Brighton ensured that Double Gameweek 34 will live long in the memory as one of the worst in Fantasy Premier League history.
Across their two home games, for which they were heavily backed defensively, they conceded seven goals and did not net a single one of their own.
Owners of their players may already be considering moving them on, especially with the Bench Boost set for extensive use in Double Gameweek 35.
We haven’t got a great deal to say about this match, as Brighton’s performance both on Tuesday and in recent weeks tells us only one thing…
Brighton 0-2 Cardiff
Goals: Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (£4.8m), Sean Morrison (£4.7m)
Assists: Junior Hoilett (£5.0m), Victor Camarasa (£4.5m)
Another dismal performance for Brighton on Tuesday night has all but written off their use to Fantasy managers for the 2018/19 season, as they are pulled perilously closer to the relegation zone. The Seagulls were backed so heavily in Double Gameweek 34 because of their home form, even in spite of dreadful results away from the Amex Stadium. However, they failed to deliver even against favourable opponents. With trips to Wolves and Tottenham coming up in Double Gameweek 35, and Arsenal and Manchester City awaiting them in the final two matches of the season, managers are already considering shipping their Seagulls out, with good reason.
Shane Duffy (£4.8m) was the chief disappointment as he managed just one point across two fixtures. Once again, Brighton were found wanting defensively, this time conceding twice to a side that had not scored away from home in the Premier League since February. In fact, it was the first time all season that Cardiff had enjoyed a lead at half-time. In the end, it proved to be the Bluebirds first away top-flight win by two clear goals since 1956. In both matches of Double Gameweek 34, there have been unexpected new levels of low for Brighton to reach.
In all fairness, there was not much Mat Ryan (£4.4m) could have done about Nathaniel Mendez-Laing‘s (£4.8m) opening goal. Receiving the ball from Junior Hoilett (£5.0m), he curled an effort from distance into the top corner, very much like the Canadian who assisted him did twice already this season. However, Sean Morrison‘s (£4.7m) second-half header, that removed another point from Brighton defenders, could have been easily avoided with better organisation.
That seems to have been their downfall in recent weeks, especially in home matches. In their first season and three-quarters in the Premier League, they lost just once at the Amex to a side outside the top six. Since Gameweek 26, they have been easily overturned by Burnley, Southampton, Bournemouth and now, even Cardiff.
While Brighton’s defence has been exceptionally poor, their attack has been even worse in recent weeks. The Seagulls have not scored in any of their last four matches, and are bottom of the league for every relevant attacking underlying statistic. In that time the Seagulls rank 20th for
Despite reverting to the tried and tested 4-4-1-1 formation for the first time in some weeks against Cardiff, Chris Hughton’s side really did offer very little on Tuesday night. Glenn Murray (£6.4m) came in for Florin Andone (£5.0m), while Pascal Groß (£6.7m) made his first start since Gameweek 28 in the number 10 role. Neither player managed a shot on target.
The only player who offered much was the returning Solly March (£4.7m), deployed on the right wing in his first start since Gameweek 28. No Brighton player shot more often in the box than him, while he was top for chances created too.
Crucially, the fact that the Seagulls are so blunt in their attacks right now bodes well for those backing Wolves and Spurs defensive assets in Double Gameweek 35.
Meanwhile, Cardiff players proved us many wrong by securing two places in the Double Gameweek 34 Dream Team. Morrison’s clean sheet and goal earned him a total of 16 points across his two matches, while Victor Camarasa (£4.5m) managed seven points after assisting the centre-back’s headed strike.
Whether either can seriously command Fantasy appeal between now and the end of the season remains to be seen though. Camarasa will naturally receive more attention given his price and how well he fits into midfield structures, while Morrison’s goal was just his first of the season. It’s a home match with Liverpool up next, with Crystal Palace and Manchester United still to come. Maybe their next best opportunity for points will be the Gameweek 36 trip to Fulham.
The desire to stay in the Premier League was evident in Cardiff’s play on Tuesday night and it was clear that they were considerably more focussed in their hopes to stay up than Brighton were. That could be the deciding factor in the Bluebirds’ upcoming performances as we reach that stage of the season where aims and objectives, or lack of them, for teams start to play a part in our Fantasy decisions.
There were a number of injury considerations for Neil Warnock to clear up after the game. Harry Arter (£4.9m) missed out on the game entirely after, strangely, picking up a problem when coming off the pitch against Burnley. Meanwhile, Aron Gunnarsson (£4.4m) had to come off in the second half at Brighton with a back spasm.
“He just nicked his calf, believe it or not, running off when he was substituted. There are some silly injuries out there. I couldn’t risk him tonight.” – Neil Warnock
“Yeah we didn’t want to risk him any more. He’s got a spasm in his back. He’ll be alright. He just needs it. I was glad when he came off. Bacuna was like Pogba when he came on.” – Neil Warnock
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-4-1-1): Ryan; Bernardo, Dunk, Duffy, Bruno; March, Pröpper, Stephens, Jahanbakhsh (Izquierdo 69′); Groß (Andone 54′); Murray.
Cardiff City XI (4-2-3-1): Etheridge; Bennett, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Peltier; Ralls, Gunnarsson (Bacuna 55′); Hoilett, Camarasa, Mendez-Laing (Harris 80′); Niasse (Zohoré 84′).