Scout Notes

Phillips boosts Leeds’ clean sheet potential as Arsenal fail to impress

Leeds 0-0 Arsenal

  • Goals: None
  • Assists: None
  • Red cards: Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m)
  • Bonus points: Ezgjan Alioski x3 (£4.4m), Hector Bellerín x3 (£5.1m), Bernd Leno x2 (£5.0m)

KAL-EL, MAN OF STEEL

The return of Kalvin Phillips (£4.9m) to Leeds United’s midfield appears to have boosted the credentials of the club’s Fantasy Premier League assets at both ends of the pitch.

The defensive midfielder, who dropped straight back into the holding role of a 4-1-4-1 formation against Arsenal, was missing with a shoulder injury between Gameweeks 6 and 8, a period where Marcelo Bielsa’s men were often carved open at the back.

During that period, they conceded, on average, 2.7 goals per game, the likes of Luke Ayling (£4.5m) reduced to zero-point hauls on more than one occasion.

Admittedly, there were a few cobwebs in his performance while Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m) struck the bar and Illan Meslier (£4.5m) was called into action to stop a runaway Bukayo Saka (£5.3m) in the second half. But the point still stands: Phillips’ first start since Gameweek 5 coincided with a first Premier League clean sheet at Elland Road Leeds this season.

It also means Leeds have let in just 1.5 goals per game when Phillips has been on the pitch this season, a significant improvement, despite matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

The short-term upcoming fixtures for popular Leeds defenders are not particularly encouraging, as Leeds face Everton (away), Chelsea (away) and West Ham (home) between now and Gameweek 12. 

However, Phillips’ return should certainly make Gameweeks 13 to 16 appealing for his defensive colleagues, considering Leeds face Newcastle (home), Burnley (home) and West Bromwich Albion (away) during this period.

STUART MIDDLE

Bearing in mind the improved defensive potential at Leeds with Phillips back in the fold, Fantasy managers should take note of two developments in Gameweek 9.

Firstly, injuries to Pablo Hernández (£5.7m) and Jamie Shackleton (£4.8m), as well as a benching for Rodrigo (£5.7m), saw left-back Stuart Dallas (£4.5m) used in central midfield alongside Mateusz Klich (£5.6m).

“For me, [Dallas] is a very generous player, very brave. He participates a lot in the game. He doesn’t have a problem with either foot. He can play in the three different positions on the pitch: defending in the middle and in attack. Apart from that, he has one attribute which is the best you don’t see: that is a very good team-mate and an impeccable professional.” – Marcelo Bielsa

While the FPL defender did not quite hit the heights he is capable of at left-back, the fact he was deployed closer to goal had an impact on his Fantasy credentials.

In the second half, Dallas scythed through the middle of Arsenal’s defence and unleashed an effort that looked destined for the top left-hand corner of the net before Bernd Leno (£5.0m) tipped it over the bar.

His move into midfield also opened up the left-back berth for Ezgjan Alioski (£4.4m) again. The 0-0 draw with Arsenal was his third start in the last four, he has been present for two of Leeds’ three clean sheets this season and has picked up bonus points in both of them.

WHAM, BAM

As mentioned already, Phillips’ return to the Leeds team also had some impact on what happened in front of him.

Yes, Leeds failed to find the net against Arsenal, but it was not for lack of trying and they will certainly feel unfortunate not to have scored two or three times.

Dominating possession on Sunday, Leeds unleashed 25 shots on Arsenal’s goal, their highest tally since returning to the top flight and the most of any side without scoring since Manchester City’s 26 against Southampton in July. The Whites are also now only the third side to reach such a lofty shot tally this season.

Unsurprisingly, Patrick Bamford (£6.1m) was the spearhead for this free-flowing Leeds side, his total of touches inside the penalty box only five short of Arsenal’s tally as a team.

He pounced on a loose ball in the first half, his close-range effort forcing an impressive save from Leno, before his header on the end of an Ian Poveda-Ocampo (£4.4m) cross struck the post in the second. Certainly more than enough to warrant holding Bamford.

A debut for Raphinha (£5.4m), who came in for Hélder Costa (£5.6m) on the right flank of midfield, also provided plenty of excitement, the Brazilian hitting the post himself in the closing stages.

WHAM, BAM, AUBAMEYANG

By comparison, despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.7m) leaving behind the left flank for the first start as a central striker this season, Arsenal offered up nothing more than an uninspiring, turgid display.

They held onto only 33.7% possession against a newly-promoted side and chalking up two shots on target.

That might have been a factor in Leeds’ clean sheet, although the data still suggests they are better off with Phillips than without him.

Either way, Arsenal’s dreadful attacking performance is likely to turn the head of anyone invested in defensive assets at Wolves, Spurs, Burnley and Southampton, their next four opponents.

The encouraging start that Mikel Arteta’s men made to the campaign feels like ancient history already. They have only scored nine goals in as many league games this season, their lowest tally at this stage since 1986/87.

And it is in recent weeks that Arsenal’s lack of attacking spark has reared its ugly head. The Gunners have netted just once in their last five Premier League outings, scoring a penalty at Manchester United in Gameweek 7, failing to find the net against Manchester City, Leicester, Aston Villa and now Leeds.

Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Alioski, Cooper, Koch, Ayling (Rodrigo 70′); K Phillips; Harrison (Poveda-Ocampo 80′), Dallas, Klich, Raphinha; Bamford.

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, Bellerín; Xhaka, Ceballos; Willian (Nelson 46′), Willock (Saka 57′ | Maitland-Niles 90+3′), Pépé; Aubameyang.

Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 9

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

751 Comments Post a Comment
  1. mcginnntonic
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 2 days ago

    bruno and kane to kdb and vardy?

    or just go zouma to cancelo? Thanks

  2. huhhh
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 2 days ago

    no one looking at aguero vs burnley?

  3. Michelle Davin
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 2 days ago

    Zaha should be fit on Friday no?

    1. Indpush
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Could be. Waiting to see if gets a negative on his next tests. Roy said they knew he was positive for a "few days" but didn't go public with it.

      https://uk.news.yahoo.com/crystal-palace-boss-roy-hodgson-091257619.html

      1. Indpush
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Also he apparently doesn't feel ill.

  4. Cak Juris
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 2 days ago

    How is Liverpool formation when Mane, Jota, Salah and Firmino all fit?

    1. grumpyman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Kota and Firmino sharing game time I think.

      1. Cak Juris
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Can't play together? Jota = New Foden?