Southampton 2-0 Everton
- Goals: James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m), Che Adams (£5.8m)
- Assists: Danny Ings (£8.5m) x2
- Red Cards: Lucas Digne (£6.2m)
- Bonus: Ward-Prowse x3, Ings, Adams x2
Southampton secured a convincing win over a poor Everton side that is perhaps beginning to buckle under the strain of injuries and suspensions.
Goals from James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) and Che Adams (£5.8m), both set up by the Saints’ most popular Fantasy Premier League (FPL) asset, the 18%-owned Danny Ings (£8.5m), earned the home side a deserved victory.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team comprehensively outplayed the visitors, out-shooting them 12-6 and having three times the number of attempts on target (six to two).
Small wonder, then, that the coach was a happy man post-match:
I think it was overall one of our best performances.
There was nothing positive to be found from an Everton perspective, however.
Much of the pre-match talk, at least in Fantasy circles, revolved around the health of Toffees midfielder James Rodriguez (£8.0m).
In the end, his now-legendary haematoma didn’t keep him from playing, but it might as well have done.
The 38.9%-owned playmaker was a peripheral figure for much of the game. Then again, that was one up on many of the visiting team as Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggled to deal with Southampton’s pressing, organisation and commitment.
The Colombian also seemed to be struggling towards the end of the match, with his manager saying:
I think we have to check in the next few days. He was tired at the end, he felt his muscle a little bit. But I don’t think it’s a big problem.
The most-owned player in FPL, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m and 56.8%), had a terrible day. Starved of service, he managed only two penalty area touches and didn’t have a single attempt.
In fact, he touched the ball just 18 times all game. Only one player, Southampton midfielder Ibrahima Diallo (£4.5m), had fewer, with 14. But he was on the pitch for four minutes.
A booking added to his, and his owners’, woes. A decent enough short-term schedule should mean Calvert-Lewin’s one-pointer doesn’t lead to too many sales, although there are other reasons why investment in Everton assets is looking less appealing all in.
In Squad We Can’t Trust
The Merseyside derby dismissal of Richarlison (£7.8m) had an impact on the strength and balance of Ancelotti’s team on the south coast.
The Toffees have not won a single game without the winger in their squad since his move to the north-west and that unwanted record was extended on Sunday.
Alex Iwobi (£5.9m) filled in for the Brazilian and was hooked after 45 unconvincing minutes, while a second start of the season for Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m) lasted 12 minutes longer but wasn’t much better, although the Iceland international did hit the bar with a long-range shot in the first half.
But the real problem came from a hamstring injury that denied the team the experience and expertise of Seamus Coleman (£5.0m) at right-back.
With three other defenders already on the injury list, that meant centre-half Ben Godfrey (£5.0m) shifting across to the flank. The experiment didn’t go well.
Hasenhuttl denied that his team targeted Godfrey:
No, it was a coincidence that we played more on this side. It’s more important that you’re dangerous on every side, flexibility is the key. We lured them a little bit and played through the lines.
But the reality spoke differently, with left-back Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m) finding himself much further forward than team-mate Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m) and creating three chances to the right-back’s nil.
Coleman’s absence also had an impact on Rodriguez, who was forced that much deeper and less central in a vain bid to provide some kind of help for Godfrey.
As if Ancelotti’s defensive problems weren’t already marked, Lucas Digne (£6.2m) dished out some more pain for his boss when he was shown a straight red card for a challenge, part frustration, part spite, on Walker-Peters in the 71st minute.
Hasenhuttl was not happy:
Yes. It was nasty. It looked like he tried to kick him first and then the stamp. It was a clear red card.
And neither was Ancelotti:
The red card was a joke, it was not intentional, for sure it was not violent. Maybe all this talk all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision and if so it’s not right, it’s not fair. We will appeal, for sure.
Intentional or not, it ended in a nasty rake down Walker-Peters’ achilles. And unless that appeal succeeds, the 18.7%-owned Digne will not be in league action again until Gameweek 10 at the end of November.
In their current state, Everton can ill afford his absence, although it does throw up the intriguing possibility of budget FPL defender Niels Nkounkou (£4.0m) getting a game or three, with Fabian Delph (£4.9m) another candidate for the role.
But, just six games in, Everton’s squad is down to the bare bones in places and the loss of Digne is another potential short-term blow to Calvert-Lewin, given how much service the full-back provides from the left flank.
Southampton are considerably less troubled in that department, with the one change to the side on Sunday forced by loanee Theo Walcott (£5.8m) not being eligible to play against his parent club.
Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) filled in well enough, but it was the strike partnership of Adams and Ings that really caught the eye.
The former scored for the second straight Gameweek and has hauled in three of his last four starts, while Ings continues to show impressive consistency this season.
His first two assists of the campaign meant he’s produced attacking returns in four of the six matches to date.
In terms of value, the pair are ploughing remarkably similar furrows – the more expensive Ings is producing 4.6 points per million (PPM), the cheaper (but less productive) Adams 4.7 PPM.
They were both outshone, however, by midfielder Ward-Prowse, who scored his first goal of the season and took home the maximum bonus award for a double-digit haul.
The Saints’ next six fixtures are fairly favourable and the team as a whole is in a good place, with three clean sheets from their last four unbeaten matches.
That promotes investment in the side from front to back, whereas the opposite looks true for a threadbare-looking Everton squad.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (Diallo 86′), Redmond; Ings, Adams (N’Lundulu 89′).
Everton XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne; Doucoure (Gordon 58′), Allan, Sigurdsson (Delph 58′); Rodriguez, Iwobi (Bernard 45′), Calvert-Lewin.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 6
- Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds United
- West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City
- Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace
- Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
- Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United
- Southampton 2-0 Everton
- Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United
- Arsenal 0-1 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
- Burnley 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
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