CRYSTAL PALACE 3-2 ASTON VILLA
by Colm Hayes
- Goals: Christian Benteke (£5.5m), Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m), Tyrick Mitchell (£3.8m) | John McGinn (£5.5m), Anwar El Ghazi (£5.2m)
- Assists: Mitchell, Eberechi Eze (£5.8m) x2 | Ollie Watkins (£6.5m)
- Bonus: Mitchell x3, Eze x2, Benteke x1
MITCHELL-IN STAR DISPLAY
Despite this being a low-key game for many reasons, FPL always has the ability to create joy (and pain in equal measure) despite the occasion.
Tyrick Mitchell (£3.8m) owners will have been particularly exuberant on Sunday afternoon.
It was already looking like a decent day at half-time for the budget defender, who will have made many starting XIs due to the Blank Gameweek 36 schedule.
The left-back, on his fourth consecutive league start, gained a first-half assist after Christian Benteke (£5.5m) headed his cross past Emi Martinez (£5.4m).
“It’s been an amazing season. It’s been a dream come true and I’m just buzzing. I didn’t think I would feature this much and I’m just thankful to the manager. I’ve learnt a lot, how hard it is in the Premier League week in, week out but I feel I’ve got a lot more confident.” – Tyrick Mitchell
But the best was yet to come, as Mitchell popped up in the box on 84 minutes to shoulder home Eberechi Eze‘s (£5.8m) shot to give Palace all three points.
“I was just gambling. I tried to go back post for the first cross and then when it went back out I thought I’d stay around. I just tried to be in the right place. I knew it hit my shoulder, for a second I was a bit scared [it would be disallowed].” – Tyrick Mitchell
That winning strike also earned Mitchell three bonus points, much to the further delight of his owners – who only had to endure a quick VAR check for handball before the goal was given.
On the defender, Hodgson said after full time:
Tyrick Mitchell got a round of applause when he walked into the room. That is something more deserving than that. His performance today was outstanding in every respect. To get an assist and the winner against a team of Aston Villa’s quality – happy days for him. Second half he combined extremely well with Eze and (Wilfried) Zaha. Often a part of chances.
He has got in the team before and had to drop out through injury. What he needs now is an injury-free period but he has all the qualities I think needed to be a very good Premier League left-back.
GET THE GUAITA
Vicente Guaita (£4.8m) was among the substitutes for the first time since 2018/19, with Jack Butland (£4.5m) handed a rare run-out:
Ahead of kick-off, Roy Hodgson said of his goalkeeping selection:
Jack Butland, we wanted to make certain he got a game, at least, before the end of the season. So Vicente stepped aside for him.
The operative words from that Hodgson quote are “at least”; one could read into the manager’s comments that may Butland earn another start over the final two Gameweeks of the season.
In his post-match press conference, Hodgson added:
Not a question of rotating the keepers at this moment. Vicente has been the No 1 keeper but it’s nice to know that the faith we have in Jack to play, nice to see that justified. He’s had to wait a long time. (Butland was) good, very good. Made one wonder-save, think it was offside anyway. But I thought he was very good.
While FPL bosses may not be targeting either of these teams for their assets, there is encouragement for attacking players facing both sides.
Between them, the two defences allowed over 40 efforts on goal during their Blank Gameweek 36 clash.
Crystal Palace face Arsenal (H) and Liverpool (a) in their final two matches of the season, while Aston Villa take on Spurs (a) and Chelsea (H).
The defensive displays from both sides in Gameweek 36 bode particularly well for those planning to captain Spurs and Liverpool players – namely Harry Kane (£11.8m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) – in Gameweeks 37 and 38, respectively.
While investment is unlikely at this stage, Jack Grealish (£7.5m) could make the Villa XI for one of those two matches.
The midfielder was brought on after 63 minutes on Sunday, earning around a half-hour of pitch time.
Asked if Grealish will start in one of Gameweek 37 or Gameweek 38, Dean Smith responded:
I’m hopeful. He’s pushing, he’s had no reaction in his first game (against Everton) or today so he’s building those minutes.
Matt Cash (£5.0m) is out for the remainder of the season, while Tyrone Mings (£5.4m) is expected back for Gameweek 37.
“Cashy will miss the last two games. It is a recurrence of a hamstring injury. Nowhere near as bad as last time but enough to put him out for a couple of weeks. Tyrone should be fit for Wednesday.” – Dean Smith
Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Butland; Mitchell, Cahill, Kouyaté, Ward; Schlupp, McCarthy (Tomkins 73′), Eze; Zaha, Benteke, Townsend.
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martínez; Targett, Hause, Konsa, Elmohamady; McGinn, D Luiz; El Ghazi (Wesley 87′), Ramsey (Davis 85′), B Traoré (Grealish 63′); Watkins.
SUNDAY’S OTHER GAMEWEEK 36 ACTION
We’ll have full Scout Notes on the day’s other three Premier League matches to come on Monday.
For now, though, our whistle-stop tour around the Gameweek 36 fixtures at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Hawthorns and Goodison Park rounds up the major talking points.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1-2 LIVERPOOL
A dramatic, emotional, last-gasp goal from Alisson (£5.9m) kept UEFA Champions League qualification in Liverpool’s grasp at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
The Brazilian nodded in Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s (£7.7m) stoppage-time corner to hand the Reds all three points.
Six points for a goal seems like scant reward for such a rare occurrence but attacking returns and bonus points for Alisson and Alexander-Arnold at least compensated for yet another clean sheet loss: Jurgen Klopp’s side have recorded just four shut-outs in their last 18 matches.
Despite this, Alexander-Arnold has only blanked in one of his last eight appearances.
Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) has delivered a goal or assist in each of his last six starts, meanwhile, and it was his beautifully taken strike from a Sadio Mane (£11.7m) lay-off that restored parity after Hal Robson-Kanu‘s (£5.2m) opener.
Matheus Pereira (£5.4m) continued his fine form, with an assist for Albion’s goal his eighth goal contribution in the last seven Gameweeks.
And for those that missed the news: an injured Diogo Jota (£7.0m) wasn’t involved in the Black Country and will now be sidelined for the rest of 2020/21.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2-0 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Harry Kane (£11.8m) set a new personal best for Fantasy Premier League points in a single campaign, with his goal in Tottenham Hotspur’s comfortable 2-0 win set to take him to the 230-mark once bonus is added.
Kane’s total of 35 goals and assists combined is just one short of his record set in 2016/17.
A goal was the bare minimum he could have expected: his total of seven shots was the joint-highest of Gameweek 36, with two of those efforts striking the woodwork.
Gareth Bale (£9.2m) made it 10 attacking returns in his last five starts at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, meanwhile, claiming the assist for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s (£4.9m) goal when his saved shot fell into the path of the Dane.
In a further indictment of Jose Mourinho’s tenure, Spurs had 24 shots and 13 attempts on target in this match – both figures surpassed any amount they had in a single Premier League fixture under their former boss.
EVERTON 0-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
Everton sank to a new low at Goodison Park on Sunday, losing to relegated Sheffield United.
The Toffees’ have kept only two clean sheets on home soil all season and they were unable to add to their meagre total against the relegated Blades, a team that had taken only four points from a possible 51 heading into the game.
Teenage striker Daniel Jebbison (£4.5m) did the damage against the Toffees, tapping home from a Jack Robinson (£4.2m) cross – a goal that directly benefitted precisely 0% of the top 10k but one that would have caused much amusement to FPL managers without an Everton defender in their side.