Yet another Fantasy Premier League deadline is only a day away so, with time against us, we will rattle through the main discussion points from two more Gameweek 35+ fixtures in an abridged Scout Notes below.
Watford v Newcastle United and Aston Villa v Crystal Palace are our featured games in this article.
An away clash at Crystal Palace would ordinarily be a tricky test on paper.
From Gameweeks 1+ to 30+, Palace had the joint-sixth-best defensive record in terms of goals conceded and only three sides had kept more clean sheets.
Since then, however, the Eagles have lost five on the spin and conceded more goals than any other team.
Without arguably their best centre-half in the injured Gary Cahill (£4.4m) and drifting towards a lower-mid-table finish, this seems to be a good time to take on Roy Hodgson’s troops – and it’s Manchester United who face Palace next in Gameweek 36+.
Aston Villa had only scored twice in eight games before Sunday’s clash in the Midlands but they doubled that tally in one fell swoop against the Eagles.
A double for Trezeguet (£5.2m) handed Dean Smith’s side their first victory since January.
Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) blanked as a result of a fifth successive clean sheet loss but, as is his wont, he so very nearly popped at the other end with a late consolation, registering Palace’s only big chance of the match with a shot that Pepe Reina (£4.2m) saved.
Among sub-£5.5m forwards, Dwight Gayle (£5.0m) is second only to Mason Greenwood (£4.9m) for FPL ‘form’ over the last month.
Gayle scored the opener in Newcastle United’s 2-1 defeat at Watford and has attacking returns in four of his last five starts, with his only blank coming in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.
The budget striker tapped in Federico Fernandez‘s (£4.6m) flick-on to give Newcastle the lead, later being denied by Ben Foster (£4.9m) and setting up Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.4m) for the Magpies’ only other ‘big chance’ of the match.
Steve Bruce’s recent change to a 4-2-3-1 has certainly led to a bit more attacking thrust from the Magpies, although no clean sheets in five matches (their previous two shut-outs were recorded against ten men) does suggest that it has come at the expense of some defensive stability.
Deeney on the Spot
Troy Deeney (£6.2m) emerged from Watford’s win over Newcastle with a 13-point haul, which is more than he had managed in his previous six appearances combined.
The Hornets’ striker was indebted to two penalties to end his goal drought and in truth, his threat from open play remains limited – his four shots on Saturday (two of which were from the spot) more than doubled his total for the previous five Gameweeks.
His only other clear-cut opportunity was presented to him by an awful Fernandez clearance and the mid-price striker shot straight at Martin Dubravka (£5.1m) with the goal at his mercy.
Deeney limped off towards the end but Nigel Pearson said after full-time:
Troy has what I would call a ‘grumbly knee’ that he has to manage on a daily and weekly basis. This is nothing new, it’s something which he’s come to terms with and has to manage, so you may see him with a bandage today, but it’s nothing new.
Injuries and Bans
Christian Benteke (£5.7m) will miss the remainder of the season after being sent off for violent conduct after the final whistle at Villa Park.
Jordan Ayew (£5.1m) will now presumably revert to being a central striker for the last three Gameweeks, after a spell on the right flank.
Villa lost two of their defence to injuries on Sunday, with Kortney Hause (£4.4m) pulling out in the warm-up and Neil Taylor (£4.2m) being substituted after 36 minutes.
Ahmed Elmohamady (£4.1m) was given the nod at right-back, with Matt Targett (£4.3m) making a timely return from injury to replace Taylor on the opposite flank.
Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina; Capoue, Hughes; Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck (Gray 90′); Deeney (Cleverley 85′).
Newcastle United XI (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles (Lazaro 87′), Fernandez, Rose (Krafth 79′); Schar, Shelvey; Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Ritchie (Joelinton 72′); Gayle (Bentaleb 79′).
Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Reina; El Mohamady, Konso Ngoyo, Mings, Taylor (Targett 36′); McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane (Nakamba 80′); Trezeguet (El Ghazi 88′), Samatta (Davis 80′) Grealish.
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Dann, Sakho, van Aanholt; Zaha, Kouyate (Riedewald 66′), Milivojevic (Meyer 75′), McArthur (McCarthy 46), Ayew (Townsend 66′); Benteke.
FPL LESSONS LEARNED FROM GAMEWEEK 35+
- Norwich City 0-4 West Ham United
- Watford 2-1 Newcastle United
- Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
- Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-5 Manchester City
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 Everton
- Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal
- Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester City
- Manchester United 2-2 Southampton
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