Brighton 1-1 West Brom
- Goals: Karlan Grant (£6.0m)
- Own Goals: Jake Livermore (£4.8m)
- Assists: Callum Robinson (£5.5m)
- Bonus points: None
Fantasy Premier League managers will have to exercise caution when viewing West Bromwich Albion as an opponent for their players in the coming weeks.
The Baggies have made significant improvements to their backline in the last two matches, during which time experienced defender Branislav Ivanovic (£4.5m) has made his debut and settled into the side.
While the former Chelsea man was involved in the error that led to Brighton’s opener on Monday night, the truth is that, outside of that own goal, Slaven Bilic’s were not overwhelmingly tested at the Amex Stadium. To the Croatian’s encouragement, it was the second match in a row where that was the case.
Having conceded 13 goals in the first four matches of 2020/21, an average of 3.25 per game, West Brom have now let in just one since Gameweek 5 (0.5 per game).
Bilic has achieved such a feat with a change in shape. He experimented with a back-five between Gameweeks 1 to 4 but has found much more success building a four-man defence around Ivanovic since the most recent international break.
That has seen Kyle Bartley (£4.5m) and Dara O’Shea (£4.4m) drop out of the team, Ivanovic paired first with Ahmed Hegazi (£4.3m) at centre-back and, following the Egyptian’s loan move to Al-Ittihad, then Semi Ajayi (£4.8m).
Obviously, we have to apply a caveat to these findings, not least that they were recorded using a small sample size of two matches.
Furthermore, it has not gone unnoticed that the first of the two periods discussed pitted West Brom against much more potent attacks in Leicester, Everton, Chelsea and Southampton while Burnley and Brighton are arguably easier opposition.
We are sure that these are important factors, although the role of a new formation and addition of Ivanovic’s experience cannot be ignored.
And the fact that West Brom are capable of avoiding a thrashing at the hands of so-called lesser opposition is still something for Fantasy managers to consider. Many of us banked on the likes of Neal Maupay (£6.6m), Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) and Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m) for Gameweek 6, thinking West Brom were whipping boys.
Well, it is now clear that the Baggies should not always carry around that tag, something which is sure to frustrate those with attackers from Fulham, Spurs and Manchester United, their next three opponents.
Running on Lamptey
For all of Lamptey’s early-season promise, the Brighton right-back is seriously struggling to live up to his potential as a Fantasy asset.
While nobody denies the raw talent he possesses, especially with the frequency of his advanced runs, Lamptey does appear to be suffering from Brighton’s own struggles at the back.
The Seagulls have largely been clean sheet nearly-men in 2020/21, never looking overly porous and yet still unable secure defensive returns.
Brighton were in relative control of their Monday night meeting with West Brom, even as late as the 78th minute when Graham Potter replaced attacking midfielder Trossard with the more combative, defensive option Steven Alzate (£4.5m).
But that did not stop the Baggies feeling their way into the game in the closing stages, with Matheus Pereira (£6.0m) twice going close before Karlan Grant (£6.0m) rifled home Callum Robinson‘s (£5.5m) 83rd-minute cross.
As a result, Potter’s men still have just one clean sheet this season, conceding an average of 1.8 per game.
Whether Brighton are proving unfortunate or simply lack concentration in key moments, their situation seems somewhat ominous ahead of a trip to Spurs in Gameweek 7.
As for Lamptey’s attacking prowess, that remains unchallenged, considering he registered more touches in the final third than any other Brighton player on Monday night (26).
However, his run of bad luck simply refuses to end. Not forgetting his withdrawal at half-time of Brighton’s only clean sheet of the season so far, Lamptey owners watched as his 40th-minute cross/shot was cleared by Ivanovic into the unwitting path of Jake Livermore (£4.8m) for an own goal, thus robbing the right-back of any attacking return.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-2-1): Ryan; Burn, Webster, Veltman; March (Mac Allister 69′), Bissouma, White, Lamptey; Trossard (Alzate 78′), Lallana (Groß 60′); Maupay.
West Bromwich Albion XI (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Townsend, Ajayi, Ivanovic, Furlong; Livermore (C Robinson 62′); Diangana (Edwards 62′), Krovinovic, Gallagher, M Pereira; Grant (M Phillips 83′).
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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