With yet another Gameweek deadline on the horizon, we summarise the key quotes, talking points and underlying numbers from two more Premier League games – Southampton v Brighton and Everton v Aston Villa – in the Scout Notes round-up below.
Ings on Target
Danny Ings (£7.5m) moved within three goals of Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) in the race for the Golden Boot after scoring Southampton’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Amid the fixture pile-up, Ings looked as sharp as ever – even if Southampton struggled to get going in the opening 45 minutes.
An offside flag and Mathew Ryan‘s (£4.7m) left-hand post had initially denied him a 20th strike of the season, while he was inches away from teeing up Che Adams (£5.3m) for a tap-in in the second half with a volleyed ball across the six-yard box.
Ings’ goal eventually came in the 65th minute as he latched onto a Nathan Redmond (£6.2m) pass to finish coolly beyond Ryan.
While three games in a week would previously have been a concern for Ings, Hasenhuttl provided some encouraging words about his striker on Friday:
Calvert-Lewin Blanks Again
It’s eight straight blanks for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.2m), seven of which have arrived after the restart.
There were a few more openings for the Everton forward on Thursday evening, with one turn-and-shot creeping narrowly wide and the striker almost deflecting a Tyrone Mings (£4.4m) clearing header past Pepe Reina (£4.2m), but it was another grim watch as Aston Villa carved out the better chances.
Calvert-Lewin sits a poor 24th among FPL forwards for expected goal involvement since the resumption last month, while only Norwich have carved out fewer big chances than Everton from Gameweek 30+ onwards.
With a trip to a defensively strong Sheffield United up next for the Toffees, the exodus looks set to continue.
Mason Holgate‘s (£4.3m) comeback from injury lasted all of 15 minutes before the budget FPL defender limped out of Everton’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Everton reported that the issue was a recurrence of a shin problem that had forced him off against Spurs a fortnight him ago and led to him missing out in Gameweeks 34+ and 35+.
Carlo Ancelotti didn’t mention Holgate in his post-match press conference but we may get an update on the centre-half in additional quotes released from that media gathering on Friday or Saturday.
Holgate’s early withdrawal and Yerry Mina‘s (£5.3m) thigh injury left Everton short of options at centre-half and, for the second successive match, Ancelotti was forced to turn to youngster Jarrad Branthwaite (£4.0m).
The teenager turned in a commendable display alongside Michael Keane (£5.2m) and, should Mina and Holgate be ruled out for the run-in, then Branthwaite could be a decent budget option for the Toffees’ remaining games against Sheffield United and Bournemouth – matches that are decent shouts for clean sheets, even if Everton have been short of them of late.
Indeed, Villa could easily have added to Ezri Konsa‘s (£4.3m) goal on Thursday, with Jack Grealish (£5.9m) dragging a couple of good chances wide and Anwar El Ghazi (£5.2m) somehow missing from three yards.
Ancelotti said of Branthwaite’s display:
I am really happy with him, he is really young, a kid. But he showed quality and personality and character.
He is really calm with the ball, really comfortable, and really aggressive without the ball. He can be a fantastic player for us.
Tariq Lamptey (£4.1m) was handed his fifth start in six games on Thursday, meanwhile, and he too has two favourable fixtures remaining from a clean sheet perspective.
Albion face Newcastle United in Gameweek 37+ and round off their season with a trip to Burnley.
Graham Potter’s constant tinkering with his starting XI remains off-putting, while Lamptey – who has otherwise been excellent since the restart – was caught on his heels for Ings’ equaliser and substituted not long afterwards.
Jake Vokins (£4.0m) started at left-back for Southampton but was perhaps a one-off inclusion (see below), while Ahmed Elmohamady (£4.1m) continued at right-back for Villa for the second straight game.
Brighton all but ensured Premier League safety with their 1-1 draw against Southampton, with only a point needed to be mathematically certain – although chances are the Seagulls are already home and dry.
Villa’s concession of a late equaliser to Theo Walcott (£6.2m), however, leaves them right in the thick of it.
By the time their Gameweek 37+ clash with Arsenal comes around, and depending on Watford and West Ham’s results before that, it could well be win or bust for the Villans.
That would perhaps be of interest to owners of Arsenal’s assets, if Villa need to open up and go for the jugular to get three points.
There were 11 changes to the two starting XIs at St Mary’s on Thursday, with Ralph Hasenhuttl making five of those alterations.
We’re used to seeing rotation at Brighton, with Graham Potter tinkering pretty much every week, but this was the first time Southampton’s starting XI had changed in four games and the resultant opening 45 minutes, coincidence or otherwise, produced a disjointed display from the hosts.
Adams, Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m) and three of the Saints’ back four were all benched and few of their understudies really impressed in their place, with Hasenhuttl going on to make two changes at half-time.
The Southampton boss said:
It was a disaster in the first half and a very good second half.I think we made the right changes at half time and I think we could have scored five or six times in the second half but we didn’t deserve more because of how we started.
We were a little bit slow in our minds and there was a lack of automatism because of all the changes which is normal. We had to do it because it’s quite tough at the moment.
The hope for Ings owners will be that Saints are back to something near full strength on Sunday to aid him in his push for the Golden Boot, although there is again a turnaround of less than 72 hours between Southampton’s Gameweeks 36+ and 37+ fixtures.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate (Branthwaite 15′), Digne; Iwobi (Walcott 61′), Gomes, Davies, Bernard (Gordon 61′); Richarlison (Kean 73′); Calvert-Lewin.
Aston Villa XI (4-3-2-1): Reina; El Mohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Trezeguet (El Ghazi 63′), Grealish; Samatta (Davis 63′).
Southampton XI (4-2-2-2): McCarthy; Hojbjerg, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Vokins; Romeu (Walker-Peters 46′), Ward-Prowse; Smallbone (Armstrong 78′), Redmond; Obafemi (Adams 46′), Ings.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-1-2): Ryan; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Lamptey (Montoya 68′), Stephens, Propper (Bissouma 68′), March (Mac Allister 76′); Trossard (Gross 76′); Murray (Mooy 59′), Maupay.
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