We continue our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 8 write-ups with analysis of Brentford v Chelsea.
BRENTFORD 0-1 CHELSEA
- Goal: Ben Chilwell (£5.7m)
- Assist: None
- Bonus: Chilwell x3, Malang Sarr (£4.9m) x2, Edouard Mendy (£6.1m) x1
RUDIGER INJURY NEWS
Antonio Rudiger‘s (£5.8m) 100% starting record came to an end against Brentford at the weekend, with the German missing out as expected with a back problem.
As if to underscore Chelsea’s dearth of options on the left-hand side of central defence, Thomas Tuchel handed youngster Malang Sarr (£4.9m) a Premier League debut in the 1-0 win over the Bees.
Sarr and fellow rookie Trevoh Chalobah (£4.8m) largely did well at the back but the second-half defending was very much of a panicky nature, with the Blues owing their clean sheet in the most part to Edouard Mendy (£6.1m).
The absence of experience in the form of Rudiger and Thiago Silva (£5.5m) was sorely missed towards full-time but both players returned to training on Monday, with the veteran Brazilian having also sat out Gameweek 8 thanks to his involvement with his national side in the early hours of Friday morning.
We’ll get an update on the two seasoned stoppers from Thomas Tuchel on Tuesday ahead of Chelsea’s midweek Champions League clash with Malmo.
CHILWELL BACK IN DEMAND
Chelsea defenders are going in and out of fashion quicker than Watford managers at present.
Take the last month: Marcos Alonso (£5.9m) was the most-bought Chelsea defender of Gameweek 6, with Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.1m) topping the popularity stakes in Gameweeks 7 and 8 respectively.
Now it’s Ben Chilwell’s (£5.7m) turn in the spotlight after his 15-point haul on Saturday, a return that has led to over 130,000 new Fantasy managers acquiring his services at the time of writing.
He does appear to be the pick of the Chelsea full-backs on paper, given that he’s seemingly much less likely than Reece James (£5.5m) to be brought on for a ‘one-pointer’ and that he averages more points per match (6.30) than any of the Chelsea rearguard under Thomas Tuchel.
It’s dangerous to think he’s ‘nailed’, however: one look at his playing record last season under his current boss highlights the week-to-week uncertainty.
But for those FPL managers with deep benches and willing to take the risk, Chilwell is at least over his early-season malaise.
“I am very happy but it was necessary [to leave him out of the team at the beginning of the season]. We need everybody and a player like him in top shape but you can’t force things. I was honest with you guys, I felt he was tired and a bit mentally drained so it took time.
“He got his chance against Southampton and he took it. He was able to score and play for England which gave him more confidence and today again he was strong.
“He’s in good shape but we need him in this shape because we have many games in many competitions to play. I’m happy and it was a decisive goal that will give him confidence.” – Thomas Tuchel on Ben Chilwell
LUKAKU BLANKS AGAIN
It’s now four straight blanks for Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m), whose latest underwhelming display culminated in a second-half substitution.
Despite facing a home match against bottom-of-the-table Norwich next, Lukaku – who wouldn’t be the first forward to toil under Tuchel – is suffering a net loss in owners ahead of Gameweek 9.
It’s now just one big chance and one effort on target for the big Belgian in the last four Gameweeks and while the majority of us won’t be selling him ahead of the visit of Daniel Farke’s troops, it has left us pondering whether the Gameweek 9 captaincy debate is as cut and dried as it seems.
Tuchel will at least be more attacking when facing the Canaries than he was against Brentford, with the combative 3-5-2 set-up in west London leaving Lukaku and Timo Werner (£8.6m) cut adrift from the midfield battleground.
“I felt him a bit tired today. Altogether we did a very strong 60 to 75 minutes, including Romelu and Timo. I am not concerned as I felt him a bit tired and then isolated because we were defending as a block too deep.
“Both of them, Timo and Romelu, were too far away to help us and escape the pressure. That was the problem today. But I have no concerns.
“Normally, the best thing is he scores but he is very unselfish at the moment, looking for Timo in good situations, and when we had him in the situation it was a close offside decision.” – Thomas Tuchel on Romelu Lukaku
BRENTFORD’S FAVOURABLE FIXTURES
Brentford have gone toe to toe with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham United this season and now we get a chance to see what they are capable of against the lesser lights of the division, particularly from Gameweek 10 onwards.
But next weekend’s visit of a Leicester City side who have conceded more goals than all teams bar Leeds, Norwich and Newcastle needn’t instill fear into owners of Ivan Toney (£6.4m) and Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m), even if the return to fitness of Jonny Evans (£5.4m) did make the Foxes’ backline look stronger against Manchester United on Saturday.
Despite sitting near the bottom of our Season Ticker for fixture difficulty over the first eight Gameweeks, Thomas Frank’s side are seventh for expected goals (xG) in 2021/22.
Their tally was boosted by Saturday’s display against the European champions, with Mendy making superb stops to deny Saman Ghoddos (£5.3m), Pontus Jansson (£4.7m) and Christian Norgaard (£5.0m). Norgaard also had an effort hacked off the line and four other efforts from the 83rd minute onwards as he was pushed further forward from his usual midfield anchor role.
The almost comically unlucky Mbeumo hit the woodwork for the fifth and sixth time this season, meanwhile; no other Premier League player has struck the bar or post more than once.
You can read our thoughts on Mbeumo v Toney in an article we wrote ahead of Gameweek 8 here.
Restricting Chelsea to just one shot in the box and mostly nullifying Lukaku, the future also looks bright for Brentford’s defence ahead of their upcoming run of games.
Brentford XI: Raya; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (Ghoddos 72), Onyeka (Forss 66), Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo.
Chelsea XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Sarr; Azpilicueta, Kanté, Loftus-Cheek, Kovačić (Mount 65), Chilwell; Lukaku (Havertz 77), Werner.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM GAMEWEEK 8
- Saturday summary in brief
- Watford 0-5 Liverpool: Is it time to sell Jota?
- Aston Villa 2-3 Wolves: Why Jimenez was benched in Gameweek 8
- Leicester 4-2 Man Utd: United’s defence abysmal ahead of Salah test
- Man City 2-0 Burnley
- Norwich 0-0 Brighton: Canaries defence improving ahead of Gameweek 9 Chelsea clash
- Southampton 1-0 Leeds: Why Raphinha was missing as £5.0m Broja enters FPL radar
- Brentford 0-1 Chelsea: Rudiger injury news as Lukaku blanks again
- Everton 0-1 West Ham: Is it time to sell Antonio and Benrahma?
- Newcastle 2-3 Spurs: Kane and Wilson on FPL differential radar