Newcastle 1-2 Everton
Goals: Fabian Schär (£5.0m) | Dominic Calvert-Lewin x2 (£5.7m)
Assists: Andy Carroll (£5.4m) | Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m), Richarlison (£8.0m)
Bonus Points: Calvert-Lewin x3, Sigurdsson x2, Richarlison x1
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.7m) has furthered his case to be considered the key Fantasy asset at Everton now that Carlo Ancelotti has arrived as manager.
The centre-forward’s well-taken brace means he now has three goals in the two matches since Ancelotti took over at Goodison Park, averaging 9.5 points per game.
He has now scored eight times in the Premier League this season, more than in any other campaign in his career thus far.
Furthermore, following a blistering start to life under the Italian, Calvert-Lewin has been showered with praise from his new manager, indicating he could go on to become the Everton talisman for the remainder of the season.
“Calvert-Lewin is a very good striker but he’s young and has to improve. He’s a humble guy. I think he’s going to be at the top in England and in Europe. He has all the quality to be a top striker.” – Carlo Ancelotti
For the second match in a row, Calvert-Lewin was deployed up-front in a 4-4-2 system, this time paired with Moise Kean (£6.4m).
That ensured Richarlison (£8.0m) was involved on the left side of midfield, rather than in the front-two as we saw during Duncan Ferguson’s tenure as interim manager.
That did not stop the Brazilian from getting involved in Everton’s attacking exploits though, as he got the assist for Calvert-Lewin’s second goal by squaring from the flanks, earning a bonus point in the process.
Richarlison was particularly a nuisance from set pieces, forcing a save out of Martin Dúbravka inside the first 10 minutes before going close on the hour-mark.
The former Watford man collected the ball well following a corner and blasted an effort towards goal, forcing another good stop from the Newcastle goalkeeper. Richarlison might have had an assist for his shot had Mason Holgate (£4.4m) not been ruled offside for scoring the rebound.
It may also be worth keeping an eye on Kean, who started the match alongside Calvert-Lewin. His pace caused plenty of problems for Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
He went close from a set piece in the first half, before having too good chances in the opening exchanges of the second.
First, Kean used his quick-thinking to pounce on a loose ball at the back before Dúbravka smothered his effort and minutes later he steamed through the Newcastle defence and fired off another shot saved by the goalkeeper – although he probably should have squared to Calvert-Lewin.
However, Kean clearly has plenty to learn as he started to fade in the second half. He was loose in possession and gave the ball away in dangerous areas all too often.
In the 57th minute, he gave the ball straight to Isaac Hayden (£4.4m), who moved it onto Fabian Schär (£5.0m) to tee up Andy Carroll (£5.4m) for a powerful drive, well-saved by Jordan Pickford (£5.3m).
Not surprisingly, Kean was replaced by Fabian Delph (£5.3m) shortly after.
Djibril Sidibé (£5.3m) was unable to match his 12-point haul from Gameweek 19 but still looked like a dangerous outlet for Everton.
He held his place on the right while Lucas Digne (£5.7m) was benched for Leighton Baines (£4.9m).
Everton’s clean sheet was wiped out as Newcastle continue to offer an increased offensive threat, although not in a way which would encourage Fantasy investment.
Miguel Almirón (£5.8m) continues to cause problems for opposing defences but failed to add to his goal tally when he probably should have done.
The Paraguayan midfielder poked wide in the first minute before striking the post after some characteristic marauding play from Jetro Willems (£4.7m) down the left flank.
Perhaps the only player offering some consistency in attack for Newcastle is Carroll, whose assist against Everton was his third in five starts.
The former Liverpool man admittedly missed the Gameweek 19 trip to Manchester United so may not be considered too nailed-on from a fitness perspective, but it is clear his aerial presence is really helping Newcastle.
On Saturday afternoon, centre-back Schär scored his volley after a knock-down from Carroll.
Newcastle United XI (3-5-2): Dúbravka; Lejeune (Atsu 74′), Fernández, Schär; Willems (S Longstaff 85′), Almirón, Shelvey, Hayden, Yedlin; Joelinton (Gayle 74′), Carroll.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Baines (Mina 80′), Holgate, Keane, Sidibé; Richarlison, Davies, Sigurdsson, Walcott (Coleman 70′); Calvert-Lewin, Kean (Delph 61′).
Norwich 2-2 Spurs
Goals: Mario Vrančić (£6.2m) | Christian Eriksen (£8.6m), Harry Kane (£11.0m)
Own Goals: Serge Aurier (£5.1m)
Assists: Emi Buendía (£6.0m) | Lucas Moura (£7.1m)
Bonus Points: Eriksen x3, Kane x2, Vrančić x1, Buendía x1
Dele Alli (£8.9m) was unfortunate not to get any attacking returns as Spurs were held to a 2-2 draw at Norwich.
The attacking midfielder, who had been an injury doubt ahead of Gameweek 20, was deployed as a centre-forward next to Harry Kane (£11.0m) in a 3-1-4-2 system by Jose Mourinho.
Ten minutes in, Alli was played in by Kane but he could only blast over the bar when he should have got a shot on target.
Just after the restart, a beautiful through-ball from Christian Eriksen (£8.6m) had Alli through on goal once more but Christoph Zimmermann (£4.4m) made a crucial intervention just as he was pulling the trigger in a dangerous location.
Alli then had the ball in the net after poking home at the far post, only to see it chalked off for offside.
In the 78th minute, Kane played a square ball across the face of goal but Alli could not make contact.
Perhaps the most frustrating event of the afternoon saw Alli play Kane in on goal for a fantastic chance to score, only for Zimmermann to foul the centre-forward give away a penalty. That robbed Alli of any chance of an assist, as Kane converted the spot-kick having earned it himself.
Either way, such a positive performance from Alli should convince his owners that there is still plenty of Fantasy life left for him.
The same goes for Kane, whose partnership with Alli certainly brought the best out of him and he now has goals in both of his last two matches ahead of a Gameweek 21 trip to Southampton.
Lucas Moura (£7.1m) was looked at as an alternative to the thought-to-be injured Alli and it was a mixed afternoon for those who made that switch.
The Brazilian was omitted from the starting-line-up as Mourinho went with a 3-1-4-2 formation, but he emerged as a half-time replacement for Juan Foyth (£4.9m).
During the second half he registered an assist for Eriksen’s free-kick, having been deemed to have forced the handball on the edge of the area with his cross, but also picked up a booking for a foul on Max Aarons (£4.4m).
Eriksen, owned by just 2.8% and making his first start since Gameweek 11, was arguably Spurs’ best player, finishing the match top for touches, successful passes and chances created.
Despite Spurs still showing some slight offensive progress under Mourinho, problems in their defence continued.
Mario Vrančić‘s (£6.2m) first-half goal ensured that Spurs finished 2019 without a single clean sheet away from home in the Premier League.
Furthermore, a second-half own-goal for Serge Aurier (£5.1m) means that only Aston Villa (16) and Bournemouth (13) have conceded more goals than Spurs (12) since Mourinho returned to the Premier League last month.
Going behind early-on forced Mourinho out of a three-man defence at half-time, with Moura replacing Foyth, who was arguably at fault for Vrančić’s goal.
“(I abandoned three at the back) because I was losing. I knew that winning 1-0 they would just try to defend and keep Pukki up. I thought Davinson Sanchez because he is our fastest defender and would be able to cope with the possible long balls in the space for Pukki. I knew in that moment we would have all the creative players on the pitch with Alli and Kane. We were going to have Lucas, Lo Celso and two midfielder for me Ndombele and Eriksen were phenomenal. Going forward we were very, very good.” – Jose Mourinho
However, Teemu Pukki (£6.6m) still found plenty of space behind the Spurs defence in the second half, his presence causing the defensive errors which led to Aurier’s own goal.
It is also worth noting that Pukki owners can feel hard-done-by in Gameweek 20. The fact that it was a defensive error from Toby Alderweireld (£5.4m) that turned the ball onto Aurier after Pukki’s run was very unlucky and he was also the subject of another VAR controversy.
He excellently plucked a Vrančić forward ball out of the sky and slotted it past Paulo Gazzaniga (£4.6m) only to have his goal ruled out for an incredibly marginal offside call.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Hanley, Zimmermann, Aarons; Vrančić (Trybull 75′), Tettey (Cantwell 86′); O Hernández, Stiepermann (McLean 70′), Buendía; Pukki.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (3-1-4-2): Gazzaniga; Vertonghen (Moura 46′), Alderweireld, Foyth (D Sánchez 46′); Ndombèlé; Sessegnon, Eriksen, Lo Celso (Lamela 74′), Aurier; Alli, Kane.
West Ham 1-2 Leicester
Goals: Pablo Fornals (£6.0m) | Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m), Demarai Gray (£5.1m)
Assists: Felipe Anderson (£6.6m) | Ayoze Pérez x2 (£6.0m)
Penalty saves: Lukasz Fabianski (£4.9m)
Penalty misses: D Gray
Bonus Points: Fornals x3, Pérez x2, Fabianski x1
Leicester’s 2-1 win at West Ham very much had the feeling of a reserve fixture as Brendan Rodgers frustrated Fantasy managers by rotating nearly his entire starting XI.
Furthermore, it proved to be Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge of the Hammers.
Nine of the players who were involved in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day found themselves either benched or rested for the trip to the London Stadium.
Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) was absent following the birth his daughter, Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.1m), Ben Chilwell (£5.7m), Youri Tielemans (£6.4m), James Maddison (£7.7m) and Harvey Barnes (£5.9m) were all on the bench and Ricardo Pereira (£6.5m) was not in the matchday squad either.
“Jamie Vardy’s wife had a child today, so he’s with her and congratulations to them.” – Brendan Rodgers
Of those benched assets, only Maddison and Barnes emerged in the second half, registering 26 and seven-minute cameos respectively.
With both players blanking upon taking to the London Stadium pitch, it ensured that no Leicester asset owned by more than 6.5% scored more than two points.
Meanwhile, zero points for Vardy (51.7%), Söyüncü (19.5%) and Pereira (16.0%) blew big holes in the Fantasy template on Saturday afternoon.
The fact that so many of Leicester’s first-team players missed the win at West Ham does, to some extent, make real Fantasy lessons hard to glean.
Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) and Jonny Evans (£5.2m) were the only two players to keep their places after defeat to Liverpool but with the Foxes now going four matches in a row without a clean sheet, interest in their defence is declining.
There was also plenty of rotation in the West Ham team too, Michail Antonio (£6.9m) and Mark Noble (£5.1m) named on the bench, with Manuel Lanzini (£6.2m) and Carlos Sánchez (£4.3m) in the starting XI.
“We needed Carlos (Sánchez) to play but Declan Rice needed a fresh player with him. Mark Noble cannot play twice in 48 hours.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Despite the departure of Pellegrini, there were still a few things for Fantasy managers to take note of, not least a much-anticipated return to the starting line-up for Lukasz Fabianski (£4.9m).
In his first appearance since Gameweek 7, he saved a Demarai Gray (£5.1m) penalty after giving it away for a foul on Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m).
That said, Fabianski’s return did not exactly have a calming influence on the West Ham defence as they were, rather concerningly, carved open time and time again by Leicester’s second-team.
However, that may be exactly what the Polish international needs to get back into the Fantasy thinking. He made a total of six saves against the Foxes which, when combined with his penalty save, earned him one bonus for an eight-point score.
While Antonio has been much-discussed as a Fantasy differential recently, Pablo Fornals (£6.0m) has been creeping even further under the radar.
His second-half goal was his first of the season but a fourth attacking return since Gameweek 14. In West Ham’s last six matches, Fornals has started every time and averaged 4.8 points per game.
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Fabiański; Masuaku; Diop, Balbuena, Fredericks; C Sánchez (Snodgrass 62′), Rice; Anderson, Lanzini (Ajeti 70′), Fornals; Haller (Antonio 46′).
Leicester City XI (4-4-1-1): Schmeichel; Fuchs, Evans, Morgan, Justin; Albrighton, Mendy (Ndidi 70′), Choudhury, D Gray (H Barnes 83′); Pérez (Maddison 64′); Iheanacho.
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