Norwich 0-1 Brighton
- Goals: Leandro Trossard (£5.8m)
- Assists: Aaron Mooy (£4.7m)
- Bonus Points: Trossard x3, Lewis Dunk x2 (£4.7m), Mat Ryan x1 (£4.7m)
A first half goal from Leandro Trossard secured all three points for Brighton in a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday lunch-time.
That took the Seagulls to a 36-point tally, which should ensure their Premier League survival and further dent Norwich’s hopes of the same.
On a day where pubs re-opened their doors nationwide, the poor opening game did not live up to the billing of ‘Super Saturday’.
Having rested him for Tuesday’s defeat to Manchester United, Graham Potter restored Neal Maupay (£5.7m) to the side here, joining Aaron Connolly (£4.2m) up front in a 4-4-2 system.
That saw Trossard and Aaron Mooy (£4.7m) out wide and it was these two players who combined for the only goal of the game after 25 minutes. Mooy’s low cross met the Belgian at the near post, who guided his shot to the right of goalkeeper Tim Krul (£4.6m).
With such a toothless Norwich attack, Brighton did not need to play particularly well to hold onto their win. The Canaries have not scored since the Premier League resumed and only have one goal from their last nine league outings.
Inexplicably, Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) and Todd Cantwell (£4.6m) were again rotated by head coach Daniel Farke, a repeat of the recent 1-0 home defeat to Everton, as he desperately seeks a winning formula.
“It was a tough game as we expected and a bit scrappy at times, but a moment of quality won the match. The resilience impressed me the most. The ability to stick at it, to fight for each other. I think that has been evident for us since the lockdown especially.”Graham Potter
In fact, Pukki has just two goals from 13 starts – both penalties – and Cantwell has not added to his six goals and two assists since New Year’s Day. Josip Drmic (£5.3m) and Onel Hernández (£5.3m) started in their places, with the Cuban producing a few half-chances in the opening period.
13 minutes in, Hernández cut inside but saw his shot blocked and six minutes later found himself lively on the opposite flank, taking on Lewis Dunk (£4.7m) before blazing a shot wide.
Just before half time, Emiliano Buendía’s (£6.0m) edge-of-box roulette turn set up another Hernández shot, this time blocked before looping safely into Mat Ryan’s (£4.7m) hands.
Cantwell and Pukki did make cameos, introduced by Farke in a triple substitution with Adam Idah (£4.4m), but produced almost nothing apart from a late Cantwell booking for fouling Tariq Lamptey (£4.0m).
Of the three, it was Idah who had the one golden chance in stoppage time, who got across Dan Burn (£4.5m) and saw his header agonisingly hit the post. Interestingly, it has been the budget forward who has looked the most dangerous when Norwich have made changes in their last two games.
“We didn’t have the quality to anticipate or smell to reward our performance. We were unlucky in the end with Adam Idah who hit the outside of the post. Even the ball can’t explain how it came out.”Daniel Farke
That was the only main threat to the Brighton defence, calmly gathering their eighth clean sheet of the season and a third successive away shut-out. Goalkeeper Ryan collected a rare bonus point and, facing so little, only tallied one save. For anyone chasing Seagulls defensive investment after their matches against Liverpool and Manchester City, perhaps the best one to consider is Dunk. He has three goals and three assists on top of the clean sheets this season, with 15 bonus points partially gained from making the most defensive recoveries in the league.
However, as already mentioned, Brighton’s upcoming fixtures lack appeal. Back-to-back home meetings with Liverpool and Man City are followed by trips to Southampton and Burnley, hosting Newcastle in between. Perhaps those planning a Wildcard should look at the cheap right-back Lamptey.
Signed from Chelsea on January transfer deadline day, the pacey 19-year-old has started Brighton’s last three matches and often finds himself in the opponent’s box. Shown a late yellow card, a five-point return is still value for money considering the small outlay.
Trossard has now scored in both meetings with Norwich, taking him to four goals and five assists for the season. Those figures are impressive considering he has only played 1,680 minutes – the equivalent of almost 19 matches. He generally delivers points when he plays but is rotated too often to be a stable Fantasy option. That is true for most of Brighton’s non-defensive assets, as only Connolly and defensive midfielder Yves Bissouma (£5.0m) have started each of their last three games.
Most chances came through Mooy, setting up a couple of chances early in the second half. He fed the ball to Connolly on the left hand side, with the Irishman cutting inside only to see a shot blocked by Norwich’s returning Timm Klose (£4.3m). Soon after, Mooy’s free kick was met by the back of Burn’s head, as the ball dropped just wide of the far post.
Up front, Maupay has had a busy few games after injuring Bernd Leno (£4.7m), scoring a late winner against Arsenal and missing a penalty against Leicester but didn’t offer much goal threat this time.
Having seen the way Norwich gifted two goals to Arsenal through defensive errors, Maupay will be disappointed not to add to his goal tally. Norwich have only kept five clean sheets all season and their defence entered Gameweek 33+ having conceded 47 shots since the restart – only worsened by teams who played an extra fourth game.
“We have to say we are disappointed because, we are not relegated, but realistically this was our last chance to get back in the mix with a good result. After a few losses in a row, we don’t say that we have a right to win the last five games. It will be naïve and unrealistic.”Daniel Farke
Max Aarons (£4.3m), Ben Godfrey (£4.4m) and Jamal Lewis (£4.4m) look promising talents but they play in a very young backline that has only produced one goal and two assists. From a Fantasy perspective, Norwich defenders should be avoided at all costs.
They travel to Watford in mid-week, then host West Ham. To stand a realistic chance of survival, Farke’s men need to win both.
Norwich XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis; Tettey (Vrancic 78’), McLean, Buendia, Duda (Idah 67’), Hernandez (Cantwell 67’), Drmic (Pukki ’67)
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-4-2): Ryan; Lamptey (Duffy 90+4′), Dunk, Webster, Burn; Bissouma (Mac Allister 79′), Mooy (Bernardo 72′), Propper, Trossard (Stephens 79′); Maupay, Connolly (Gross ’72′).
FPL LESSONS LEARNED FROM GAMEWEEK 32+
- Norwich City 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leicester City 3-0 Crystal Palace
- Manchester United 5-2 Bournemouth
- Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
- Chelsea v Watford
- Burnley v Sheffield United
- Newcastle United v West Ham United
- Liverpool v Aston Villa
- Southampton v Manchester City
- Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
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