Scout Notes

Arsenal’s defence in fine form as tricky run of fixtures gets underway

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal

  • Goals: Bukayo Saka (£4.7m), Alexandre Lacazette (£9.2m)
  • Assists: Kieran Tierney (£5.3m), Joe Willock (£4.7m)
  • Bonus: Lacazette x3, Saka x2, Shkodran Mustafi (£5.1m) x1

Arsenal pulled off a surprise 2-0 win at Molineux that would have only been truly enjoyed by their fans and those managers owning players on the Fantasy fringes.

Wolves came into the match on the back of three straight wins and four consecutive clean sheets. Arsenal, for their part, hadn’t won on the road against a team above them in the league since 2015.

A victory for the visitors was, therefore, not exactly expected.

From a Fantasy perspective, expectations centred instead on the fixture’s two most popular players – Wolves striker Raul Jimenez (£8.3m) and his Arsenal counterpart Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m), owned by 36.5% and 23.9% respectively.

Neither delivered.

Wolves’ Mexican forward had only one attempt, a header from an excellent Adama Traore (£5.8m) cross that he could only steer wide under pressure from Cedric Soares (£4.8m).

Aubameyang also managed just the one shot, although he did manage to hit the target when he latched on to a half-cleared corner, only for his mis-hit shot to provide home keeper Rui Patricio (£5.3m) with a regulation save.

With the pair shunted to the Fantasy sidelines, a home clean sheet was the next best outcome for many.

That didn’t occur either.

Bukayo Saka (£4.7m) put paid to that when he expertly volleyed home Kieran Tierney‘s (£5.3m) deflected cross to finish off a swift Arsenal counter-attack just before half-time.

The goal was the first Wolves had conceded in 448 minutes, although Arsenal had already gone close when an Eddie Nketiah (£4.4m) snapshot hit the outside of the post via a smart save from Patricio.

At the other end, Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez (£4.3m) had been forced into action very early on to block Traore.

But that, as it turned out, was the hosts’ only shot on target, although Traore – interestingly playing as a striker in Santo’s 3-5-2 – missed another great chance when he lofted the ball over both the keeper and the crossbar. That was bad news for the 17.7% of managers hoping the midfielder would prosper in an out-of-position role up front alongside Jimenez.

Patricio wasn’t that much busier than Martinez, although he could do nothing about Arsenal’s second goal.

Substitutes Joe Willock (£4.7m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£9.2m) combined well on the right, with the latter then hitting a shot across the Wolves keeper and in off the far post.

Midfielder Willock had a golden chance to make it three son afterwards when his scuffed shot beat Patricio but didn’t have the legs to make it past the covering Ruben Neves (£5.2m).

And while 3-0 might have been harsh on Wolves, the clean sheet for the visitors caught pretty much every Fantasy manager by surprise as the allure of all Arsenal’s players, beside Aubameyang, has not been great.

The (relative) popularity of the likes of Matteo Guendouzi (£4.2m and 7.5%) and Saka (5.0%) has clearly been based on their price or, in the case of David Luiz (£5.7m and 4.9%), no discernible reason whatsoever.

But the much-maligned Brazilian delivered a second consecutive clean sheet, as did the even more-mocked Shkodran Mustafi (£5.1m), and the unfortunate 0.5% who own Tierney were denied a third straight batch of shut-out points to go with his first Premier League assist only because coach Mikel Arteta took him off after 55 minutes.

In fact, since a disastrous Gameweek 30+, the Gunners have now won three straight league games by a combined score of 8-0 – a run few predicted and even fewer took advantage of in their Fantasy teams.

The maximum bonus award went to Lacazette, capping an all-action seven minutes from the bench that earned him eight points.

The Frenchman has been reduced to a bit-part player over recent Gameweeks – he’s started just two of the last six fixtures. But his record as a substitute has been impressive, with three goals and two assists from his last five cameo appearances.

Whether he ever holds down a regular starting role again remains to be seen, however.

Nicolas Pepe (£9.1m) dropped out of the squad to be with his heavily-pregnant wife, but Arteta opted to use midfielder Saka, not striker Lacazette, in an advanced role alongside Aubameyang and Nketiah.

The moment we have a situation with Nico, it was clear. I was trying to find something with Bukayo in that position. It is true that in the first half he had some moments where he struggled but then he started understanding things better after 20 minutes. I really liked the way he kept trying and trying and trying rather than putting his head down and being disappointed.

Saka’s first ever Premier League goal won’t have dimmed his coach’s admiration either, suggesting Lacazette might have to resign himself to more games as an impact.

Then again, Arsenal’s immediate schedule – home to Leicester and Liverpool, away at Spurs in between – might tempt Arteta to give experience the nod.

What it’s unlikely to tempt is too much Fantasy investment in the side’s key assets, which now should really include members of their defence.

Arteta said of his side’s backline:

The more we improve here, the more solid we are, the more chances we are going to have to win football games. This was down to 11 players defending every time the ball was at the opponents’ feet.

Regardless of yesterday’s impressive win, it’s probably going to take a good deal more to persuade most managers to rely on Arsenal players in matches as big as their next three, however.

That would seem to be the case based on the current transfer trends. Only two Gunners – Aubameyang and Saka – can be found in the top 30 for Gameweek 34+ transfers in. By contrast, four Wolves players make the cut.

That’s not overly surprising when the fixtures of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are factored in. Of their final five fixtures, a trip to Chelsea on the last day of the season looks the toughest.

It could also be a decider in terms of which of them qualifies for next season’s Champions League, meaning the coach is unlikely to rotate his key players any time soon.

But while that might be music to Fantasy ears, the issue of fatigue among Wolves players should never be dismissed – this is a team, after all, that started this long, long season way back in July last year.

Yes, the enforced lay-off has given the squad recovery time. But as a unit, no Premier League team has had to be match-fit and good to go for such an extended period of time; a fact possibly alluded to by the manager in his post-match comments:

What was missing today, a little bit more urgency at certain points. There was a moment that was the definition, if we were going to draw and push for the last moments of the game, but it didn’t happen.

Wolves have four players with Fantasy Premier League (FPL) ownership of at least 10 percent, and another three over five percent.

Such heavy investment is likely to stay in place for the rest of the season, but yesterday’s defeat and a couple of laboured 1-0 wins that proceeded it, might be an indication that the team is running out of steam.

Wednesday’s tricky trip to a rejuvenated Sheffield United will tell us more.


Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Saïss, Coady, Boly; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 89′), Dendoncker (Jota 55′), Doherty (Neto 72′); Jiménez, Traoré

Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Martínez; Kolasinac, Luiz, Mustafi; Tierney (Maitland-Niles 56′), Xhaka, Ceballos (Torreira 83′), Cédric (Bellerin 76′); Aubameyang, Nketiah (Lacazette 83′), Saka (Willock 75).

MEMBERS ANALYSIS

FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 33+

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £17.50. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

1,768 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Right In The Stanchion
      1 month, 6 days ago

      Sarr is going to pay me back for his flopping performance next he against Norwich. Brace incoming

      1. pitstop1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 6 days ago

        Hope you’re right - I’ve held him for this fixture too

        1. Right In The Stanchion
            1 month, 6 days ago

            He’s a great young player. Norwich are the worst. It’s got to come good...

        2. mynameisq
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 6 days ago

          Has he actually been performing well though?

      2. seewhyaxe
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 6 days ago

        Took a hit to get Mahrez in with (c).

        That was... splendid!

        1. PLerix
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 6 days ago

          Me too. Instead of Martial..

        2. Right In The Stanchion
            1 month, 6 days ago

            He’ll demolish Newcastle

            1. Right In The Stanchion
                1 month, 6 days ago

                In fact Newcastle arn’t pushovers anymore

              • Holmes
                • 6 Years
                1 month, 6 days ago

                Demolish 😀

            2. fr3d
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 6 days ago

              I never understood the hype around Mahrez and Jesus on here

              1. Devo-McDuff
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 6 days ago

                Mahrez's output for time on the pitch is very impressive. He's now getting more time than he did before. Hence fairly justified hype.

            3. The Tinkerman
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 6 days ago

              I did the same. Got in Jesus as part of the same hit.

            4. Amey
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 6 days ago

              Mahrez will come good vs Newcastle.
              I opted him over Martial ...
              He bloody has to ! 😀

            5. seewhyaxe
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 6 days ago

              thanks for the entertainment guys.

              feels good to know I'm not the only one!

          • Slitherene
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 6 days ago

            Good week to activate BB?

            Krul Martinez
            VvD Gomez AWB Saiss Holgate
            KdB Mahrez Bruno Antonio Sarr
            Rashford DC-L Kane

          • Right In The Stanchion
              1 month, 6 days ago

              Best midfielder for around 6m with good fixtures please? Thinking of punting on Yarmolenko as Antonio is too expensive. Already got Sarr, Bruno, KDB

              1. Slitherene
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 6 days ago

                Sarr, Bowen, Barkley, Foden

                1. Right In The Stanchion
                    1 month, 6 days ago

                    Bowen isn’t a bad shout. Quite like the look of him as a goal scoring mid

                2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 6 days ago

                  Foden surely

                  1. Right In The Stanchion
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Too much rotation for my liking.

                3. Pat Bonner
                  • 9 Years
                  1 month, 6 days ago

                  Any thoughts? Save this week?

                  Pope
                  Taa Gomez boly
                  Salah kdb Mahrez Bruno
                  Jimenez rashford greenwood

                  McCarthy Egan mooy Lascelles

                  1. Kurupt FC
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      looks good to me. similar to my team. i'm concerned about my wolves and pool assets. Have 1ft, but might just wait and reavluate after gw34+.

                      1. Pat Bonner
                        • 9 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Thinking the same, might move Jimenez on next week. Thanks

                    • Slitherene
                      • 2 Years
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Save

                      1. Pat Bonner
                        • 9 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Cheers

                    • JACK ARMY
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Salah to Sterling?

                      1. Pat Bonner
                        • 9 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Cheers. I had thought about that or even getting Foden. Salah away isn’t great and then he could get a rest against Burnley. Nothing to lose as terrible rank so might be worth a punt on sterling captain

                        1. JACK ARMY
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          My front line is similar to yours - we've gotta punt on those City & Utd fixtures imo

                        2. unitednations
                          • 8 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          or he could rest against brighton away and start burnley at home

                    • RamaJama
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Save

                  2. Kurupt FC
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Morning All.

                      Any thoughts what to do with this lot for gw34+ ? Thank you.

                      patricio
                      taa / vvd / doherty
                      bruno / pulisic / kdb / salah
                      greenwood / rashford / jimenez

                      martin / foden / lamptey / lascelles

                      1ft 0.6itb. Might role the ft over and assess after gw34+. especially the wolves and pool assets...

                    • King Kohli
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 6 days ago

                      Who scores more over the next 3?

                      A. Kane
                      B. Bowen
                      C. Antonio

                      1. Kurupt FC
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          c

                      2. unitednations
                        • 8 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Couple of quick questions

                        1) Who would you get rid of first, DCL or Jimmy? Assuming dcl doesnt score tonight

                        2) Who would you prioritise to bring in this gw? Kane or Mahrez? will likely kdb i think

                        1. JACK ARMY
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          DCL & Mahrez

                          1. RamaJama
                            • 7 Years
                            1 month, 6 days ago

                            This

                      3. Stram Dunk
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Patrício
                        TAA Doherty AWB
                        Son KDB Bruno Mané Foden
                        Greenwood Jiménez

                        Martin DCL Fernández Dunk

                        2FT, 0.1ITB

                        Not sure where to use the FT.
                        Any suggestions are welcome.

                      4. offspinnersinahurry
                        • 5 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Best defender to keep for rest of season, I have Trent and 3 Utd already, funds ok?

                        1. wernerhedgehog
                          • 2 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          Gomez

                        2. JACK ARMY
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          VVD

                      5. Slitherene
                        • 2 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        Whatever is left of this season is all about chasing Bournemouth.

                        GW 34 : Kane (bou)
                        GW 35 : Vardy (bou)
                        GW 36 : Jesus (BOU)
                        GW 37 : Ings (bou)
                        GW 38 : DC-L (BOU)

                        Getting in Kane in 34 will help you afford the rest with a FT.
                        All captain material.

                        1. King Kohli
                          • 7 Years
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          Captain Kane this week?

                      6. tibollom
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 6 days ago

                        what to do here guys? 1 FT and 1M ITB

                        Patricio Button
                        TAA doherty LAscelle aurier robinson
                        kdb bruno mahrez mane luiz
                        rash greenwood jim

                      7. Dubores
                          1 month, 6 days ago

                          Pope (Button)
                          TAA - Doherty - Lascelles (Kiko, Holgate)
                          Salah - Pulisic - Sarr - Bruno (Guendouzi)
                          Rashford - Ings - Jimenez

                          0.2 ITB, any suggestions on how could I bring KDB in?
                          I was thinking Rashford, Pulisic -> Greenwood, KDB, but I don't know if it's really worth it.
                          Or should I just ditch Salah now?

                        • Right In The Stanchion
                            1 month, 6 days ago

                            Joe Gomez place is secure for the next few right?

                            1. JACK ARMY
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 6 Years
                              1 month, 6 days ago

                              Lovren lingering

                          • Vazza
                              1 month, 6 days ago

                              Who to start this week -

                              A. Martinez vs LEI
                              B. Pope vs whu

                              1. Taylor vs whu
                              2. Holgate vs SOU

                              X. Foden vs NEW
                              Y. Jimenez vs shu

                              1. Vazza
                                  1 month, 6 days ago

                                  Please help out guys..