BRIGHTON 2-3 MAN UNITED
- Goals: Neal Maupay (£6.5m), Solly March (£5.0m) | Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) own goal, Marcus Rashford (£9.5m), Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m)
- Assists: Tariq Lamptey (£4.6m), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£5.5m) | Nemanja Matic (£5.0m), Fernandes, Harry Maguire (£5.5m)
- Bonus points: Fernandes x3, Maupay x2, March x1
Important Fantasy Premier League hauls for Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) papered over the cracks of yet another poor performance for Manchester United in Gameweek 3.
The Red Devils were comfortably second best at Brighton on Saturday lunch-time and somehow managed to leave the Amex Stadium with all three points.
They won the pulsating encounter thanks to one of the most dramatic climaxes to a Premier League match in recent history. Fernandes scored a penalty awarded beyond the referee’s full-time whistle, after Solly March (£5.0m) thought he had rescued a deserved point for Brighton.
It was the hosts, who hit the woodwork five times in Gameweek 3, who arguably emerged from this with more Fantasy appeal for the coming weeks as Neal Maupay (£6.5m) added his fourth attacking return of the campaign, March had a wealth of chances prior to his late goal and Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) hit the bar after delivering in each of his two previous outings.
It is, admittedly, a trip to in-form Everton up next, although Carlo Ancelotti’s men have only kept one clean sheet so far and conceded three goals across their first three matches – so there is every reason to believe the Seagulls can cause trouble at Goodison Park.
Meanwhile, Fernandes – who concerned his owners with another poor game – thundered home the penalty and suddenly found himself with a goal, assist and involvement in two more. Despite the relative mediocre display, he ended proceedings with 12 points.
“I’m very happy for Marcus to get that goal. He was just a couple of inches offside on a counter-attack we had, with a great cross from Mason [Greenwood]. We did see some moments that we didn’t see last week. We’re getting a little bit better but I think we need to admit sometimes you get away with one, and today we probably didn’t deserve more than one point.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The 90 minutes were swamped with goals, disallowed strikes, shaken goalposts, overturned penalties and a ‘Panenka’ spot kick. Booked in the first half, the Portuguese playmaker then fouled Tariq Lamptey (£4.6m) and it was Maupay who cheekily dinked the penalty down the middle to put Brighton 1-0 up.
Soon after, in the 43rd minute, Fernandes hammered a free kick to the far post, which led to a goal initially awarded to Harry Maguire (£5.5m), assisted by Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) but later given as a Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) own goal.
VAR also overruled a Brighton penalty early into the second half, given against Paul Pogba (£8.0m) for catching Aaron Connolly (£5.5m) as he chased a March pass. A hectic resumption saw a second Man United goal ruled out, before Rashford scored a wonderful strike after being fed down the left channel by Fernandes. The 22-year-old cut inside and sent poor Ben White (£4.5m) flying with two dummies, before eventually finishing with his left foot.
After Fernandes advised FPL managers to “choose Anthony Martial (£9.0m) because I will give a lot of passes to him”, the Frenchman’s owners will be disappointed to see Rashford get this through ball as Martial toiled in another game without attacking returns. It will be difficult for managers to stick with him when there are so many attractive options up front, such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.3m), Raul Jimenez (£8.5m) and Danny Ings (£8.4m).
“We tried to press but they’ve got really good ball players at the back. When we were low, you can see we don’t have the legs or sharpness still. But we’ll get there.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Rashford’s goal stated his case for being selected as the Manchester United option, as did netting one of the disallowed strikes. Re-classified as a midfielder this time, Rashford may be just short of penalty-taking responsibilities but he would have claimed an extra 26 goal and clean sheet points if he was in midfield last season.
He may even get the occasional spot-kick, although Fernandes’ recent quote saying: “If someone comes to me to ask to take a penalty, I will not fight every time. I can easily say ‘You take it’”, already looks outdated after this match. That is now five consecutive away league wins, although they face Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal amongst their difficult next four outings.
Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) returned to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting line-up after being benched for last Saturday’s shock 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. He was in great form during Project Restart and ended last season with ten goals, although vastly outnumbering his xG (expected goals) total of 2.91 could be interpreted in different ways. Is he a fantastic finisher, or was it a fluke?
However, if they fail to sign Jadon Sancho or anyone else in his position, Greenwood could end up being the best way to squeeze in some Manchester United coverage. He scored the other disallowed goal and looked bright, until being replaced late on.
“I thought we had scored with the last kick of the game. I don’t know where the extra time in added time came from, but we’re bitterly disappointed to concede in the way that we have because it’s a cruel blow after what was a good performance from us.” – Graham Potter
Brighton were the better, more progressive team of the first half and would have been comfortably ahead had it not been for the frame of David de Gea’s (£5.5m) goal. Trossard was twice denied by the post after being given the ball by Steven Alzate (£4.5m), becoming the first Premier League player to hit the woodwork twice in one game since Ings in January. He made it a hat-trick late on, thumping a left-footed shot off the crossbar.
It wasn’t just him. Adam Webster’s (£4.5m) looping header landed onto the bar, with March agonisingly hitting the post after the break. No team struck the woodwork more than three times in a match last year – the desperately unlucky Brighton did it five times here. Perhaps Graham Potter will want to check that the goal’s height was correct, as Spurs did on Thursday night.
Trossard was fantastic again. The Belgian scored against Chelsea on the opening day and assisted during Brighton’s convincing 3-0 win at Newcastle. He delivered five goals and five assists last season but head coach Graham Potter often rotated him, removing him from Fantasy radars. Yet he has played the full 90 minutes of all three matches so far – once their fixtures improve, he could be a very interesting option.
Up next for the Seagulls is trips to Everton and Crystal Palace, before hosting West Brom and travelling to Spurs. Regardless of opponent, the exciting Lamptey will be a good player to own. The pacy right wing-back turns 19 on Wednesday and bagged his third assist from three games, two of which have come from winning penalties. This follows his man of the match display at Newcastle, although that 57th minute withdrawal means he is still without a clean sheet. Mathew Ryan (£4.5m) remains a solid option in goal based on a balance of save and clean sheet potential.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION XI (3-4-3): Ryan; Dunk, Webster, White; Lamptey, Lallana (Gross 75’), Alzate, March; Connolly (Jahanbakhsh 75’), Trossard, Maupay
MANCHESTER UNITED XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Pogba (Fred 65’); Greenwood (Bailly 83’), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (van de Beek 90’).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 3
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United
- Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton
- West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Chelsea
- Burnley 0-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Newcastle United
- Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City
- West Ham United 4-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
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