Our Scoreboard series rounds up the key goings-on from Boxing Day’s Gameweek 19 fixtures, from injury news to talking points.
With the swift turnaround between Fantasy Premier League (FPL) deadlines, the Scoreboard articles will take the place of the usual Scout Notes throughout December.
GOALS, ASISTS, BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
There were numerous players who tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of Gameweek 19 who we didn’t previously know about.
Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.8m), Cedric Soares (£4.2m) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£5.2m), Southampton’s Nathan Tella (£4.7m), Jack Stephens (£4.4m) and Lyanco (£4.4m) and Brentford’s Vitaly Janelt (£5.0m) were all officially ruled out with coronavirus but others were suspected beyond that.
Crystal Palace, whose game against Spurs looked in some doubt because of a Covid outbreak at the club, declined to say who tested positive but they were without Christian Benteke (£6.4m), Michael Olise (£5.4m), Eberechi Eze (£5.9m), Vicente Guaita (£4.6m), Nathaniel Clyne (£4.3m) and Luka Milivojevic (£5.3m) for the trip to north London.
John McGinn (£5.9m) and Ashley Young (£4.7m) were both missing from the Villa matchday squad – with Steven Gerrard also absent from the dugout after testing positive for Covid – though there has yet to be an update on either player.
At Brighton and Hove Albion, Shane Duffy (£4.1m) was a surprise absentee, which Graham Potter touched on prior to kick-off:
“A few Covid-related issues, one or two injuries. Shane’s in that bracket.” – Graham Potter
Manchester City said only that Rodri (£5.5m) and Kyle Walker (£5.5m) “weren’t fully fit”, which could also well have been code for an illness.
On the injury front, City were without John Stones (£5.3m) with an unspecified problem.
Opponents Leicester were without a host of players at the Etihad and Brendan Rodgers had some grim news on some of his absentees:
“Patson will be three weeks, Soyuncu will be out for three weeks, and Ricardo Pereira will be six to eight weeks. That’s so frustrating for him with how hard he has worked. For the referee not to see that, it’s a fractured fibula and he’s lucky it’s not worse. Ryan (Bertrand) twisted his knee in the warm-up, which was disappointing.” – Brendan Rodgers
Thiago Silva (£5.6m) and N’Golo Kante (£4.9m) came off with injuries in the second half of Chelsea’s win over Aston Villa, with the Blues website saying that the pair are “unlikely to feature against Brighton on Wednesday”.
“N’Golo is very painful on exactly the same spot where he had his injury versus Juventus. Thiago came off with hamstrings, hopefully he went out before it became an injury. From there we try to continue and find a new squad and strong squad on Wednesday.” – Thomas Tuchel
Bryan Mbeumo (£5.4m) was replaced during the first-half at the Amex with a tight calf, with Thomas Frank suggesting it was a precautionary decision. The Bees could also be without Rico Henry (£4.5m) in Gameweek 20, as the wing-back missed out tonight due to a “minor grade” hamstring injury.
On the suspension front, Tyrone Mings (£5.0m), Christian Norgaard (£5.0m) and Declan Rice (£5.1m) will sit out their sides’ next fixture, having picked up their fifth bookings of the campaign in Gameweek 19.
Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) also has a one-match ban after being sent off a Spurs.
GAMEWEEK 19 TAKEAWAYS
TWO GAMEWEEK 20 MATCHES POSTPONED
Gameweek 19 isn’t even over yet but we’ve already lost two Gameweek 20 fixtures.
Leeds United v Aston Villa and Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers have fallen by the wayside, with Leeds and Wolves having an insufficient number of players to fulfil their fixture.
The game at the Emirates had been the lunchtime kick-off on Tuesday, so the Gameweek 20 deadline will be pushed back to 13:30 GMT as a result.
KANE AND SON PRESERVED AS LUCAS SHINES
Harry Kane (£12.1m) and Son Heung-min (£10.4m) both found the back of the net on Sunday, with the Korean – who has averaged 9.0 FPL points per match in his last four outings – scoring seconds before being substituted in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Antonio Conte will surely make a number of changes on Tuesday with the Lilywhites’ Gameweek 20 fixture kicking off 48 hours after today’s win but early withdrawals for Kane and Son will be of encouragement to their owners, as will their manager’s words after full-time:
“I tried to give a rest to Harry and Son. Especially Harry because he plays every game but he is such an important player it is difficult to think about keeping him on the bench.” – Antonio Conte
Lucas Moura (£6.4m) lasted the full 90 minutes to place his Gameweek 20 involvement in some doubt but at least scored more points than his two aforementioned teammates combined: having not delivered a single goal or assist under Nuno Espirito Santo, the Brazilian now has five attacking returns in Conte’s six league matches in charge.
His understanding with compatriot Emerson Royal (£4.9m) particularly caught the eye and Lucas was involved in all four of the big chances that Spurs created: two of his own, two supplied for others.
James Maddison (£7.1m) is FPL’s ‘form’ player, using the official site’s metric that averages scores over the last 30 days.
Boxing Day saw him collect his fourth double-digit haul in five appearances, with nine attacking returns arriving in that time.
Leicester languish towards the bottom of our Season Ticker over the next 10 Gameweeks but we need not look that far ahead with Maddison and the Foxes, should Double Gameweeks 21 and 22 materialise. Norwich and Burnley represent the appealing pre-scheduled opposition in those two Gameweeks, with outstanding fixtures against Spurs and Everton potentially to add into the mix.
In current form, Maddison will be a top target for those on a Free Hit or otherwise.
LIVERPOOL NEXT UP FOR LEAKY LEICESTER DEFENCE
It’s not quite so rosy at the back for Brendan Rodgers’ side. Hit by injury and illness in defence and elsewhere, the Foxes lined up at the Etihad with Daniel Amartey (£3.8m) and the out-of-sorts Jannik Vestergaard (£4.7m) at centre-half, adding Timothy Castagne (£5.3m) at half-time and moving to a back three.
City hit six goals past their visitors and Rodgers’s troops now rank 17th and 18th for goals conceded and clean sheets kept in 2021/22.
No side has allowed more shots in the box than Leicester this season.
Up next for the Foxes are a nicely rested Liverpool, the division’s joint-top scorers. FPL managers who kept hold of Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) or plan to swiftly recapture the Egyptian in Gameweek 20 will have had their appetite whetted by the nine-goal thriller at the Etihad and he’ll surely be leading the captain poll again heading into Tuesday.
FODEN AND GREALISH STILL ON THE NAUGHTY STEP?
Manchester City’s three most-owned midfielders, Bernardo Silva (£7.6m), Phil Foden (£8.1m) and Jack Grealish (£7.6m), managed just three FPL points between them despite their teammates running amok at the Etihad.
With Bernardo, there’s perhaps just some regression to the mean going on after weeks of overachievement (he didn’t manage a single shot on Boxing Day) but for the other two, it was successive benchings following their well-documented off-field antics of mid-December.
The rotation that often accompanies the Christmas games may well give them the perfect chance to dust themselves down from Pep Guardiola’s naughty step and fill their boots at Brentford but they picked an inopportune time to incur their manager’s wrath, missing out on all 10 of the goals scored by their club in Gameweeks 18 and 19.
SUPER-SUB SMITH ROWE STRIKES AGAIN
Emile Smith Rowe (£6.1m) emerged as a substitute to score for the third successive Gameweek, while Bukayo Saka (£6.3m), Martin Odegaard (£5.6m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m) kept up their fine runs of form with attacking returns in a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich.
The most-bought Arsenal asset of Gameweek 19, Gabriel Martinelli (£5.3m), somehow managed to play a part in none of the five goals that the Gunners plundered.
Smith Rowe would probably have been in line for a start in Gameweek 20 had Arsenal’s fixture against Wolves not been postponed, with their first two post-Christmas matches separated by fewer than 48 hours.
Now, without a fixture in Gameweek 20 and facing Manchester City in Gameweek 21, Arsenal assets may be on the chopping block.
They do have three outstanding fixtures to rearrange, it must be said, so could very well end up getting a Double Gameweek 21/22.
But the fixtures within those potential doubles don’t look great and there’ll be likely be more appealing targets elsewhere, even factoring in the value that Smith Rowe and co have offered.
Michail Antonio (£7.8m) recovered from Covid-19 and scored for the first time since Gameweek 9 in West Ham’s otherwise disappointing 3-2 defeat to Southampton.
Antonio’s contribution came off the bench, too, so he looks good for a start in Gameweek 20 as David Moyes will surely ring the changes given that only 48 hours separates the Hammers’ two festive fixtures.
Armando Broja (£5.1m) wasn’t on the scoresheet but was excellent again, winning Saints’ penalty and underscoring his budget FPL credentials – although positional rivals Che Adams (£6.8m) and Adam Armstrong (£5.8m) both recovered from injury to make the bench, so the spectre of rotation in Gameweek 20 looms large given the quick turnaround.
TIME ALMOST UP FOR JAMES AND CHELSEA ASSETS
A first-half own-goal, followed by a tactical switch which saw him deployed as a right-sided centre-back, meant that it was a day to forget for Reece James’ (£6.3m) owners. As a result, the England international ended Gameweek 19 without a single point, with Fantasy bosses surely now looking to move him and his team-mates on after Wednesday’s home clash against Brighton.
Elsewhere, penalties keep adding up for Jorginho (£5.8m), who converted another two at Villa Park. That means he is now Chelsea’s top goalscorer in all competitions in 2021/22, with six of his nine strikes arriving in the Premier League, leaving him just one short of Mason Mount’s (£7.7m) total. His goal threat from open play, however, is somewhat limited, with just eight shots in the box across his 16 league outings – which includes penalties.
BRIGHTON BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Heading into today’s encounter, Brighton and Hove Albion had failed to win since all the way back in Gameweek 5, a run which had seen them score just seven goals in 11 matches. However, tonight’s victory leaves them only five points behind sixth-placed West Ham United with a game in hand.
In a much-improved all-round display, they came out on top thanks to excellent first-half goals from Leandro Trossard (£6.2m) and Neal Maupay (£6.4m). That means the Frenchman has now netted three in his last three starts, though with some mixed fixtures leading up to their Gameweek 24 blank, it’s unlikely he’ll see too much Fantasy investment.
By Tom and Neale
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