Everton 1-1 Manchester United
- Goals: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.3m) | Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m)
- Assists: None | Nemanja Matic (£4.8m)
- Bonus: Fernandes x3, Matic, Calvert-Lewin x2
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.3m) and Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m) were on the scoresheet again as Everton and Manchester United played out a one-all draw at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Both players were indebted to some questionable goalkeeping as their purple patches of form continued in Gameweek 28.
Calvert-Lewin’s second-minute opener was a particularly fortuitous one, with the Everton striker charging down a kick out from a ponderous David de Gea (£5.4m) and seeing the ricochet sail into the Spaniard’s unguarded net.
Fernandes drew the scores level after half an hour, with his well-hit but saveable effort from 25+ yards out sailing through the grasp of Jordan Pickford (£5.3m).
While the goals themselves owed a significant debt to good fortune, Calvert-Lewin and Fernandes were once more at the heart of their respective sides’ offensive play and they could easily have banked attacking returns without Lady Luck.
Calvert-Lewin, in particular, looks like scoring in every game at present.
The Everton striker might be profligate at times but when the opportunities arrive at the rate they currently are, then a sky-high goal conversion rate isn’t the be-all and end-all.
He should have put Everton two goals to the good soon after his early strike, being denied by de Gea after latching onto a Michael Keane (£5.2m) punt and racing clear of United’s napping backline.
The Red Devils’ busy shot-stopper kept out another Calvert-Lewin effort midway through the second half before the mid-price Fantasy Premier League forward had a goal controversially chalked off late on, with a floored Gyfli Sigurdsson (£7.3m) deemed to have been interfering with play as his teammate’s strike deflected off Harry Maguire (£5.3m) and past a wrong-footed de Gea.
Ancelotti praised his number nine after the game, saying:
Dominic also did really well, he played a fantastic game, not just with the goal. He was involved in a lot, he fought and played well.
It’s pretty much the Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison (£8.3m) show from an FPL perspective at Everton.
The Toffees are steadily shipping goals (just one clean sheet this calendar year) and Carlo Ancelotti continues to rotate around his immovable strike pairing, with the Italian making another five changes to his starting XI from the Gameweek 27 defeat at Arsenal.
Richarlison blanked for just the second time in seven starts but the Brazilian’s owners will have been content to again see him in a number of promising positions and, another day, he too could have hauled.
The former Watford man couldn’t direct a header on target from Leighton Baines’ (£4.9m) inviting cross in first-half stoppage time and later failed to react to a Sigurdsson free-kick that bounced back off the upright and into his path.
The Iceland international then drew a superb save from de Gea after receiving Richarlison’s pass in the 91st minute, not just ruining an assist for the Brazilian but then denying Calvert-Lewin a match-winning second goal as he remained seated in the United six-yard box.
Fernandes isn’t quite the goal-poaching menace that Calvert-Lewin is but the Portugal international, whose current points-per-match average of 8.0 is better than any other Fantasy asset, looks as if he could plunder FPL returns from a variety of situations.
On free-kicks and corners, as well as penalties, Fernandes is as much a creator as he is a goal-getter.
He perhaps wasn’t quite as influential at Goodison Park as he had been against Watford or Bruges previously but still probed dangerously in the number ten role, registering six of United’s 14 shots – albeit mostly from distance.
There was an excellent opportunity to score his second goal shortly before full-time but Pickford redeemed himself by not only clawing away Fernandes’ shanked effort from seven yards but also blocking Odion Ighalo‘s (£6.5m) rebound.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of his January transfer window capture from Sporting Lisbon:
It was a good goal. A first-time pass by Nemanja [Matic] in our press. Of course, it was a misplaced pass by them but Bruno striking the ball from outside the box… he did have a few strikes but the goal was good.
I think he’s always trying to create something, to score goals or create chances. Sometimes he misses, sometimes he scores.
He’s a good player and we have been missing that type of player to do that for us, I’m very pleased with his overall contribution.
In contrast to the roaming Fernandes, Anthony Martial (£8.0m) was fairly static in the number nine role – but then he often is, and has semi-frequently popped up with a goal in the past when his performances bordered on the disinterested.
There was to be no attacking return this time, however, with a ninth-minute shot that he dragged wide as close as he came to finding a way past Pickford.
That he was even on the field came as something of a surprise, as he had been a doubt for the game with a thigh injury and wasn’t spotted at the team hotel the evening before.
In our weekly reminder never to completely trust what Solksjaer says in his pre-match press conferences, Martial made the starting XI for the 18th time in 19 Gameweeks – and apparently it was never in doubt:
It was just a precaution on Thursday, [Martial] probably could have played. We didn’t take the risk though, knowing Odion was going to play well and there would be no problem.
Daniel James (£5.8m) missed this clash but should be back for the Manchester derby, with his manager saying ahead of kick-off:
He got a knock on Thursday but he’ll be fine for Thursday [against Derby in the FA Cup] or definitely next weekend so not too much to worry about.
The early clanger from de Gea ruined United’s run of three straight Premier League clean sheets and there’ll be few FPL managers investing in the Red Devils’ defenders in the run-up to Gameweek 29, given that their free-scoring cross-city rivals will visit Old Trafford next Sunday.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.3m) and co, who would seem set for a Blank Gameweek 31 given the clash with the FA Cup quarter-finals, are an interesting proposition after the March international break, however, with the season run-in looking favourable.
On the subject of defences, Everton lost another member of their backline to injury.
Already without the sidelined Lucas Digne (£5.8m), the Toffees saw Seamus Coleman (£5.3m) limp off with a thigh strain early on – Ancelotti saying after the match that the club will “see in the next few days” how bad the Irishman’s muscle problem is.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman (Sidibe 27′), Keane, Holgate, Baines; Walcott (Bernard 62′), Gomes (Kean 81′), Davies, Sigurdsson; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Manchester United XI (4-3-1-2): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Mata 72′), Matic, Fred; Fernandes; Martial (Williams 88′), Greenwood (Ighalo 72′).
BLANK GAMEWEEK 28 FPL MATCH REPORTS
- Norwich City 1-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-1 Crystal Palace
- Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea
- Newcastle United 0-0 Burnley
- West Ham United 3-1 Southampton
- Watford 3-0 Liverpool
- Everton 1-1 Manchester United
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
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