WEST HAM 1-0 FULHAM
- Goals: Tomas Souček (£4.9m)
- Assists: Saïd Benrahma (£6.0m)
- Penalty saves: Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m)
- Penalty misses: Ademola Lookman (£5.0m)
- Bonus points: Fabianski x3, Vladimir Coufal x2 (£4.5m), Soucek x1
TAKE A BOWEN
Most of West Ham’s attacking assets disappointed in their first match of an appealing fixture run as they beat Fulham 1-0 on Saturday evening.
Fantasy Premier League managers have been waiting for the Gameweek 8 fixture swing for some time, even a Michail Antonio (£6.2m) injury not putting off a wave of investment.
Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m) and Pablo Fornals (£6.4m) picked up roughly 150,000 new owners between them but neither one particularly impressed even against Fulham’s poor defence.
Of the two, it was Bowen who came the closest to an attacking return, his powerful first-half effort from the edge of the box deflected and turned over by Alphonse Areola (£4.5m).
After that, the former Hull man did rack up a few more shots on goal, almost all of them from outside of the box. And, apart from his speculative efforts, Bowen struggled to get into the game.
The local press has somewhat critical of his performances recently, highlighting that they have been on the decline since the Gameweek 4 3-0 win at Leicester.
Meanwhile, the closest Fornals’ came to an attacking return was in the first half when he got round the back of left-back Antonee Robinson (£4.4m) and his cross was deflected into the path of Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) who fired a close-range effort straight at Areola.
Neither player was allowed to finish the game either, replaced by Saïd Benrahma (£6.0m) and Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) in the 72nd minute.
While Bowen and Fornals’ owners are certainly likely to hold these assets for a plum Gameweek 9 trip to Sheffield United, who are still without a clean sheet this season, the fact that they looked so poor even against Fulham may be enough to put off further investment despite the favourable fixtures.
“I think it says a lot about the players, it is a change. We are not going to try and be flakey to lose the game, we are going to stick at it and try to not lose. I wouldn’t say it was ugly, we dominated the ball in the opening ten or 15 minutes we had chances but the last 20 we tried too. What we didn’t have was the ability to beat somebody until (after the substitutions).” – David Moyes
However, it was not all doom and gloom for West Ham’s attackers against Fulham.
Tomas Souček (£4.9m) finally delivered on his positive underlying statistics and got his first goal of the campaign.
Unsurprisingly, the midfielder’s penalty area presence characterised his latest performance, putting him in the right place at the right time to slot past Areola in the closing stages.
Those looking to invest in West Ham’s fixtures should also have Benrahma on their minds too, as it was his persistent determination that breathed new life into the Hammers in the last 20 minutes – and he got the assist for the winner too.
Admittedly, it was Benrahma who gave away a stoppage-time penalty for a foul on Tom Cairney (£5.3m) but Moyes did not seem concerned about that at full-time.
All things considered, such a display may convince him to start Benrahma against Sheffield United, which could see one of Bowen or Fornals drop out of the side, although it is hard to predict that with any degree of certainty. Either way, Benrahma’s emergence is sure to be a little frustrating for Fantasy managers assessing who the most nailed-on starters in the West Ham midfield are outside of Souček.
“(Asked about Benrahma’s impact): I hope you have seen Fornals and Bowen’s class as well in recent weeks so we have got really good competition in those positions. Saïd is a really good player, I have had lots of players from the Championship that I don’t expect too much from too quickly. He had an impact in both boxes but thankfully it went well for us.” – David Moyes
There was mixed news for West Ham’s defensive potential in their 1-0 win over Fulham.
A third clean sheet of the season was, of course, welcome news for the 120,000+ managers who signed Aaron Cresswell (£5.1m), who was unfortunate not to come away with attacking returns on Saturday.
Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) and Haller both saw efforts either saved or hit the crossbar from Cresswell’s corners in the opening exchange, and the left centre-back also had an effort denied by Areola too.
It was Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) who top-scored among the FPL defenders though, taking home two bonus points for eight points. He now has 25 from five appearances now, averaging five points per game.
A reason for those extras against Fulham seems to have been his persistence in the cross, although the quality of his delivery did not live up to Cresswell’s, something even Moyes inferred at full-time.
“One small thing, I think our crossing tonight was terrible and our ability to get into positions like that, we didn’t do well enough. We either overhit it or hit the font man and that was one aspect but we thought we would have more of the ball, it panned out that way later in the game and we didn’t quite pass the ball well through the lines enough.” – David Moyes
As for long-term clean sheet potential, it was somewhat alarming to witness West Ham’s game management in the closing stages, especially after going 1-0 up.
They struggled to handle the driving runs of substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.9m) and looked likely to concede under Fulham’s attacking pressure. Of course, they would have done were it not for the fortuitous circumstances of Ademola Lookman‘s (£5.0m) awful penalty.
Meanwhile, Moyes will now be sweating on the fitness of Angelo Ogbonna (£4.9m), who picked up a muscle injury in the second half and has been the ever-present lynchpin in West Ham’s defence and could be missed sorely if his absence proves to be a long-term one.
“We’re a little bit worried about Angelo. Because it was a challenge in the box where I don’t think the player should have made the challenge on the goalkeeper and it has opened his groin up a bit so we’ll get him scanned and see what the outcome is.” – David Moyes
West Ham United XI (3-4-2-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna (Diop 63′), Balbuena; Masuaku, Souček, Rice, Coufal; Fornals (Benrahma 72′), Bowen (Lanzini 72′); Haller.
Fulham XI (4-2-3-1): Areola; A Robinson, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Aina; Reed, Zambo Anguissa (Cavaleiro 90+3′); Lookman, Cairney, De Cordova-Reid (Loftus-Cheek 83′); Mitrović.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 8
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Burnley
- Southampton 2-0 Newcastle United
- Everton 1-3 Manchester United
- Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds United
- Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United
- West Ham United 1-0 Fulham
- West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Leicester City 1-0 Wolves
- Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
- Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa
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