Aston Villa 2-2 Burnley
Goals: Anwar El Ghazi (£5.5m), John McGinn (£5.7m) | Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m), Chris Wood (£6.2m)
Assists: Frederic Guilbert (£4.4m), Trézéguet (£5.3m) | Erik Pieters (£4.8m), Matt Lowton (£4.5m)
Bonus Points: Matt Targett (£4.4m) x3, Pieters x2, McGinn x1, Wood x1
John McGinn (£5.7m) proved once again the value he can offer this season as he scored for the second game in succession.
The Aston Villa midfielder now has three goals and one assist this season and could have come away from Gameweek 7 with a hat-trick had he been a little more fortunate.
McGinn was arguably Villa’s primary goal threat against Burnley as three big chances fell his way.
In the first half, he headed over from close range before he swept home Conor Hourihane‘s (£5.7m) cross from the left – although that was correctly disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for an offside in the build-up.
However, McGinn got his well-deserved goal in the second half firing home a cross from Trézéguet (£5.3m).
Not surprisingly, the Scottish international remains the top-scoring midfielder priced at £6.0m or under.
After the first seven matches, he has scored 38 points, averaging 5.4 per game. That makes him the best value in his price bracket too.
Aston Villa’s fixtures remain positive when it comes to attacking potential, Norwich (away) and Brighton (home) their next two opponents.
Despite Manchester City (away) and Liverpool (home) in Gameweeks 10 and 11, McGinn owners will fancy their chances in the following two matches when they travel to Wolves and then host a Newcastle side that lost 5-0 to Leicester on Sunday.
“(McGinn) is excellent. He’s been consistently good in all our performances. He consistently looks like he’s going to score goals. He’s scored two and had one disallowed. But it’s his all-round game. He’s all-action, wins free-kicks, gets into the opposition box, scores goals. Unfortunately, I don’t think he was protected as much as he should have been this weekend. They have targeted him because he’s one of our best players, that’s for sure.” – Dean Smith
Those in possession of or interested in Jack Grealish (£5.9m) will have been encouraged by Dean Smith’s tactical tweak against Burnley.
The midfielder was pushed into a more advanced role in Gameweek 7, deployed in the front three of the 4-3-3 system.
It was Trézéguet who made way with Hourihane returning to the side to fill the gap in central midfield.
By all accounts, this new system, with Grealish drifting into the middle from the left was successful, helping Villa fill the box with more bodies when on the attack. With the creative Grealish also involved in this group of players, it ensured that Smith’s team was more fluent going forward too.
Although Grealish did not get any attacking returns in this one, Fantasy managers should keep an eye on how often Smith stations him in the front three, as it could lead to more points potential in the future.
“I was really pleased with our game plan. We played Jack a little bit higher. I decided on it on Thursday. I have seen enough of Burnley. They like to go and press. But I felt they left gaps between their midfielders and their back four. I thought we could exploit that through Grealish and El Ghazi and I thought that worked really well in the first half. They had a number of chances. – Dean Smith
However, Gameweek 7 did not show the best of centre-forward Wesley (£6.0m) who was largely poor.
He struggled to hold his own against Burnley’s battling centre-backs James Tarkowski (£5.0m) and Ben Mee (£5.0m) and seemed to lack confidence in front of goal, giving up chances to shoot in order to attempt passes that were never on.
There was some concern for the player when he collapsed and had to be put in the recovery position but he was able to carry on and make it to the 88th minute was he was replaced for tactical reasons by Keinan Davis (£4.5m).
The 21-year-old forward, listed as a midfielder in FPL, could well see some more involvement in the coming weeks. With Wesley’s performances largely disappointing fans and journalists alike, the local press have been calling for Davis to start the next Premier League match, although Smith still had praise for Wesley at full time.
“I think the lads were worried at one stage but (Wesley) was fine. I think it fired him up, if I’m honest. He was a little bit sloppy at times in the first half but that fired him up and he became a better player.” – Dean Smith
While Aston Villa’s attacking players are showing some promise, it is proving difficult to consider their defensive options as they continue to give up leads.
Coming into Gameweek 7, no team had let more points slip from winning positions than Villa (six). That number has increased to eight with leads against Spurs, Arsenal and now Burnley all given up.
After two consecutive clean sheets at home, Villa conceded twice although perhaps we should not be surprised by that.
Some would argue that they rode their luck at the back against Everton and West Ham, while Burnley are still yet to blank away from home this season.
Unmarked substitute Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) rose highest to nod Erik Pieters‘ (£4.8m) cross in the second half before Chris Wood (£6.2m) converted Matt Lowton‘s (£4.5m) ball into the box moments after McGinn’s strike.
“The second goal was definitely a lapse of concentration. They have kicked off. We went to press them. We didn’t get tight enough on Westwood. He plays to Wood, who comes off short – and we don’t get tight enough on him. Then they switch it and we don’t stop the cross. I am disappointed because it was three points we deserved – and I am disappointed with the manner of the goals we’ve conceded. We need to kick on with these games and win them.” – Dean Smith
There were still some positives to glean from one or two Villa defensive players though.
After weeks of promise, another good offensive performance from Frederic Guilbert (£4.4m) led to his first assist of the season.
Meanwhile, Matt Targett (£4.4m) made his home debut on the opposite flank, giving the Villa side better balance than when Guilbert and Neil Taylor (£4.5m) play together.
The 0.4% invested in Targett got off fortunately as he was taken off in the 61st minute, clean sheet still intact and therefore claimed maximum bonus points.
However, the reason for his departure from the pitch may concern his owners and Villa fans alike, with a potential hamstring injury to deal with.
“Targett is more worrying. He felt his hamstring – the opposite one from last time. But I am hoping it’s more of a cramp issue than anything else. He played 90 minutes on Wednesday. There was a risk to play him and get through the 90 minutes. But I thought he was having a really good game and gave us a different outlet going forward.” – Dean Smith
Just as the home side made tactical changes at Villa Park, Sean Dyche also made changes of his own at half-time.
With Jack Cork (£5.0m) forced off with a shoulder problem, the Burnley manager opted to bring on Rodriguez rather than another central midfielder.
He deployed the former West Bromwich Albion forward on the right of a front-three, Wood through the middle and Ashley Barnes (£6.6m) on the left.
Midfield wide-men Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) and Jeff Hendrick (£5.4m) tucked into central positions with the full-backs providing the width.
That was good news for both Pieters and Lowton as they were the two players to get assists for Burnley.
The left-back now has three this season, while Lowton, upon his return to Villa Park chalked up his first of the campaign.
That said, neither of them was able to keep a clean sheet as Burnley are yet to keep one in an away match in 2019/20.
The shift of goals from one forward to the other continues at Burnley.
Barnes is now four straight games without finding the net while Wood has registered three in his last two.
Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Heaton; Targett (Taylor 62′), Mings, Engels, Guilbert; Hourihane, Nakamba, McGinn; Grealish, Wesley (Davis 88′), El Ghazi (Trézéguet 70′).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Cork (Rodriguez 46′), Westwood, Hendrick; A Barnes (Brady 83′), Wood.
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