Scout Notes

Why Arsenal’s defenders are worth monitoring despite being downed by Vardy

Arsenal 0-1 Leicester City

  • Goal: Jamie Vardy (£10.0m)
  • Assist: Cengiz Under (£5.9m)
  • Bonus: Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m) x3, Vardy x2, Christian Fuchs (£4.5m) x1

A fairly turgid affair at the Emirates was settled by a late Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) winner, a goal that saw Leicester City move to within a point of top spot in the Premier League.

With Brendan Rodgers initially setting his side up in a striker-less wing-back system and Arsenal struggling for invention in the final third, the game looked be meandering towards an inevitable 0-0 before Vardy’s intervention.

Emulating the tactics that brought success at the Etihad in Gameweek 3, Rodgers was asked about his “masterplan” after the game:

I don’t know about masterplan, but it was the plan. It was the idea to deny space and keep our lines tight, and then obviously play through the pressure, so yes, it worked very well for us.

I thought we started the game well, first five or 10 minutes. We had good possession and then, of course, when you come away to play against any top team, you’re going to have to deal with pressure.

Then, into the second half, our lines were even tighter, we were in a better start position for our pressure, and then we enjoyed a lot more of the ball and always looked a threat.

CASE FOR THE (ARSENAL) DEFENCE

It seems incongruous to start this piece by talking up a backline that succumbed to defeat on Sunday and are without a clean sheet since Gameweek 1 but, such is the brand of football currently being served up by Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, their defensive Fantasy assets are arguably more appealing than those further forward right now.

Despite facing Manchester City and Liverpool away, a West Ham United side that are scoring for fun and now fourth-place Leicester, the Gunners have shipped just seven goals this season – only Aston Villa, who have played a game less, have conceded on fewer occasions.

Brighton are the only Premier League team at the time of writing who have allowed fewer shots in the box per match this season, meanwhile.

In the shape of Thomas Partey (£5.0m), Arsenal now also hope they possess a top-class midfield general who can add further protection to their backline.

While Rodgers will argue that his tactics worked perfectly on Sunday, the Foxes hadn’t had a single shot within 25 yards of goal before Vardy’s 79th-minute opener.

Arteta said of his side’s display after the game:

I was really pleased with the first half, the way we pressed, the aggression we showed against a team that are very capable of breaking that pressure and creating chances against you. We were very effective against that, we were on top of the game, we restricted them to nothing, we had the right opportunities to attack good space and create some chances.

An injury to the ball-playing David Luiz (£5.5m) disrupted the Gunners at both ends of the pitch but Arteta wasn’t sure of the severity of the issue, saying:

I don’t know. We’ve lost a few players in the last week or so. David had a muscular problem and he couldn’t carry on – we’ll have to assess him in the next 48 hours.

Arsenal’s fixtures are mixed at best over the coming month but they sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 12-20 and their defenders, more of whom in the Premium Members Analysis section, are names to monitor from that point.

Wesley Fofana (£5.0m), incidentally, was excellent for the visitors, as he was last week.

AUBA ALL RIGHT

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.7m) was finally moved off the left flank on Sunday – and switched over to the right.

Arteta’s aversion to playing the Gabon international centrally continues and the premium FPL midfielder again had few sights of goal, with his early, off-target header from a Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) cross being the only time he touched the ball in the Leicester box.

Aubameyang has now blanked four Gameweeks in a row, the first time that has ever happened since his move to the Premier League.

The recalled Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) again had the better chances, seeing an early header ruled out for offside before fluffing his lines from another Tierney delivery close to goal.

With there being few goals from central midfield and rotation a big possibility (other than Aubameyang) further forward, there seems little appealing about Arsenal’s attack at present – especially while the fixtures remain iffy.

VARDY RETURNS

Back from a brief lay-off with a calf problem, Vardy emerged for the final half an hour of yesterday’s game and continued his fine run of form against the Gunners: this was his 11th goal in 12 meetings with the red half of north London.

The veteran striker nodded in Cengiz Under‘s (£5.9m) square ball after a superb, defence-splitting pass from Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) had set the Turkish winger free of the Arsenal defence.

Vardy was later denied a second goal when Bernd Leno (£5.0m) saved his one-on-one effort in stoppage time.

All six of the striker’s goals have come on the road this season (four from the spot, of course) and it is Leeds away next up for the Foxes, who have looked more comfortable on the break at Manchester City and Arsenal than they have on the front foot in their last two outings at the King Power Stadium.

Vardy said of his comeback:

Me and the manager spoke yesterday and that was always the plan because I’m coming back from a little niggle. You don’t want to be chucked straight in, it’s about feeling your way back into it.

It was probably going to be the last 20 minutes or half an hour and that’s what has happened, and luckily I came on and made an impact and we can take three points home.

Harvey Barnes (£7.0m) had begun the game as an “out of position” centre-forward in Rodgers’ striker-less set-up, getting little joy from the Arsenal backline before his 74th-minute withdrawal.

Explaining his decision to omit Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m), Rodgers says:

Iheanacho can hold the ball, but I didn’t feel we needed that, so Harvey was there to stretch the game. The idea was always to bring Jamie on. Him and Cengo [Under] came on and Marc [Albrighton] made a valuable contribution too.


Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Leno; Bellerin, Luiz (Mustafi 49′), Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka, Partey; Saka (Pepe 65′), Lacazette, Aubameyang. 

Leicester City XI (3-4-3): Schmeichel; Fofana, Evans, Fuchs; Castagne, Tielemans, Mendy, Justin; Praet (Vardy 59′), Barnes (Under 74′), Maddison (Albrighton 81′). 

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1,125 Comments Post a Comment
  1. King Kohli
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 5 days ago

    Those with Kane & Son, what is the plan for gw 9-11?

    A. Keeping both
    B. Removing one
    C. Removing both

    I actually think those fixtures are fine from an attacking POV as those teams are not the best defensively.

    1. Van der Faart
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      Holding both I reckon.

    2. Nightrain_
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      if nothing's pressing and no injury concern, probably will hold
      GW10 maybe need City but could start with Dias if their defense is good or the cheapie Foden until their striker is back 😀

    3. djoker_nole
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Depends on City form. May need to do Son to KDB

      • CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        I'm going to lose one (probably Kane to fund either Fernandes or KDB/Sterling).

    4. Van der Faart
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      Safe to roll Ft here? Podence needs to go and maybe upgrade a defender/downgrade TAA. Not sure I want a hit is worth it this week.

      McCarthy
      TAA Coady Dallas
      Salah Son Podence Pulisic
      DCL Kane Adams

      Nylabs Bissouma Bavies Lamptey 1.0m ITB

      1. CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        I'd save and do both for free in GW8.

        1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 5 days ago

          This

    5. NATSTER
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      Anyone has both DCL + Hemes and worried about Hames (doubtful) and Everton will be without Richarlison & Digne on the next two games (new / MUN)?

      Martinez (4.0)
      Robbo - Saiss - Lamptey - Mitchell - Kilman
      Salah - Son - Zaha - Foden - Hames
      Kane - DCL (Brewster)

      My original plan was to closely monitor Palace and potentially sell Zaha, but he did very well.
      So, it looks like a good timing to make a short-term move of off-load one of Everton.

      (A) Hames -> Bruno (ARS / eve)
      (B) Hames -> Rashford (save 1.0m to upgrade elsewhere)
      (C) Keep both DCL & Hames

      1. CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        I don't have both but would probably be moving Hames on if I did. Getting Bruno in looks like a good move imo - could be the stand out Capt pick for GW9.

    6. Lost in fantasy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 5 days ago

      Is Masuaku and Coufal set in west ham?

      1. Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Yup

    7. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      Anyone else have Saka on their watchlist?
      Started 3 in a row and looks their best attacker imo, it's a risky pick but incredible upside at 5.3!

      1. CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Could become a decent option for 5th mid but wouldn't want to rely on playing him every week.

    8. Lindelol
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      I have Mahrez and Foden. Salah and Son the other two mids. Should I lose Mahrez for Grealish or Hames or keep?

      1. Plonatron
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        I don't think it's the right time to bring in J Rod, considering how injury struck Everton are. I'd do Mahrez to Grealish

      2. CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 5 days ago

        I would save for this week. Mahrez and Foden could both start with Aguero and Jesus injured. Decent fixture too.

    9. Parsnips
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Any suggestions on what I should do with 1 free transfer?

        MARTINEZ
        ROBO --- CHILWELL --- SAISS
        SALAH --- SON --- BARKLEY --- JAMES
        DCL --- WERNER --- JIMENEZ

        (have 0.5 in the bank)

        1. Tingate
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 5 days ago

          I'd roll it and re-evaluate next week with 2FT

      • Tingate
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Guaita
        Targett- Lamptey - Robertson
        Sterling - Foden - Salah - Podence
        Jiménez - Kane - Watkins

        Forster - James - Mitchell - Burke

        £0.6M ITB 1FT

        Best way to get Son in without losing Sterling, Salah or Kane? Only thing I can see is Foden > Son, Jimmy > 6.1M forward

        Thanks!

      • Slitherene
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Which combination for the next 2?

        A) Werner (bur, SHU), Chilwell (SHU)
        B) Vardy (lee, WOL), Cresswell (FUL)

      • daveoafc77
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 5 days ago

        How was your score woeful with that team? Did you bench Bamford?