Crystal Palace 1-0 Bournemouth
Goals: Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.5m)
Assists: James McArthur (£5.2m)
Red cards: Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m)
Bonus Points: Diego Rico x3 (£4.3m), Vicente Guaita x2 (£5.0m), Martin Kelly x1 (£4.1m)
Despite keeping a clean sheet against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace’s defensive potential for upcoming fixtures was subjected to two damaging blows on Tuesday night.
Roy Hodgson’s men went into Gameweek 14 with just four active defenders following recent injuries to Gary Cahill (£4.5m), Scott Dann (£4.3m) and Joel Ward (£4.5m).
However, after 29 minutes that total was reduced to two as Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) and Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) had both left the field of play.
That may be of some concern to owners of Martin Kelly (£4.1m) in particular, the most popular Eagles’ defender right now, sitting in 24.5% of teams worldwide – although the budget man did secure a seven-point haul at Selhurst Park.
Against Bournemouth, Sakho was making his first start since returning from injury but was sent off after just 18 minutes for a reckless challenge on Adam Smith (£4.3m).
Sakho, who was reunited in the starting XI with James Tomkins (£5.0m) for the first time in nine months, may have won the ball initially but his trailing leg was far too high and caught the Cherries’ right-back on the knee.
That left Palace competing with 10 men for most of the encounter but it went from bad to worse when van Aanholt pulled up with suspected hamstring problems in the 29th minute.
Sakho will serve a three-game suspension and if van Aanholt does have to recover from hamstring issue over such a busy period of fixtures, he could also be missing for a similar time.
“We have been concerned about the full-back situation since the start of the season. We don’t have out-and-out replacements, but Martin Kelly has done a fine job in the last two games. We didn’t realise Jeffrey Schlupp would be able to go in and be so strong. We have been strong in central defence, but we have lost a few now, and that is quite amazing. All of a sudden, we are asking Cheikhou Kouyaté to go back and do a wonderful job.” – Roy Hodgson
Thankfully for Crystal Palace, and those invested in their defence, Hodgson was able to rely on some workmanlike performances from two midfielders as they slotted into a make-shift back-four.
After the sending off, Cheikhou Kouyaté (£4.9m) dropped out of midfield and played the majority of the game at centre-back alongside Tomkins while versatile man Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.5m) filled in at left-back once van Aanholt had been taken off.
Either way, Fantasy managers may be a little concerned by the fact that Tomkins and Kelly are the only two FPL defenders without red flags to their names ahead of a Gameweek 16 trip to Watford.
It will, therefore, be important for those invested in Kelly, in particular, to keep an eye on Hodgson’s next press conference ahead of a trip to Watford.
In his post-match media commitment on Tuesday night, the Palace manager sounded relatively positive about van Aanholt and suggested that he did not want to rule out Dann and Cahill of Gameweek 16 just yet, although admitted he would know a lot more after a Thursday training session.
“(Van Aanholt) definitely felt something. But he came off early, we have to hope we can get him back quickly. He wasn’t under the impression that the was finished for a number of weeks, but Thursday will tell me more.” – Roy Hodgson
“Dann’s ankle is still swollen so it was a bit early to tell, but I am not writing either of them off. I won’t know until Thursday.” – Roy Hodgson
We should probably also point out that despite the mounting problems at the back, Palace were still able to secure a clean sheet, their fifth of the season (joint-second best in the league). That fact should probably instil confidence in their defensive assets over their long-term set of appealing fixtures.
“I was delighted with the performance. For ten men to stand their ground and maintain their discipline, and we were still trying to come out with the ball and ask questions of them. I am really proud of the team and they deserve an awful amount of credit.” – Roy Hodgson
While Palace did well to keep a clean sheet despite playing most of Gameweek 15 with 10 men, they were helped by Bournemouth’s continued offensive problems.
In truth, the Selhurst Park encounter was a dull one with neither side looking likely to win it until Schlupp’s energetic run into the box late-on, which resulted in the only goal of the game.
Bournemouth struggled to create clear cut chances all night long, even after Sakho was given his marching orders.
Their best opportunity of the evening fell to Callum Wilson (£7.6m) who did not act quickly enough at the back-post to put it away, Kelly making an important interception.
That means the centre-forward is now without a goal in eight consecutive Premier League matches.
“Very disappointing. The sending off was a good chance to give us an advantage to go and get some points. But we became a bit predictable and a bit stale. They defended well, but we didn’t do enough. Our innovative, attacking play wasn’t there today.” – Eddie Howe
“Yes, we have to be concerned with the sequence of results. I have to take responsibility and we have to put it right.” – Eddie Howe
That said, Crystal Palace were hardly a dominating attacking force. They were on the front-foot until Sakho’s dismissal but offered very little until the closing stages after he was sent off.
Schlupp’s 75th-minute goal was the Eagles’ first shot on target of the match after a determined run into the Bournemouth penalty box.
Crucially, it was something of a poor audition for Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m) who had earned plenty of Fantasy attention ahead of Gameweek 15.
Crystal Palace’s appealing fixture run does continue for some time, with Watford (away), Brighton (home), Newcastle (away), West Ham (home), Southampton (away) and Norwich (away) their next six opponents.
However, Zaha himself has not particularly been showing too much form that suggest he can be a reliable source of points over that period.
His goal against Liverpool was the first he had scored at Selhurst Park all season and he had a characteristically quiet night on the goal threat front in the win over Bournemouth.
Despite showing some decent penalty area presence, Zaha still only registered one shot on goal all game, although that may have been influenced by the sending off to some extent.
Owners of the Ivory Coast international may be hoping for a better performance against Watford on Saturday.
Finally, there were also injuries at the back for Bournemouth, which could encourage owners of Liverpool assets in Gameweek 16.
Steve Cook (£5.0m) missed the trip to Selhurst Park after a wrist impact against Spurs was revealed to be a fracture, although true to form, Eddie Howe chose not to reveal this in his pre-match press conference but waited until after the Gameweek 15 deadline had passed.
“Steve Cook’s injury was a bizarre one. He got hit on the wrist by a cross against Spurs and it turned into a fracture. We don’t know how long he will be out but it’s too painful to play tonight.” – Eddie Howe
“You do miss someone as experienced and vocal as Steve. You need others to come in and perform.” – Eddie Howe
Smith, recovering from an illness had to limp off in the closing stages at Palace and is now also a doubt for Gameweek 16.
Despite Bournemouth’s frustrating performance, there was still some success for Fantasy asset Diego Rico (£4.3m).
The left-back was substituted in the 64th minute and therefore banked a clean sheet that none of his defensive colleagues were able to share. Furthermore, he also tacked on three bonus points which nobody was able to dislodge in the final 26 minutes.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; van Aanholt (Schlupp 29′), Sakho, Tomkins, Kelly; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyaté; Zaha, Ayew, Townsend (McCarthy 46′).
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Rico (Francis 64′), Aké, Mepham, A Smith; Danjuma (Fraser 64′), Billing (L Cook 82′), Lerma, H Wilson; C Wilson, Solanke.
Gameweek 15 – FPL Match Reports
- Crystal Palace 1-0 Bournemouth
- Burnley 1-4 Man City
- Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester 2-0 Watford
- Man Utd 2-1 Spurs
- Southampton 2-1 Norwich
- Wolves 2-0 West Ham
- Liverpool 5-2 Everton
- Sheffield United 0-2 Newcastle
- Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
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