Southampton 1-2 Everton
Goals: Danny Ings (£6.0m) | Tom Davies (£5.3m), Richarlison (£7.9m)
Assists: Sofiane Boufal (£5.5m) | Mason Holgate (£4.4m), Djibril Sidibé (£5.3m)
Bonus Points: Davies x3, Richarlison x3, Holgate x1, Ings x1
Southampton’s problems at full-back continue to boost the attacking potential of their opponents.
This problem appears to be especially causing the Saints problems at home, where they are yet to win a league match since
After six outings at St Mary’s this season, Southampton have drawn once and lost the other five, scoring five goals and conceding 21.
Obviously, that goals conceded column is skewed by the nine they shipped to Leicester but this was yet another encounter where Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men were torn to pieces in wide areas due to questionable tactical decisions.
The Gameweek 6 hosting of Bournemouth saw Josh King (£6.3m) and Diego Rico (£4.3m) expose left-footed centre-back Kevin Danso (£4.3m) when he was deployed at right-back.
When Chelsea came to Hampshire in Gameweek 8, four different wide players emerged with an assist to their name, specifically Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.8m), Willian (£7.1m), Marcos Alonso (£6.2m) and Christian Pulisic (£7.4m).
Of course, we all remember what Southampton’s defence did for Leicester in Gameweek 10, Ben Chilwell (£5.7m) quadrupling his total of attacking returns for the season in one 90-minute session and Harvey Barnes (£5.9m) spent the whole evening unmarked.
Well, it was exactly the same story on Saturday afternoon as yet another one of Hasenhüttl’s failed experiments at full-back fell flat on its face.
This time, he played right-footed Cédric Soares (£4.8m) at left wing-back in a 3-4-2-1 system and stationed attacking midfield Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m) as the right wing-back.
That allowed Richarlison (£7.9m) and Theo Walcott (£6.2m) complete freedom to terrorise Southampton’s back-three, who were once again horrendously exposed by incapable and out-of-position wing-backs.
While it was Southampton’s right that had the biggest problems in the 9-0 defeat to Leicester, it was their left, staffed by Cédric, that was most susceptible in Gameweek 12.
That saw Walcott get the most joy, getting past the wing-back too easily and further exposing Jannik Vestergaard‘s (£5.0m) distinct lack of pace.
Thankfully for Southampton, Everton have hardly been in the most clinical form in front of goal this season, so in the end, they actually only exploited the home side’s defensive issues once, Tom Davies‘ (£5.3m) opening goal coming from a corner.
However, Fantasy managers should probably keep an eye on full-backs or wingers who face Southampton in the coming weeks, especially at home where their problems in wide areas are more pronounced.
Over the next six Gameweeks, the Saints host Watford, Norwich and West Ham, which could see Daryl Janmaat (£4.3m), Jose Holebas (£4.7m), Onel Hernández (£5.3m), Emi Buendía (£6.0m), Todd Cantwell (£4.7m), Robert Snodgrass (£5.2m) or Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0m) enjoy their visits to St. Mary’s.
Furthermore, if those assets can provide decent delivery in those matches then the likes of Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m), Teemu Pukki (£6.7m) and Sébastien Haller (£7.3m) should be present with plenty of decent chances.
Watford forward Deulofeu is perhaps the strongest consider from that bunch. After a 12-point haul at Norwich in Gameweek 12, he went some way to reminding Fantasy managers that his speciality appears to be double-figure hauls away to relegation-threatened clubs. After all, a large proportion of his 2018/19 points came in large away wins at Huddersfield and Cardiff.
It must be said that Hasenhüttl did manage to alleviate some pressure on his defence by replacing Cédric with attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal (£5.5m) at half-time.
He was officially stationed in a central location, with Moussa Djenepo (£5.2m) tasked with providing width on the left.
Boufal had an immediate impact on the Saints, his powerful shot from range representing their first effort on goal in the whole match.
It was the Moroccan international who provided the assist for Southampton’s equaliser too.
Following a corner, he took advantage of Morgan Schneiderlin (£4.4m) having to drop into left-back, pushing past him and getting around the back to square the ball for Danny Ings (£6.0m), who netted a simple tap-in.
“The first half was horrible. No-one wanted the ball any more. You could feel the lack of self-confidence. It took us until the second half to get positive body language. The second half was OK. We went very offensive and it gave us a little more quality but you expose the defence and the goal killed us. It is not a nice situation. I can guarantee the players try to fight to win games. At the moment we are not good enough.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
That was Ings’ first goal since the Gameweek 9 trip to Wolves, although his two goals in the last four Gameweeks is the joint-highest of any striker priced at £6.0m or below. That said, while Sheffield United’s Lys Mousset (£5.0m) is also on two goals, he has three assists to Ings’ zero.
Despite getting Everton on the back-foot for the first time, Hasenhüttl’s tactical changes still did not plug the gaps at full-back.
Cédric’s departure at half-time ensured that Southampton spent the entirety of the second period without a recognised full-back on the pitch.
It should be no surprise then that Everton’s winning goal was a direct result of this problem.
Right-back Djibril Sidibé (£5.3m), whose four consecutive starts suggest he has now claimed the starting berth from Seamus Coleman (£5.4m), powered up his side of the pitch and his looping cross to the far-post was poked in by an unmarked Richarlison.
Interest in Everton assets had decreased in recent weeks but they probably only have one more week of viability for Fantasy managers.
They host Norwich in Gameweek 13 which could be high-scoring one for options such as Richarlison, although he is probably the only attacking player who is completely nailed-on to start.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) was back in the team in Gameweek 12 but it was just his third start in the last five Gameweeks. Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi (£5.7m) was benched at Southampton and while Walcott has started each of the last four, in none of those has he completed 90 minutes.
However, once a Goodison Park meeting with the Canaries is out of the way, Everton embark on a truly horrendous fixture schedule.
Between Gameweeks 14 and 18 they face Leicester (away), Liverpool (away), Chelsea (home), Manchester United (away) and Arsenal (home).
Southampton XI (3-4-2-1): McCarthy; Vestergaard, J Stephens, Bednarek; Cédric (Boufal 46′), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (Obafemi 90+1′); Djenepo, Redmond (Adams 81′); Ings.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Digne, Holgate, Mina, Sidibé; Schneiderlin, T Davies; Richarlison (Keane 89′), Sigurdsson, Walcott (Iwobi 74′); Tosun (Calvert-Lewin 74′).
GAMEWEEK 12 – FPL MATCH REPORTS
- Norwich City 0-2 Watford
- Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Burnley 3-0 West Ham United
- Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth
- Southampton 1-2 Everton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton
- Leicester City 2-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City
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