Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester City
- Goals: Junior Stanislas (£5.8m), Dominic Solanke (£5.1m) x2, Jonny Evans (£5.3m) own-goal | Jamie Vardy (£9.8m)
- Assists: Callum Wilson (£7.4m), Diego Rico (£4.2m), Stanislas| None
- Bonus: Solanke x3, Stanislas x2, Vardy x1
Where to start with – and how to make sense of – this one?
A bewildering evening on the south coast saw Leicester City implode spectacularly in a manner that conjured up memories of Brazil’s 7-1 thumping at the hands of Germany six years ago.
From Dominic Solanke (£5.1m) finding the net to the Foxes’ two centre-backs scoring a combined minus five Fantasy Premier League points, it was a scarcely believable watch.
The first 45 minutes went by pretty much as expected, with Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) opening the scoring in a typically opportunistic manner, Brendan Rodgers’ side utterly dominating proceedings, and Bournemouth looking fragile in both defence and confidence.
Leicester went into half-time having racked up 10 shots to the Cherries’ one, with Vardy responsible for five of them.
Only some last-ditch blocks kept the score down, with Nathan Ake (£4.8m) getting a vital touch onto a 36th-minute strike from the Foxes’ forward to deflect one effort up and over.
Based on the first-half evidence, and with Ake limping off injured, many of us would have expected a Vardy haul to materialise and no doubt began looking at options for a Manchester City triple-up in Gameweek 36+.
Eddie Howe switched things around at the interval, making two changes and moving to a wing-back system to match Leicester’s formation, but the first 20 minutes of the second half passed by without much incident.
The Cherries were better, with only poor touches from Solanke and Callum Wilson (£7.4m) ruining promising moves, but had still only registered two efforts on goal before the game turned on its head in the 65th minute.
A suicidal kick out from Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m) led to Wilson being fouled in the Bournemouth box, with substitute Junior Stanislas (£5.8m) stepping up in the injured Josh King‘s (£6.1m) absence to level the scores from the spot.
Things unravelled from that point for the visitors, with Caglar Soyuncu (£5.0m) seeing red for a kick on Wilson immediately after Solanke had squeezed a shot under Schmeichel.
Jonny Evans (£5.3m) then deflected a Stanislas shot past his own goalkeeper before Solanke rounded off the scoring when pouncing on a dreadful Christian Fuchs (£4.2m) pass.
Substitute Sam Surridge (£4.3m) went on to waste two glorious opportunities in injury time as Leicester’s defence went AWOL.
How to process this result as Fantasy managers?
Firstly, Bournemouth’s admirable second-half fightback isn’t likely to put us off going big on Pep Guardiola’s side in Gameweek 36+, with the Cherries looking brittle at the back.
As plucky as the south coast side were, this was a freakish set of circumstances and Manchester City would unquestionably have swatted aside Howe’s troops had they provided the opposition in the opening 45 minutes.
Bournemouth look likely to be without their best centre-half on Wednesday, too, with Howe saying of Ake:
It doesn’t look too good. With such a short time left of the season, it looks like it’s going to be difficult for him to play.
But what of Leicester?
It’d be easy to chalk this game down as an anomaly from their point of view, too, and it’s unlikely that circumstances will again conspire against them in the way they did on Sunday.
However, the Foxes have taken only 14 points from their last 14 games and they are in serious danger of losing out on a Champions League qualification place that looked all but secured at the turn of 2020.
Soyuncu will now miss the remainder of the season, while the Foxes – who still have doubts over James Maddison (£7.3m) and Ben Chilwell (£5.5m) – ahead of Gameweek 36+ – also lost Marc Albrighton (£5.1m) to injury in the first half.
Luckily, Vardy keeps on scoring regardless.
This was his fourth goal in three games and he himself looks back to his best even if the Foxes continue to be hit and miss, with the support from Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m) and Ayoze Perez (£6.0m) in attack working well over the last week.
All three of those players could have added to the Foxes’ lead in the first half and it made Rodgers’ decision to withdraw the Nigerian at half-time, sending on Dennis Praet (£5.2m) in his stead, look particularly odd.
The Leicester boss said of that change:
[Iheanacho] wasn’t having one of his better games. The issue for us defensively was on the side of the pitch, because there was a lot of space for Wilf [Ndidi] and Youri [Tielemans] to cover.
So we pushed Ayo [Perez] on, he was playing well, and added an extra midfielder in to help cover.
But the defeat wasn’t tactical, it was about the spirit.
Turning his ire on his players and Soyuncu, Rodgers added:
I didn’t see it coming. We didn’t have personality in the second half. I would say an apology to the supporters, that was unacceptable for a Leicester City team, the reaction to the red card. We lacked the spirit and attitude.
It’s disappointing because we’re already without three of our key players. We don’t have a big enough squad.
It’s a stupid reaction [from Soyuncu]. His covering position could have been better. It was reckless.
Saying that, we have to defend better. We didn’t show the right spirit when we went down to 10 men.
While Vardy’s own form isn’t in question, that of his team is and the Foxes have three tricky-looking games remaining, starting with a match against a Sheffield United side who look back to their best defensively.
The Golden Boot may be enough to keep his existing owners interested but there’ll be fewer FPL managers looking at him anew, while the rest of the Foxes’ squad will likely be given short shrift altogether.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Stacey, Ake (S Cook 40′), Kelly, Rico; Brooks (L Cook 81′), Gosling (Billing 45′), Lerma, Danjuma (Stanislas 45′); Solanke, Wilson (Surridge 90′).
Leicester City XI (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Soyuncu; Albrighton (Bennett 16′), Ndidi, Tielemans, Fuchs; Perez (Barnes 70′) Vardy, Iheanacho (Praet 45′).
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