Leicester City 4-2 Burnley
- Goals: Harvey Barnes (£7.0m), Erik Pieters (£4.5m) own-goal, James Justin (£4.6m), Dennis Praet (£5.5m) | Chris Wood (£6.5m), Jimmy Dunne (£4.0m)
- Assists: Timothy Castagne (£5.5m) x2, Barnes | Charlie Taylor (£4.5m), Dwight McNeil (£6.0m)
- Bonus: Barnes x3, Castagne x2, Praet x1
Two of the more defensively sound sides from last season entered into the spirit of the Gameweek 2 goal fest on Sunday evening, with Leicester City running out 4-2 winners over Burnley.
The clean sheets may have been in short supply but four Fantasy Premier League defenders registered attacking returns at the King Power Stadium, while Harvey Barnes (£7.0m) delivered on his underlying statistics with a double-digit haul.
Befitting of a rollercoaster Gameweek, Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) wasn’t involved in any of the hosts’ four goals, while Ayoze Perez (£6.5m) was deprived of an assist as his cross for James Justin‘s (£4.6m) strike was deemed to have taken a deflection away from its intended target.
Chris Wood (£6.5m) caught the eye at the other end of the field, meanwhile, as injury-hit Burnley went toe to toe with Brendan Rodgers’ troops.
We highlighted Barnes’ encouraging – but profligate – start to the new season in our Scout Notes from the West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City match last week.
The young winger made good on that early promise at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, stroking in the Foxes’ first goal from a Timothy Castagne (£5.5m) pass to open his account for 2020/21.
He also bagged the assist for Leicester’s final goal of the evening, teeing up Dennis Praet‘s (£5.5m) superb 20-yard effort in the closing stages of the game.
Rotation and pitch-time can be a concern with Barnes but, it goes without saying, that tends to be more of a worry when he’s struggling for form.
Note his purple patch at the beginning of this calendar year when he hit five goals between Gameweeks 23 and 29: he started all but one of those matches (his only benching came when Rodgers changed shape for the visit of Manchester City) and lasted 90 minutes in five of them.
The Barnes we saw against Burnley at the weekend was the Barnes of early-2020, full of confidence on the ball and constantly getting into dangerous positions in the box.
He drew Nick Pope (£5.5m) into an excellent save on the half-hour and would have likely turned in a superb Praet cross shortly afterwards had Phil Bardsley (£4.5m) not made a last-ditch intervention.
Once again, no player on show had more penalty box touches or efforts on goal than Barnes.
A trip to Manchester City in Gameweek 3 is off-putting but he looks like good differential punt for the double-header at home to West Ham United and Aston Villa thereafter.
Justin and Castagne Deliver Again
While there was no clean sheet for the Foxes this time, full-backs Justin and Castagne both delivered attacking returns for the second game running.
The Belgian was the provider of Barnes’ strike and then claimed the assist for the Foxes’ second goal, which was turned into his own net by the hapless Erik Pieters (£4.5m).
Justin then popped up on the edge of Pope’s six-yard box to convert Perez’s deflected cross and put Leicester 3-1 up.
Castagne – who is now the leading points-scorer among FPL defenders – was Ricardo Pereira-esque (£6.0m) in his overlapping runs down the right flank, teeing up Praet for another chance in the 59th minute that would have sealed a hat-trick of assists.
Justin’s goal, while not with his head, was similar to Castagne’s last week, in that he had made an arrowed run into the heart of the opposition area before converting from close range.
There is plenty of encouragement for owners of either player, although Justin does likely remain a placeholder for Pereira in the long term.
The young full-back still has plenty to work on from a defensive perspective, as he was outmuscled and outmanoeuvred for both of Burnley’s goals and had looked shaky in the early stages of Gameweek 1.
‘OOP’ Pieters and a £4.0m defender
With James Tarkowski (£5.5m) and Ben Mee (£5.0m) sidelined, Sean Dyche handed a start to budget FPL defender Jimmy Dunne (£4.0m) on Sunday.
The youngster was arguably the pick of the Burnley back four at the weekend and capped his full league debut with a goal, nodding in Dwight McNeil‘s (£6.0m) swirling free-kick to briefly give the visitors hope at 3-2.
It’s too early to get over-excited about a bargain-bin route into the Clarets’ backline, however, as Tarkowski had only missed this match with a bruised toe.
The England international shouldn’t be sidelined for too long, then, although the constant speculation about Tarkowski’s future is worth monitoring.
Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) popped up with an assist for Wood’s early opener and his usual positional rival, Pieters, was once again given an ‘out-of-position’ run-out on the right flank.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) had picked up yet another fitness issue in midweek and his replacement at the King Power, the similarly injury-prone Robbie Brady (£5.0m), lasted all of 39 minutes before succumbing to a rib injury.
All eyes and ears will be on Dyche’s pre-Gameweek 3 press conference later this week for a fuller prognosis on Brady and Gudmundsson, which will hopefully indicate whether Pieters will enjoy more appearances in midfield for Burnley’s upcoming run of decent fixtures.
Dyche said of Brady after full-time:
We think it’s bruised ribs and they can be sore. He’s been carrying it since being away with the national side, and unfortunately got a bang on it again tonight, so we made that decision early.
PEREZ AT RISK
Ayoze Perez has had a hit-and-miss time at Leicester since his move in the summer of 2019 and his position could be in some jeopardy in the coming weeks, with the Foxes securing the loan signing of right-winger Cengiz Under at the weekend.
Rodgers said of the new arrival:
He’s going to bring more creativity to our game. He’s very fast, he’s dynamic. He can beat people in the one vs. one, he’s got a lovely left foot, but also when he’s in there in tight spaces, he can make a pass.
That will be great for the other players in the forward areas, so he’s a young player as well. He’s still got a lot of development, and I’m really forward to working with him.
James Maddison (£7.0m) might have to bide his time for now, meanwhile, with Praet and Youri Tielemans (£6.5m) again turning in excellent displays in the middle of the park against the Clarets.
Leicester City XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Castagne, Ndidi, Soyuncu, Justin; Mendy; Perez (Maddison 62′), Praet (Albrighton 83′), Tielemans, Barnes (Morgan 90′); Vardy.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Bardsley, Long, Dunne, Taylor; Brady (Pieters 40′), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez (Vydra 70′), Wood.
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
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