West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Sheffield United
- Goals: Conor Gallagher (£5.5m)
- Assists: None
- Bonus: Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) x3, Gallagher x2, Semi Ajayi (£4.8m) x1
A first-half goal from Conor Gallagher (£5.5m) secured a crucial victory for West Bromwich Albion over fellow strugglers Sheffield United.
So perilous are the positions of both teams that the game had ‘vastly important’ stamped all over it.
But from a Fantasy perspective, its significance was considerably more niche.
No player, from either side, went into the match with double-digit ownership levels in Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
The most popular asset on display was Rhian Brewster (£4.5m and 6.2%), who was given a second straight bit-part role by United boss Chris Wilder and remains painfully short of confidence, minutes and chances.
The match was far from boring – the 39 shots both sides managed between them was the most in a Premier League game this season. It just lacked anyone with the (relative) quality required to convert the eight big chances created on the day.
So are there any players from either side currently worth investing in?
Short answer: no.
Longer answer: nope.
Neither team’s immediate schedule is overly promising.
The Baggies do have Crystal Palace at home and then a trip to Newcastle up next, but things turn sour (mci AVL liv LEE ARS) after that.
The Blades, meanwhile, face Leicester, Southampton and Manchester United next, although their Christmas fixtures (bha EVE bur cry) are a bit more accommodating.
West Brom have tightened up at the back since securing their first clean sheet of the campaign in Gameweek 5, conceding just five goals in as many matches.
Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) has impressed in that time and he brought in 11 points against Sheffield thanks to six saves and the maximum bonus award.
He’s now joint-top, with Newcastle’s Karl Darlow (£5.0m), for saves (44) and only six ‘keepers have more FPL points than him.
At least investing in Johnstone won’t be boring, but the key Fantasy factor regarding both West Brom and Sheffield United at present involves who in your team might get the chance to face one or other of them in the next few weeks.
Because whether they’re at the back or in attack, there are points to be had.
Wilder was his usual blunt and honest self post-match:
We’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves. If you don’t take your chances and don’t show that quality in and around the box or the penalty area, you’re not going to win games of football.
West Brom coach Slaven Bilic was, obviously, rather more upbeat:
It’s a great boost for our confidence and for the games that are coming.
But it’s going to take a lot more, from both teams, to persuade Fantasy managers to invest in any of their assets any time soon.
In fact, the main interest at present revolves around why so many are still grimly holding on to Brewster.
Yes, he’s cheap, but he’s managed just two shots on target and eight points from six joyless appearances thus far.
West Bromwich Albion XI (5-3-2): Johnstone; Townsend (Phillips 75), Bartley, Ivanovic, Ajayi, Furlong; Gallagher, Sawyers, M Pereira; C Robinson (Robson-Kanu 65), Grant (Krovinovic 75).
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): Ramsdale; K Bryan (Lundstram 63), Egan, Basham; Lowe, Fleck, Norwood (Brewster 54), Berge, Baldock; McBurnie, Burke (Mousset 74).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 10
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Newcastle United
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Liverpool
- Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
- Everton 0-1 Leeds United
- West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Sheffield United
- Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
- Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Arsenal 1-2 Wolves
- Leicester City 1-2 Fulham
- West Ham United 2-1 Aston Villa
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