Leeds United 4-3 Fulham
- Goals: Helder Costa (£5.5m) x2, Mateusz Klich (£5.5m), Patrick Bamford (£5.6m) | Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.0m) x2, Bobby Decordova-Reid (£5.5m)
- Assists: Bamford x2, Klich | Joe Bryan (£5.0m), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.5m), Kenny Tete (£4.5m)
- Bonus: Mitrovic x3, Bamford x2, Costa x2
Patrick Bamford (£5.6m) rewarded his growing Fantasy following with a double-digit haul in Leeds United’s second seven-goal thriller of the week.
The forward’s goal in Gameweek 1’s 4-3 loss to Liverpool prompted nearly 365,000 managers to buy him in for the Fulham game.
Seasoned Fantasy Premier League (FPL) bosses, and many a Leeds fan, would have considered the move optimistic at best as Bamford has plenty of previous for missing his fair share of chances.
But the striker struck again on Saturday, finishing with aplomb when released by a Mateusz Klich (£5.5m) pass early in the second half of the win over Fulham.
His boss, Marcelo Bielsa, was quick to play down the side’s eye-catching start to the season:
This won’t be a constant all year. It is very difficult to maintain the efficiency we have had in these first two games. The characteristics of our game is to create goalscoring opportunities. In these two games we have created very little, but we have scored all our chances.
He might as well have been talking about Bamford, who has now scored from two of the three chances he has been presented with this season.
That has tempted another raft of managers to back the striker. He’s currently in the top three transfers-in for a Gameweek 3 trip to Sheffield United and a Yorkshire derby that should be, to use a technical term, proper tasty.
Whether his fine form is sustainable is highly debatable.
FPL has indulged plenty of fine early starters who failed to deliver consistently over a season – Norwich’s Teemu Pukki is the most recent example of that, while Manchester United striker Anthony Martial (£9.0m) is another who hit the Premier League ground running before being reduced to a stagger within a few weeks.
As we detailed in pre-season here, Bamford has never been the most clinical of strikers, missing 34 (77.3%) of the big chances he had in the Championship last season.
For now, however, it would be churlish not to bask in his point-scoring glory. He also had two assists against Fulham, earning a penalty when he was pushed in the back by Joe Bryan (£5.0m) and then setting up Helder Costa (£5.5m) on the break to make the scoreline 4-1 with barely ten minutes of the second half played.
Add on two bonus and the forward ended with 14 points on the day – a total he shared with Costa as the midfielder opened the scoring when he picked up a loose ball from a corner and smashed it in off the bar with five minutes on the clock.
Costa also earned two bonus points and has now hauled in both matches for his 1.6% ownership.
But spare a thought for the 4.6% with Klich in their squads. He also scored in Gameweek 1 and was on the score sheet against the Cottagers when he rolled home the penalty Bamford had earned.
Such was the madness of the match, a goal and an assist were not enough to bring in any extra points for the Poland international. In fact, the maximum bonus award didn’t even go to a Leeds player at all.
That honour was reserved for visiting striker Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.0m), who marked his first start of the season with two goals and 12 points.
The Serbia international was a very popular pick heading into the season and the 20%-owned forward was quick to reward his followers when he blasted in a first-half penalty, awarded when Robin Koch (£4.5m) mistimed a slide tackle on Bryan.
He then headed in from a fine Kenny Tete (£4.5m) cross to make it 4-3 with just over 20 minutes left to play.
Fulham’s other goal was a sweet one, with the impressive Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.5m) playing a beautifully-weighted pass through to Bobby Decordova-Reid (£5.5m), who shot across Leeds keeper Illan Meslier (£4.5m) and into the far corner.
Both Meslier and his Fulham counterpart Alphonse Areola (£4.5m) were, unsurprisingly, busy boys on the day and the pair picked up a save point apiece for their efforts.
Two players who were rather less involved were Leeds playmaker Pablo Hernandez (£6.0m), who suffered a groin strain in the warm-up, and the club’s record signing, Rodrigo (£6.0m), who replaced him in the starting line-up.
The striker was peripheral at best playing as a number ten behind Bamford and he was hooked at half-time, although that was more an indication of his lack of match fitness as Bielsa, who has very high standards in that regard, was quick to point out post-match:
I was under the impression that he lacked a bit of energy to show his qualities. I think that has something to do with the physical effort he used against Hull (in the EFL Cup). That’s why I decided to sub him.
The coach also gave an update on Hernandez:
Pablo had a small knock in the warm-up. We don’t think it’s very serious.
Fulham boss Scott Parker had understandably mixed emotions about an away game in which his team had 55% of the possession and scored three goals, but still lost:
We showed some real quality in possession at times. We showed a real impetus and caused Leeds a lot of problems. On the flip side we gave away easy goals today and left ourselves a mountain to climb.
He also made it clear that he will chop and change his side this season:
The players who did not play today are vital and will play a vital part this year. As I showed last year I will make changes for matches that give us the best chance of winning.
Not that Fulham rotation will be a major concern for most Fantasy managers, with Mitrovic by far and away the most likely to be drafted in for a good schedule from now until late November.
As for Leeds, they currently have the dubious honour of being an even worse defensive unit than Fulham, having conceded seven goals to the Cottagers’ six.
But in Bamford, Costa and Klich, they have three in-form and very nicely priced assets who will surely find their way into many FPL teams over the next few weeks.
The Leeds rush might have to wait, however – after that derby in Sheffield, Bielsa’s men will host Manchester City in Gameweek 4.
Leeds United XI (4-4-2): Meslier; Dallas, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; Phillips, Harrison, Klich, Costa; Bamford (Alioski 70), Rodrigo (Roberts 45).
Fulham XI (4-2-3-1): Areola; Bryan, Hector, Odoi, Tete; Reed (Lemina 70′), Zambo Anguissa; Kamara (Kebano 58′), Onomah (Decordova-Reid 58′), Cavaleiro; Mitrović.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 2
- Everton 5-2 West Bromwich Albion
- Leeds United 4-3 Fulham
- Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace
- Arsenal 2-1 West Ham United
- Southampton 2-5 Tottenham Hotspur
- Newcastle United 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
- Leicester City 4-2 Burnley
- Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United
- Wolves 1-3 Manchester City