West Brom 0-5 Leeds
- Goals: Ezgjan Alioski (£4.5m), Jack Harrison (£5.4m), Rodrigo (£5.7m), Raphinha (£5.4m)
- Own goals: Romaine Sawyers (£4.8m)
- Assists: Patrick Bamford x2 (£6.5m), Mateusz Klich (£5.5m), Stuart Dallas (£4.8m)
- Bonus points: Dallas x3, Rodrigo x2, Alioski x1
Leeds United’s attack is starting to look very appealing from a Fantasy Premier League perspective as they put five goals past West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.
Fashionable striker Patrick Bamford (£6.5m) continues to tick along, registering an eight-point score in Gameweek 16, but his colleagues are increasingly playing their part.
In the last four Gameweeks, matches involving Leeds have featured an average of 5.3 goals, their own tally for the season already at 30. In fact, in netting five at West Bromwich Albion, the Whites became only the second newly-promoted Premier League side to score 30 times over their first 16 games, after Newcastle netted 31 in 1993/94.
Could such statistics suggest a double-up on Leeds’ attack is something Fantasy managers should consider in the coming weeks?
“It was a game where we defended well and we were efficient up-front. From eight chances we scored five and that helped the result. We played a serious game throughout and we managed the ball well.” – Marcelo Bielsa
Raphinha (£5.4m) was a constant threat at the Hawthorns on Tuesday night, his well-deserved 71st-minute effort his third attacking return since Gameweek 13.
Likewise, Rodrigo (£5.7m) and Jack Harrison‘s (£5.4m) first-half strikes were their third goal-involvements during the same period, each of them scoring and assisting in the 5-2 win over Newcastle.
But the exciting options are not limited to the midfield and forward positions as Stuart Dallas (£4.8m) demonstrated his Fantasy appeal once again in Gameweek 16.
Operating on the right-hand side of Leeds’ defence, the Northern Ireland international got forward often, making the most of Lee Peltier (£4.0m) having to cover for Kieran Gibbs (£4.3m) at left-back at short-notice.
As a result, Dallas added his second assist of the campaign and, like Raphinha, Harrison and Rodrigo, it was his third attacking return since Gameweek 13.
Crucially, Dallas benefitted from a second clean sheet in as many Premier League outings for the Whites – as did Ezgjan Alioski (£4.5m), whose first-half goal was his second in the last four Gameweeks
The question is, of course, can Leeds sustain this impressive run of form? After all, their last four matches have taken them through one of the easiest runs of games they have faced this season.
Their wins in that period came against Newcastle, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion but Gameweeks 17 and 18 hand Marcelo Bielsa’s men a trip to Spurs and a Blank.
Perhaps Double Gameweek 19 is the best time to consider making a move for more Leeds players considering they play two home fixtures against Brighton and Southampton that round.
With festive rotation especially rife in Gameweek 16, it is noteworthy from a Fantasy perspective that Bielsa named an unchanged side between Sunday’s win over Burnley and Tuesday’s trip to the Hawthorns – suggesting that Leeds assets will be more nailed-on to play twice in Double Gameweek 19 than those from other clubs.
West Bromwich Albion XI (4-1-4-1): Johnstone; Peltier, O’Shea, Ajayi, Furlong; Sawyers; Diangana (Krovinović 73′), Gallagher, M Phillips (Ivanović 46′), C Robinson; Grant (M Pereira 61′).
Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Alioski, Struijk, Ayling, Dallas; K Phillips; Harrison, Klich (Shackleton 58′), Rodrigo (Hernández 70′), Raphinha (Costa 81′); Bamford.
Southampton 0-0 West Ham
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
- Bonus points: Jack Stephens x3 (£4.6m), Alex McCarthy x2 (£4.7m), Jan Bednarek x1 (£4.8m), Ryan Fredericks (£4.2m)
It was a mixed Fantasy night for owners of Southampton and West Ham assets, especially considering the level of rotation on offer for the Tuesday’s visitors to St Mary’s Stadium.
Two days after Sunday’s draw at Brighton, David Moyes took Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m), Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m), Issa Diop (£4.3m) and Ben Johnson (£3.9m) out of his defence for Gameweek 16, ensuring none of them could benefit from the Hammers’ first clean sheet since Gameweek 9.
The silver lining to that frustrating development was a surprise return for Michail Antonio (£6.2m), named on the bench and featuring for the last 13 minutes ahead of West Ham’s encouraging Double Gameweek 19 fixtures (home matches against Burnley and West Brom).
Thankfully, he came through his first minutes since Gameweek 10 without further damage and is certainly one to watch if he can get back into the starting XI in time for January’s chip season.
“Yes he has (come through the match unscathed), that’s a big boost. We’ve missed him, we’ve been muddling through a bit without him, trying to find ways of getting goals from other sources. We have to tread carefully with him, be patient with him.” – David Moyes
Similarly, Danny Ings (£8.3m) was a surprise injury-returnee, starting for Southampton and lasting 90 minutes.
However, there was nothing the striker could do to stop Southampton going goalless for a third successive Premier League match.
Ings did not register a single shot or touch in West Ham’s box on Tuesday, the first time he failed to do either in any of his 54 90-minute Premier League outings.
VAR played a cruel part in that particular statistic, considering he had a first-half goal ruled out for an offside against Che Adams (£6.1m), who went off in the 57th minute – but Southampton have generally struggled to offer much going forward recently.
They are winless in their last four league games, their longest run since going eight without a Premier League victory from September to November 2019.
Still, silver linings remain for Fantasy managers, not least those invested in either Alex McCarthy (£4.7m) or Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) as Southampton registered a seventh clean sheet of the campaign, playing out back-to-back Premier League goalless draws for the first time since October 2018, when Mark Hughes was in charge.
The fact that both of those shutouts have occurred without first-choice centre-back Jannik Vestergaard (£4.9m) is to the Saints’ credit, although McCarthy was called into action a few times to keep them in the game as Jack Stephens (£4.6m) strives to get back up to speed having started just twice between Gameweeks 8 and 15 before Tuesday night.
Fredericks got up for a header at the near post in the first half, calling Southampton’s goalkeeper into action.
And a poor Stephens clearance in the closing stages, which sent the ball on an unhelpful vertical trajectory, was nearly pounced upon by substitute Saïd Benrahma (£6.0m) before McCarthy smothered the close-range effort.
Such incidents indicate the defensive returns might not last for Southampton, especially knowing that Vestergaard could be out until the end of January.
And, of course, the Saints’ fixtures hardly look encouraging from a clean sheet perspective, Liverpool (away), Blank, Leicester (away) and Leeds (away) their fixtures for the next three Gameweeks.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): A McCarthy; Bertrand, J Stephens, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Djenepo (Armstrong 78′), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Walcott; Adams (S Long 58′), Ings.
West Ham United XI (4-1-4-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Dawson, Fredericks; Rice; Fornals, Souček, Lanzini (Benrahma 60′), Yarmolenko (Bowen 72′); Haller (Antonio 77′).
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