Our Scoreboard series rounds up the key goings-on from the day’s Gameweek 13 fixtures, from injury news to stats analysis.
With the swift turnaround between Fantasy Premier League (FPL) deadlines, the Scoreboard articles for Saturday and Sunday will take the place of the usual Scout Notes this week.
GOALS, ASSISTS, BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
Phil Foden (£8.2m) and Jack Grealish (£7.6m) both missed Manchester City’s 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday with unspecified minor issues, along with Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) who continues to isolate following a positive Covid-19 test.
For West Ham, Aaron Cresswell (£5.5m) was replaced just after the hour mark, with David Moyes later saying:
“He is okay, his back is stiff after going into the goalpost. He was in spasm really and couldn’t move his leg well at that point.”
Elsewhere, Jarrod Bowen (£6.4m) surprisingly dropped to the bench, but it was a tactical move, with Arthur Masuaku (£4.4m) preferred for the reasons outlined by Moyes below:
“I think it’s the amount of crosses Manchester City put in your box from both sides. I think it’s how you defend them. They overload both sides when they’re crossing and they are very good at it. They’re probably number one in the Premier League for that. So that was the thought behind Arthur (Masuaku) and also, it gave us a little bit of left-sided balance which I thought I needed today as well.”
Meanwhile, Ben Foster (£4.1m) was absent from Watford’s matchday squad with a groin injury, along with Ismaila Sarr (£5.9m) and Nicolas Nkoulou (£4.5m), while Emmanuel Dennis (£5.3m) and Adam Masina (£4.3m) will both be assessed having picked up knocks.
“I’m not sure how long Ben (Foster) will be out for, but Bachmann made some good saves and I am comfortable with him in goal. With Dennis and Masina, I’m not sure at the moment. Tomorrow we’ll check everybody because Dennis came out and Masina didn’t finish well.
As for Everton, they welcomed back Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.4m) and Demarai Gray (£5.6m) to their starting XI and bench respectively, with the former’s performance discussed by Rafa Benitez after the game.
“When a player is out for a while you expect he will give everything and he did it. In the first half he was a little out of position but in the second half he was better.”
On the suspension front, Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m) picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now miss City’s midweek clash at Aston Villa, with either John Stones (£5.3m) or Nathan Ake (£4.8m) expected to step in, while Joao Cancelo (£6.6m) moved onto four cautions, and is now just one yellow card away from a ban.
“There is no reason why. I would like Nathan to play more than he is playing but Aymer (Laporte) is playing really well. For this specific game, John was not quite well the last two days. He was a little bit sick, with a fever after the game with PSG. That’s why we played Aymer. He is suspended for the game against Aston Villa, so [it’s] a new chance for the other guys.” – Pep Guardiola at his post-match press conference, when asked why he’d rotated his centre-backs so often this season
Elsewhere, Sergi Canos (£5.5m) andBruno Fernandes (£11.6m) are both now on four yellow cards, but Everton will welcome back Richarlison (£7.4m) for Wednesday’s Merseyside derby, having served his one-match suspension.
GAMEWEEK 13 TAKEAWAYS
FORWARDS HIT BACK
After Saturday’s games, no Fantasy Premier League (FPL) forward had returned either a goal or assist, as the shouts for going even ‘bigger at the back’ grew louder. That may still be the case, but with Ivan Toney (£6.7m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.6m) both on the scoresheet today, plus Watford duo Josh King (£5.6m) and Emmanuel Dennis, it has at least given us something to think about.
The latter two are perhaps the most interesting, not only due to their form, but also their budget price tags. Notably, King took on penalties in the absence of Ismaila Sarr (£5.9m) today, converting his first-half spot-kick after Dennis was fouled, and may well remain on them now given the Senegalese wingers back-to-back misses in Gameweek 12.
As for Dennis, following today’s goal and assist, he has now produced 11 attacking returns in just 12 Premier League appearances. Remarkably, only Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) has more with 20.
LEICESTER ASSETS BACK ON THE FPL RADAR?
Despite failing to score in each of his last four Premier League appearances, Jamie Vardy provided two goals on Sunday as Leicester City beat Watford 4-2 in an entertaining clash at the King Power Stadium. Encouragingly, the veteran forward produced five shots in the box, more than he had managed across his previous four matches combined, while his 12-point haul rewarded the owners who kept faith despite his blanks. The Foxes’ next three fixtures suggest further returns could be on the way, too.
Leicester’s win was only their fifth from 13 Premier League matches, but they did look more comfortable – at least in an attacking sense – in today’s 4-2-3-1, which saw Vardy flanked by Ademola Lookman (£6.0m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.5m). However, it was the performance of James Maddison (£6.6m) which stood out most, as he thrived as a no. 10 and looked back to his best after a terrible start to the campaign. The playmaker was at the heart of everything his team did well, and ended the day on 16 FPL points, via a goal, two assists and three bonus points.
“It was great, you can see Maddison’s quality, he was a real inspiration for us. We always have a point to prove every single day. For him it was looking at his game, he knows this is a game and a level where you are always looking to prove yourself. You can never be calm with that, you always have to be intense. You are seeing the work, not just with him but the confidence returning to the team. It’s not about the one player, it’s about the team but he was excellent today.” – Brendan Rodgers
RONALDO BENCHED AS CARRICK OPTS FOR CONSERVATIVE APPROACH
Despite missing three key defenders – Raphael Varane (£5.5m), Harry Maguire (£5.4m) and Luke Shaw (5.1m) – United looked better defensively in Gameweek 13, as a more conservative approach earned them a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Even though they failed to record a single shot on target during the first-half, they scored against the run of play via Jadon Sancho (£8.9m), who netted his first Premier League goal since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. Now, if he can nail down a spot in the starting XI, he could perhaps emerge as an option for our midfields, especially given United’s improving schedule, though it is worth noting caretaker manager Michael Carrick said after the game that Ralf Rangnick, who is expected to be announced as the Red Devils’ interim boss, was not involved in his team selection or tactics against Chelsea.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m), the move to bench him certainly caused plenty of discussion prior to kick-off, which Carrick touched on in his pre-match interview:
“A few tweaks and changes from the other night, to change things up a bit. Cristiano is probably our standout name, but it’s just a gameplan, ideas. I had a good chat with Cristiano actually, he was great, and we’ve decided to go like that today. Really looking forward to the game.
It’s a decision just to pick a team, to be honest. I don’t think it needs more drama than that.
Everyone is fine, all the boys who have come out of the team have been terrific around the place, Cristiano included, fantastic with the boys, supporting them 100 per cent and ready to come on if and when needed.
We’re happy with the team we’ve picked, for sure. We’ve come here to try and win the game, like we do every single game.”
BURNLEY V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR POSTPONED
Sunday’s Premier League game between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor was called off shortly after the line-ups were announced due to heavy snow. Attempts to clear the pitch were unsuccessful as the undersoil heating failed to cope and snow fell as quickly as it was being cleared.
No details have yet been given regarding the rescheduling of the game, though initial reports have suggested that it is unlikely to be played this year, with Spurs already facing a packed December schedule.
“We were ready for the game and I’m sure they were as well. A lot of people have worked very hard here over the last couple of hours but the pitch just continues to recover every time they clear it. Our goalkeepers have just gone out to warm up and the ball’s collecting snow.
The referee explained the safety angle as well, so I think they’ve just made as early a decision as possible. The ref said we’d have to keep stopping to clear the lines. And of course, there is the safety angle, so I think it’s a joint decision from everyone concerned.
I made it clear – if it could be played, we wanted it played, as did their manager [Antonio Conte]. A joint decision was made eventually and I can’t see how it could go ahead with the way the pitch is.” – Sean Dyche
STAT WATCH – GAMEWEEK 13
Ilkay Gundogan’s (£7.2m) 1.35 xGI total was more than any other player on Sunday, though Josh King was a close second, having benefitted from a first-half penalty, as did Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
Ademola Lookman also features thanks to his close-range goal, which carried an xG value of 0.77.
James Maddison’s five created chances was only bettered by one other player in Gameweek 13, while Gundogan, Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.3m), Tom Cleverley (£4.8m) and Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) also posted encouraging totals.
However, none of Sunday’s names rank in the top five xA performers, which suggests the quality of chances they provided for their team-mates wasn’t quite as good as others this weekend.
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