Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Newcastle United
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
- Bonus: Dan Burn (£4.5m) x3, Lewis Dunk (£4.8m) x2, Mathew Ryan (£4.7m) x1
The two-word album review for Spinal Tap’s Shark Sandwich sprung to mind as Brighton and Hove Albion secured their Premier League safety with a goalless draw against Newcastle United.
Chances of quality were scarce in a desperately poor game that had a whiff of ‘pre-season friendly’ about it, although that was perhaps unsurprising given the frequency of fixtures over the last fortnight, the low stakes (Albion were pretty much already safe anyway) and the absence of a crowd.
Interest in these two teams is limited from a Fantasy perspective, with not one player on show having an ‘effective ownership’ of more than 4% in the top 10,000.
Brighton and Newcastle’s opponents in Gameweek 38+, Burnley and Liverpool, are much more in-demand, however, so this would have been a scouting mission of sorts for owners of Nick Pope (£5.1m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m), Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) et al.
On the basis of what we saw last night, there was little to worry FPL managers going big on the Clarets or the Reds – especially at the back.
The Magpies only forced one save out of Mathew Ryan (£4.7m), with the Australia international having to be alert to palm a Miguel Almiron (£5.8m) flick away from goal.
Most of the visitors’ threat came from set plays, with Dwight Gayle (£5.0m) glancing a header over just before half-time and substitute Andy Carroll (£5.4m) nodding an excellent opportunity wide late on.
So long as Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.3m) is fit, then Newcastle pose a danger to any side’s clean sheet and he’ll be the main concern for owners of Liverpool assets this weekend.
The Frenchman recovered from a calf problem to start at the Amex and showed glimpses of his talent but couldn’t do much with what little possession he was afforded, not registering a single shot or key pass.
At the other end of the pitch, Martin Dubravka (£5.1m) saved smartly from Leandro Trossard (£5.8m) and Adam Webster (£4.4m), with the Belgian also hooking a decent chance over in the final quarter of an hour.
A 0-0 was about right, though, and anyone targeting Trossard and Neal Maupay (£5.7m) for this meeting against a patched-up Newcastle defence who were without five recognised centre-halves were left short-changed.
That makeshift backline will be of interest to owners of Salah and Sadio Mane (£12.2m), who will no doubt give it a sterner examination on Sunday.
Danny Rose (£5.3m) and Emil Krafth (£4.3m) played either side of Federico Fernandez (£4.6m) in a back three, with Matt Ritchie (£5.3m) and Javier Manquillo (£4.3m) tasked with wing-back roles.
Steve Bruce said of his side’s display after the match:
Considering the problems we’ve had, I was delighted. The one thing you can’t deny about this group of players is their ability to roll their sleeves up and have a go.
We played two full-backs as centre-backs today and they were terrific. I was delighted with their attitude.
Emil’s got a really sore ankle and did well to carry on, but I think he epitomised the spirit of all them.
Three of Brighton’s backline hoovered up the bonus points, while Tariq Lamptey (£4.1m) has now started six of Albion’s last seven league games and is a budget defensive option going into Gameweek 38+, with Burnley themselves not renowned for scoring an abundance of goals.
The Seagulls may have been put to the sword by the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool recently but against the rest of the top flight, their defensive record is a bit better: Ryan has conceded 26 goals in 25 matches against non-big-six sides, keeping eight clean sheets along the way.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-3-3): Ryan; Lamptey (Duffy 86′), Dunk, Webster, Burn; Bissouma (Propper 73′), Stephens, Mooy (March 58); Gross (Mac Allister 58′), Maupay (Murray 73′), Trossard.
Newcastle United XI (3-5-2): Dubravka; Krafth, Fernandez, Rose; Manquillo, Bentaleb, Shelvey, Almiron (Lazaro 86′), Ritchie; Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 74′), Gayle (Carroll 74′).
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 37+
- Norwich City 0-2 Burnley
- Bournemouth 0-2 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 0-1 Everton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Watford 0-4 Manchester City
- Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
- Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea