There were contrasting fortunes for Southampton and Wolves as the two sides auditioned for Double Gameweek 35.
In a 3-1 win, the Saints showcased a number of viable options for fixtures against Newcastle and Watford, while Wolves disappointed hugely.
We’ve run the rule over the assets available at these two clubs to help us fine-tune our squads for the next round of action.
Southampton 3-1 Wolves
Goals: Nathan Redmond x2 (£5.3m), Shane Long (£4.6m)
Assists: Josh Sims (£4.4m), Danny Ings (£5.4m), Maya Yoshida (£4.1m)
Nathan Redmond (£5.3m) looks set to be the Southampton midfielder of choice for Fantasy managers in Double Gameweek 35. After a run of seven games without a Premier League goal, he netted a brace in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Wolves. The former Norwich City midfielder has shown potential over recent weeks, and finally lived up to it in Double Gameweek 34.
Ironically, that came after Ralph Hasenhüttl deployed Redmond in a slightly deeper role than usual. He had been playing as a centre-forward, alongside either Danny Ings (£5.4m) or Shane Long (£4.6m) of late, but against Wolves, he was stationed just behind the former, playing in a central attacking midfield pair with Josh Sims (£4.4m). That setup helped Southampton apply pressure to Wolves from the front, a key element of their style of play under Hasenhüttl.
“We want to be a team who is pressing to win the ball early and immediately switching forward. We did this today in a good way, which was massive against this team.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Redmond finished the game with more goal attempts, more shots in the box and more on target than any other player on the pitch. Crucially, in the last four matches, he is top for all three of those statistics when compared with his Southampton colleagues. He now looks the best option to consider when looking to invest in the Saints’ Double Gameweek.
“I show (Redmond) what we need in his position that he plays and show him that he can be the guy who makes the difference. I’m very happy that (Redmond) scored again. I think he has waited six or seven games. What was very positive for me is that after the 1-0 he didn’t stop working, he was always going for the second goal. He has the quality and the second goal was a fantastic run from him, exactly what we were demanding from him today in the gap and he was very clinical.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Also impressing, and getting involved in the points was Sims, who earned plenty of praise from his manager after assisting Redmond’s opener. However, it is definitely too early to rely on him currently as Double Gameweek 34 brought just his first Premier League start of the season. The 22-year-old came into the side at the expense of Oriol Romeu (£4.2m), who had started every single match from Gameweek 16 onwards before Saturday’s win over Wolves.
“I want to give (Sims) the chance to play and it was really not easy to pick the first XI. I left Oriol (Romeu) out and it was a tough decision for me because he played fantastic games. The younger guys showed they were very focussed in the first half and then to have experience on the bench to bring in is never worse for me as a manager so it was important for me.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
“I am very happy with (Sims) because he deserved to play from the beginning. As a substitute, he showed that he can help us with his speed. He had a good chance to score. Unfortunately, he didn’t, but I think he is another part and a different player which we need in our team. It is always good if you can surprise the opponent a little bit with new players and that’s what I like.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Despite failing to find attacking returns, Pierre Emile Højbjerg (£4.4m) remains the most promising Southampton midfielder in his price bracket. In the last four matches, of those who are fit and available, only Redmond has more goal attempts and shots in the box than Højbjerg.
Meanwhile, James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) is looking less of an option for Fantasy managers, especially with the form that Redmond has been showing. After scoring three in a row between Gameweeks 28 and 30, Ward-Prowse is now without an attacking return for three consecutive fixtures. He is still the set-piece taker for Southampton, but his number of chances created in the last four matches is matched by the cheaper Højbjerg and bettered by Ings.
Those looking to Yan Valery (£4.1m) for their Bench Boost squads in Double Gameweek 35 must now wait patiently on for an update on his fitness. The right wing-back was taken off in the 83rd minute and is now a doubt for next Saturday’s trip to Newcastle. Some reports claim it was nothing more than cramp but his withdrawal still warrants paying attention to Hasenhüttl’s upcoming press conference.
In contrast to Southampton, Wolves assets are becoming increasingly unreliable away from home and against the so-called lesser sides. They have now failed to win any of their last five matches on the road, six if you include the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Furthermore, in eight meetings with sides in the bottom five this season, Wolves have won just two, drawn one and lost five. Of further concern was Nuno Espirito Santo’s reaction to being asked about these disappointing statistics. He stormed out of his post-match press conference when asked about them.
“How many games have we had at home? Come on [storms out].” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Once again, Wolves also displayed their struggles to produce positive results and performances when they concede the first goal. After Redmond took the lead in the second minute, Nuno’s side did not look capable of their best. It was not the first time this season that has happened, and it is starting to become a regular occurrence too. Wolves conceded the first goal at Burnley in Double Gameweek 32, at Huddersfield in Gameweek 28, and at home to Newcastle in Gameweek 26.
“In the first minute, that’s where it went wrong. Just like in the Burnley, we had to be coming from behind – we had to follow and come back from 1-0. They got the first goal way too quick and we were behind straight away, so it’s difficult. It’s important to keep them zero, because it gets very difficult to come from behind every time, and we have to see what we can do. In the first half we had three chances against, and two times it goes in, so we have to do something.” – Leander Dendoncker
Such circumstances did not help popular FPL forward Raúl Jiménez (£6.9m) maintain his impressive run of form. After nine attacking returns in as many matches before Double Gameweek 34, he blanked at Southampton from just two efforts on goal, one in the box and one on target. Crucially, his expected goals (xG) score was just 0.17, with the quality of his chances very low. It was a similar story for strike-partner Diogo Jota (£6.2m) who did not register a single shot on goal.
The key problem for Wolves was their defensive organisation, which was not up to its usual standard. That ensured that they still have just one clean sheet in their last nine matches, and will probably discourage investment in options such as Matt Doherty (£5.3m) or Jonny (£4.3m) ahead of Double Gameweek 35.
“Our defensive organisation was very, very bad. We made mistakes since the beginning of the game. We weren’t able to control. Mistakes happen, we have to know why. It’s not about what you miss, it’s about what you concede, this game is what you concede, what you concede in your own box, and we conceded too much. It was not a good performance and it’s something that we have to analyse deeply inside and look at. Since the beginning of the game we didn’t do very well, our defensive organisation was not good.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
However, despite another frustrating result for Wolves on the road, their prospects for Double Gameweek 35 are by no means bleak. It is very clear that they are much better at home, with four wins from the last five Premier League matches at Molineux, featuring 12 goals and two clean sheets. Both of their matches in the next round of fixtures are at home, against Brighton and Arsenal, neither of whom has a decent defensive record on the road.
Southampton XI (3-4-2-1): Gunn; Vestergaard, Yoshida, Bednarek; Bertrand, Højbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Valery (Stephens 84′); Redmond, Sims (Romeu 61′); Ings (Long 61′).
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Boly, Coady, Saïss; Jonny, Moutinho, Neves (Gibbs-White 69′), Dendoncker, Doherty (Traoré 59′); Jota (Costa 87′), Jiménez.