We continue our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 7 write-ups with analysis of Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa and Crystal Palace v Leicester City.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2-1 ASTON VILLA
- Goals: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) | Ollie Watkins (£7.3m)
- Assists: Son Heung-min (£10.0m) x2 | Matt Targett (£4.8m)
- Own goals: Targett
- Bonus: Hojbjerg x3, Son x2, Eric Dier (£4.6m) x1, Emiliano Martinez (£5.5m) x1
SON STEPS UP
With Aston Villa lining-up in their new-look 3-5-2 formation, Spurs’ wide players were always going to be key in this fixture.
And that proved to be the case, as Son Heung-min (£10.0m) caused huge problems for Dean Smith’s side and managed to exploit the space between Matty Cash (£5.1m) and Ezri Konsa (£4.9m) time and time again.
Above: Aston Villa’s average position map v Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 7, featuring Matty Cash (no. 2) and Ezri Konsa (no. 4)
The South Korean produced two assists and was a little unfortunate not to score, having registered five goal attempts, three shots in the box and one big chance during the match.
With Newcastle United’s shaky defence up next, Son could be in for another haul in Gameweek 8.
As for Nuno Espirito Santo’s set-up, they looked far more comfortable in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the double-pivot of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) and Oliver Skipp (£4.5m) screening the back four well. That meant Dele Alli (6.5m) dropped to the bench, with Tanguy Ndombele (£5.8m) preferred in the more advanced midfield role.
WATKINS OFF THE MARK
Aston Villa fell to their first defeat in three matches against Spurs on Sunday afternoon, and while there weren’t many positives to take from it, forward Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) has at least now opened his 2021/22 account.
The England international equalised in the second half, and has put up some good attacking numbers since Gameweek 4, when Dean Smith switched formation.
Ollie Watkins (left) v Danny Ings (right) xG comparison since Gameweek 4, when Villa shifted to a back-three formation
After the game, Smith touched on the Watkins and Danny Ings (£7.9m) partnership and said:
“I have no concerns. Danny’s scored goals already. Ollie’s got his first today and we’re creating chances. The pair worked as hard as anything again. They broke things down when Tottenham had the ball.
But we’re playing against top teams at the moment, Everton, United, and Tottenham. But we believe we’ve got good players as well. There’s no frustrations. In the final third our final ball wasn’t good enough. Cashy’s got into some good areas but the final ball wasn’t there. JJ (Jacob Ramsey) in the second half. The final pass wasn’t quite there today.”
He also discussed Villa’s defensive set-up:
“Last week we were playing against Ronaldo, Greenwood and Pogba. This week it was Kane, Son and Ndombele. They’ve all got different qualities and Son’s biggest one is his pace in behind which can hurt you. They’ve got Harry Kane as well. We had a lot to deal with but our back three with Douglas Luiz thought we’d cope with that but, as I say, the game was too scrappy. We didn’t do much with our possession and they didn’t do enough with theirs either.”
Up next for Villa is a home clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers, when they will hope to welcome back Leon Bailey (£6.4m), who has missed the last two Gameweeks with a thigh injury.
Tottenham XI: Lloris, Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele (Lo Celso 76), Moura (Gil 89), Son, Kane
A Villa XI: Martinez, Konsa, Hause (Traore 81), Mings, Cash, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, J Ramsey (Buendia 69), Targett, Ings (Archer 90), Watkins
CRYSTAL PALACE 2-2 LEICESTER CITY
- Goals: Michael Olise (£5.4m), Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.4m) | Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.0m), Jamie Vardy (£10.4m)
- Assists: Harvey Barnes (£6.7m)
- Bonus: Iheanacho x3, Vardy x2, Olise x1
IHEANACHO BACK ON THE FPL RADAR
On his first Premier League start of the campaign, 2020/21 Fantasy favourite Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.0m) hit the back of the net at Selhurst Park, and as a result, presents FPL managers with an intriguing differential option for our frontlines.
The Nigerian international bagged 11 Premier League goals and two assists in his final 12 matches last term, and across the entire season, ranked top amongst all forwards per 90 minutes for goals and joint-fourth for expected goal involvement (xGI).
However, it is worth noting that he operated in a slightly deeper role on Sunday, and his goal was his only attempt of the match.
Above: Leicester City’s average position map v Crystal Palace in Gameweek 7, with Kelechi Iheanacho (no. 14) dropping deeper in Brendan Rodgers’ 4-4-2 formation
“I feel that he is a player that, over a period of time, he will either create or score a goal. His energy at the top end of the field posed a threat.
He can’t play in another position. He is purely a striker. When you play with two strikers, there is then a change behind that. That is one of the things I need to look at because of some of the types of players we have: it doesn’t allow us to keep the ball as well as we would like.
That is something I need to look at.” – Brendan Rodgers discussing Kelechi Iheanacho and his system after the game
As for Jamie Vardy (£10.4m), the veteran forward was also on the scoresheet, with his sixth goal in just seven Premier League games. Having been played through by Harvey Barnes (£6.7m), Vardy slotted in, and as a result is now the third highest-scoring player in the entire game, with 48 FPL points. Despite that, his ownership sits at just 13.7%, which is lower than the likes of Danny Ings and Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.8m).
PALACE UNBEATEN AT HOME
Following Sunday’s draw, Crystal Palace remain unbeaten at home, despite a reasonably challenging run that has seen them take on Brentford, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester.
Two substitutes made the difference in Gameweek 7, as Michael Olise (£5.4m) – who also took on a share of set-pieces after his introduction – and Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.4m) both scored, with the latter replacing Conor Gallagher (£5.7m) after 71 minutes.
Interestingly, the Eagles have now scored eight goals in their last five Premier League matches, and rank sixth for expected goals (xG) over the same period.
“I think we are all really excited about his talent, but at the same time, we have to understand it will take time to be a Premier League player. He is working really well, working really hard, and he is in a good football club who will support him to develop himself.
It’s just about him keeping working. He’s working in training, he can score goals as he showed today. It is a long season, so he will definitely play some games, but we have to give him time as well to develop himself.
He had a long injury and he is not at his best yet, but he is improving and he will be a really important player for us.” – Patrick Vieira on Michael Olise
Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Castagne, Soyuncu, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Lookman (Albrighton 80), Choudhury (Soumare 60), Tielemans, Barnes, Iheanacho (Maddison 71), Vardy
C Palace XI: Guaita, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Milivojevic, McArthur, Gallagher (Schlupp 71), Ayew (Olise 53), Zaha, Edouard (Benteke 85)