Everton 1-1 Southampton
- Goals: Richarlison (£8.2m)| Danny Ings (£7.3m)
- Assists: Lucas Digne (£5.8m) | Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m)
- Bonus: Ings x3, Digne x2, Armstrong x1
Danny Ings (£7.3m) made it five attacking returns in as many starts after scoring Southampton’s only goal in their 1-1 draw with Everton on Thursday.
No Fantasy Premier League forward has scored on more occasions than Ings since the restart last month, with the Saints’ striker just three goals behind Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) in the race for the Golden Boot.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.3m), by contrast, has blanked in all five Gameweeks since top-flight football resumed in mid-June.
If there ever was a match to sum up the current appeal of both players, this was it.
Ings managed six more touches in the opposition box than the anonymous Calvert-Lewin had anywhere on the pitch, with the out-of-sorts Everton striker compounding his owners’ misery by picking up a caution and eventually getting substituted midway through the second half.
The way both players dealt with their best chances was also telling.
Ings showed an opportunistic streak and some superb footwork to convert Stuart Armstrong‘s (£5.1m) mishit effort on the half-hour, sidestepping Jordan Pickford (£5.2m) to put Saints ahead.
Calvert-Lewin’s best opening didn’t even result in a shot, with the Everton number nine seemingly caught in two minds as to whether to control a diagonal long pass or hit it first time, and ended up doing neither.
The displays of the two strikers mirrored those of their teams.
Ings and Southampton were sharp, aggressive in the press and oozing confidence: the in-form striker had rattled the crossbar shortly before putting Southampton 1-0 up and James Ward-Prowse (£5.7m) also smashed a 27th-minute penalty against the woodwork.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team have been one of the stand-out sides of the summer and while a trip to Old Trafford in Gameweek 35+ will likely deter investment for now, Ings and co (for those not already on board) will surely be high on the watchlists of many FPL managers for a triple-header against Brighton, Bournemouth and Sheffield United thereafter.
Calvert-Lewin and Everton, in contrast, looked devoid of ideas and short on fitness.
In fairness, their defence – who were here without the injured Mason Holgate (£4.4m) – has been quite impressive since the restart and no club has conceded fewer goals in the post-lockdown era.
But only the bottom three have scored fewer goals than the Toffees in Gameweeks 30+ to 34+.
Midfield seems to be the main problem, with Andre Gomes (£5.2m) well short of his best (and succumbing to an ankle knock) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) seemingly well past his.
Richarlison (£8.2m) at least chipped in with a second goal in three games, controlling Lucas Digne‘s (£5.7m) raking pass to lob Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) and bring the scores level.
The Brazilian might have had a second, too, only to be felled by Jan Bednarek (£4.4m) when bearing down on goal.
Carlo Ancelotti cited Everton’s tough schedule after full-time, something that disgruntled owners of Wolves assets may want to take note of ahead of the two sides’ meeting on Sunday:
Today we were a little bit tired because we played on Monday. We had one day less recovery [than Southampton, who last played on Sunday].
It will be difficult again to play at midday on Sunday. We cannot come into these games with 100 per cent energy. But we have to be intelligent and smart and defend well, as we did in the second half.
We can’t open the pitch when you have two days’ recovery. You have to control the pitch and the space where you want to play. In the second half , we started to win more second balls, we were fighting and had more control.
Southampton played better than us but the result was quite fair.
His opposite number was understandably frustrated, saying:
The frustration is a little bit here because I think we played a good game, but this is football. In the last game, we gave a lot of chances away to Man City and they didn’t score and today Everton had two and scored one.
The whole performance was absolutely grown up and it was definitely a good away game from our side. We were calm in possession. In the second half Everton changed the shape and we had 15 minutes where we were struggling but we immediately found the right answers. We were very flexible, and it was a good performance.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne; Iwobi (Sidibe 46′), Davies, Gomes (Sigurdsson 42′), Gordon (Bernard 74′); Calvert-Lewin (Kean 68′), Richarlison.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong (Smallbone 88′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu (Hojbjerg 70′), Redmond; Ings, Adams (Long 70′).
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 34+
- Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea
- Watford 2-1 Norwich City
- Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City
- Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 0-1 Burnley
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Liverpool
- Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Everton 1-1 Southampton
- Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United
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