Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Luka Milivojevic (£6.7m), Jordan Ayew (£5.2m)
- Assists: Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m), Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m)
- Bonus: van Aanholt x3, Milivojevic x2, Joel Ward (£4.3m), Gary Cahill (£4.4m) x1
Crystal Palace eased to victory over a Bournemouth side that produced a performance as poor as might be expected from a side dropping into the bottom three of the Premier League table.
Goals from Luka Milivojevic (£6.7m) and Jordan Ayew (£5.2m) were more than enough to secure the three points for Roy Hodgson’s men.
It also meant a fourth straight win for Palace – all of them including clean sheets – which would usually be enough to persuade plenty of Fantasy managers to tap into their assets.
But the Eagles’ schedule is not the kindest over the rest of the season, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Wolves, Spurs and Manchester United still to come as they seek a European place to crown a fine campaign.
Those sides are likely to provide a far tougher test than Bournemouth did yesterday.
The Cherries took more than an hour to manage their first – and it turned out only – attempt on target when a Nathan Ake (£4.8m) header brought a routine save from Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita (£5.0m).
Not that Palace were much more progressive themselves. Their two shots on target led to the goals as the typically compact and disciplined visiting side negated a toothless Bournemouth devoid of both confidence and verve.
All of that led to a match best described as ‘one for the purists’ and which, as a contest, was over pretty much as soon as Palace scored their second goal.
That came from a fine move involving Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m), who slipped the ball to an advancing Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) in the opposition area, with the defender’s cutback picking out Ayew to side-foot home with calm authority.
Zaha was also heavily involved in the opening goal as he earned a free-kick from which Milivojevic curled home an exquisite 25-yard finish.
The effort earned the Serbian midfielder two bonus points, but it was van Aanholt who brought in the maximum award and a second double-digit haul in four Gameweeks.
The Holland international has now scored 41 points for his 5.4% Fantasy Premier League (FPL) ownership over that time frame – that’s 18 more than the entire Bournemouth rearguard, including keeper Aaron Ramsdale (£4.5m), have managed as a group.
Van Aanholt’s numbers have been boosted by returns at both ends of the pitch, although yesterday’s assist was his first of the season.
That his pass was well finished by Ayew was no surprise. The striker has now scored in three straight Gameweeks and produced an assist in the match before that – the sort of fine form at such a low price that might tempt Fantasy managers to invest despite Palace’s tricky schedule.
It certainly prompted Hodgson to praise his striker in the build-up to the match, but the Eagles boss was more pleased with the team as a whole when he spoke after it.
The player fitness was quite good. I was surprised. We only had the three weeks
We took Christian [Benteke] off because of the slight concern that his hamstring might have been tightening a bit. We took Macca [James McArthur] and Luka [Milivojevic] off because they were tiring a bit. But if I needed to keep them on, I could have kept all three of them on.
Wilf [Zaha] and all of the front players were superb. Yes, they’re flamboyant and have skill and pace but they were very sensible. If we can keep doing that, it might be a nice end to the season.
Zaha could, and probably should, have made the win even more emphatic as Bournemouth chased the game late on, the winger spurning a couple of opportunities on the break.
And Gary Cahill (£4.4m) was another who had a decent chance to seal the deal, volleying an effort over the bar from a corner in one of the few bits of penalty-area action in the second half.
Then again, the centre-half could, on another day, have been handed a red card for a challenge on Josh King (£6.1m) that took the ball cleanly enough, but also took the striker’s leg with the follow-through.
VAR had a look and decided no further action was necessary; the right decision, probably, but one that has gone the other way on more than one occasion in the past.
The tackle led to King’s withdrawal, with Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe later confirming the striker has an injury issue:
I don’t know the extent of the damage, it looks like an ankle injury, so we’ll wait and see.
Other than that, Howe preferred to look forward rather than back; understandable given his side’s mediocre performance:
The table is so tight, the difference is so tight, we could look at back-to-back wins as being the difference for us, but we have to believe that can happen.
With a tough schedule – Wolves away next and both Manchester sides, Spurs and Leicester to come after that – belief might not be enough to save the Cherries.
And their dreadful form – just two wins and no clean sheets in their last 13 matches – means few Fantasy managers will be joining them on the journey regardless.
As for Palace assets, their defenders and the confident (and cheap) Ayew might turn a few heads, but only if their form can better their fixtures.
Bournemouth XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; S.Cook, Ake, Smith, Stacey; Lerma, L.Cook; Brooks (Stanislas 61), H.Wilson (Danjuma 45), King (Solanke 49); C.Wilson.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Dann, Ward; McArthur (Riedewald 89), Milivojevic (McCarthy 65), Kouyate; Ayew, Zaha, Benteke (Townsend 76).
Double Gameweek 30+ FPL Lessons Learned
- Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal
- Norwich City 0-3 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
- Watford 1-1 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal
- West Ham United 0-2 Wolves
- Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
- Newcastle United 3-0 Sheffield United
- Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
- Everton 0-0 Liverpool
- Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
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