We continue our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 12 Scout Notes with analysis of Watford v Manchester United, a match that saw the Red Devils suffer a humiliating 4-1 defeat which led to the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
For a briefer summary of Saturday’s action, click here.
WATFORD 4-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
- Goals: Joshua King (£5.6m), Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m), Joao Pedro (£5.4m), Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) | Donny van de Beek (£5.7m)
- Assists: Dennis x2, Kiko Femenia (£4.3m), Ben Foster (£4.1m) | Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m)
- Bonus: Dennis x3, Pedro x2, van de Beek x1
Two Watford strikers now sit among the top eight best-performing forwards of the season following Saturday’s thrashing of United.
A third double-digit haul of the campaign for Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) puts the Nigerian in fourth and, unsurprisingly, he is among the most-bought players of Gameweek 13 as a result.
But it’s Joshua King (£5.6m) where our focus lies in this write-up.
Since the Norwegian’s first start under Claudio Ranieri in Gameweek 9, no player in any position – not even Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) – can better him for goal attempts (17), big chances (seven) or the all-important goals scored (four).
Only the Egyptian has more penalty box touches in that time, which is perhaps surprising given how much King drifts to the left.
Three of those four strikes of course came against Everton a month ago, a match that might have just been written off as a freak occurrence were it not for his consistently good underlying numbers and another pasting of an established if beleaguered Premier League club at the weekend.
King had six attempts against Manchester United, another one of which ought to have been despatched via his head.
Watford are happening upon another below-par team in Gameweek 13 in the form of a Leicester City side who are without a clean sheet since the opening day.
But it’s the ticker-topping run from Gameweek 16-24 that particularly catches the eye:
It’s easy to make a snap judgement on some of the less fashionable sides like Watford when it comes to FPL transfers but with much more expensive forwards really struggling to make a case for inclusion elsewhere, a £5.6m striker being presented with regular chances should be worth a thought at least – especially one with a bit of Fantasy pedigree like King.
The Norwegian, incidentally, also has the advantage of not missing a chunk of games this winter due to the clash with the African Cup of Nations, something will affect Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) and potentially Dennis.
SARR ON PENALTIES – OR OFF?
Might King be on penalties now, too?
Sarr had an eventful afternoon at Vicarage Road, twice missing from the spot – the referee ordering a retake of his original saved effort – before scoring Watford’s second goal and then limping off with a knee problem.
Joao Pedro (£5.4m) might be part of the equation after taking and scoring two last season (as Sarr did) but isn’t a regular starter, while King converted 10 of the 12 spot-kicks that he was presented with at Bournemouth.
As for the knee injury that appeared to force Sarr off, Ranieri didn’t seem too concerned after full-time.
“I think [he’s OK], I didn’t want to risk him. He runs a lot. I don’t know if maybe the knee… I don’t know. In the next days, the doctors will see everything.” – Claudio Ranieri on Ismaila Sarr’s substitution
Following Solskjaer’s departure, Michael Carrick will take charge of United while the search for an interim manager goes on.
Chelsea’s clash with the Red Devils in Gameweek 13 might show up as a blob of red on your Season Ticker of choice but there is little to concern the likes of Reece James (£6.1m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) based on recent evidence, with the out-of-sorts United second-best against Watford even before Harry Maguire (£5.4m) was sent off for two bookings.
Already without Maguire and Raphael Varane (£5.5m) for the trip to west London, United will be sweating over the availability of Luke Shaw (£5.2m) after he seemingly suffered a second concussion in the space of a fortnight at Vicarage Road. He didn’t make the trip to Spain for the midweek Champions League tie with Villarreal as a result.
Most of United’s players have been off the menu for some time in FPL but there will be hope that the appointment of a new head coach, even a short-term one, can reinvigorate the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£11.7m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m) and increase their appeal to us Fantasy managers – particularly with an attractive fixture swing coming up in Gameweek 15/16:
Until then, though, targeting a patched-up defence that has conceded 15 goals in their last five matches looks like the play to make.
And in further good news for James owners, United have allowed more chances to be created from their left flank than any other side in that time…
Watford XI: Foster; Femenia, N’Koulou (Troost-Ekong 64), Cathcart, Masina; Sarr (Hernandez 68), Cleverley, Sissoko, Louza (Pedro 77), Dennis; King.
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Dalot 85); Matic, McTominay (van de Beek 46); Sancho (Lingard 90), Fernandes, Rashford (Martial 46); Ronaldo.
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