Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Leicester City
Bonus Points: James Justin (£5.2m) x3, Max Kilman (£4.0m) x2. Rui Patricio (£5.3m) x1 Nelson Semedo (£5.2) x1 Jonny Evans (£5.5m) x1
James Justin‘s (£5.2m) ever-growing army of owners emerged the happiest from a drab encounter between Wolves and Leicester.
Just to prove how turgid the match was, it involved fewer shots on target (four) than players who received bonus points (five).
Four of those who received extra points were defenders. The other was home keeper Rui Patricio (£5.3m).
Leicester full-back Justin has had a fine time of it over the last six matches, with four clean sheets, a goal and eight bonus points.
He backed up Gameweek 22’s season-best 15-point haul with a nine-pointer at Molineux – a pleasant welcome present for the 192,532 new managers who had pushed his ownership levels up to 29.7% before kick-off.
That consolidated his status as Fantasy Premier League’s (FPL) most popular defender, and only West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell (£5.7m) now has more points (106 v 101).
Justin contributed nothing going forward at Wolves – not a single shot taken, chance created or cross delivered as he spent his day reining in Adama Traore’s (£6.0m) forays down the Foxes’ left flank.
No Shot, Sherlock
Wolves worked Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m) just the once, albeit with the best chance of the game, when Fabio Silva (£5.2m) forced him into a fine save from close in.
That prompted manager Nuno Espirito Santo to indulge in a touch of criticism of his striker:
Fabio has to do better. He (Schmeichel) did a great save, it was a fantastic save, but he has to do better.
But there’s a reason why only four teams have a worse goalscoring record than Wolves (23), and it’s more to with the manager’s defensive instincts than Silva’s profligacy.
His intentions were there for all to see on Sunday, with Espirito Santo utilising a five-man defence that sat deep and wide to negate Leicester’s attacking threat.
It worked. All three of the visitors’ shots on target came from range and from James Maddison (£7.4m), but none went beyond glorified back pass status, handing Patricio one of the easiest save points of his FPL career.
Welcome Back Boys
Two players made returns at Molineux.
Jamie Vardy (£10.0m), who had lost more than a million managers since undergoing a hernia operation following a Gameweek 19 victory over Chelsea, was handed 29 minutes from the bench and very nearly won it late on.
He flashed a header narrowly wide – an opportunity not officially designated as a big chance, although it was certainly large enough.
But Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was more concerned with the minutes than the miss:
I’d love Jamie Vardy to play every minute of every game, but we can’t do that. Giving him half-hour was about right because he brings that movement. We can look to see if we can get some more game-time into him on Wednesday.
That would mean midweek FA Cup action at home to Brighton. Should he come through that unscathed, a visit from Liverpool in Saturday’s early kick-off could well mark his first start in five Gameweeks.
The striker is currently one of three Leicester players in the top 20 for transfers-in, although it should be mentioned that Vardy has not scored in the league since Gameweek 14’s win at Spurs just before Christmas.
Espirito Santo, meanwhile, gave wing-back Jonny (£5.4m) the first 45 minutes on his return from a serious knee injury:
It was decided by him, by us, by the medical staff, by the doctor that operated on him. With him returning, we have to be very careful. The decision was made before the game started. It was a decision based on our future, how we have to preserve a player like Jonny.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Kilman, Coady, Dendoncker; Jonny (Hoever 45), Neves, Moutinho, Semedo; Neto (Gibbs-White 88), A Traoré; Willian José (Fábio Silva 61).
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Soyuncu, Evans, R Pereira; Tielemans, Choudhury; Barnes, Maddison, Perez (Albrighton 61); Iheanacho (Vardy 61).
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