Our Scoreboard series rounds up the key goings-on from New Years Day’s Double Gameweek 21 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 over the winter period.
GOALS, ASSISTS, BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
It was a pretty quiet day on the on-field injury front but Covid-19 continued to rear its head, even if it wasn’t officially acknowledged as being the cause of some players’ Gameweek 21 absences.
Phil Foden (£8.1m) was the headline omission from the Manchester City squad, with the midfielder and Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.3m) fresh additions to an ‘unavailable’ list that also includes John Stones (£5.3m).
City initially said that Foden was “short of full fitness” upon the release of the teamsheets, with Zinchenko and Stones similarly described as “not fully fit”.
Kyle Walker (£5.5m) and Rodri (£5.5m) did return, at least, from their recent periods on the sidelines, as did Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.9m).
“We had many cases from Covid this season and injuries. Phil Foden… Kyle [Walker] today was the first day, Rodri the first day since the last Covid time. This period, today, we are incredibly tired.” – Pep Guardiola
If coronavirus was the reason for Foden’s absence, he at least ought to be back well before City next play in the league, which isn’t until a fortnight’s time.
Conor Gallagher (£6.2m) was still missing for Crystal Palace in the evening kick-off, with Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) and Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.5m), both of whom were set for farewell appearances before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, also fresh absentees.
“We are missing a couple of players through Covid and injuries. It is difficult especially on the day of the game, at 12 o’clock, when there is a situation you cannot manage.” – Patrick Vieira
GAMEWEEK 21 TAKEAWAYS
WHY WAS DENNIS SUBSTITUTED AT HALF-TIME?
Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m) may not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations but the good news ended there for the Nigerian’s owners in FPL, with the striker not just blanking but failing to emerge for the second half of Watford’s 1-0 defeat to Spurs.
There’s no serious injury, at least, which should be some consolation to his owners.
“Already before the match he wasn’t 100 percent and I saw a little tiredness during the match.” – Claudio Ranieri
Having alternated between left-wing and central striker duties this season, Dennis and Joshua King (£5.8m) were stationed up front together in a 4-4-2, the Norwegian going closest to a goal when being denied by Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) – but really, this was a defence-first exercise with Watford enjoying just 25% of possession and having only six shots to Spurs’ 21.
SPURS STRUGGLE BUT SON AND KANE STILL RACK UP THE CHANCES
It took Spurs until stoppage time to break the deadlock against a side who hadn’t previously kept a clean sheet all season.
The Lilywhites laboured to victory but Son Heung-min (£10.6m) extended his run without a blank to six matches, assisting Davinson Sanchez (£4.5m) from a free-kick.
Despite a fairly flat display, there were still encouraging signs for owners of the Korean and Harry Kane (£12.2m), who racked up a combined 24 penalty box touches and 10 shots; only a flying Daniel Bachmann (£4.2m) save denied Son, who also backheeled wide, while Kane whistled one of his six attempts narrowly off-target.
Emerson Royal (£4.9m) has registered more final-third touches and chances created than any other player in Gameweek 21 so far but despite those numbers, the Brazilian was frustratingly wasteful.
MORE OF THE SAME FROM WEST HAM
Electric going forward, suspect at the back: it was business as usual for West Ham in their first Double Gameweek 21 fixture.
Palace didn’t spoil the Hammers’ clean sheet till late but they ought to have been on the scoresheet long before that, twice hitting the woodwork and wasting numerous half-chances as the visitors’ mostly second-string backline creaked.
Ben Johnson (£4.0m) was hooked at the break after being booked shortly before the interval.
The Hammers have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 matches and have allowed more shots on target than any other club from Gameweek 10 onwards.
Going forward, Michail Antonio (£7.8m), Jarrod Bowen (£6.6m) and – in his last appearance before departing for Cameroon – Said Benrahma (£5.9m) all delivered returns but it was Manuel Lanzini (£5.8m), now very much on penalties whenever veteran benchwarmer Mark Noble (£4.4m) isn’t on the field, who outscored them all.
His two goals came from his only two shots of the match, however, and he averages an effort only once every 83.9 minutes across the whole of 2021/22.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR OLISE
It wasn’t just the excellent assist for Odsonne Edouard (£6.4m) or the fortuitous free-kick goal that brought Michael Olise (£5.4m) to our attention.
The winger will now benefit from the absences of Jordan Ayew (£5.8m) and Zaha over the next two Gameweeks, with that first-choice pair now off to the Africa Cup of Nations.
On a share of set plays, Olise has the best minutes-per-chance-created average (45) of any Palace player this season.
While not someone you’d likely target with free transfers given the short-term nature of his appeal, he’s a possible fifth midfielder option on a Free Hit if a Double Gameweek 22 does materialise for the Eagles – as seems very possible.
FORM FPL PLAYERS MAINTAIN PURPLE PATCHES AT THE EMIRATES
Pep Guardiola admitted that Arsenal were the “better” side in Manchester City’s 2-1 win at the Emirates, with the resurgent Gunners putting in an excellent display.
Some of FPL’s form players kept up their purple patches: Bukayo Saka (£6.3m) and Aymeric Laporte (£5.6m) now haven’t blanked in five and six matches respectively, while Kieran Tierney (£4.9m) has registered a whopping 50 points over his last half-dozen run-outs.
Gabriel Martinelli (£5.4m) blanked for the second match in a row but the budget midfielder continues to get into some really promising positions, going agonisingly close with one effort and then contriving to hit the post with the goal gaping.
Five of Arsenal’s seven attempts on Saturday came from the Brazilian:
RED FLAGS ARE FOR THE NEXT GAMEWEEK, PEOPLE…
….we can’t stress that enough.
If you’ve seen a red flag appearing on Mohamed Salah (£12.9m) – or one of 27 other players – in the last few hours, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that he’s going to miss the Chelsea game on Sunday.
Flags in FPL are (meant to be) for the next Gameweek, so with Premier League players heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations after the New Year’s round of matches is over, the unavailability, in this case, means for Gameweek 22 and beyond.
Check your latest FPL rank LIVE on LiveFPL.net every Gameweek
Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a FREE trial are all now available.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.