We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) notes from Monday night’s Gameweek 2 meeting between Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
The numbers and graphics you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area. Here, you can access Opta player and team data from every single Premier League fixture.
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Two talking points emerged from this Selhurst Park encounter. Firstly, the much-owned Gabriel (£5.0m) was once again left on the bench by Mikel Arteta. By securing a clean sheet and bonus points, William Saliba (£5.1m) extended the early points gap between the pair.
Secondly, the only goal came from an Arsenal penalty. But rather than Bukayo Saka (£8.6m), it was captain Martin Odegaard (£8.5m) who stepped up to convert past Sam Johnstone (£4.5m).
GABRIEL BENCHED AGAIN
Having started 73 consecutive league games for Arsenal, handing an initial £5.0m starting price to the defender with a league-high 5.08 expected goals (xG) seemed incredibly low from those in charge at FPL.
But maybe they knew what was coming. Very few others did. Here we are after two matches, where Gabriel has started neither. It’s been a disaster for the 2.7 million managers who began the season with the Brazilian – he came on both times to block all autosubs – and surely he’ll become the most-sold player as we approach the Gameweek 3 deadline.
Tactical reasons have been suggested, where Arteta seemingly doesn’t like Gabriel as a left-sided centre-back once a full-back inverts into defensive midfield. With Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.0m) yet to feature on the left, Thomas Partey (£5.0m) has been playing this role from the right, therefore no Gabriel.
“It’s about the games that we were expecting, what I was expecting, how we wanted to defend and attack and our belief it was the best thing. He’s played in both games, he’s helped us to win both games for different reasons. He was really good today, he absolutely dominated the box. He’s going to play a lot of games. That’s the decision sometimes.” – Mikel Arteta
Owners will be wondering who to move him to. Perhaps a Manchester City ticket to ‘Pep Roulette’, with other options including Brentford’s Rico Henry (£4.6m), Chelsea’s Malo Gusto (£4.0m), Tottenham’s Destiny Udogie (£4.5m) or even just a sideways move to another Arsenal defender.
Then again, perhaps the Tomiyasu red card ensures it’ll be Zinchenko and Gabriel in the Gameweek 3 line-up versus Fulham.
IS SAKA OFF PENALTIES?
Meanwhile, this was Saka’s 82nd successive Premier League appearance, equalling a record previously set by Paul Merson. With Gabriel and Arteta in mind, we knew bad news surely had to follow.
Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m) hit the post after a Saka through ball and, when the forward was fouled in the 52nd minute, it wasn’t the usual Saka spot kick. Having missed his third penalty of the 2022/23 campaign, alongside one in pre-season, duties were handed to Odegaard.
“I had no clue. It’s about leadership of players. If they felt it was the right thing to do then I’m fine. I was surprised like everyone else. They made that. He scored the goal which is the most important thing and we won the game.” – Mikel Arteta on Odegaard taking the penalty
The latter’s 22.3% ownership will love this sequence of events but it suddenly dents the appeal of 66.5%-owned Saka. Although, in fairness, his 18 touches inside the box do rank highly in fourth place.
The Norwegian’s year of 15 goals, eight assists and fourth-best 212 FPL points seemed tough to replicate. However, remaining on penalties gives him a real chance of matching and possibly even improving such numbers.
BITS AND PIECES
The 67th-minute red card of Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.5m) was the result of two very soft yellows. The first was for time-wasting with a throw-in when Kai Havertz (£7.5m) was the one delaying things, before tossing the ball to his team-mate. Booking number two came from a slight shirt pull on the halfway line.
Whether Gabriel would’ve emerged from the bench regardless, we’ll never know. But this sending-off brought pain just a few minutes later.
Eventually, Havertz achieved his yellow card to complete a frustrating night of one shot, one chance created and an expected goal involvement (xGI) of just 0.07. Things weren’t much better for Gabriel Martinelli (£8.0m), with two attempts and a 0.15 xGI. Owners may be nervous that the unused Leandro Trossard (£6.9m) could step in against Fulham next weekend.
Moving onto Crystal Palace, it was another blank for Eberechi Eze (£6.5m) but any upcoming price drop feels slightly harsh. Following Gameweek 1 – where he accumulated the most shots (eight) and chances created (seven) of all players – came a match-leading four attempts here.
Home matches versus Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham and Nottingham Forest take place in Palace’s next six. Eze could be a decent replacement for any Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m) or James Maddison (£7.6m) sellers.
Finally, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale’s (£5.0m) clean sheet helped Arsenal get their first Monday night away win from five attempts under Arteta. It should ensure he retains the shirt ahead of new arrival David Raya (£4.9m).
FPL NOTES: GAMEWEEK 2 LINE-UPS
Crystal Palace XI: Johnstone; Ward (Rak-Sakyi 83′), Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Lerma, Doucoure; Ayew, Eze, Schlupp (Ahamada 74′); Edouard
Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Partey, White, Saliba, Tomiyasu; Odegaard (Kiwior 89′), Rice, Havertz; Saka (Zinchenko 89′), Nketiah (Jorginho 79′), Martinelli (Gabriel 70′)