Burnley 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Goals: Chris Wood (£6.1m) | Raul Jimenez
- Assists: Phil Bardsley (£4.3m) | Matt Doherty
- Bonus: Jimenez x3, Bardsley x2, Wood, Ruben Vinagre, Joao Moutinho x1
Burnley sit top of our Season Ticker in the remaining two Gameweeks of the season, with some favourable matches against shot-shy Norwich City and struggling Brighton and Hove Albion still to come.
It scarcely seems to matter who the Clarets play, however, with Sean Dyche’s side taking points from all of the top nine bar Chelsea and Manchester City this calendar year.
Tenth-place Burnley have only lost one of their last 14 matches (an anomalous 5-0 defeat at the Etihad) and that run of form is even more remarkable when we considering Dyche’s lengthy injury list and the fact he lost three of his out-of-contract senior squad members at the end of June.
Two more Burnley players were added to the list of fitness concerns on Wednesday evening, with Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) and Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) lasting just 30 and 51 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Wolves.
Speaking after the match, Dyche said:
I think it’s [Taylor’s] hamstring. I think there’s a chance he’ll be out (in Gameweek 37+), I’ll find out more on Thursday morning. We always give it 12-24 hours to let the injury to settle down. If it is a hamstring, they are tough to settle down in two or three days.
Jay Rod I am bit more hopeful with because that was me being cautious. He said he had a tight calf at half-time and we can’t afford to keep losing players, so we had to get him off early. Hopefully, that one will be OK.
Taylor missing out on Saturday would be a blow to the Clarets but they’ve proven to be adept at overcoming adversity in recent weeks and at least in Erik Pieters (£4.2m), who had been playing ‘out of position’ on the right of midfield of late, they have a like-for-like replacement if he is sidelined.
It’s their defence that has really impressed: in only one of their last 14 games have they conceded more than one goal, a run that also includes seven clean sheets.
Frequently they have been under the cosh in recent matches but rarely seem to allow a hatful of quality chances.
Dyche’s side have conceded more shots than any other team in the last six Gameweeks but 11 sides have a worse expected goals conceded tally in that time.
All of that helps Pope accrue save points and he gained another on Thursday, which helped soften the blow of his clean sheet loss.
Much like in Gameweek 33+, it took a wonder-strike to beat him.
Matt Doherty‘s (£6.5m) blocked shot popped up invitingly for Raul Jimenez (£8.1m) but the Mexican still had much to do, lashing home a volley from the edge of the box to give Wolves the lead after 75 minutes.
That effort carried an expected goal (xG) value of 0.06, which illustrates the difficulty of the chance and perhaps how unfortunate Pope was to lose his clean sheet.
Less inviting are Burnley’s attacking assets, who have scored exactly one goal in each of their last six matches.
Since the restart, only Sheffield United have registered fewer attempts on goal than the Clarets.
But in Rodriguez and especially the fit-again Chris Wood (£6.1m), they do possess two cut-price FPL forwards who often make the most of what few chances come their way.
Wood had uncharacteristically spurned a glorious opportunity to equalise in stoppage time when nodding wide from point-blank range but made amends minutes later, converting a spot-kick after Doherty had been adjudged to have handled the ball in his own area.
Wolves are another of the sides who have caught the eye defensively since the restart, with four clean sheets in seven post-lockdown games.
That tally would have stood at a remarkable six had they not conceded stoppage-time goals in Gameweeks 34+ and 36+ and in truth, they were rarely troubled at Turf Moor, with Wood’s horror miss their first real scare.
The Kiwi striker’s converted penalty, indeed, was the hosts’ first shot on target all game.
A match against a woefully out-of-sorts Crystal Palace in Gameweek 37+ should keep FPL managers interested at both ends of the pitch, with the Eagles without a clean sheet in five matches and scoring only two goals of their own in that time.
Perhaps the major downside to Wolves at the moment is Nuno Espirito Santo’s small-scale tinkering.
Diogo Jota (£6.0m), Joao Moutinho (£5.3m) and especially Adama Traore (£5.6m) have all tasted bench duty since the resumption, although that trio were recalled for this one.
It was the turn of wing-backs Doherty and Jonny (£5.5m) to be handed a breather this time, with the Irishman at least compensating with his first attacking return since March.
Jimenez continues to be largely immune to the threat of rotation, however, having started 35 of Wolves’ 36 league games this season.
Much has been made of the Mexican’s wife being due to give birth at the end of July but he has remained an immovable presence up until this point and now enjoys a five-day breather before Palace head to Molineux.
Jimenez had been on the fringes of the play but did lash a second-half effort over before his goal, with Wolves enjoying what few chances there were.
Romain Saiss (£4.7m) had headed over an early corner and Jota fired into the side-netting before the break, and a narrow away win would arguably have been a fairer reflection of the game overall.
Santo said after full-time:
The first half was good, the second half was good. We were always in control very, very well in the middle of the park, pressing high, recovering the ball.
We didn’t allow Burnley to play, they would always go direct but we controlled it well deep. The team was good.
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 36+
- Chelsea 1-0 Norwich City
- Burnley 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Manchester City 2-1 Bournemouth
- Newcastle United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
- Everton 1-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 2-0 Sheffield United
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United
- Southampton 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- West Ham United 3-1 Watford
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