We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Sunday’s four Double Gameweek 36 fixtures in our Scout Notes summary.
GOALS, ASSISTS AND BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
Ruben Dias (£6.2m) limped off with a hamstring injury at half-time on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola revealing he will not play again this season, along with Kyle Walker (£5.4m) and John Stones (£5.2m).
“Ruben (Dias), Kyle (Walker) and John (Stones) are out until the end of the season. Next pre-season maybe they will be ready. (Ruben’s problem is) muscular. Not the same position, but hamstring. He has had a problem in his ankle for a long time.” – Pep Guardiola
And with Nathan Ake (£4.7m) also carrying a knock, they could be down to “three defenders” for their trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.
“It happened in the game against Leeds. Still, he (Ake) has a little niggle and doesn’t feel comfortable. Maybe not (ready) for Wolves, but maybe for the next two.
We have Joao (Cancelo), Oleks (Zinchenko) and Aymeric (Laporte). Otherwise we have to play CJ (Egan-Riley) or Luke Mbete.
If Rodri has to play in that position, it is not a problem, or if we have to play someone from the Academy. We have 13 players available for these games. No more than that, plus Academy.
When we do that, everyone has to do more to help our absences and the problem we have. It is what it is. We arrive with problems. Today we had three defenders in the second half.
Fernandinho played well against Callum Wilson. That’s what we have to do.” – Pep Guardiola
James Maddison (£6.9m) was missing from the Leicester City matchday squad because of a tight hamstring, although Brendan Rodgers did sound fairly optimistic about his chances for Wednesday.
The Foxes boss also issued updates on full-backs Ricardo Pereira (£5.2m) and James Justin (£4.9m), both of whom missed out.
“Hopefully James (Maddison) will be okay for Wednesday. Ricky (Pereira), it’s questionable if he will play over the next couple of weeks. JJ (Justin), you remember he fell on his shoulder at Roma, there’s a dislocation there. We have to see if he’s going to be able to play in any of the other games.” – Brendan Rodgers
Frank Lampard has revealed Yerry Mina (£4.9m) will have a scan on the calf problem he sustained in Sunday’s 2-1 victory at Leicester City on Monday, and says he is hopeful the issue which forced Vitalii Mykolenko (£4.9m) off midway through the second half was “just cramp”.
“Yerry had a small feeling in his calf. We don’t know (how bad it is yet). Hopefully it isn’t a tear. He felt it in his calf, so he had to come off. We’re hoping it’s not a high-level injury and we can keep him involved in the next two weeks. He will have a scan tomorrow (Monday).
With Myko (Mykolenko), we hope it was just cramp. It would be a result if that is the case.” – Frank Lampard
Three players also took a knock for West Ham United, although David Moyes didn’t seem to think they were too serious in the aftermath.
Mick’s (Antonio) got a bit of a knock on his hip. Dawson took one in the calf, and Said’s (Benrahma) could have been his ankle – I’ve not had the chance to see it yet – so hopefully they’ll all be okay. I don’t think they looked that serious.” – David Moyes
Bukayo Saka (£6.7m) is “fine” according to Mikel Arteta despite his 67th-minute withdrawal, while Ben White (£4.6m) has a chance to feature on Thursday.
“I think so, he’s started to do a little bit of work on the pitch and we want everyone available for that game because it’s so important.” – Mikel Arteta on Ben White
Mathias Normann (£4.5m) missed out due to a thigh injury at Norwich City, while Luke Ayling (£4.3m) will miss the rest of Leeds United’s season after picking up a straight red card against Arsenal.
FPL TALKING POINTS
NKETIAH AT THE DOUBLE
The most-bought player for Double Gameweek 36, Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m), started his fifth successive Premier League match for Arsenal on Sunday, and responded to Mikel Arteta’s call by netting another brace.
The cut-price forward has now produced 29 points in his last four outings, posting team-leading totals for goal attempts (17), shots in the box (12), efforts on target (nine), big chances (four) and penalty box touches (26) in that time.
As for Arsenal, they will head into Thursday’s north London derby four points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, knowing a win will secure Champions League football for 2022/23.
“We know that and we have earned the right to play that game in that context. We started the season with nine or 10 players out and playing the best two teams in Europe. Winning any match is extremely difficult. We are going to prepare for the game as best as we can.” – Mikel Arteta on Thursday’s north London derby and knowing victory will seal a Champions League spot
However, despite conceding just three shots to Leeds United, they still failed to keep a clean sheet and have now gone seven top-flight matches without a shut-out.
MESLIER AND AYLING’S ERRORS
Leeds United edged closer to relegation on Sunday as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates.
And it was a first-half horror show which cost them, with ‘keeper Illan Meslier (£4.8m) gifting Nketiah his opener after he failed to control a backpass, before Luke Ayling was sent off for a reckless challenge after VAR intervention.
Worryingly, the Whites’ goal difference now stands at -35, compared to relegation rivals Burnley and Everton, who are on -17 and -19 respectively.
Their next game is at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, before they round off the season against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.
“I think we had a really bad start and dug a hole for ourselves which we didn’t need to. At half-time we talked about keeping our composure and treating the game like it was 0-0. That’s what we did. Obviously, we are in a difficult situation. We have now lost two right-backs for the season in two matches. We have to regroup and figure out what we can do. Our backs are against the wall. We are in the relegation zone but we have to fight for our lives. When I came here two months ago I knew this was not going to be easy. The group has stayed strong. Our second-half performance highlights the character of the people we have here. The fans and the support at this club is unreal. We want to put a performance on the pitch that honours that support.” – Jesse Marsch
In terms of their FPL assets, the two most popular – Raphinha (£6.3m) and Joe Gelhardt (£4.7m) – had days to forget for differing reasons. The Brazilian struggled to get into the game, was booked and then replaced in the second-half, while budget forward Gelhardt – making his first Premier League start since the reverse fixture against Arsenal in December – was sacrificed early in the wake of Ayling’s red card.
Everton will head to Watford in midweek on the back of successive Premier League wins, which has seen them move out of the relegation zone with a one-point safety cushion.
Despite having the worst away record in the top flight in 2021/22 with just one win and three draws from 16 games heading into Double Gameweek 36, the Toffees found a cure for their travel sickness at the King Power Stadium, as they registered a massive 2-1 victory.
Richarlison (£7.5m), who started despite soreness in his ankle, grabbed the assist for Mason Holgate’s (£4.2m) winner – his sixth attacking return in his last seven appearances – but it was undoubtedly Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) who was the star of the show, as he racked up six points despite conceding thanks to six saves and bonus.
“He’s in great form and he’s getting the recognition he rightly deserves. A couple of big saves for us and you need those top-level players to produce. I think we’re building confidence. At Goodison we’ve been great but the away form has held us back.” – Frank Lampard on Jordan Pickford
Mykolenko netted a stunning volley from the edge of the penalty area, his first goal since signing for Everton, and along with Pickford, Richarlison and Anthony Gordon (£4.7m), will be popular targets for Double Gameweek 37, especially for those on a Free Hit.
LEICESTER’S SET-PIECE WOES
Familiar problems were on show for Leicester City at the King Power on Sunday, as they conceded from a corner yet again.
Defending set plays has been a real problem for the Foxes throughout 2021/22: no side has allowed more chances to be created from dead-ball situations, while their expected goals conceded (xGC) tally from set plays is also a league-worst.
“The biggest disappointment was the corner. They had one corner in the game and to concede from that… I changed the system to try to put extra height into the team. We have lacked the profile of player. Today it wasn’t that, it was just sheer determination and the lack of that to defend the ball into the box. That’s on me, I need to keep looking at this year to try to make it right before the summer when we can do something about it.” – Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers’ side have had a difficult time of late and are winless in their seven most recent matches in all competitions.
They also look short of confidence and energy, which is an important factor to consider ahead of their Gameweek 37 double-header against Watford and Chelsea.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the impact of Jarrod Bowen (£6.8m) in FPL this season.
The winger supplied a trio of assists for the second time this season against Norwich City, having done so against Watford in Gameweek 20.
As a result, only Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) and Son Heung-min (£11.0m) have provided more attacking returns than the West Ham man in 2021/22, with his current Premier League tally standing at 10 goals and 17 assists.
Michail Antonio (£7.4m), meanwhile, netted his first Premier League goal since New Year’s Day, while Said Benrahma’s (£5.9m) brace of goals was a throwback to the start of the season, when he raced out of the blocks with four attacking returns in the opening two weeks.
CITY BOUNCE BACK
Man City shrugged off the disappointment of their Champions League semi-final exit by claiming a comfortable 5-0 win over Newcastle United.
The victory leaves them three points clear of Liverpool, with a now-superior goal difference and just three games remaining.
“We talked about that at half-time – the importance of the win. It could have been 3-1 (with a big Newcastle chance) and after we scored two goals at the end, there’s a big difference.” – Pep Guardiola on goal difference
Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m), Rodri (£5.5m) and Phil Foden (£7.9m) scored in between Raheem Sterling (£10.5m) goals, although it was Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) – deployed in the left attacking channel for much of the game – who was undoubtedly the star performer.
Indeed, owners can count themselves a little unfortunate to end the game with six points, as the Belgian playmaker created three big chances for his team-mates, more than any other player in the Gameweek so far.
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