Having reported on the latest pre-season friendlies involving Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur – all of whom are under new management – in our first set of Scout Notes from the weekend, we now turn our attention to six more games involving Premier League clubs.
Norwich City, Arsenal, Brentford, Watford (twice) and Chelsea were all in action on Friday or Saturday and we’ll round up the key Fantasy talking points in our article below.
RANGERS 2-2 ARSENAL
- Goals: Nuno Tavares (£4.5m), Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m)
- Assists: Rob Holding (£4.5m)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.0m) may have been handed a £2m price cut by Fantasy Premier League but he has plenty to do to worm his way back into the thoughts of FPL managers come Gameweek 1.
Aubameyang was at least mostly stationed centrally, rather than out wide on the left, in a 4-2-3-1 in Saturday’s draw with Rangers.
But the Gabon international, who had his worst FPL season for attacking returns in 2020/21, was in profligate form at Ibrox at the weekend.
Aubameyang wasted a succession of chances against the Gers in his hour-long showing, the worst miss being a blocked effort from four yards with only a defender to beat on the line.
Emile Smith Rowe (£5.5m), deployed in the hole in Glasgow, continues to impress, while Joe Willock (£6.0m) was thrown on in a deeper role as speculation mounts on a potential loan return to Newcastle.
Ben White‘s (£4.5m) seemingly impending arrival might have negative implications for fellow right-sided centre-half Rob Holding (£4.5m) but the latter defender claimed the cross-field assist for Arsenal’s debutant Nuno Tavares (£4.5m), who despatched the chance with confidence and generally impressed at left-back.
Given Kieran Tierney‘s (£5.0m) injury record, Tavares is one for the long-term watchlist.
Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m) scored the Gunners’ second goal, while Mikel Arteta’s side – who have had a change in dead-ball coach this summer – worryingly conceded their second and third set-piece goals of pre-season.
Arsenal XI: Okonkwo (Hein 46), Cedric (Bellerin 46), Holding (Kolasinac 62), Pablo Mari (Chambers 46), Tavares (Tierney 46), Elneny (Willock 62), Partey (Maitland-Niles 62), Smith Rowe (Willian 62), Pepe (Nelson 62), Balogun (Lacazette 46), Aubameyang (Nketiah 62)
CHELSEA 6-1 PETERBOROUGH
- Goals: Tammy Abraham (£6.5m), Christian Pulisic (£8.0m) pen, Hakim Ziyech (£7.5m) x3, Armando Broja
- Assists: Baba Rahman, Armando Broja
Thomas Tuchel gave 45-minute run-outs to his available squad members in a behind-closed-doors win over Peterborough on Saturday.
No footage of the game has been made available, nor were the exact line-ups released.
We do know that Marcos Alonso (£5.5m), Ross Barkley (£5.5m), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.5m), Hakim Ziyech (£7.5m), Christian Pulisic (£8.0m), Tammy Abraham (£6.5m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.5m) were involved at Cobham, with Ziyech coming off the bench to bag a second-half hat-trick.
Pulisic had earlier won and scored a penalty, with Abraham also on target before the break.
Armando Broja found the net in between Ziyech’s treble, having also assisted one of the Moroccan winger’s strikes.
WIMBLEDON 0-1 BRENTFORD
- Goals: Joel Valencia
- Assists: Fin Stevens
FPL’s most-owned forward got his first taste of pre-season action on Saturday as Brentford edged out Wimbledon by a single goal.
Ivan Toney (£6.5m) sits in more than one in three Fantasy squads and was handed a 45-minute outing at Plough Lane, failing to make much of an impression in front of goal but almost connecting with a Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m) inswinging free-kick shortly before being replaced at half-time.
Mbeumo had earlier shot wide from another set-piece situation.
Two Bees assets without FPL prices combined for the only goal of the game, with Joel Valencia reacting quickest to nod home after a Fin Stevens shot struck the crossbar.
Head coach Thomas Frank, who sent his troops out in his usual 4-3-3 after a late-season dalliance with a wing-back system, confirmed that Vitaly Janelt’s (£5.0m) hamstring injury wasn’t serious when interviewed after the game.
Brentford first-half XI: Raya, Roerslev, Russell, Pinnock, Gordon, Ghoddos, Janelt (Stevens 13), Gilbert; Mbeumo, Toney, Valencia.
Brentford second-half XI: Gunnarsson, Stevens, Goode, Racic, Thompson, Baptiste, Oksanen, Haygarth, Fosu, Mogensen (Gordon 87), Canós.
KING’S LYNN TOWN 1-3 NORWICH CITY
- Goals: Kieran Dowell (£5.5m) x2, Adam Idah (£5.0m)
- Assists: Jordan Hugill (£5.5m), Todd Cantwell (£5.5m)
Norwich City opened their pre-season account with a 3-1 at nearby King’s Lynn.
With first-team regulars such as Teemu Pukki (£6.0m), Grant Hanley (£4.5m), Tim Krul (£4.5m), Max Aarons (£4.5m) and Ben Gibson (£4.5m) missing either through injury or because of a post-EURO 2020 break, there was an experimental feel to the Norwich side.
That started with the formation, with Daniel Farke moving away from his usual 4-2-3-1 and trialling a wing-back system involving both budget FPL defender Andrew Omobamidele (£4.0m) and utility man Jacob Sorensen (£4.5m) at centre-half.
One of the most popular bargain-bin Fantasy midfielders, Billy Gilmour (£4.5m), made his debut and saw a lot of the ball in the middle of the park, with goalkeeper Angus Gunn (£4.0m) and trigger-happy new winger Milot Rashica (£5.5m) also making their Norwich bows.
Todd Cantwell (£5.5m) stood out in a second-half appearance and assisted Adam Idah‘s (£5.0m) late strike, while Kieran Dowell (£5.5m) – who ended last season with five goals in 10 Championship appearances after a stop-start, injury-hit campaign – struck twice from an attacking midfield role.
Farke confirmed after full-time that Aarons missed the game with “a minor knock”, while left-back Dimitris Giannoulis (£4.5m) has sprained his hamstring and is expected to be out for “12 to 14 days”.
Norwich City XI: Gunn (McGovern 45), Zimmermann, Omobamidele, Sørensen, Mumba (Giurgi 88), Gilmour (Cantwell 45), Rupp (Nizet 62), Placheta (Tomkinson 62), Rashica (Idah 45), Hugill (Dickson-Peters 76), Dowell (Adshead 76).
WATFORD 2-1 COLCHESTER UNITED
WATFORD 2-0 COLCHESTER UNITED
- Goals: Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) pen, Dapo Mebude (£4.5m) | Cucho Hernández (£5.0m), Dan Gosling (£5.0m)
Watford beat Colchester United in two 60-minute friendlies on Saturday, with both games played behind closed doors and no line-up or assist information available.
The Hornets’ four goals were shared across the two fixtures, with Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) on target from the spot in the first game.
Sarr was one of two Watford players to win and score a penalty in the closing stages of the promotion-winning Championship campaign, with regular taker Troy Deeney (£5.5m) off the field in both instances.
Dapo Mebude (£4.5m), Cucho Hernández (£5.0m) and Dan Gosling (£5.0m) also found the back of the net against the Us this weekend.
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