Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) scored for the fifth occasion in six Gameweeks on Saturday as Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.7m) produced a Fantasy Premier League (FPL) blank for the first time since his return to Manchester United.
Raphinha (£6.5m), Ismaila Sarr (£6.2m), Demarai Gray (£5.8m) and Diogo Jota (£7.7m) all delivered attacking returns on a good day for mid-price midfielders, while Michail Antonio (£7.9m) returned to scoring ways and Manchester City banked their fifth clean sheet in six league matches.
Our usual, more detailed Scout Notes will follow for all of the day’s games but in the meantime, our resurrected Scoreboard series rounds up the key goings-on from the day’s Gameweek 6 fixtures.
GOALS, ASSISTS, PROJECTED BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
Raphinha (£6.5m) recovered from a hip injury to feature and score in Leeds United’s 2-1 loss to West Ham United but, after overcoming a blow to the head in the first half, was withdrawn midway through the second period – and pictured with ice on his legs on the hosts’ bench.
“He let us know that it was becoming difficult to stay on the pitch. Throughout the whole week, he was recovering from the knock he received against Newcastle. He played a great game as long as he could stay on the field.” – Marcelo Bielsa on Raphinha
Burnley goalscorer Maxwel Cornet (£6.0m) is one of three new injury worries for the Clarets.
“We lost J-Rod with a hamstring yesterday. Unfortunately, we lost Vyds to an injury. We’ve lost [Cornet] to an injury, [too]. It’s too early but I think it is his hamstring.” – Sean Dyche
Reece James (£5.6m) limped out of Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City with an ankle problem, the extent of which is still unknown.
“I don’t know about Reece [James] at the moment. He twisted his ankle and it was very painful for him. I have no other news on him at this stage but let’s see how he is in the next few days.” – Thomas Tuchel
Two other defenders in the same price rung, Manchester United’s Luke Shaw (£5.5m) and Harry Maguire (£5.4m), came off with injuries in their defeat to Aston Villa.
“Sorry, I can’t give you any updates. We will have to use today and tomorrow and Monday or when we get the scans done and see how we are.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Roberto Firmino (£8.8m) was back on the bench for Liverpool for their clash with Brentford, who lost goalscoring centre-half Ethan Pinnock (£4.6m) to a hip problem in the first half.
Rodri (£5.5m), John Stones (£5.3m), Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m), Joe Willock (£5.9m) and Jack Harrison (£5.8m) were among the previously flagged players who returned to their respective clubs’ matchday squads on Saturday.
THE THINGS WE LEARNED
NEVER BACK AGAINST CITY’S DEFENCE
It’s five clean sheets on the spin for Manchester City, who didn’t look like conceding at all against Chelsea: the Blues have the lowest expected goals (xG) total of any side in Gameweek 6 so far.
Many of us will be considering City defenders from Gameweek 8 onwards but who would back against them shutting Liverpool out next weekend? Pep Guardiola’s side have conceded only two ‘big chances’ all season and just five shots on target – that’s eight fewer than any other side.
Following his assist at Stamford Bridge, Joao Cancelo (£6.0m) is now top among FPL defenders for points this season.
WHO IS ON PENALTIES AT UNITED?
Bruno Fernandes (£11.9m) skied a stoppage-time penalty as Ronaldo watched on in Manchester United’s defeat to Aston Villa.
Naturally, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was plagued with questions on spot-kicks in his post-match press conference and didn’t give us a completely clear-cut answer on who will take them in future.
“The decision [on who will take penalties] is made before the game, yeah.
“Bruno has been excellent, he’s such a good penalty taker and today, you’d back him with your mortgage. He’ll step forward every day of the week, for the club and the team, sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.
“This is going to be the headline isn’t it? Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one who has scored the most penalties in world football. So we’ve got great takers here.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
MID-PRICE MIDFIELDERS REMAIN EN VOGUE
Salah is well clear at the top of the FPL midfielders’ table but the chasing pack are dominated by sub-£8.0m options.
And a look at FPL’s ‘form’ table (points divided by a club’s games played over the last 30 days) shows just why the likes of Sarr and Gray are so in demand.
The trio of Everton players featured above are all now among the top ten highest-scoring midfielders of the season.
Gray and Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.5m) have both returned in four of their six starts, while Andros Townsend (£5.4m) appears to be on penalty-taking duties in the absence of Everton’s two strikers – the winger scored from the spot in the Toffees’ 2-0 win over Norwich City.
FIVE DEFENCES TO TARGET
Five teams remain without a clean sheet this season and they all showed on Saturday why they are sides to target from an FPL perspective, conceding in their respective Gameweek 6 fixtures and allowing plenty of chances along the way.
Norwich, Watford, Newcastle, Leeds and Burnley are the clubs in question and all of those teams are in the bottom six for ‘big chances conceded’ in 2021/22.
All bar Newcastle of that quintet conceded between 1.99 and 2.17 expected goals (xG) on Saturday.
STAT WATCH – GAMEWEEK 6
Another week and another table-topping appearance from Antonio, whose expected goal involvement (xGI) figure of 1.63 was the highest in Gameweek 6 so far. The West Ham also couldn’t be bettered for shots in the box (six).
Antonio (5.41) is only narrowly behind Salah (5.43) for xGI over the course of the season, despite playing one game fewer.
The fall of Fernandes in FPL circles has been remarkable but he is not a complete busted flush, especially if – and that’s a big if – he remains on penalties. He created a remarkable 10 chances on Saturday, twice as many as any other player, and more than any other player in a single game in the last 20 months.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.7m), who has now delivered attacking returns in five of his six appearances this season, took his tally to 16 key passes with another five at Watford. He is now top among FPL forwards for chances created.
Jamie Vardy (£10.4m) certainly seems to be benefitting from playing as a sole striker and not sharing the limelight with Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.1m). He racked up more penalty box touches (14) than anyone else in Gameweek 6 and is second for that stat among forwards in the season as whole, as well as shots in the box.
Vardy is now level with Salah and Antonio for goals scored (five) in 2021/22.