Fantasy Premier League managers can still take some important lessons away from the recent round of friendlies, even in light of the international break.
Several teams were in action on Tuesday afternoon with some missing key men, while others held onto assets who would rather get into match sharpness with their club rather than their country.
There was a further update on the £4.0m defender situation as well as some interesting developments in the Burnley defence.
Preston 0-0 Burnley
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
Fantasy managers learned more about Burnley’s defence than their attack in a 0-0 draw with Preston on Tuesday.
Nick Pope (£5.5m) and Bailey Peacock-Farrell (£4.0m) joining Robbie Brady (£5.0m) on international duty, Sean Dyche handed a debut to former Wolves goalkeeper Will Norris. Yet to be priced up by FPL, he was kept busy in a 45-minute outing before coming off at half-time, replaced by Lukas Jensen.
Elsewhere in the backline, James Tarkowski (£5.0m) was not risked due to a “minor knock”, which only adds to the uncertainty about Burnley’s defence ahead of the new campaign.
With Ben Mee (£5.0m) and Kevin Long (£4.5m) still absent through injury as well, it meant 90 minutes for junior centre-back pairing Jimmy Dunne and Bobby Thomas. The two players have now been involved in more pre-season action than any other Burnley asset. It will be interesting to see if FPL decide to price either of them up.
As this was the first time Burnley brought their squad together for one match this summer, having previously split it across two, there may be something we can read into the fact that Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) was selected ahead of Erik Pieters (£4.5m), who played the last 30 minutes. However, we must remember that the latter still has more assists this summer than the former Leeds defender, so still has something going for him.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) stayed behind from international duty with Iceland to get some more match fitness into his system with Burnley. The winger has now played more than 70 minutes in each of his pre-season appearances.
Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) was especially lively against Preston and his total of 170 pre-season minutes is so far only beaten by Dunne and Thomas.
Jack Cork (£5.0m) and Ashley Barnes (£6.0m) are two other names still on the sidelines through injury, which meant an unsurprising start up-front for the Project Restart preferred pairing of Chris Wood (£6.5m) and Jay Rodriguez (£6.0m).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Norris (Jensen 46′); C Taylor (Pieters 60′), Dunne, B Thomas, Bardsley (Lowton 60′); McNeil (Richardson 80′), Brownhill (Elva-Fountaine 80′), Westwood (Benson 60′), Gudmundsson (Goodridge 70′); Rodriguez (Mumbongo 70′), Wood (Vydra 60′).
Millwall 0-1 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Max Meyer (£5.0m)
- Assists: Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m)
Tyrick Mitchell (£4.0m) continues to be heavily involved in Crystal Palace’s preparation for the new campaign, playing most of the 1-0 win over Millwall.
His most recent outing takes his game-time this summer to 208 minutes, with more than anyone else at left-back.
We will continue to caveat this with the current squad situation at Palace though. Luka Milivojevic‘s (£6.0m) ongoing absence from the team and Cheikhou Kouyaté (£5.0m) filling in for the injuries at centre-back has pulled Jairo Riedewald (£4.5m) into a defensive midfield assignment. If Palace’s club captain returns to the fold, or one of the centre-backs do, Riedewald could be pushed back into competition with Mitchell for the left-back position.
Elsewhere, Fantasy managers can be increasingly confident that Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) will operate out-of-position this season, as he was deployed up-front for the second start in a row.
For the third successive game, the Ivory Coast international was involved in the goals as he assisted Max Meyer‘s (£5.0m) game-winning effort.
That extends his position as the most in-form player of Palace’s pre-season campaign for Zaha, who now has two goals and two assists across three matches.
Meanwhile, Andros Townsend (£6.0m) missed out for the first time this summer, while Vicente Guaita (£5.0m) was finally involved after Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) and Stephen Henderson had shared goalkeeping duties in his absence.
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Guaita; Mitchell (Inniss 74′), Dann (Kelly 45′), Kouyaté (Jach 74′), J Ward (Woods 74′); Meyer, McArthur (M Boateng 74′), Riedewald (J-K Gordon 86′), Schlupp (Kirby 74′); Zaha (Pierrick 74′), Ayew.
Stoke City 3-0 Leeds
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
There was very little for Fantasy managers to learn in Leeds’ 3-0 defeat to Stoke City on Tuesday, which only lasted 80 minutes.
Played during the start of the international break, there were a total of nine senior players missing including Illan Meslier (£4.5m), Liam Cooper (£4.5m), Robin Koch (£4.5m) and Stuart Dallas (£4.5m) from the defence.
Kiko Casilla (£4.5m) and Luke Ayling (£4.5m) were present although the former, who has not played competitive football since February due to a racism ban, did not have the best game.
Barry Douglas (£4.0m) started the match but only because Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski (£4.5m) were absent, while involvement for Pascal Struijk (£4.0m) in midfield was only because Kalvin Phillips (£5.0m) is currently with England.
There were more of the key attackers involved in this one, with Pablo Hernández (£6.0m) and Patrick Bamford (£5.5m) both in the starting XI but we do not have confirmation of how many minutes either of them played.
Middlesbrough 5-1 Newcastle
- Goals: Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.5m)
- Assists: Sean Longstaff (£5.0m)
Fantasy managers might have half an eye on teams who face Newcastle in the early part of the season after this heavy defeat to Middlesbrough.
The Magpies could not use the excuse of international duties disrupting their side as they were still able to field DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m), Jamaal Lascelles (£4.5m), Florian Lejeune (£4.5m) and Javier Manquillo (£4.5m) in defence for this one.
Karl Darlow (£5.0m) was in goal for the first 62 minutes before Mark Gillespie (£4.5m) took the field.
Anyone who had been considering Andy Carroll (£5.5m) for the start of the season, in light of his two goals in as many matches so far, could be a little deterred by his role on Tuesday.
Despite Dwight Gayle (£6.0m), Joelinton (£6.0m) and Yoshinori Muto (£5.0m) missing out once again, Steve Bruce opted to deploy Miguel Almirón (£6.0m) in a false-nine for the first 56 minutes before Carroll took to the field.
Newcastle United XI (4-2-3-1): Darlow (Gillespie 62′); Manquillo, Lascelles, Lejeune (Fernández 56′), Yedlin (Dummett 56′); Hayden, S Longstaff (Barlaser 62′); Murphy (Ritchie 62′), Atsu (Clark 56′), Saint-Maximin (Saivet 68′); Almirón (Carroll 56′).
Derby 0-2 Sheff Utd
- Goals: Ben Osborn (£5.0m), Billy Sharp (£6.0m)
- Assists: Oliver Norwood (£5.0m), Kean Bryan
Billy Sharp (£6.0m) continues to make a case for Fantasy consideration this season as he produced an attacking return for the third straight friendly match.
With several Sheffield United strikers missing much of the summer campaign thus far, the veteran forward has now registered 215 pre-season minutes, more than any colleague in any position.
Oliver McBurnie (£6.0m) finally managed to get his first involvement of the summer in this one, coming on for Lys Mousset (£6.0m) at half-time, but with David McGoldrick (£5.5m) still absent, Sharp is looking increasingly nailed-on to start Blank Gameweek 1.
Oliver Norwood (£5.0m) was a key man for Sheffield United in this one, going close to an assist for McBurnie’s first touch of the afternoon and it was his blocked shot that set up Ben Osborn (£5.0m) for the game’s opening goal.
With Jack O’Connell (£5.0m) still not registering a single pre-season minute, Jack Robinson (£4.5m) has become an ever-present in these friendlies. With 202 minutes to his name, only Chris Basham (£5.0m) has played more often in the back-three thus far. Could it see Robinson start in Blank Gameweek 1? Hard to say at this stage, but certainly something to look out for once we start to hear from Chris Wilder’s in the media next week.
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Foderingham; J Robinson, Jagielka, Basham; Norrington-Davies (K Bryan 62′), Osborn, Norwood, Slater, Baldock (Brunt 71′); Mousset (McBurnie 46′), Sharp.
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