Our write-ups of Sunday’s matches begin with the early afternoon kick-off at Turf Moor.
A round-up of the day’s other three games follows at the bottom of this piece, with more detailed Scout Notes to follow on Monday.
BURNLEY 1-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED
- Goals: Matej Vydra (£4.8m) | Jacob Murphy (£4.9m), Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.1m)
- Assists: Chris Wood (£6.3m) | Saint-Maximin, Jonjo Shelvey (£5.3m)
- Bonus: Saint-Maximin x3, Murphy x2, Shelveyx1
SAINT-MAXIMUM BONUS POINTS
After an uninspiring first half from the Magpies which Burnley ended 1-0 ahead, it was the arrival of the fit-again Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.1m) that sparked Newcastle into life at Turf Moor.
It took the Frenchman just three minutes to leave his mark on the Gameweek 31 clash as he took on the Burnley defence in the area before laying the ball back perfectly for Jacob Murphy (£4.9m).
The right wing-back slotted a scintillating effort in the far side of Bailey Peacock-Farrell‘s (£4.0m) net.
Five minutes later Saint-Maximin made it fairly certain he would pick up all three bonus points, with a slaloming run from just inside the Burnley half ending in the winger finding the corner of the Clarets’ net.
It could have been an even bigger haul for the FPL midfielder but for James Tarkowski (£5.3m), who blocked a Miguel Almiron (£5.6m) shot on the line after further excellent work from Saint-Maximin.
“I feel really great. Everybody knows this game is really important for Newcastle. I give this win to the supporters who couldn’t be here. I’m really happy to help my team with an assist and goal in this important game.
“I was really frustrated when we were losing 1-0 and I said to the coach I would like to have time [on the pitch]. [This win] is a big opportunity. We are six points over Fulham.
“Now we just have to keep going forward and try to do the best we can do against West Ham. It’s important to come back stronger after being injured.” – Allan Saint-Maximin
The winger was introduced at the same time as Callum Wilson (£6.5m), who was making his return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Of the pair, Steve Bruce said:
They weren’t capable of doing 90 minutes. The question was, can they make an impact? We’ve been without them for so long, you can see what they bring.
We know when we have people like them in the team, you can see the impact it has. Without our biggest and best players it’s been a struggle.
NO BLANK FOR CZECH
While Matej Vydra (£4.8m) just missed out on bonus points after Newcastle’s comeback, he continued to push his credentials as a budget striker option.
The Burnley forward scored from close range after Chris Wood (£6.3m) got down the left-hand side of Newcastle’s defence in the box before pulling the ball back for his strike partner.
Wood has five FPL attacking returns in his last four outings, with Vydra registering three goals and an assist in his five most-recent appearances.
“It was the same last weekend. We were so deep. The game totally changed and we lost again. In the Premier League, there is so much quality. We were unlucky because we just didn’t score that second goal. We have to be focused for 95 minutes. I don’t know what’s happened the last two weeks. We have to be focussed every single game and take some points because we have lost six points from last two games.” – Matej Vydra
BURNLEY LIVE IN POPE
A shoulder injury ruled Nick Pope (£5.5m) out of action in Gameweek 31. Following the defeat, Dyche explained:
He made a save at Southampton and [hurt the shoulder]. It has settled down, so we were in risk and reward territory. We decided not to risk him. It has calmed down already.
Having given up a 2-0 lead against the Saints in Gameweek 30 to lose 3-2, the Clarets were again guilty of squandering an advantage.
They are the only Premier League team without a clean sheet in their last six matches and the Burnley boss reflected:
We’re a bit limited at the minute. It’s a strange season for us. We played well for a large period of the game last week and didn’t see it through. The same things has happened this week. We’re not a million miles away.
We have dominated a home game and they had a good five minutes and two key moments but that is sometimes a performance. I think it was our most dominant performance of the season statistically but the biggest statistic is the scoreline.
Bruce, meanwhile, was naturally delighted with three huge points for the Toon.
This win is big but there’s still a bit to go. Certainly, it’s a helping hand. It’s an important game, so to win it was very good. It’s been difficult with our injuries. You can see what Allan Saint-Maximin brings to the team. We’ve missed that bit of quality and excitement. To be missing your top players constantly, it affects teams.
Let’s hope our players stay fit. As good as I think I am, I need our best players. We’ve still got a long way to go, a lot of twist and turns as that’s what the Premier League is. For me it’s always been about the accumulation of points. There’s a points tally you have to get to and we’re creeping towards it. To come and win here is a big result for us.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Peacock-Farrell; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Gudmundsson (Mumbongo 90′); Wood, Vydra.
Newcastle United XI (3-4-3): Dubravka; Dummett, Clark, Fernandez; Ritchie, Shelvey, S Longstaff, Murphy; Joelinton (Saint-Maximin 56′), Gayle (Wilson 56′), Almiron (Hendrick 90+2′).
ELSEWHERE IN GAMEWEEK 31…
Some of the lesser-owned Fantasy Premier League assets from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United took centre stage as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side triumphed 3-1 in north London.
Blanks for Harry Kane (£11.7m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m), Luke Shaw (£5.3m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.7m) meant that four of the five FPL players with double-digit ownerships in this fixture didn’t deliver anything more than appearance points.
Only Son Heung-min (£9.4m) from this quintet popped up with anything meaningful, tapping Spurs into a first-half lead for his first goal since Gameweek 23.
Edinson Cavani (£7.8m) and Mason Greenwood (£7.0m) both registered two attacking returns apiece along with bonus points to supplement their scores.
It was far from a convincing audition for Spurs assets ahead of Double Gameweek 32, with their defence looking particularly suspect again.
Son topped the shot count and key passes table to further his case for inclusion in our squads next weekend but there was more misery for those who retained the services of Gareth Bale (£9.2m), who was benched for the third straight Premier League match; his total pitch-time over the last three Gameweeks comes to ten minutes.
The phenomenal form of Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.4m) continued at the London Stadium, with both players bagging braces in West Ham United’s 3-2 win over Leicester City.
The pair are joint-top of the Premier League’s goalscoring table from Gameweek 22 onwards, which marked the start of both of their extended runs in their respective sides.
The in-demand pair were among the top three most-bought players of Gameweek 31 and rewarded their new and existing owners with double-digit hauls; this was Lingard’s fifth such return in nine West Ham appearances.
Also among the points was the injured Michail Antonio‘s (£6.6m) replacement, Jarrod Bowen (£5.9m), who teed up Lingard’s second goal and then scored what turned out to be the match-winner when converting Tomas Soucek‘s (£5.3m) pass.
It was a poor afternoon for owners of the defenders on show, with West Ham almost letting a three-goal lead slip yet again.
It’s one clean sheet in seven for the Hammers, one in eight for Leicester.
Vladimir Coufal (£4.6m) and Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) at least partly compensated with assists but Aaron Cresswell (£5.9m) limped off with a hamstring injury, with his substitution marking the first time he has missed Premier League minutes this season.
James Maddison (£7.2m) and Ayoze Perez (£6.0m) were missing altogether from the visitors’ squad but their absences are thought to be for disciplinary reasons rather than injury-related.
Arsenal’s first clean sheet in 15 competitive matches predictably arrived at Bramall Lane, with a doomed Sheffield United side turning in another sorry showing.
Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) grabbed a brace in South Yorkshire, taking his total to 10 goals from Gameweek 15 onwards – a total that no other FPL forward can beat in that time.
Injuries and illness played a big part in the narrative in this plum fixture for the Gunners, with semi-popular differential punts Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m), Emile Smith Rowe (£4.2m), Martin Odegaard (£5.9m) and Kieran Tierney (£5.2m) all sidelined.
Bukayo Saka (£5.2m) limped out of the match midway through the second half with a thigh injury, meanwhile.
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