Norwich 0-1 Everton
- Goals: Michael Keane (£5.2m)
- Assists: Lucas Digne (£5.7m)
- Bonus Points: Keane x3, Digne x2, Mason Holgate x1 (£4.3m)
A rare goal from Michael Keane (£5.2m) was enough to see off Norwich City as Everton’s efficient, if rather drab, emergence from lock down continued.
The centre-half’s winner, a flick header from a Lucas Digne (£5.7m) corner, came in the 55th minute of a contest that had more than a hint of a pre-season friendly about it – lots of sunshine and mistakes, precious little intensity and quality in the final third.
Keane’s second goal of the season, a second straight clean sheet and the maximum bonus award brought in a season-high 15 points for his 1.9% ownership in Fantasy Premier League.
But most Fantasy eyes were elsewhere, with 10.8% thoroughly enjoying an 11-point haul from Digne and a canny 2.1% still pulling in the cut-price points offered by Mason Holgate (£4.3m).
Everton’s fixtures are pleasant enough to suggest further defensive returns are there for the taking. This is a unit, after all, that has had little trouble shutting down both Norwich’s and Liverpool’s attacks since the resumption of football.
Boss Carlo Ancelotti was keen to praise the defensive work of the team as a whole.
“The teamwork, not only the defenders but the strikers are doing well, is important. When you are able to work together and show good spirit defensively, you can keep clean sheets. The players are tired and that is normal. But their physical condition is really good. In these two games, we had no injuries. Next week we will recover some players – Mina and Sidibe.” – Carlo Ancelotti
His reference to the return of two defenders might set off a few alarms in the camps of those owning Holgate and Seamus Coleman (£5.3m), but there are also worries for managers with Richarlison (£8.3m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.5m) in their teams.
The pair, owned by 10.9% and 13.8% respectively, again played as a front two at Carrow Road and they dominated the goal attempt statistics, having nine of the 21 total shots in the match.
But the fixture produced not a single big chance and most efforts were relatively speculative mid to long-range attempts, with Calvert-Lewin missing the best chance of the match when he steered a free header wide following an excellent cross from the industrious Alex Iwobi (£5.6m).
Everton have set up to play fairly deep and with minimal attacking input from their full-backs. That has meant they are hard to break down, but lack significant offensive bite.
The club’s next two fixtures – Leicester at home, Spurs away – are unlikely to prompt a change in that tactic, leaving a lot of FPL managers invested in attackers living on scraps at present.
As for Norwich, they are as good as relegated and coach Daniel Farke is clearly keen to experiment with his line-up as he left two of the season’s bigger hitters – Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) and Todd Cantwell (£4.7m) on the bench yesterday.
He explained his decision post-match.
“Right now, we have a strange situation – five weeks and two games per week. It was pretty hot out there and without a proper pre-season, you have to rotate.” – Daniel Farke
Even so, that would have hurt a lot of FPL managers – Pukki is owned by 12.9%, Cantwell by 18.7% – although the pair probably feature heavily in a lot of ‘ghost ship’ teams.
But Fantasy investment in any of the Canaries players looks decidedly unwise with trips to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City still to come before the season is done.
Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis (Cantwell 86′); McLean Tettey (Vrancic 79′); Rupp (Buendia 71′), Duda (Pukki 71′), Hernandez (Idah 79′); Drmic.
Everton (4-4-2): Pickford: Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne: Iwobi (Gordon 90′), Davies (Sigurdsson 45′), Gomes, Bernard (Baines 87′); Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison (Kean 79′).
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 31+
- Leicester City 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Ham United
- Manchester United 3-0 Sheffield United
- Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa
- Norwich City 0-1 Everton
- Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth
- Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Burnley 1-0 Watford
- Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
- Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City
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