Our Scoreboard series rounds up the key goings-on from Sunday’s Double Gameweek 21 fixtures, from injury news to stats analysis.
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
Alisson (£6.0m), Joel Matip (£4.9m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.7m) were ruled out of Liverpool’s clash at Chelsea on Sunday after returning suspected positive tests for Covid-19.
As a result, the trio are now isolating.
A statement from the club prior to kick-off confirmed that all other members of the Reds’ playing squad have subsequently been tested and received negative results.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard declined to state the specific reason for Ollie Watkins’ (£7.8m) absence, but did confirm his squad are suffering with Covid and injury problems.
However, he did go on to say he is expecting him back against Manchester United, along with Tyrone Mings (£5.0m), who missed Double Gameweek 21 through suspension.
“I’m not sure I’m in the position to give you the details on it but we have got a mixture of Covid and injury problems at the moment. Ollie (Watkins) should be back for the next game.”
Brentford, meanwhile, had to contend with more injury issues, with Bryan Mbeumo (£5.3m) absent with a calf injury, and Mathias Jensen (£4.9m) and Sergi Canos (£5.5m) picking up knocks during the match.
“It’s a hip for Mathias (Jensen), and for Sergi (Canos) it’s a hamstring. I hope neither are major.” – Thomas Frank
On the suspension front, Aston Villa’s John McGinn (£5.8m), plus Leeds United duo Diego Llorente (£4.5m) and Tyler Roberts (£4.8m), will miss Gameweek 22 after receiving their fifth yellow cards of the campaign on Sunday.
GAMEWEEK 21 TAKEAWAYS
LUKAKU DROPPED AFTER INTERVIEW “BRINGS NOISE THAT WE DON’T NEED”
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel dropped Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) from his matchday squad in Double Gameweek 21, after the Belgian said in an interview that he was “not happy” with his role at Stamford Bridge, adding that he would like to return to Inter Milan in the future.
Discussing his decision, Tuchel said:
“I decided to protect the preparation of the match and that’s why he’s out. Of course, we have spoken, twice. I have spoken to the main players, then we had to realise it is too close to the match. The thing got too big, the thing got too noisy, so close to the match. We delayed the decision and while we are doing that we have to protect the preparation of the match. We have a big match of football to play. We need full focus which is hard enough to get without this decision, but that is why he is not playing. For sure it was a difficult decision to take.”
Further comments then emerged after full-time:
“He is our player, there is always a way back, we will clear this behind closed doors and once we have made a decision and Romelu (Lukaku) knows, you will maybe know also. It is not to be discussed now.”
SALAH AND MANE SET TO DEPART FOR AFCON
In a breathless Stamford Bridge encounter, Mohamed Salah (£12.9m) and Sadio Mane (£11.8m) were both on the scoresheet ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) departures. Both players are now set to fly out and join up with their respective teams for the tournament, with Naby Keita (£5.0m) also poised to turn out for Guinea, and are expected to return for Gameweek 24.
The absence of Salah in particular is a real blow for FPL managers. However, it does open up a free Liverpool slot alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.3m) and Diogo Jota (£8.2m), who are owned by 96.92% and 85.45% respectively in the top 10k.
That heightens the appeal of a short-term move for Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), who has now completed his three-match suspension. Notably, the Scottish international had produced a goal and four assists in his six appearances prior to his ban, averaging over seven points per match during that time.
Liverpool now face domestic cup ties against Arsenal (x2) and Shrewsbury Town, before they are back in Premier League action against Brentford at Anfield, with a second match possibly to be added as part of a Double Gameweek.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) frustrated his new owners on Sunday after failing to convert his first-half penalty at Goodison Park. The England international, subject to 135,378 transfers in ahead of Double Gameweek 21, certainly had his chances, ending the match with four shots in the box and six penalty area touches.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s xG shot map v Brighton and Hove Albion in Double Gameweek 21
However, all hope isn’t lost, as he should at least be handed another opportunity to impress next week, when Everton take on Leicester City in the second-part of their double-header.
“That was not the idea… it was maybe too demanding for him but we were losing and had to do it. Obviously, we didn’t want to keep him on the pitch as we felt, physically, he wouldn’t have the match fitness. Maybe he has the strength but not the stamina. But at least he’s fine and, hopefully, he can recover quickly for the next one.” – Rafa Benitez on his decision to use Calvert-Lewin from start to finish
BURNLEY FORM A WORRY
After today’s 3-1 loss at Elland Road, Burnley remain in the bottom three and have not won since October. It’s also worth noting that their away form is particularly bad, having failed to win a single game in 10 Premier League attempts this term, conceding 19 goals in the process.
It won’t get any easier for them, too, as their next four league games are against Leicester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.
They will also be without goalscorer Maxwel Cornet (£5.9m) for a period, who is now set to link up with Ivory Coast for AFCON.
UNDERWHELMING START TO DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 21
After West Ham United lost their clean sheet late on at Selhurst Park on Saturday, it was another underwhelming day for FPL managers who had invested heavily in Double Gameweek 21.
Brentford and Everton both lost their clean sheets early on, and whilst they did score four goals between them, the likes of Ivan Toney (£6.6m), Demarai Gray (£5.5m) and of course Calvert-Lewin, failed to get in on the act.
Instead, it was budget options Mads Roerslev (£4.3m) and Anthony Gordon (£4.5m) who were the unlikely Double Gameweek heroes, at least for now, as they both delivered double-digit hauls.
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