Newcastle 0-0 Brighton
Bonus Points: Mat Ryan (£4.6m) x3, Adam Webster (£4.4m) x2, Lewis Dunk (£4.6m) x1
Brighton defensive assets finally delivered on the promise of recent weeks as they kept their second clean sheet of the season at Newcastle.
The Seagulls had made some progress at the back in recent weeks and were unfortunate not to get defensive returns in the Gameweek 5 draw with Burnley.
It is therefore not surprising that they kept the clean sheet against a Newcastle side that has struggled in front of goal in 2019/20.
That said, it still took an impressive display from Mat Ryan (£4.6m) to keep the scores level as he denied Miguel Almirón (£5.9m) in the first half and made four saves.
That earned the goalkeeper all three bonus points in a game where it was hard to get in with a share of the spoils.
Manager Graham Potter continued to live up to his reputation as a tinker-man, altering the side that drew with Burnley last time out.
Having played left wing-back in Gameweek 5, Dan Burn (£4.5m) tucked back into a three-man defence alongside Lewis Dunk (£4.6m) and Adam Webster (£4.4m).
Interestingly, it was Shane Duffy (£5.0m) who dropped to the bench for this one.
Despite being deployed in a back-three, Burn still made plenty of runs down the left-hand side of the pitch and often occupied the position of a left wing-back, overlapping nicely with winger Steven Alzate (£4.5m), who was making his debut.
Burn came very close to earning bonus points, looking like he would get one at full-time, but Dunk pushed him out after things were re-calculated.
Having started every single match for Brighton under Potter, Burn has certainly added himself to the list of options at his club.
However, Fantasy managers may have to wait a little while before piling in on the Seagulls’ defensive assets as their fixtures indicate rotation is probably the best policy.
The next two Gameweeks pit Brighton against Chelsea (away) and Spurs (home), which is somewhat offputting.
The Gameweek 9 and 10 fixtures of Aston Villa (away) and Everton (home) look more appealing, although it is worth saying neither of those sides has struggled in front goal as much as Newcastle have this season.
In truth, neither side created much at St James’ Park on Saturday evening in a match that was not an impressive advert for Brighton or Newcastle offensive assets.
The Seagulls may have more excuses when fending off criticism of their attack though, as Potter was somewhat restricted in his options for the game.
Leandro Trossard (£5.9m), who was arguably one of Brighton’s most exciting players in the first four matches, continues to be sidelined with a groin injury, while Solly March (£4.9m) was ruled out of Gameweek 6 with a hamstring issue.
Meanwhile, Glenn Murray (£5.7m) rolled his ankle against Burnley and was declared not fit for 90 minutes.
Therefore, Potter stationed Alzate and the returning Martín Montoya (£4.5m) at wing-backs, with Aaron Mooy (£4.9m) and Pascal Groß (£6.5m) as a double-pivot of number 10s behind Neal Maupay (£6.0m).
Murray and March are currently doubtful for the EFL Cup clash with Aston Villa but could come back into the starting line-up for the visit to Chelsea and other reinforcements may be on their way in light of Potter’s latest press conference.
“Glenn rolled his ankle (on Friday) in a little contact with Bongy (Gaeten Bong). He felt that 20 minutes was the max for him but, just how the game was, I didn’t want to throw him into that and do further damage. Hopefully, that should be okay for the weekend – maybe Wednesday, we will see. Solly just had a tightness really after the game against Burnley. Hopefully, he can be ready for the weekend. Leo (Balogun) is making good progress, so is Alireza (Jahanbakhsh). We are hopeful that Berny (Bernardo) may be out on the pitch next week. We have just had a little bit of a period were it never rains but it pours. But that gives opportunities as well and you can see there is a good group.” – Graham Potter
Former Brentford centre-forward Maupay was certainly a busy man against Newcastle and continues to demonstrate some potential for the future in FPL.
He shot seven times at St James’ Park, but only one of these landed on target in a game characterised by wastefulness by both sides.
Maupay also picked up a minor injury against Newcastle and will miss the midweek EFL action.
“Neal [Maupay] had a cut on his knee, but he’ll be okay for the weekend.” – Graham Potter
A relatively long list of injury problems for Brighton could encourage Fantasy managers in possession of Chelsea options Tammy Abraham (£7.4m) and Mason Mount (£6.4m).
The former is currently the second most popular asset in the latest captain poll after scoring seven goals in the first six matches of the season.
Also of encouragement to Abraham and Mount owners is Potter’s new style at Brighton very much centres around possession and movement of the ball.
In recent years, Chris Hughton’s version of the side was often focussed around placing 10 men behind the ball, which often restricted attacking options.
However, if Potter is hoping to play a possession-based game at Stamford Bridge in Gameweek 6, as referenced as a possibility by key midfielder Dale Stephens (£4.5m), that could play into Chelsea’s hands.
As the away side, and with Potter still relatively new to Brighton, if they play themselves into trouble, Abraham and Mount could capitalise.
“No, honestly not (I’ve not played in a system quite like this before). It’s the first time I have played in a system that probably suits me better, I would say. It probably suits the players and individuals we have at the club at the minute. Everyone is enjoying playing in a team that is dominating possession.” – Dale Stephens
“I think that might be the plan (to try to get on the ball). We will work towards the back end of the week but it is what we have done ever since the manager walked through the door.” – Dale Stephens
For now, Newcastle will continue to be seen as a side to boost the clean sheet appeal of others, as they posed very little going forward on Saturday.
Owners of Leicester, Manchester United and Chelsea defensive assets, the Magpies next three opponents will certainly be licking their lips.
Steve Bruce went with the 5-4-1 formation which featured Christian Atsu (£5.4m) and Almirón on the flank of midfield and Joelinton (£5.9m) up-front.
As per usual, the Brazilian centre-forward was left relatively isolated and Newcastle only looked more dangerous in the second half when he was given some support.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.4m) came on for Almirón to add a bit of energy and drive, returning after an injury.
“I’m very happy, because it’s been a long time for me with injury. Normally, I don’t get this injury, but this happened because the Premier League is very physical and I have to adapt myself quickly. It was hard (being injured), because I trained hard to come back and everybody didn’t want this to happen again. I will work hard to be good for next week. But I’m really happy to be back – I would prefer to be back with a win, but we’ve drawn 0-0 and we have to keep going for the next game.” – Allan Saint-Maximin
Joining Saint-Maximin on the pitch was Andy Carroll (£5.4m), who replaced right-back Jetro Willems (£4.5m) to make his first Newcastle appearance since the 2010/11 season.
The forward’s determination on the ball and threat in the air complemented Saint-Maximin’s movement nicely and certainly helped turn the game slightly in the Magpies’ favour, but it proved to be too little too late in the end.
“It changed the dynamic of the game because with them coming on, especially Allan and the way he plays and what he brings to the team. It got the crowd off their feet and got them more into the game which helped us push on in the second half. We need to get all of these players fully fit because we need it. We need every single player in the squad as we’ve had a depleted squad at the start of the season with five or six injuries, especially at the top of the pitch. The fitter they can get, the more options we have and we can only be better for it.” – Isaac Hayden
“I think if you asked me after the first half, I would have bitten your hand off for a point but in the second half, we changed our style and, on another day, we could have taken three points. We had a great chance in the first half to go ahead and you never know what could have happened after that. That’s football for you and it’s about taking your chances at the top end of the pitch and if you don’t, you’re always going to pay for that in dropping points.” – Isaac Hayden
Newcastle United XI (5-4-1): Dúbravka; Willems (Carroll 82′), Dummett, Lascelles, Schär, Manquillo; Atsu, Shelvey (Ki 73′), Hayden, Almirón (Saint-Maximin 73′); Joelinton.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI: Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Webster; Alzate, Pröpper, D Stephens, Montoya; Mooy (Connolly 70′), Groß (Bong 81′); Maupay (Bissouma 82′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 6:
- Southampton 1-3 Bournemouth
- Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Burnley 2-0 Norwich City
- Everton 0-2 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 8-0 Watford
- Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool