Wolves 1-1 Southampton
- Goals: Pedro Neto (£5.5m) | Theo Walcott (£5.8m)
- Assists: Raúl Jiménez (£8.4m) | Che Adams (£5.9m)
- Bonus points: Alex McCarthy x3 (£4.5m), Adams x2, Kyle Walker-Peters x1 (£4.6m)
SAVING THE SAINTS
Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) was the star of the Fantasy Premier League show on Monday night as he managed a seven-point score in a 1-1 draw at Wolves.
The Southampton goalkeeper made a total of eight saves and, despite conceding, came away with maximum bonus thanks to no player earning a share for a game-winning goal and a late Che Adams (£5.9m) foul.
Thanks to repeated denials of Daniel Podence (£5.4m) in particular, McCarthy has now earned an additional two points for saves in two of his last three Premier League outings and has averaged 4.4 points per game.
Among goalkeepers, only Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) has offered better value this season than him too, the West Ham man scoring 10.0 points per million spent to McCarthy’s 8.9.
Crucially, the form of Southampton’s goalkeeper could potentially come into the decision-making process for the Gameweek 10 captaincy.
Bruno Fernandes (£10.8m) travels to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon fresh from back-to-back double-figure hauls, three of the four he has recorded this season coming on the road too.
However, Southampton are yet to concede a single goal at home since their Gameweek 2 thrashing by Spurs and, if McCarthy is in half the form he was on Monday night, Manchester United assets could easily be frustrated…
Wolves were forced to contend Monday night’s encounter without club captain Conor Coady (£4.9m) who, following a period of self-isolation missed his first league match in over three years, having played the previous 120 in a row.
“A big (blow to lose Coady). Unfortunately, with Coady and Saiss, players that have been with us since the Championship. Since (Conor) returned from the England squad, he has been self-isolating. He has tested negative, maybe he’s already immune but he cannot be with us.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
“Saïss is in self-isolation since returning from the national team. He tested positive. He is comfortable with the situation. He is at home by himself with his family in another room and he has to protect himself to stay fit and healthy.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Coady’s absence, as well as a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test for Romain Saïss (£5.2m), triggered Wolves’ first outing with a back-four since May 2017, when Paul Lambert was the manager for a 1-0 win over Preston North End.
In this rather unfamiliar set-up, Nuno Espirito Santo deployed Rayan Aït-Nouri (£5.0m) and Nélson Semedo (£5.6m) as traditional full-backs with the left-footed Max Kilman (£4.3m) as the right-sided centre-back to Willy Boly (£5.5m), although the two switched over at half-time.
It was clear that Wolves took some time to grow into a 4-3-3 formation, with Southampton causing plenty of problems with their narrow formation.
However, once they added Pedro Neto (£5.5m) to midfield in the place of Rúben Neves (£5.3m) and went for a 4-2-3-1, Wolves were the better team in the closing stages and the most likely to win the game.
“Conor was not available. Saiss also. We decided to go with three midfielders and it was good. I think we should grow, we should find solutions. We have an identity that is more not about the system, it is about the idea that we fight and try to play good football and we try to be solid. I think we managed that. Let’s see (if we use four at the back again).” – Nuno Espirito Santo
INGS ARE LOOKING UP
Despite fears that Danny Ings‘ (£8.3m) injury would limit Southampton’s offensive capabilities, Ralph Hasenhüttl has found a very effective solution in the strike-pairing of Adams and Theo Walcott (£5.8m).
The two players have only enjoyed two Premier League outings as a front-two but have already combined in each of those.
Walcott was the more dangerous of the two at Molineux, using his pace to get around the back on more than one occasion.
In the first half, he whipped an effort back across goal which was well-stopped by Rui Patrício (£5.5m), before punishing Semedo’s momentary lack of concentration in the second, sneaking in at the back post to tap Adams’ cross into an empty net.
Later, Walcott played an incredible chipped through-ball to Adams, straight out of the Harry Kane (£11.0m) playbook, but the former Birmingham man pulled his effort just wide.
Once the Gameweek 10 meeting with Manchester United is out of the way, Southampton face Brighton (away), Sheffield United (home), Arsenal (away) and Fulham (away) between Gameweeks 11 and 15, perhaps the best time to consider investing in Adams or Walcott, depending on Ings’ fitness, of course.
Of the two, Adams seems the most likely to hold his place, but the out-of-position factor for Walcott certainly hands him the most explosive potential before Ings returns to the side.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (4-3-3): Patrício; Aït-Nouri, Boly, Kilman, Semedo; Moutinho, Neves (Neto 70′), Dendoncker; Podence (Vitinha 85′), Jiménez, A Traoré.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): A McCarthy; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Djenepo (S Long 79′), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (Diallo 90′); Adams, Walcott.
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