Fulham 0-2 Burnley
- Goals: Ashley Westwood (£5.3m), Chris Wood (£6.4m)
- Assists: Matej Vydra (£4.8m), Josh Brownhill (£4.9m)
- Bonus: James Tarkowski (£5.3m) x3, Westwood, Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) x2
The curtain finally fell on Fulham’s return to the Premier League as perennial survivors Burnley ran out 2-0 victors at Craven Cottage with Fantasy Premier League (FPL) differential striker Chris Wood (£6.4m) delivering the coup de grâce just before half-time.
LEADS LIKE LEEDS
The Clarets were already a goal to the good thanks to an opener from Ashley Westwood (£5.3m) delivered in a style favoured by their weekend visitors, Leeds United.
Matt Lowton (£4.4m) launched a long diagonal out of defence for Matej Vydra (£4.8m) to chase down on the left and the Czech striker made space deftly before cutting the ball back to Westwood driving into the box to sweep it home.
Diego Llorente (£4.4m), Jack Harrison (£5.4m) and Stuart Dallas (£5.2m) would have recognised the blueprint.
The clinching goal, from former Leeds striker Wood, was lanced into the top corner on the volley after his initial touch had been deflected out of his path only for Josh Brownhill (£4.9m) to return it neatly into his stride.
Co-commentator Don Goodman echoed what many FPL managers will have been thinking and noticed over recent weeks:
You just know that Chris Wood, at the least, is going to hit the target here. At the very least.Don Goodman on Sky Sports
NOT CAUGHT RED-HANDED
The 4.6% of managers with Alphonse Areola (£4.5m) in their squads could scarcely have believed their luck as the Fulham goalkeeper survived a dreaded VAR review for what looked like a clear case of handling outside his area in the second half as he came out to challenge Vydra heading the ball beyond him.
Officials deemed that a covering defender prevented the chance from being a clear goal scoring opportunity and the red card stayed in the referee’s pocket.
DON’T LOOK BACK ANGUISSA
On the night, Fulham’s need to cling to a slim chance of avoiding relegation drove them to 21 attempts on goal, seven more than Burnley, but the closest they came to a consolation was an 18-yarder from André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.4m) that thumped down off the crossbar late on and bounced away to preserve the clean sheet of the game’s most popular FPL asset, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope (£5.5m).
Anguissa’s five attempts on the night matched Wood while fellow midfielder Ademola Lookman (£4.8m) managed four as did early season FPL favourite Aleksandar Mitrović (£5.5m) whose quartet of efforts inside the box came to nothing.
No Burnley player besides Wood managed more than two shots on goal. Mitrović summed up the season for his club:
Overall we have finished where we deserve to be. We did not show the big character, big mentality and we cracked under the pressure. We tried, we fought, we worked hard but we needed more quality on the ball. We got punished today and this season.Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović
Chance creation was more even with Fulham mustering 15 to Burnley’s 11. Most of Fulham’s openings were created by Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.3m) who managed six or Antonee Robinson (£4.4m) with three while the visitors shared the work across almost the entire side and fashioned the only three big chances of the encounter.
BIG CHANCE BONUSES
One of those was credited to James Tarkowski (£5.3m) and that helped him clear of his defensive colleagues to claim all three bonus points with Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) claiming two with a big chance created of his own.
First goal scorer Westwood joined him on two with Pope edged out by one BPS and Chris Wood some way back despite his impressive strike.
With their fate now finally decided, Fulham’s attacking assets may yet relax and take some of their crop of chances against the unimpressive defences of Southampton and Newcastle United in their remaining games.
Wood continues to look as if he could score against anyone and everyone. Leeds and Liverpool are the final visitors to Turf Moor this campaign and both are tidy at the back but capable of lapses.
Burnley’s own defence is also looking somewhat returned to its usual reliable form, but we believe it will be the exploits of Wood that lead to ever-heavier investment from FPL managers as Burnley’s final-day visit to Sheffield United approaches.