Newcastle United 1-2 Leicester City
- Goals: Andy Carroll (£5.2m) | James Maddison (£7.1m), Youri Tielemans (£6.4m)
- Assists: Jamie Vardy (£10.2m), Marc Albrighton (£5.3m)
- Bonus: Carroll x3, Maddison x2, Tielemans x1
A late Andy Carroll (£5.2m) goal for Newcastle couldn’t deny Leicester a well-deserved win, but it did spoil the Sundays of Fantasy managers the world over.
The striker’s 81st-minute consolation denied FPL’s most-owned defender, James Justin (£5.0m and 25.4%), clean sheet points and potential maximum bonus.
In fact, Justin’s owners effectively lost eight points in 30 harrowing seconds as their man was also booked just before Carroll scored.
Not that it was all bad news for those with Foxes in their squads, with the 27.8%-owned Jamie Vardy (£10.2m) producing a third assist in as many starts when he set up James Maddison‘s (£7.1m) opener.
That makes it eight assists for the striker this season – his best-ever return was 12 in the 2014/15 campaign – which has helped to paper over some recent cracks as he’s scored just the one goal in five Gameweeks now.
Maddison, meanwhile, made it a second straight attacking return, and five from his last six starts.
His season has been compromised by injury and inconsistency, with an ongoing knee issue having to be managed game by game, as Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed:
James, I think you probably saw in the Manchester United game, he wasn’t quite 100 per cent but he was pushing himself through. Again, because of the timeline of the games, he couldn’t be involved (in Gameweek 16). He still had the soreness after the game.
Unless he features in the FA Cup, the England international will have a decent rest as Leicester don’t have a Gameweek 18 fixture, which should boost his chances of featuring heavily in the team’s Double Gameweek 19.
But as Youri Tielemans‘ (£6.4m) winning strike demonstrated, the goals have been shared out among the side’s midfielders this season.
That’s made it hard for Fantasy managers to rely on a specific player for consistent returns, although Maddison is starting to build up a strong case – and momentum.
Back Line Blues
Carroll’s strike meant a third straight match without a clean sheet for a team just one point off top spot, but decidedly mid-table when it comes to goals conceded (21).
The Foxes’ total of two clean sheets in the last nine Gameweeks has also been trumped by 12 other clubs.
Justin’s relatively cheap price has kept his sizeable fan base onside thus far, but two of his three attacking returns came in the first two matches of the season and the last one was back in Gameweek 12.
Leicester’s immediate fixtures – Southampton, Chelsea and Leeds (all at home) and Everton away – aren’t exactly the stuff of nailed-on clean sheets, although the eight-game run that follows offers better defensive prospects.
And the return from injury of Caglar Soyuncu (£5.3m), who played 11 minutes at St James’ Park, could also add to the side’s stability at the back.
Stability and Newcastle rarely hit it off, even if a Gameweek 16 nil-niller with Liverpool showed a certain defensive resilience and confirmed the continued excellence of keeper Karl Darlow (£5.0m).
The Magpies do have a Gameweek 18 fixture, however, and it’s against Sheffield United.
That could attract interest from those managers employing their Free Hit chip, with Darlow or a defender a decent option for the trip to the league’s least potent attack.
The more adventurous might also consider Callum Wilson (£6.5m) as an option – the Blades, after all, are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Admittedly, the forward has scored just the once in his last five starts and had neither a shot, nor created a single chance, against Leicester.
But Steve Bruce has approached matches against the Premier League also-rans differently of late and we are likely to see a more attacking set-up at Bramall Lane, with a move away from a conservative back five a strong possibility based on the Newcastle head coach’s previous tactical tweaks in the more ‘winnable’ games.
Newcastle United XI (5-3-2): Darlow; Yedlin (Carroll 79), Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Ritchie; S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Almiron (Murphy 64); Joelinton (Shelvey 65), Wilson.
Leicester City XI (4-3-2-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans, Albrighton; Maddison (Soyuncu 79), Barnes; Vardy.
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 17
- Everton 0-1 West Ham United
- Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leeds United
- Crystal Palace 2-0 Sheffield United
- Brighton and Hove Albion 3-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Bromwich Albion 0-4 Arsenal
- Burnley P-P Fulham
- Newcastle United 1-2 Leicester City
- Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City
- Southampton 1-0 Liverpool
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