Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Norwich City
- Goals: Shane Duffy (£4.9m), Leandro Trossard (£5.8m)
- Assists: Trossard, Martin Montoya (£4.5m)
- Bonus: Montoya x3, Trossard x2, Lewis Dunk (£4.6m) x1
The return to fitness of an early-season differential has caught our attention over the last fortnight.
Leandro Trossard (£5.8m) hinted at his Fantasy potential in the opening month of the 2019/20 campaign, scoring against West Ham United in Gameweek 2 and catching the eye in this new-look Brighton and Hove Albion side.
The Belgian was indeed among the top five Fantasy Premier League midfielders for expected goal involvement (xGI) in his first three starts in English football.
His eight-week absence has resulted in a price drop and, besides an Aston Villa player or two, there are few more attractive midfield options in the sub-£6.0m bracket at present.
The Belgium international returned from injury in Gameweek 10, coming off the bench to provide a telling assist in the 3-2 win over Everton.
Again named as a substitute against Norwich City on Saturday, Trossard once more changed the game upon his introduction.
The summer signing from Genk first showed predatory instincts to get onto the end of a Martin Montoya (£4.5m) cross on 67 minutes before showcasing his set-piece threat when providing a whipped delivery that substitute Shane Duffy (£4.9m) converted to seal the win.
The Belgian created twice as many chances as anyone on show at the Amex, despite playing for little more than half an hour.
His manager, Graham Potter, said of his contribution after the game:
Leandro got the goal which changed the game – they’re the most important thing in football.
It’s nice for him to come on and influence the game again like he did last weekend, as you can imagine he’s really eager to start – but he’s still coming back from an injury and so it’s good for us to be able to use him in the latter stages of the game.
Trossard himself said:
I like to play between the lines, find space and help the team by getting assists or scoring goals. If you make the right runs, then you can get the ball and score. That’s an important thing for all the forward players in this team.
You’re always a bit disappointed if you’re not starting, but it’s the coach who decides and you have to deal with it and respond on the pitch. I feel like I’ve been doing that.
Overall I’m really happy and feeling good, as there are no restrictions for me on the pitch and I want to keep going in this way.
An inverted left-winger by trade, Trossard’s return would on paper have implications for Steven Alzate‘s (£4.5m) first-team opportunities: the young midfielder, along with Aaron Mooy (£4.8m), has been deputising for the Belgian down that flank in his absence.
The reality is far from that straightforward, with Potter’s malleable squad and tactics meaning that the likes of Pascal Gross (£6.4m) and Aaron Connolly (£4.7m) are perhaps equally at risk in the attacking midfield and forward positions.
It is Gross, indeed, who Trossard has replaced in each of the last two Gameweeks, with the versatility of a number of Albion’s players meaning that an on-field tactical reshuffle poses little problem these days.
The next month or so might be a decent audition period for Trossard, then, to see how he fits into this Brighton set-up, how regular a starter he will become and whether he can sustain his impressive form for when the fixtures ease up.
Neal Maupay‘s (£6.0m) ownership has almost tripled in the past fortnight but the budget FPL forward wasn’t able to add to the goal he scored against Everton in Gameweek 10 in this latest home fixture.
It wasn’t for the lack of opportunities: Maupay had seven of them against the Canaries but a combination of wasteful finishing and some strong goalkeeping from Tim Krul (£4.5m) meant that Saturday afternoon was a frustrating one for the former Brentford striker and his FPL owners.
That lack of a clinical streak has dogged Maupay all season and he has only scored from four of his 36 shots in 2019/20.
Only two clubs have kept more clean sheets than the Seagulls this season but interest in their defence will likely be lukewarm for the time being, with Manchester United, Leicester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Wolves to come next.
Albion may have lost one of their regular centre-halves for a significant period of time, too, with Adam Webster (£4.4m) having been stretchered off in the first half.
Potter wasn’t able to offer any information on Webster’s ankle injury but said of Duffy and the impressive Lewis Dunk (£4.6m):
Lewis has been really impressive and I thought he was superb again today.
He brings the ball down in some areas where other defenders might just look to clear their lines quickly. That sets up another attack for ourselves, and so it’s a really big thing to have because that’s an important thing for how we want to play.
I thought Shane did really well in the game and made a big contribution to a good defensive performance and a clean sheet.
We all know he’s dangerous attacking in the box and I’m delighted for him because he’s had a tough time where he’s not been playing.
Norwich’s Premier League honeymoon is now very much over, as is the love-in with Todd Cantwell (£4.8m) and Teemu Pukki (£6.8m), who were sold by over 500,000 FPL managers combined in the run-up to Gameweek 11.
The pair are continuing to lose owners and Saturday’s performance won’t have helped, with Pukki’s two efforts on goal both blocked before they could trouble Mathew Ryan (£4.7m).
The worry from a Fantasy perspective is that the Brighton goalkeeper indeed didn’t have a single save to make all match; if the defensively-suspect Canaries aren’t firing going forward, then they are of little use to FPL managers.
Marco Stiepermann (£5.3m) did hit the bar with a dipping first-half effort but that was as good as it got for Daniel Farke’s side, who now face a crucial match against fellow strugglers Watford on Friday.
That game could well represent last-chance saloon territory for the remaining owners of Pukki and co.
Cantwell may not even make the starting XI in Gameweek 12: the budget midfielder only featured as a second-half substitute against the Seagulls and the return to fitness of Onel Hernandez (£5.3m) provides him with direct competition down the left flank.
Reflecting on the game, Farke said;
We have to accept this loss. In general, a deserved win for Brighton if you judge it by the amount of chances. They had the better chances as well.
We were not too far away from a good result. Our approach for 65 minutes was pretty solid and compact. We had the best chance as well with Marco Stiepermann when he hit the bar.
But from minute 50 they put a lot of pressure on us and as a newly promoted side, you have to accept these periods.
The first goal is disappointing. It was an easy throw=in after a break. We have to be sharper and more switched on to block the cross and defend the movement on the near post.
If we keep it tight they get more nervous and we have space on the counter.
Brighton XI (4-4-2): Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Webster (Duffy 7′), Burn; Propper, Stephens, Alzate, Gross (Trossard 59′); Connolly (Schelotto 86′), Maupay.
Norwich XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Tettey (Srbeny 83′), Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull (Cantwell 83′), McLean; Hernandez, Stiepermann (Drmic 74′), Buendia; Pukki.
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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