley’s 3-1 win.
Begovic was also nearly caught out by another Westwood free-kick at his near post and Howe said after the match:
I’ve always backed our goalkeepers, I think we have got two excellent ones. Mistakes happen, that’s part and parcel of the game in every position, today we made numerous mistakes in areas of the pitch we wouldn’t expect to. I always back my players and I know the quality they have.
Adam Smith (£4.3m) returned from injury in this match but Charlie Daniels (£4.1m) was absent, with Howe confirming that the long-serving left-back is set for a lengthy period on the sidelines:
Charlie has picked up a really bad-looking injury regarding his kneecap. He has had an operation and will be out for some time.
Barnes and Wood’s aerial prowess and physical presence caused the Bournemouth backline plenty of problems, with the Clarets’ game-plan again obvious as they fired over 28 crosses in total – no club has delivered more in their last six matches.
Westwood, who has taken on set-piece responsibilities since Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) lost his place, stole the headlines with a goal and assist and no budget midfielder under the £5.0m bracket has as many FPL points as the former Aston Villa man this season.
Dwight McNeil (£4.4m) blanked but deserves a mention, as he excelled down the left flank to the point where Nathaniel Clyne (£4.4m) was hauled off at the break on a yellow card.
No player delivered more crosses at the Vitality than McNeil, who has now started Burnley’s last 14 Premier League games.
Dyche said of the young winger:
He continues to enjoy the challenge and grow in his performances, and his understanding of his and the team performance. He’s doing a very, very good job.
Matthew Lowton (£4.6m) returned at right-back as Phil Bardsley (£4.2m) missed out through injury, with Dyche revealing:
Lowtscame in last minute – unfortunately Bardo had an accident at the training ground, slipped and slashed his leg from some wood, believe it or not. We’ve had that kind of season.
There was a game the lads play and a bit of wood broke off and caught him across his thigh and he has got a gash on his thigh and we couldn’t consider him. We will see in the week, there’s a good chance [for next week] but we will have to wait and see.
Tom Heaton (£4.8m) has only faced four shots on target in the last two Gameweeks and Dyche hailed the players in front of him after full-time:
Lowtswas steady, he did a good job. I thought the centre-halves, again, diligent and calm in their performances. Charlie Taylor continues to improve, Dwight obviously.
The midfield two were excellent – Westy is having a fine second half of the season.
The front two were a handful, Jeff’s doing a great job. We ask a lot of Jeff but he continues to do a great job.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Begovic; Clyne (Rico 46′), Mepham, Ake, Smith; Brooks, Gosling (
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick (Gudmundsson 82′), Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Barnes.