Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United
- Goals: Tammy Abraham (£7.2m), Ben Chilwell (£6.0m), Thiago Silva (£5.5m), Timo Werner (£9.4m) | David McGoldrick (£5.3m)
- Assists: Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) x2, Mateo Kovacic (£5.3m), N’Golo Kante (£4.9m) | Sander Berge (£5.0m)
- Bonus: Ziyech x3, Abraham x2, Werner x1
Chelsea came from behind to beat Sheffield United with a performance that ticked many a Fantasy box.
All four of the home side’s goals involved summer signings and the victory underlined the impression that coach Frank Lampard is finally finding the right balance in his team, from Abraham to Ziyech.
One of Lampard’s key moves has been to find room for both Tammy Abraham (£7.2m) and Timo Werner (£9.4m) in the starting XI.
Saturday’s result meant Chelsea have won three games and drawn one, scoring 14 goals and conceding four, when the duo start together in the league.
Lampard talked about the pair after the midweek win over Rennes in the Champions League in which they also both started (and scored):
When we brought in players in attacking areas we brought in players who are versatile in their nature, Timo playing on the left for instance. The qualities Tammy can bring to the team are never lost on me.
Werner’s ownership has been yo-yoing this season, with the trend upward at present. He’s now in 23.6% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) squads, with 25,000+ new managers buying into him ahead of the international break.
The 2.2%-owned Abraham remains the differential pick of the two, which is hardly surprising when he’s started just the four games to Werner’s eight in the league this season. But he’s produced two goals and two assists from those matches.
And the pair’s threat is so strong that Lampard could be tempted to view them both, and not just Werner, as nailed-on starters.
Maximum bonus points and a double-digit haul went to Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) – for the second straight Gameweek.
He’s now amassed 25 points from his first two starts in the league and his ownership is ballooning.
He went from 114,819 to 624,213 FPL managers on the strength of his goal and assist against Burnley in Gameweek 7 and he’s already top of the transfers in for Gameweek 9 thanks to his brace of assists against Sheffield United.
Small wonder that Lampard was gushing in his post-match praise:
He exudes confidences in how much he wants to receive the ball and be the important player. He also has great work ethic so he is a complete player. He’s been a big plus and I expect there is a lot more to come from him.
It’s only been two full games, but there’s a strong sense that it is Ziyech, and not the self-isolating Kai Havertz (£8.3m), who could be the key player when it comes to Lampard finding the right balance in his team:
The balance of the team felt great. There were so many good things in what we were creating, we scored two goals from set pieces. I don’t want to get too carried away but I’m happy.
Not getting carried away should be the theme for FPL bosses as well because Chelsea’s next six matches are probably not as easy as they might appear on FPL’s Fixture Difficulty Rating.
A Gameweek 10 visit from Spurs and games against an obdurate Wolves and this season’s surprise package West Ham all look tricky, but Ziyech is making an incredibly strong case for inclusion anyway.
Defenders On The Attack
The second most-bought defender ahead of Gameweek 8 was Chilwell, who scored his second goal in three home matches.
That appeased the 324,298 new owners who were hoping for a fourth clean sheet in the last five league fixtures from Chelsea.
Considerably fewer managers enjoyed Thiago Silva‘s (£5.5m) first attacking return for the Blues, but those goals underlined the potency of Lampard’s defenders.
The most popular defensive transfer for the Gameweek was Kurt Zouma (£5.3m), who was brought in by more than half a million managers on the back of the Blues’ new-found defensive stability and the centre-half’s three goals this season.
Thanks to Silva’s strike, all four of Lampard’s regular backline have now scored.
Zouma leads the way for goals among defenders and Chilwell is second (he also has two assists), while Reece James (£5.0m) is the other to have found the net, with an assist to his name from his six starts as well.
Small wonder that three of that back four are now in the top 10 for both points and ownership among FPL defenders, with Thiago (3.1%) the only outlier (and differential).
Sheffield Of Bad Dreams
One point from eight matches, just four goals scored and zero clean sheets kept, the Blades are the bluntest of weapons at the moment.
Manager Chris Wilder was as honest as ever with his assessment of his team:
At times my teams are naive. It’s irrelevant. We have given away some poor goals. I think we have to look at ourselves.
It’s fair to say few Fantasy managers are looking at his players.
David McGoldrick‘s (£5.3m) second strike of the season meant he’s now been involved in half of the side’s goals.
But his strike partner, and the Blades’ most popular asset in FPL, Rhian Brewster (£4.5m and 6.7%), had a wretched time of it at Stamford Bridge.
Brewster’s undoubted promise, and cheap price tag, has persuaded a decent chunk of FPL managers to have him as their third striker.
Based on his complete non-involvement on Saturday, even at £4.5m he’s a waste of money.
As for the Blades as a team, the 431 shots they conceded last season was bettered by only seven teams. This year’s total – 120 – is the league’s second worst.
Never a team to create many chances, unless they can sort out their defensive issues, their players will remain a major Fantasy no-no.
Chelsea XI (4-3-2-1): Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic (Jorginho 71′), Mount; Werner (Giroud 87′), Ziyech; Abraham.
Sheffield United XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Baldock, Stevens, Basham, Egan; Lundstram, Berge, Lowe, Norwood (Osborn 62′); McGoldrick, Brewster (McBurnie 63′).
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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