BRIGHTON 2-0 LEEDS
- Goals: Pascal Gross (£5.8m) | Danny Welbeck (£5.5m)
- Assists: Danny Welbeck
- Bonus points: Welbeck x3, Lewis Dunk (£4.9m) x2, Gross x1
THEY DON’T LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE
A hugely disappointing afternoon for Leeds United, the latest of five visits to Brighton without scoring a goal or winning a point, led to meagre returns for two of the most highly owned assets in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) as both Patrick Bamford (£6.5m) and Stuart Dallas (£5.3m) each finished the defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion with a dreaded one-pointer.
The two goals conceded by Leeds meant their only defender to escape with both his appearance points intact was Diego Llorente (£4.4m) who was withdrawn for Pablo Hernández (£5.7m) moments before Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) scored Brighton’s second goal. Goalkeeper Illan Meslier (£4.7m) also came away with two points thanks to a trio of saves.
Dallas did manage his regulation 20-yard shot in the second half, but the volley looped harmlessly over the bar while Bamford, not for the first time in recent matches, was almost completely starved of service, as was Rodrigo (£5.7m) who, to the dismay of half the managers in FPL, replaced him seconds before the 14-goal striker would have received his own second appearance point.
The absence of Raphinha (£5.4m), still sidelined with a thigh injury, and, unexpectedly, Kalvin Phillips (£4.9m), who is dealing with a knee issue, hampers Leeds in several ways. Phillips provides the tempo and the leadership that binds individual performances together, Raphinha destabilises opposition defences and creates key chances while both of them are reliable set-piece takers. Against Brighton, Jack Harrison‘s (£5.4m) deliveries were always a few yards beyond their targets.
“Kalvin received a knock which created a hematoma behind his knee. And Helder had a knock in his spine and it left him out of the game. It was a knock that he received in the game against Manchester United which forced him off in that game.” – Marcelo Bielsa
Until Raphinha returns it may be prudent for FPL managers to sideline Bamford and other Leeds attackers. Draws against Liverpool and Manchester United showed the team can hold their own without the Brazilian winger, but if Phillips remains in the treatment room it could even make sense to take a raincheck on their defensive assets, too.
MOVING ON UP
Brighton, in contrast, looked as good as they have done all season as they finally erased any serious lingering doubts that they will not retain their Premier League status. Moving up to 14th place overnight, manager Graham Potter was delighted with their performance and keen that this should not lead to any thoughts of relaxing on the beach:
“It was one of our best performances. You have to match Leeds for their effort and honesty and I felt we did that really well. There are still a lot of points to play for and we want to get more points as well.” – Graham Potter
Welbeck was a constant threat throughout, pressuring Ezgjan Alioski (£4.3m) into fouling him for the penalty and sweeping a haphazard clearance from Pascal Struijk (£4.0m) majestically across his body before immediately despatching it beyond Meslier with his left for the clinching goal.
Brighton were lively and pushing forward from the first whistle, but both their successful efforts on goal stemmed directly from Leeds failing to deal with a long ball into their area.
The hosts were certainly not lacking creativity. Pascal Gross (£5.8m) led the way with four chances created out of an impressive team total of 13 with Leandro Trossard‘s (£5.7m) three also noteworthy.
As so often this season, it was Brighton’s inability to put any of these away that kept Leeds in the game for so long. Welbeck robbed Llorente early on, but Trossard could only fire over an open goal. Another Welbeck cross from a second-half long ball was only diverted from danger by Meslier’s fingertips and Dan Burn (£4.2m) got in a couple of flying crosses from the byline.
Joel Veltman (£4.4m) blasted the first of these over and later slammed another penalty area chance against a nearby Leeds defender while Neil Maupay (£6.0m), who had a fairly quiet afternoon, contrived to place an excellent lay-off from Trossard wide from ten yards.
Defensively, Lewis Dunk (£4.9m) capped another commanding performance with a pair of bonus points having finished 7 BPS ahead of his nearest rival in the Brighton backline. The fact that goalkeeper Robert Sánchez (£4.6m) did not achieve a save point tells you how effectively the whole defence kept Leeds away from threatening the home goal.
Over the final few matches Brighton’s defence is sound enough to give even prolific scorers West Ham United (Gameweek 36) and Manchester City (Gameweek 37) a difficult afternoon, though Wolves next week and Arsenal on the last day may offer more of a chance of further defensive returns.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-1-2): R Sánchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Burn, Bissouma (MacAllister 90+2), Groß, Veltman; Trossard (Jahanbakhsh 81); Welbeck (Moder 90), Maupay.
Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Alioski (Poveda-Ocampo 45), Struijk, Llorente (Hernández 79), Ayling; Koch; Harrison, Roberts, Klich, Dallas; Bamford (Rodrigo 59).
Gameweek 34 so far…
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