NORWICH CITY 1-3 WATFORD
- Goals: Teemu Pukki (£5.9m) | Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m), Ismaila Sarr (£6.1m) x2
- Assists: Mathias Normann (£4.5m) | Kiko Femenia (£4.4m), Josh King (£5.5m) x2
- Bonus: Sarr x3, King x2, Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) x1
EVERTON TO FACE LEAGUE’S WORST DEFENCE
Norwich City: making average Premier League attacks look very good indeed since 2019.
Watford – goalless in their last three matches – hadn’t created a single ‘big chance’ from Gameweeks 2-4 but they were allowed six such opportunities at Carrow Road.
Norwich have now conceded more goals (14) than anyone else this season and while heavy losses to Liverpool and Manchester City can be excused, a 3-1 home defeat to another newly-promoted side who were struggling for goals was more of an indictment on the state of their defence.
“One thing we have to do is that we need to defend our own goal better. If we concede three goals per game, as an average, we can’t win anything on this level.
“You can argue we were also a bit unlucky and about the quality of the opponents, but the fact is we have conceded too many goals. We have to improve on this, and this is our main topic.
“We need to be harder to play against. We need more steel, and we need to be nastier.” – Daniel Farke
The good news for owners of Demarai Gray (£5.7m) and co is that they face Norwich next.
Andros Townsend (£5.5m) will also be interested, given that two of Watford’s strikes came from deliveries from the right – not the first time that the Canaries have allowed a conceded goal to be created from their left flank (see below) this season.
£4.0m FOSTER STARTS
There was a surprise selection between the posts for the visitors as Ben Foster (£4.0m) was given the nod ahead of Daniel Bachmann (£4.5m).
Pre-match rumours of an injury to Bachmann proved to be wide of the mark as he was listed among the substitutes, with Xisco Munoz saying after full-time:
“No, no, no [injury]. Everybody knows I have very three good goalkeepers, Foster, Danny and Rob [Elliott].
“I tried to give experience, this mature situation. And they played very well.
“We have 23, 24 players at a very good level who we can use.” – Xisco Munoz
Hesitancy from Foster played a part in Teemu Pukki’s (£5.9m) equaliser but he contributed to a display that Munoz praised as “mature”, and his distribution was positive. It remains to be seen, however, if this change was a one-off or otherwise.
SARR AND FEMENIA
Both of Ismaila Sarr’s (£6.1m) strikes ironically came after Kiko Femenia (£4.4m) had been substituted but the Senegalese winger looks even more threatening when Femenia is in the side, with the pair having combined to great effect in the Championship in 2020/21.
Sarr had started the season with first natural centre-half Craig Cathcart (£4.5m) and then the offensively limited Jeremy Ngakia (£4.4m) playing directly behind him but Watford look more potent down their right flank with Femenia in the team, and it was the defender who supplied the cross that budget FPL forward Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) nodded in to give Watford a lead.
Femenia’s overlaps also give Sarr the chance to move inside into more goalscoring positions, with less onus on him to offer width.
The jury’s still out on whether Sarr, Dennis et al can cut it against half-competent backlines – but luckily for owners of Watford’s attacking assets, and anyone looking for a short-term punt before perhaps a Gameweek 8 Wildcard, another two of the division’s most awful defences are up next for the Hornets.
BUDGET MIDFIELDER WATCH
One final word on two of the more popular £4.5m midfielders in FPL, who were both in action in East Anglia.
Moussa Sissoko (£4.5m) had enjoyed a bit of attacking freedom in his first two outings for Watford but was redeployed as defensive shield here, registering only four final-third touches.
Billy Gilmour (£4.5m), meanwhile, remarkably picked up a bonus point despite not collecting an attacking return.
A combination of off-the-ball work and possession-based stats helped him to 27 baseline bonus points (see below), and saw him finish above even goalscorers Pukki and Dennis in the BPS rankings.
Norwich City XI: Krul, Aarons, Kabak, Hanley, Williams, Gilmour, Normann (Cantwell 70), McLean, Sargent (Tzolis 70), Pukki, Rashica (Idah 88).
Watford XI: Foster; Femenía (Ngakia 59), Troost-Ekong, Cathcart, Rose, Kucka, Sissoko, Sarr, Cleverley (Etebo 81), Dennis (Sema 73), King.
BURNLEY 0-1 ARSENAL
- Goal: Martin Odegaard (£5.5m)
- Assist: Bukayo Saka (£6.3m)
- Bonus: Odegaard x3, Aaron Ramsdale (£4.5m) x2, Ben White (£4.4m) x1, Gabriel (£5.0m) x1
TWO CLEAN SHEETS, NO BIG CHANCES CONCEDED
Boring, boring Arsenal? It’s now two successive clean sheets for the Gunners after their August horribilis and they are the only side not to concede what Opta deem to be a ‘big chance’ over the last two Gameweeks.
Having easier opponents – ie Norwich and Burnley – massively helps but so too does getting key personnel back to fitness or through the door, with Ben White (£4.4m), Gabriel Maghaeles (£5.0m), Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.5m), Aaron Ramsdale (£4.5m) and Thomas Partey (£5.0m) all now available for selection after Mikel Arteta’s selection struggles at the back last month.
“[Gabriel and Tomiyasu], I think they were really terrific. I think the back four in general was really solid. We didn’t concede much, even though they put us under pressure. I thought they were really good.
“[Partey] is really important because he is the anchor and he is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better. That’s his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack. How he managed the transitions was top, he has the pressing and the charisma.
“He missed a long time but now he’s back again and he needs some more fitness back.” – Mikel Arteta
While Arsenal’s budget defenders would seem to offer value in FPL given the forthcoming fixtures, question marks still exist over the Gunners’ attack.
Their total of 30 shots (but only one goal) against Norwich in Gameweek 4 is put into context with our report on the Canaries above, and they created very little at Turf Moor.
Arteta moved to a 4-3-3 for this fixture, with Emile Smith Rowe (£5.3m) and Martin Odegaard (£5.5m) flanking defensive shield Partey.
Odegaard found the net from a direct free-kick against the Clarets but didn’t set foot in the Burnley box, while Smith Rowe will have to work harder for his attacking returns from a number eight position than he did in ‘the hole’ or playing as a narrow left-winger.
Smith Rowe also limped out of this game with a knock, although there has been no word on the severity of his injury.
“Well, they have to come deeper depending on which phase of our play we are in and in relation to what the opponent are doing.
“In the final third, they obviously have to play in the pockets, they have to play higher and their job is to attack certain spaces and go for the goal and have contributions for us to score goals. We had parts where they did really well but the final pass or the final decision wasn’t that great. If it was, the score probably would’ve been different.” – Mikel Arteta on deeper roles for Emile Smith Rowe/Martin Odegaard
CORNET’S IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
Burnley assets are probably a long way from many people’s thoughts at present, particularly with their defence not the solid unit it once was – it’s now just five clean sheets in the last 28 Premier League games for the Clarets.
But Maxwell Cornet (£6.0m) is definitely one for the medium-term watchlist in the mid-price midfielder pool, which looks like a price rung that FPL managers will be increasingly drawing from this season in order to cram in as many premium assets as they can elsewhere.
Deployed on the left flank, with Dwight McNeil (£5.9m) changing wings, Cornet was handed half an hour on his Burnley debut and looked electric, forcing Ramsdale into a flying save with the Clarets’ best chance of the game.
“I think the timings weren’t right against Everton – but I felt it was today.
“He did very well with the ball, he’s got to learn outside of that when we haven’t got the ball – just them little nuances of the Premier League and how quickly teams can transition but we brought him in because he’s a good player.” – Sean Dyche on Maxwell Cornet
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM GAMEWEEK 5
- Saturday summary in brief
- Sunday summary in brief
- Newcastle 1-1 Leeds: Raphinha injury latest
- Wolves 0-2 Brentford: Bees defence to give Salah a tough test
- Burnley 0-1 Arsenal: Gunners defence looking solid
- Liverpool 3-0 Crystal Palace: Why Alexander-Arnold missed GW5
- Man City 0-0 Southampton: Livramento and Saints set for favourable fixtures
- Norwich 1-3 Watford: Why £4.0m Foster started in Gameweek 5
- Aston Villa 3-0 Everton: Richarlison out for 2/3 weeks
- Brighton 2-1 Leicester: Budget asset Duffy returns again from a set play
- West Ham 1-2 Man Utd: Shaw blanks but remains creative force
- Spurs 0-3 Chelsea: The reason for Mendy’s absence as Chelsea defence excel again