Chelsea and Liverpool were both in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday night and we round up the key headlines for Fantasy managers in our Scout Notes article below.
Chelsea 4-4 Ajax
- Goals: Jorginho (£5.1m) x2, Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m), Reece James (£5.0m)
- Assists: Christian Pulisic (£7.3m), Tammy Abraham (£7.9m), Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.9m), Kurt Zouma (£4.7m)
The 37.2% of Fantasy Premier League managers who own Mason Mount (£6.9m) face a nervy wait over the next few days after the Chelsea midfielder picked up an ankle injury in the Blues’ 4-4 draw with nine-man Ajax on Tuesday.
Mount hobbled from the field of play after an hour of last night’s game, having taken a hit to the same ankle he injured ahead of Gameweek 6.
Speaking after full-time, Frank Lampard said of his player:
His ankle is strapped, we hope it’s relatively minor, but that’s one for the morning.
Mount has risen in price (£0.9m) more than any other FPL midfielder this season and many Fantasy managers will have value tied up in the popular mid-price asset, so ditching him – should it come to that – won’t be an easy decision.
We await further prognosis from Lampard in his pre-Gameweek 12 press conference on Friday but should Mount be unavailable for the visit of Crystal Palace (and there is no suggestion yet that he will be), then he at least has a further fortnight to recover over the international break.
Mount had endured a fairly difficult evening before that, being unable to influence the game in his 60-minute showing and failing to register a single shot or key pass.
The midfielder’s passing accuracy was also the worst of all the Chelsea players on show.
In truth, the Blues looked better for when Christian Pulisic (£7.3m) moved into the number ten role after Mount’s withdrawal – although Ajax being reduced to nine men after a double-dismissal at 4-1 obviously aided the Blues’ cause.
The USA international had, for the third game running in a Premier League or UEFA Champions League match, been given the nod to start ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.9m) down the Chelsea left.
It was from Pulisic’s darting run into the Ajax box that Lampard’s side scored their first goal, with Jorginho (£5.1m) – now firmly established as the Blues’ first-choice penalty taker – converting from the spot after the American had been felled.
Chelsea had gone behind after just two minutes of Wednesday’s encounter and were trailing 4-1 before the game had reached the hour-mark, with some sloppy defending and the trademark fallibility from set plays in evidence.
Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) had put through his own net from an inswinging free-kick to give Ajax the lead, while Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m) also scored a comical own-goal after being caught out by Hakim Ziyech’s curling dead-ball delivery.
The Chelsea backline were also found wanting as Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek were left unmarked to add to the visitors’ tally.
The slack defensive display may be the final nail in Marcos Alonso‘s (£6.3m) coffin from a Fantasy perspective.
The full-back had already lost his place to the fit-again Emerson Palmieri (£5.5m) in Gameweek 11 and this latest performance will surely have made Lampard’s selection decision easier this Saturday, with Alonso poor at either end of the field.
The Chelsea head coach’s decision to switch Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m) over to left-back at half-time spoke volumes, although ‘Dave’ himself might be nervously looking over his shoulder following the second-half display of substitute Reece James (£5.0m) at right-back and Lampard’s post-game words.
The Chelsea boss said:
Reece is a fantastic young player. He gives what you saw, and he will get much better because he’s 19.
I felt we needed to change to get a bit more for us on the right-hand side. Reece can deliver crosses with great quality. He’s powerful and joins in. He knows we have Azpi there, our captain, but there are things we can do to change sometimes.
He’s going to be a top player for the club. He’s got great quality. When you look at the modern full-back, the requirement to go forward and be a threat, hopefully, Reece can do that for us.
Azpilicueta and James were both on the scoresheet as Chelsea’s full-backs were given license to get forward, with Azpilicueta tapping in Abraham’s goalbound shot from close range and James completing the famous comeback with a 74th-minute leveller.
Azpilicueta thought he had a second goal to his name, too, only for his ‘winner’ to be chalked off for a handball after VAR intervention.
Jorginho had stroked in his second penalty of the match in between those two goals and again caught the eye alongside Mateo Kovacic (£5.3m), although that partnership will be broken up in Gameweek 12 as the Italian serves a suspension.
Mount wasn’t the only attacking asset to have an off-day as Chelsea fell 4-1 behind, with Willian (£7.1m) perhaps below his usual standards and Abraham wasteful in front of goal.
The fact that Abraham was still getting plenty of chances – eight in all – would have been of encouragement to his owners, and there were some clear-cut ones within that.
FPL’s most-owned player did finish expertly when clean through on goal in the first half but saw that effort wiped out for offside.
Hailing his side’s comeback and the contribution of several senior players, Lampard said afterwards:
For a performance like today, you need characters, personalities. It would have been easy to turn it in at 4-1 down and give it up, but we never did. The experienced players drove the team: Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Azpilicueta. Those players really pushed tonight and I loved it.
The moments we conceded in the first half were a mixture of sloppiness, and also some bad fortune. I felt we were in the game because of our pressing off the ball. We just needed a bit more in the final third, and we needed to lift the spirit of the stadium.
I’m delighted with that part of it. We are a probably a bit disappointed in the end not to win it, but in the cold light of day we were 4-1 down, so it was a good result on those terms.
Elsewhere on the injury front, N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) and Andreas Christensen (£4.9m) made their comebacks but were both unused substitutes as Lampard threw on more attack-minded options with the Blues trailing.
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso (James 46′); Kovacic (Batshuayi 87′), Jorginho; Willian, Mount (Hudson-Odoi 60′), Pulisic; Abraham.
Liverpool 2-1 Genk
- Goals: Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.4m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.2m)
- Assists: Mohamed Salah (£12.3m)
There were welcome breathers for three key FPL assets as Liverpool made hard work of defeating Genk at Anfield.
Sadio Mane (£12.0m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.9m) were rested to the bench on Tuesday night, with all three players emerging as second-half substitutes to see their team over the line.
Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) lasted the full 90 minutes but that in itself may be a positive for the Egyptian’s ever-dwindling owners in FPL, with the run-out at least suggesting that he can last a full game; Jurgen Klopp had said after the Aston Villa match on Saturday that Salah was only able to feature for 65 minutes following his recent ankle injury.
The Egypt international’s sharpness was also encouraging and in many ways, this could have been a Salah performance from at any point over the last year: dangerous, full of running, plenty of shots and ultimately a bit wasteful.
Underlying stats have never been Salah’s problem and there were another five goal attempts last night, along with four key passes.
The Egyptian often needs plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet, though, and his goal conversion rate has been down at a relatively poor 16.1% and 13.5% in 2018/19 and 2019/20 (for context, Mane’s rates are 25.3% and 22.2% in the last two seasons).
He was again profligate against the Belgian side, either firing wide from good positions or opting to dribble down cul-de-sacs, but all in all this was a more positive outing for Salah after his concerning, fitness-affected display at Villa Park.
The premium FPL midfielder certainly seemed to benefit from playing more centrally on Tuesday, with the Egyptian and Divock Origi (£5.3m) profiting from a fine display by Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (£6.2m) in the ‘false nine’ position.
Explaining his tactical tweak after full-time, Klopp said:
We could have scored goals already in the first half. It was clear it will be a bit tricky in some departments because the front three never played together in these positions and in a formation like this.
But we wanted to have Ox between the lines, to give him the space to turn and run and face the last line, giving us options right and left. That worked out pretty well sometimes. We could have scored more often and that would have completely changed the game.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is in form in front of goal at present, adding to his brace in the reverse fixture with a well-taken winner on Tuesday – Salah claiming the assist for that strike.
Naby Keita (£5.8m) was bright, too, before tiring in the second half, and Klopp has plenty of midfield options available to him going into the visit of Manchester City on Sunday.
One of those options is Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.4m), who hooked Liverpool in front after deputy left-back James Milner‘s (£5.3m) cross hadn’t been dealt with.
Missing out on this latest victory was Jordan Henderson (£5.4m), with Klopp saying afterwards of his ill captain:
Jordan was in bed the whole day, I hope he is better now but I didn’t speak to him afterwards.
Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up a knock in the second half but both player and manager downplayed any issue, with Klopp saying afterwards that “nobody is injured” and the former Arsenal midfielder adding:
It’s just a kick. He caught me nicely, it’s a bit of a sore one but I’m all good.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) again caught the eye with his distribution but it was another game without a clean sheet for Liverpool’s defence as a collective, with the Reds again conceding from a set-piece situation.
While Liverpool dominated possession and chances, Alisson (£5.9m) was called on to make a couple of smart saves and there were moments of alarm in the hosts’ backline – encouragement for owners of Manchester City’s attacking assets ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Milner; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita (Robertson 73′); Oxlade-Chamberlain (Mane 74′), Salah, Origi (Firmino 88′).
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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