It was absolute carnage in the Fantasy Premier League community on Saturday afternoon as Brighton were thrashed 5-0 at home by Bournemouth.
It was their heaviest ever defeat at the Amex Stadium, which came at just the wrong time for Fantasy managers.
Not only were the Seagulls’ heavily backed for their Double Gameweek, but the Cherries had also been widely declared as ‘on the beach’ already.
What impact this shocking result will have on our plans is the focus of this latest Scout Notes article.
Brighton 0-5 Bournemouth
Goals: Dan Gosling (£4.7m), Ryan Fraser (£6.3m), David Brooks (£5.1m), Callum Wilson (£6.6m), Junior Stanislas (£6.0m)
Assists: Wilson x2, Fraser x2, Brooks
Bournemouth’s attacking assets made a mockery of the popular decision to back the Brighton defence in Double Gameweek 34. 46.17% of managers ranked 10,000 or higher currently own both Mat Ryan (£4.4m) and Shane Duffy (£4.8m) this weekend, with 22.72% handing the captain’s armband to the centre-back – and all of those are already one clean sheet down on the deal.
It was Bournemouth who started Saturday afternoon’s meeting at the Amex Stadium the better side. An achievement made all the more damning on Brighton’s defence considering how poor the Cherries have been on their travels this season. This was only the second time since Gameweek 11 that Bournemouth scored more than once on the road. The last time they did that in the selected period was at Huddersfield Town in Gameweek 30, who are now relegated from the Premier League.
Dan Gosling (£4.7m) found himself in far too much space in the first-half to slot past Ryan after being fed the ball by Callum Wilson (£6.6m). It was an impressive finish from Ryan Fraser (£6.2m) in the second-half that unlocked the Seagulls’ floodgates, but again, he was given far too much time to take his shot after picking the ball up from a poor pass at the back.
At that point, Bournemouth could smell the blood in the water and they
“We came up against a very dynamic Bournemouth side and couldn’t handle them. We started okay but didn’t create much and then from our possession they scored four goals on the counter. We changed the shape but then went down to ten men (Anthony Knockaert red card) which makes it even harder. We found it very difficult to cope with them. It’s certainly not something we have experienced before. Anything like that would have been against one of the top teams (Liverpool 1-5, Chelsea 0-4).” – Chris Hughton
This result has put significant pressure on the Brighton defence to secure Fantasy returns at home to Cardiff on Tuesday night. Those who have captained Duffy will especially be carrying that weight over the next few days. The fact that the Bluebirds will be in more of a desperate need for points than their hosts midweek, after losing at Burnley on Saturday, it does not bode well.
“We have to take it on the chin, our worst defeat and worst overall performance. There is no doubt they (players) know how poor a performance it was today. Everybody will be looking, mostly me, to see the type of reaction from the team.” – Chris Hughton
Brighton have generally been better defensively at home this season compared to what they are capable of away. For that reason, interest in options such as Ryan, Duffy and the like for Double Gameweek 35 will have plummeted after Saturday’s heavy defeat. They must travel to Spurs and Wolves in that round of fixtures and, unless a positive result can be secured against Cardiff, they will do so with confidence at rock-bottom.
Not surprisingly, Brighton’s attacking assets barely troubled Bournemouth. The Seagulls came into this match joint-bottom for big chances in their four previous outings, and that trend continued. They managed just one shot on target
Those who had turned to Glenn Murray (£6.4m) were left disappointed as Chris Hughton’s tendency to rotate him in busy periods also continued. He was named on the bench with Florin Andone (£5.0m) handed the centre-forward berth. The veteran forward will probably start against Cardiff, but like most of his colleagues, has it all to do to make investing in him a worthwhile move.
Jurgen Locadia (£5.3m) and Anthony Knockaert (£5.2m) were the two wide attackers flanking Murray and Brighton’s chances of getting a result against Bournemouth, and indeed against Cardiff, were damaged by the latter’s frustration in the second half. He was sent off for a reckless and needlessly forceful late tackle on Adam Smith (£4.3m) in the 68th minute. Because it was a dismissal for serious foul play, it means that he misses the next three matches, which are Cardiff (home), Wolves (away) and Spurs (away).
“I have no idea what Anthony Knockaert is thinking. He is a second-and-a-half late. It’s a disgusting challenge and it could have been a career-ending tackle.” – Dion Dublin, BBC
“I’ve seen far worse challenges. I would accept it’s a reckless, emotional challenge. He is aware that he has let the team down.” – Chris Hughton
It was telling that Brighton’s first shot on target came from left-back Bernardo (£4.2m) late in the second half. They really offered nothing going forward and none of their players managed a higher expected goal involvement (xGI) score of 0.12, shared by Yves Bissouma (£4.6m) and Locadia.
By contrast, Bournemouth not only laughed in the face of claims that Brighton were in decent defensive form but were also defiant against suggestions that they are now ‘on the beach’. Despite winning just one game in their last nine, the Cherries turned on the style at the Amex Stadium, especially in the second half.
Josh King (£6.6m) had more shots in the box than any other player, Brooks created the most chances, with Fraser just one behind him for key passes, and Wilson showed all-round appeal with his goal and two assists. As plenty of managers expected to look at players with two fixtures in Double Gameweek, it might not be a bad move to consider a Bournemouth attacker for their home match against Fulham.
“Our goals today were trademark us, which was the pleasing thing. The first goal was a great team goal and it was nice to see Dan [Gosling] score. In the second half, we gelled and linked up well around the box so I’ll enjoy watching the goals back later tonight.” – Eddie Howe
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-3-3): Ryan; Bernardo, Dunk, Duffy, Montoya; Pröpper (Izquierdo 63′), Stephens, Bissouma; Locadia, Andone (Murray 58′), Knockaert.
Bournemouth XI (3-4-1-2): Boruc; Aké, S Cook (Simpson 87′), Mepham; Fraser, Lerma, Gosling, A Smith; Brooks; Wilson (Stanislas 83′), King (Solanke 76′).