Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley
Goals: John Lundstram x2 (£4.8m), John Fleck (£4.8m)
Assists: Lys Mousset x3 (£4.9m)
Bonus Points: Lundstram x3, Mousset x2, Fleck x1
On Saturday afternoon, Fantasy Premier League managers were singing along with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl: “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes.”
Sheffield United’s 3-0 win over will now go down in Fantasy folklore for the day that Sir John of the House Lundstram (£4.8m), first of his name (and almost certainly the very last), racked up a massive 21-point score.
The FPL defender had already cemented as the legend of 2019/20 before Gameweek 11, but two goals, a clean sheet and maximum bonus promoted Lundstram into the pantheon of Fantasy gods.
It seems somewhat fitting that this historic match took place almost ten years to the day after then penalty-taking Burnley defender Graham Alexander famously registered the same score against Hull.
Not to take anything away from the Clarets’ former captain but Lundstram has shown time and time again this season that he is completely different gravy.
The Blades’ number seven is truly unlike anything we’ve ever seen in FPL history. A £4.0m (originally) defender who starts every game in central midfield and carries both creativity and goal threat from open play regularly.
His third and fourth attacking returns of the campaign took Lundstram’s 2019/20 total to 68 points, consolidating his position as the top-scoring defender, 14 clear of Ricardo Pereira (£6.3m).
Only four players in other positions have a current score higher than the Sheffield United man, which means he is by far the best value asset of the season.
Lundstram’s score in that department is 14.5 points per million spent, Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m) in second place on 10.7.
The former Oxford United man is always capable of registering points from several different avenues, but against Burnley, it was his goal threat that came to the fore.
Lundstram often looked like Sheffield United’s most-likely scoring option able to provide the extra man in the penalty box, with the Blades’ five-man midfield too much to handle for Burnley’s four-man system.
He opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a late arrival into the box, akin to Frank Lampard goals of old.
Centre-forward David McGoldrick (£5.4m) drifted left and crossed into the box, where Lys Mousset (£4.9m) flicked it into the path of the onrushing Lundstram, who slotted home cooly.
His presence as the extra man paid dividends just before half-time too.
Enda Stevens (£5.1m) played in one of his trademark early crosses, which Mousset flicked on once again, Lundstram this time sliding in at the back post to crash home a second goal.
“The system suits him. It’s a slightly different shape. John (Fleck) and Oliver Norwood were the two best players in the division last year for me when we had two sitting midfielders. But we always knew what John was about. We always knew his qualities, the same as (Paul Coutts) before him. He’s raised his game over the summer, as we all knew we would have to do.” – Chris Wilder
Lundstram has now started as many matches in 2019/20 as he did in the entirety of Sheffield United’s promotion-winning campaign and looks very locked into the starting eleven each week.
Even outside of Fantasy, his rise to prominence in Chris Wilder’s team is truly incredible. The manager wanted more of a box-to-box player for Premier League matches, compared to Championship encounters, and rather than find that man elsewhere, he handed a chance to someone already at Bramall Lane.
Lundstram has managed to keep summer signings Muhamed Bešić (£4.5m) and Ben Osborn (£4.7m) out of the side, although Wilder did say after the match they are putting pressure on the starting line-up.
“There are good players who aren’t playing now. Mo (Besic) and Ben (Osborn) are really pushing Flecky and John. That’s what we’re all about. Obviously, when he scores two in the Premier League, there are going to be headlines about him.” – Chris Wilder
As much as we’d love to continue waxing lyrical about Lundstram, we should also highlight the potential presented by centre-forward Mousset.
The former Bournemouth man registered three assists against Burnley and now has five attacking returns in his last five appearances.
After setting up Lundstram for his brace, Mousset played a through-ball to John Fleck (£4.8m) as he ran through the middle of Burnley’s defence. His fantastic rifled effort from the edge of the box went across Nick Pope (£4.7m) and into the bottom corner.
While a question remains about Mousset’s role in the team, there is no doubt that he can provide something for Fantasy managers after his recent run of form.
He has scored at home against top-six opposition in Arsenal, registered away from home at West Ham and set up all three goals against a Burnley side that is typically hard to break down.
However, the fact that he is yet to play 90 minutes in the league this season might be a slight concern.
Wilder seemed to indicate in the last two weeks that he is waiting for him to build-up to full match fitness.
That is why in each of his last two starts, Mousset has played 55 and 64 minutes respectively, while featuring from the bench at the London Stadium in Gameweek 10.
We should also continue to praise Sheffield United’s impressive defensive form this season.
The Blades have still only conceded eight goals since returning to the top-flight, the joint-best, level with Leicester (eight) and one better than Liverpool (nine).
Shutting out Burnley in Gameweek 11 led to a fifth clean sheet of the campaign for Dean Henderson (£4.7m) and his defensive colleagues, the joint-highest, level with Manchester City.
While a Gameweek 12 trip to Spurs might be a cause to bench defensive assets, even Lundstram (blasphemy!), there is a huge stretch of appealing matches after that which should probably warrant considering a defensive double-up.
Manchester United, somewhat short of goals right now, come to Bramall Lane in Gameweek 13 before the Blades go to Wolves the following week.
Then it’s Newcastle (home), Norwich (away), Aston Villa (home), Brighton (away) and Watford (home).
The only slight concern over Sheffield United’s defence short-term is the fitness of John Egan (£4.5m), the anchor of Wilder’s three-man back-line, who was forced off after 79 minutes on Saturday.
However, there doesn’t seem to be too much to worry about at this stage.
“He’s okay. I’ve just had a little peek to see how he is. He just didn’t feel too well.” – Chris Wilder
Meanwhile, this defeat was certainly an uncharacteristic one for Burnley, who looked a shadow of themselves in the first half, especially at the back.
Manager Sean Dyche labelled the opening period as one of the worst performances by his side since last season.
“They started better than us, more aggressive in their manner, their body language, on the front foot, more energy, more commitment to the cause, and that remained throughout the first half. We made mistakes, they capitalised on it, and we don’t want that to become a habit after last week. It was as poor a showing we’ve had since early last season, first half.” – Sean Dyche
At half-time, Dyche removed Erik Pieters (£4.7m), who had arguably been the man at fault for both of Lundstram’s goals, replacing the left-back with Charlie Taylor (£4.2m). The manager also mentioned that he probably could have taken any of the defenders off, he was that unimpressed.
“I could have changed anyone in the back four, I could have changed numerous people. It’s certainly not down to one change, nothing of the sort. You also sometimes want to give the players a chance to respond, and there was a response, a modicum of pride comes back.” – Sean Dyche
That first half will concern owners of Burnley defensive assets no doubt, as they have now conceded seven times in the last two Gameweeks.
However, they have generally been much more reliable for clean sheets at Turf Moor this season.
In five home matches, the Clarets remain joint-top for three shut-outs and are yet to concede a goal at Turf Moor to a team outside of the so-called top-six.
Furthermore, three of the next four to travel to Lancashire are West Ham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
Offensively, Burnley did not offer much either, with Chris Wood (£6.2m) still out of the side with a hamstring injury.
Ashley Barnes (£6.3m) and Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m), the former not getting a chance into the second half, which he, on the turn, blazed over the bar from close range.
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): D Henderson; O’Connell, Egan (Jagielka 79′), Basham; Stevens, Fleck, Norwood, Lundstram, Baldock; Mousset (Sharp 65′), McGoldrick (McBurnie 75′).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters (C Taylor 46′), Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil (Brady 59′), Cork, Westwood, Hendrick; Rodriguez (Vydra 78′), A Barnes.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 11
- Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 1-1 Wolves
- Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
- Brighton 2-0 Norwich
- Manchester City 2-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley
- West Ham United 2-3 Newcastle United
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City
- Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
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