- Goals: Danny Ings (£8.4m)
- Assists: Che Adams (£5.9m)
- Bonus points: Ings x3, Jan Bednarek x2 (£4.5m), Ryan Bertrand x2 (£5.0m)
Danny Ings (£8.4m) remains one of the most reliable forwards in the Premier League despite the £2.5m price hike ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Southampton man added his third goal of the campaign in a 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday, the most of any colleague and behind only Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.4m), Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and an injured Son Heung-min (£9.0m) in the early stages of the Golden Boot race.
Crucially, Ings is still offering a degree of Fantasy value, despite that more expensive price for the new season. After three Gameweeks, he is inside the top 10 among forwards for points per million spent (2.6). As things stand, Harry Kane (£10.5m) and Vardy (2.7 and 3.2 respectively) are the only dearer forwards to outperform Ings in that respect.
However, the former Burnley and Liverpool man will have plenty of opportunities to soar up those rankings when Southampton host West Bromwich Albion in Gameweek 4.
The Baggies may have stunned Chelsea into a 3-0 half-time lead at the Hawthorns but they still conceded a further three goals of their own in the second half. That means Slaven Bilic’s men have given up 11 goals in their first three matches of the campaign. No English top-flight side has conceded that many goals in their opening three league games since Arsenal in 1963/64 (12).
While further attacking returns are very much on the cards for Ings on Sunday, one minor question that may hang over Ings from a slightly more long-term perspective is whether or not he can sustain goals on a short supply of shots.
While he has three goals in the last two matches, Ings has only taken three shots in that time. At Burnley on Saturday, the Southampton forward was limited to just the one effort.
Once West Bromwich Albion are out of the way, the Saints face Chelsea (away), Everton (home) and Aston Villa (away), each of which could prove an important test of his Fantasy appeal for the rest of the season. If these sides keep Ings as limited shot-wise as Spurs and Burnley did, it might be difficult for him to continue the current run of form.
Frank Lampard’s men have certainly had defensive issues this year but after the international break, Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) will be considerably more bedded into the team, while Thiago Silva (£5.5m) will have settled in a little more too. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea can take a more assured defence into that Gameweek 5 fixture.
While Ings’ Gameweek 6 opponent Everton have kept only one clean sheet so far this season, a trip to Aston Villa in Gameweek 7 may prove challenging too. Dean Smith’s men are yet to concede this season, have four clean sheets in their last six Premier League outings, three of which came at Villa Park.
However, if Ings does come through this run with a handful of more attacking returns, then the Fantasy community are sure to take notice.
It has taken some time for owners of Che Adams (£5.9m) to be rewarded for their patience, although they might have hoped for more from the trip to Burnley.
The former Birmingham City man has been unfortunate thus far this season, recording the same number of shots in the box and big chances as Ings, but falling slightly short on accuracy. As a result, he is still without a goal this season and is usually one of the first to be replaced by Ralph Hasenhüttl in the second half. So far in 2020/21, Adams is yet to complete 90 minutes in the Premier League, averaging just over 79 minutes per appearance.
Like Ings, he was restricted to just one effort on goal at Turf Moor, although it would be sensible to assume he will be handed more opportunities by West Bromwich Albion’s leaky defence on Sunday.
Furthermore, while Adams is currently 14 Fantasy points behind Ings, Gameweek 3 once again highlighted the cheaper forward’s superior creativity compared to his strike-partner. Against Burnley, Adams registered his first assist of the campaign, having outperformed Ings for key passes thus far – which could bode well for the Baggies’ trip to St. Mary’s.
Considering that Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) remains the most popular Fantasy goalkeeper, currently sat in 18.7% of teams, Southampton’s defensive improvement in Gameweek 3 was a welcome one for many.
Having deployed a perilously high line at home against Spurs, Hasenhüttl dropped his back-four back considerably at Turf Moor. He also made one change, dropping Jack Stephens (£4.9m) to the bench, replacing him with Jannik Vestergaard (£4.5m).
That made for a much more secure foundation from which to operate in Gameweek 3, earning Southampton their first clean sheet of the campaign.
“It wasn’t a good start to the season but we have focused our work this week on the defence and it was fantastic to see how much they had invested today.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
While Emi Martínez (£4.5m) certainly looks an attractive option moving forward, anyone hoping to hold their transfers and not spend a Wildcard may be encouraged by a few of McCarthy’s underlying numbers from Saturday.
The Saints’ goalkeeper was just one save short of an additional point at Turf Moor, while his total BPS score was just one away from pushing him into a share of bonus. A Gameweek 4 meeting with West Bromwich Albion might help him make a breakthrough on both of those counts.
That said, Southampton were helped in their clean sheet exploits no end by Burnley’s ongoing squad problems.
They came into Gameweek 3 without James Tarkowski (£5.4m), Ben Mee (£5.0m), Robbie Brady (£5.0m), Jack Cork (£5.0m), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.4m), Jay Rodriguez (£5.9m) and Ashley Barnes (£6.0m).
Those absences left the Clarets rather short in every department and, with a large number of youngsters on the bench, Sean Dyche did not make a single substitution all night – almost certainly to send a message to the board.
“The chairman knows what is required. Action. We need players. It is a challenge though, here, it always has been. We have two experienced defenders on the bench and that is it. We are reliant on what we have. It is a challenge but we will have players back fit.” – Sean Dyche
Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea are three of Burnley’s next four opponents and if the Clarets do not improve their personnel problems between now and Gameweek 7, those clubs’ defensive assets certainly look like attractive prospects.
The ongoing list of absentees in Lancashire is helpful in one other respect: budget defensive options. Tarwkoski and Mee’s injuries have allowed Jimmy Dunne (£4.0m) to start two matches in a row now and, after two matches, the budget asset is actually Burnley’s top-scoring defender – useful for anyone Wildcarding right now.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; C Taylor, Dunne, K Long, Bardsley; McNeil, D Stephens, Westwood, Brownhill; Vydra, Wood.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): A McCarthy; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Djenepo (Tella 77′), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong; Ings, Adams (Obafemi 77′).
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