Scout Notes

Watkins making strong case for Villa double-up with in-form Grealish

Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa

  • Goals: Ollie Watkins x2 (£6.0m)
  • Own goals: Bukayo Saka (£5.3m)
  • Assists: Matt Targett (£4.5m), Ross Barkley (£6.0m), Jack Grealish (£7.4m)
  • Bonus points: Watkins x3, Targett x2, Barkley x1


Jack Grealish (£7.5m) has firmly established himself in the current template for success among Fantasy Premier League managers after yet another attacking return against Arsenal.

Following a Gameweek 8 assist, the Aston Villa midfielder has involved himself in 10 of his team’s 18 goals this season (55.6%) and averaged 8.6 points per game in 2020/21.

The England international does not look like letting up either, running the show in Villa’s impressive 3-0 win at Arsenal, who came into Sunday evening’s clash with the Premier League’s best defensive record.

As is usually the case with this all-action midfield asset, Grealish could easily have left the Emirates Stadium with a third double-figure haul of the season as he assisted a John McGinn (£5.5m) goal ruled out for offside against Ross Barkley (£6.0m) in the first period before seeing his second-half penalty box effort cleared off the line by Kieran Tierney (£5.4m).

Unsurprisingly, Fantasy managers are taking note of Grealish’s excellent displays, and ability to convert them into points, increasing the pressure on non-owners.

He came into Gameweek 8 in 57.9% of squads inside the top 10,000 worldwide rankings, only Son Heung-min (87.1%), Harry Kane (86.7%) and Mohamed Salah (65.3%) owned by more at that level.

With Brighton (home), West Ham (away), Newcastle (home), Wolves (away), Burnley (home), West Bromwich Albion (away) and Crystal Palace (home) the next seven teams to face Aston Villa, it is certainly not too late to exploit Grealish’s favourable form and fixtures, his price already rising to £7.5m as of Tuesday morning.


The kind nature of Aston Villa’s fixtures, as well as their ability to score goals, certainly justifies anyone looking at a double-up on their attacking assets.

Even better, there is a seriously viable candidate to join Grealish in our squads right now, Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) registering a 13-point haul at Arsenal thanks to a brace and maximum bonus.

Those goals took the former Exeter City and Brentford forward to seven attacking returns for the season, all of them coming in Villa’s last five matches, an average of 8.6 points per game.

Crucially, the timing of Watkins’ form and fixtures could be perfect for anyone in need of replacing Callum Wilson (£6.6m), should his hamstring injury prove to be a long-term one. We are likely to find out more about it on the other side of the international break.

And while Bamford may be one to consider as another alternative Wilson replacement, Watkins might even find himself as the go-to option for anyone concerned about Leeds’ fixtures, as they face Arsenal (home), Everton (away), Chelsea (away) and West Ham (home) in the next four. Over the last four Gameweeks, Bamford has scored 28 points to Watkins’ 24, so the two players are largely tracking at the same level of output but the latter has better fixtures by far.


Watkins is not the only kindly-priced option to pair with Grealish though, as Barkley added his third attacking return of the last five Gameweeks against Arsenal.

During that time, he has averaged 5.8 points per game and, ahead of Gameweek 9, he was pushed into a more advanced role against Arsenal.

Dean Smith has mostly favoured 4-3-3 since the turn of the year as he sought to shore up last season’s defensive problems.

However, in recent weeks the Villa manager has begun lining his troops up in more of a 4-2-3-1, asking McGinn and Douglas Luiz (£4.9m) to sit slightly deeper and affording Barkley a number 10 role.


A first clean sheet since Gameweek 5 was welcome news for the 26.8% invested in Emiliano Martínez (£4.8m) although Villa’s clean sheet potential for their kind run of fixtures is still arguably up in the air.

Smith’s men were fortunate not to concede at Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) spurning a golden chance at the back post, which he headed over in the first half.

Then, in the second half, Rob Holding (£4.4m) was afforded too much time to get on the end of Gabriel‘s (£5.1m) cross. Had offensive players been given the chance to attack that space, they might well have scored.

Remember, of course, Villa’s upcoming opponents Brighton have blanked in just one match this season and West Ham have found the net against Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs.

Arsenal XI (3-4-2-1): Leno; Tierney, Gabriel, Holding; Saka, Elneny, Partey (Ceballos 46′), Bellerín; Aubameyang, Willian (Pépé 65′); Lacazette (Nketiah 65′).

Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martínez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash; McGinn, D Luiz; Grealish, Barkley, Trézéguet (El Ghazi 88′); Watkins.

Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 8

505 Comments Post a Comment
  1. stefanbkanev
    • 1 Year
    1 year, 24 days ago

    Currently on WC:

    0.0 ITB

    Martinez, Forster

    Chilwell, Cancelo, Justin, Kilman, Coufal
    Grealish, Ziyech, Salah, KDB, Fernandes
    Brewster, Bamford, Watkins

    Any suggestions or ideas to make my team better?

    1. No end product
      • 5 Years
      1 year, 24 days ago

      Good team - the power mids

    2. Pacer.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 year, 24 days ago

      I don't like a team structure without one premium slot up front. Kane and Vardy are rinsing it. It doesn't seem great to close off that avenue

  2. No end product
    • 5 Years
    1 year, 24 days ago

    Robbo + Foden > Bruno + Coufal -4

    Y or N

    Thanks for help

    1. tbhogal
      • 12 Years
      1 year, 24 days ago

      Go for it !

  3. tbhogal
    • 12 Years
    1 year, 24 days ago

    Got 2 freebies and a dilemma to sort, please help guys! Thanks

    A) Foden > Ziyech + Saiss > Coufal
    B) Son > Bruno + Foden > Bissouma

    Martinez (Steer)
    Chilwell, Robbo, Lamptey (Saiss, Mitchell)
    Podence, Salah, Son, Grealish (Foden)
    Bamford, DCL, Kane..

  4. Collie01
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 year, 24 days ago

    Thinking out load regarding midfielders. In a bit of a dilemma which ones to get (or leave out!) on WC.

    Salah - Probably indispensible. Will most likely be top or near top points scorer in the game. On pens. Decent fixtures (he is pretty much fixture proof anyway). Captaincy option most weeks. Value tied up in him and a scary one not to own.

    KdB - Glorious fixtures approaching. Should end up one of the top points scorers over course of the season. Presumably still on pens? Feeling that City should hit their stride soon and KdB will be central. Most nailed attacker for Pep. Still a powerful differential and great captaincy option GW10 and 11. Form not the greatest but could have had double digit haul last time out and is fixture proof.

    Bruno - Looks like he is coming into good form. Decent fixtures coming up. Stand out captaincy option GW9. On pens. Many routes to points (goals, assists, bonus, set-pieces). Utd can be a streaky team and can haul big when on form. Home form for Utd is a bit of a concern.

    Grealish - Talisman for a Villa side much improved this season. Great on stats, eye test, form and fixtures. Seems to have upped his output this season and there is little to fault. Still great value at 7.5mil. Possibly Villa still not a team to trust 100%?

    Ziyech - The creative force in a free-scoring Chelsea team. Should be pretty nailed on right flank. Set piece threat. Differential of sorts and potentially very good value at his price. Looks the best option into the Chelsea attack.

    Son - Highest scoring midfielder in the game currently. Can be very explosive and looks better than ever this season. Many will have value tied up in him and his ownership is colossal for those who consider that as a factor. Fixtures look difficult, though potentially not as relevant as they look on paper for premium attacker like Son who can score against most opposition. Concerns regarding if him and Spurs have hit their purple patch already or that his points output in unsustainable.

    Jota - The high-risk value pick of the lot. Signs are there that he can start both with and in place of Firminio. Will make a mockery of his price tag if he gets enough minutes. His price relative to other options mentioned above would mean I could upgrade significantly elsewhere in my team. Of course his place is far from secure and he could end with plenty of disappointing 1pointers similar to Foden.

    It's a bit of a minefield for sure. I think a strong midfield is the way to go, but don't think I'd be able to afford Salah, KdB, Bruno, Son and Grealish without leaving the rest of my team too weakened.

  5. The Mandalorian
    • 9 Years
    1 year, 24 days ago

    Kane Injury - Given his recent injury record I expect one is due. Southgate tactically is useless and will probably have to start Kane in the 2 competition games.
    Then Kane will be pushed more against the top teams so the odds, seem increased for an injury.
    Most will jump on Vardy but Bruno will probably outscore Kane for the remainder of the year so I see him as my replacement. I think the minus 4 hit will be easily repaid

  6. Joe_Carman
    • 1 Year
    1 year, 24 days ago

    1FT, 1.2ITB

    Chilwell, Cresswell, Lamptey
    Son, Sterling, Salah, Grealish
    Jimenez, Bamford, DCL

    Steer, Dallas, Bissouma, Mitchell,

    A) Son > Ziyech (this GW), Jimi to Vardy (GW10)
    B) Son > Fernandes (this GW), Jimi to Antonio, if he's fit (GW10)
    C) Hold

    Any help with this one lads?