Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton
- Goals: Ezri Konsa (£4.7m) | Danny Welbeck (£5.5m), Solly March (£5.0m)
- Assists: Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) | Adam Lallana (£6.2m), Pascal Groß (£5.8m)
- Bonus points: Welbeck x3, March x2, Konsa x1
BARKLEY UP THE WRONG TREE
A second-minute muscle injury to Ross Barkley (£6.0m) proved a massive spanner in the works as Aston Villa’s key Fantasy Premier League assets blanked in Gameweek 9.
The former Everton man has enjoyed some excellent link-up play with Jack Grealish (£7.6m) this season and has arguably been a factor in his impressive form.
Removing Barkley from the picture so soon into Saturday’s meeting with Brighton restricted Grealish’s Fantasy potential and, like Dean Smith, his 40.3% ownership will be hoping for positive news in the next press conference.
“(Barkley) felt his hamstring just two minutes into the game. We’ll have to get it scanned first to see how bad it is. He seems fairly hopeful he won’t be too long but we’ll have to wait and see after this game.” – Dean Smith
Puzzlingly, right-winger Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) was chosen as a straight-swap replacement for Barkley in the number 10 position, a role he could not quite fulfil as well as his predecessor.
The resultant effect was that Grealish eventually, swapped with Traoré, tucking into a more central station, somewhere he is less dangerous than on the left, where he can terrorise full-backs and centre-backs alike with driving, direct runs from the flanks.
Grealish also moved onto the right-hand side a lot in the second half. This shifting around of positions and lack of Barkley’s spark were never going to provide the perfect conditions for a Grealish haul, unfortunately.
Furthermore, in completely unforeseen circumstances, it turns out Traoré is above Grealish in the set-piece pecking order, despite not being a nailed-on starter at the club.
He took a large number of Villa’s corners and provided the assist for Ezri Konsa‘s (£4.7m) second-half goal from a free-kick.
It goes without saying that no Fantasy manager could have seen these events coming ahead of Gameweek 9, so the clutch who captained Grealish should not beat themselves up about that decision.
Moving forward, his owners will be hoping for one of two things. Either that Barkley will not be a long-term absentee or that Smith can find a way of consistently getting the best out of Grealish without him in the team.
Still operating firmly under the Fantasy radar, Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) is slowly becoming Brighton’s chief goal threat.
He may have only started two matches for the Seagulls, but his performances have been promising indeed.
After coming closest to scoring in the Gameweek 8 goalless draw against Burnley, Welbeck was back to lead the Brighton line for the second outing in a row, relegating Neal Maupay (£6.4m) to an attacking midfield support role alongside Adam Lallana (£6.2m).
The former Manchester United and Arsenal forward fulfilled the promise of his full debut for Brighton at Villa Park, using his exceptional pace to get in behind the defence and score the opening goal on Saturday.
Unlikely to lose his starting berth after two energetic performances, at £5.5m Welbeck could prove decent value when Brighton’s turn more appealing with a trip to Fulham in Gameweek 13.
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martínez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash; McGinn, D Luiz (Hourihane 75′); Grealish, Barkley (B Traoré 5′ | El Ghazi 74′), Trézéguet; Watkins.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-2-1): Ryan; Webster, Dunk, White; March, Groß (Molumby 90+6′), Bissouma, Lamptey; Maupay (Burn 80′), Lallana (Veltman 46′); Welbeck.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 9
- Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea
- Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City
- Manchester United 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Fulham 2-3 Everton
- Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham United
- Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal
- Liverpool 3-0 Leicester City
- Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace
- Wolves 1-1 Southampton