Owners of attacking assets from Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers were left disappointed as the two clubs played out a goalless draw at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
We’ll assess how Messrs Vardy, Jota and Jimenez performed in our Scout Notes article below, as well as looking at the other Fantasy talking points – including a disallowed goal after VAR intervention – from the Gameweek 1 stalemate.
Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Defences were on top at the King Power Stadium in a match that featured just three shots on target.
Of the two sides’ backlines, it was arguably Wolves’ that impressed the most.
The now-familiar back three of Willy Boly, Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett (all £5.0m) were imperious, limiting the hosts’ attacking trio of James Maddison (£7.0m), Ayoze Perez (£6.5m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) to just one shot in the box all game.
Boly deservedly walked away with maximum bonus points as Wolves banked a well-earned clean sheet, with Rui Patricio (£5.0m) barely dirtying his gloves and only having to deal with one effort on target from the Foxes – an
The one glaring chance that Leicester had wasn’t even a shot: Vardy failing to make contact from three yards out when Youri Tielemans (£6.5m) fired over a low cross from the right.
The fact that Vardy had fewer touches than any of the 22 starting players in this match, and indeed one fewer than substitute Marc Albrighton (£5.5m) managed in a 14-minute cameo, was a testament to how expertly Boly and co handled the 32-
Last week we wrote how Wolves had arguably underachieved on the clean sheet front in 2018/19 given their otherwise excellent underlying defensive stats, and there is every chance that Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will crack double figures for shut-outs this campaign on the further evidence of Sunday.
Santo said of the game and his defence:
I think it was a very good game of football. Leicester are a very good team in possession of the ball.
It requires a lot of effort from us, playing together, in shape. We defended well and didn’t allow too many chances to a very good team, and we had some good chances.
Despite the Foxes having 70% of the possession, it was Wolves that looked the more likely to score.
Caglar Soyuncu (£4.5m) earned praise for his display at the heart of the Leicester defence but as a collective, the Foxes’ high backline was exposed on a handful of occasions by a direct Wolves attack.
Brendan Rodgers’ insistence on his side playing out from the back also led to a dicey moment or two.
Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) and Diogo Jota (£6.5m) both broke free of the home side’s defence early in the second half but made a hash of their chances, Jimenez dallying before producing a tame shot that was comfortably saved before Jota screwed an effort horribly wide when racing clear of Jonny Evans (£5.0m).
Jota had earlier dispossessed Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m) on the touchline but could only stumble into the turf when bearing down on Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m).
The Portuguese striker’s shooting boots may have been misplaced this weekend but he was by far Wolves’ biggest threat on Sunday, his now-familiar driving runs from deep causing problems in the hosts’ backline and leading to another chance for the recently reclassified FPL forward on 40 minutes.
Indeed, no Premier League player registered more successful take-ons than Jota in Gameweek 1.
Jimenez was relatively anonymous by comparison and certainly has much to do to convince Fantasy managers that he is worth one million extra than Jota in FPL, even if he does take the odd spot-kick.
Like Wolves’ strike duo, Leander Dendoncker (£4.5m) is owned by more than 10% of managers in FPL.
No Fantasy midfielder priced under £6.5m is owned by more FPL bosses and the budget Belgian almost rewarded those who started him in Gameweek 1 with the perfect gift, only for his 52nd-minute goal to be chalked off after VAR intervention following a Boly ‘handball’.
Boly would have been given an assist for that goal, had it stood, and the French stopper had earlier been in thick of the action when a Wolves set-piece caused havoc in the Leicester box.
FPL managers may baulk at the price rises handed out to Matt Doherty (£6.0m) and Jonny (£5.5m) – neither of whom, for once, was involved in the opposition box on Sunday – but Boly, who scored the same number of goals as the Irish wing-back in 2018/19, is an intriguing cheaper alternative.
Boly and his fellow defenders pretty much nullified all four of Vardy, Maddison, Tielemans and Perez, with Rodgers saying of the latter’s debut:
Just going to take that bit of time. Just that little bit of fitness, he’s a little bit behind because he’s missed a little bit of pre-season. But he’s always a threat, he finds the spaces and
he’s always looking to link the game and he wants to get in and score. It’s just time with him.
The Leicester boss was perhaps wary of Wolves’ attacking threat, meanwhile, opting to start defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m) over Albrighton and roll out a 4-3-3.
Explaining his formation, Rodgers said:
We played what would be 4-3-3 and that would put our front three up against their central defenders. Then, obviously, we looked to control that midfield area.
The threat that they have is that when they win it, they get two strikers through the middle and they spin out off that
I thought, in all fairness, that the players coped with it well. Cags (Soyuncu), who came in, I was really pleased for him.
Leicester City XI (4-3-3): Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell; Ndidi, Tielemans, Choudhury (Barnes 61′), Perez (Albrighton 76′), Maddison, Vardy.
Wolves XI (3-5-2): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves (Saiss 81′), Jonny; Jimenez, Jota (Cutrone 76′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea