We continue our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 8 write-ups with analysis of Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers.
For a shorter summary of all of Saturday’s action, click here.
ASTON VILLA 2-3 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
- Goals: Danny Ings (£7.8m), John McGinn (£5.8m) | Romain Saiss (£5.0m), Conor Coady (£4.5m), Ruben Neves (£5.4m)
- Assists: McGinn, Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) | Daniel Podence (£5.5m), Leander Dendoncker (£4.8m), Adama Traore (£6.0m)
- Bonus: McGinn x3, Neves x2, Ings x1
Wolves came from two goals down to win at Villa Park on Saturday, in a remarkable finish which saw them score in the 80th, 85th and 95th minutes.
Set-up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, Bruno Lage’s side struggled for large parts, especially in the final third, but got the win thanks to goals from an unlikely trio: Romain Saiss (£5.0m), Conor Coady (£4.5m) and Ruben Neves (£5.4m).
With Raul Jimenez (£7.6m) arriving back late after playing three games during the international break with Mexico, in his absence, budget forward Hwang Hee-Chan (£5.6m) was tasked with leading the line in a false nine role.
However, he was well below par, struggling to link up with his team-mates and ending the match with just a single effort on goal. He was also partly to blame for John McGinn’s (£5.8m) strike, after a poor pass which was intercepted.
“We used a false nine so not to give their strong defenders an easy man to mark. They continued to press at 2-0 and I tried to put men on them. That’s what we did. In corners or free-kicks, those situations can happen and we scored three goals. Every time I believe.
It’s easy for me to say now I made the right choice. It’s easy to say ‘I was right’ when you win. But you have to take decisions. The other players who start or come on, help the team to win three points.
We did three good performances in the first three games but did not get any points. The confidence came with hard work. The players are seeing what we are doing and with victories.” – Bruno Lage
Discussing his team selection, and specifically Jimenez, Lage also said:
“Raul is very important for us and the way we play. But also, the other players are important. I don’t want to take risks with top players.
Maybe I need to protect Saiss more because he played more time than Raul for his national team, but my concern is about the travel. The flight was too much time, he just arrived, he feels tired, he wants to play.
I put him to warm up and every time he was saying ‘I want to go inside (the team), I want to go inside’, but I preferred to go with Daniel.
I don’t want to take risks with him because we don’t have a big squad and I don’t want injuries because we don’t make the best decisions.”
Elsewhere, Adama Traore (£6.0m) bagged his first attacking return of the season via an assist, but again spurned a good opportunity to score, and remains one of the division’s biggest expected goal (xG) underperformers this term.
After losing their first three league games, Wolves are now eighth in the Premier League table, and are suddenly one of the form teams in the division.
Between Gameweeks 9 and 14, they also sit third on our season ticker for ease of attacking fixture difficulty, which suggests that Hwang can still offer value in the coming weeks. However, Jimenez remains the headline pick, and could be a nice replacement for those looking to move away from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) and Michail Antonio (£8.1m).
Above: Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fixtures from Gameweeks 9 to 14
ADVANCED CASH BAGS CLEAN SHEETS POINTS FOLLOWING EARLY WITHDRAWAL
For Aston Villa, it was a disappointing collapse on Saturday afternoon, and questions remain over their new 3-5-2 formation, which has been a bit hit and miss so far.
One glimmer of hope, however, have been the performances of Matty Cash (£5.1m).
Since switching to a back-three set-up in Gameweek 4, the wing-back ranks top amongst all defenders for penalty area touches and joint-top for goals attempts and shots in the box.
Having been withdrawn on 79 minutes against Wolves in Gameweek 8, he bagged a clean sheet, and as a result, is now up to 12th in the defender standings for total points.
However, Dean Smith revealed after the game that he picked up a dead leg in the loss.
Above: Matty Cash’s average position map by Gameweek 2021/22
John McGinn, meanwhile, bagged a goal and assist, and was on corner-taking duties for Villa, while Emiliano Martinez (£5.5m) and Douglas Luiz (£4.6m) were both named in the starting XI, despite featuring for Argentina and Brazil respectively in South America in the early hours of Friday morning.
Another Argentinian – Emiliano Buendia (£6.3m) – also put in a good shift. The playmaker was deployed behind Danny Ings (£7.8m) and Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) in an attacking midfield role, and thrived in the half-spaces, creating one big chance and registering a couple of shots on goal.
“I find it difficult to explain because it should have been a victory. We were comfortable and we didn’t see that coming. Three set-pieces have cost us three goals. You have to defend better when balls get put in the box in the last 10 minutes. There were frantic clearances so that was a disappointment today.
In the first half, I thought it was a bit of a chess game. I thought we were better but only had the one big chance and they had one through Adama Traore. In the second half, we spoke about the areas we wanted to play and we did. At 2-0, you can always give them a sniff and we did.
I never felt there was a momentum shift. There were a few second balls that we didn’t pick up. We defended the box quite well in open play but it was the set-pieces.
The actual free-kick for goal I have no complaints. That happens. It’s how they get to that… We had a throw-in which we gave away then Traore comes inside and we give a foul away.
It’s a painful defeat because it’s one we should have had. The performance was better than Tottenham but you have to defend the box better. It hurts because it’s a football match and I’m a football manager.” – Dean Smith
Aston Villa XI: Martinez, Konsa, Tuanzebe, Mings, Cash (Young 79), McGinn, Douglas Luiz (Nakamba 67), Targett, Buendia (Ramsey 74), Ings, Watkins
Wolves XI: Sa, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho (Silva 74), Marcal (Podence 74), Dendoncker, Traore, Hwang (Jimenez 88)