The Digest articles make a welcome return to Fantasy Football Scout in 2023/24.
In these pieces, a player, team and talking point that have attracted interest in the weekend’s matches are discussed.
Five-time top 1k finisher Tom Freeman will be taking the reins this season, producing regular Digest articles, with only Premium Members able to access every single one.
Here, he discusses Taiwo Awoniyi‘s (£6.5m) form, Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures and Joao Pedro (£5.6m).
It has been quite the start to the season for Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi.
The 26-year-old scored in his sixth consecutive Premier League match on Friday, taking his tally to two in two this season, despite working his way back to full fitness from injury.
It prompted Steve Cooper to suggest Awoniyi could be a 20-goal striker, providing he can stay fit.
“I hope he can. That would be nice! He scored a lot of goals at Union Berlin. That’s the hope. That’s the plan. That’s the challenge for him. That’s the challenge for us coaches, to push him. What’s great about T is he wants to work, he wants to challenge and he wants to push. He needs a bit of luck with injuries and availability. I hope he gets it. Let’s hope he can reach that mark. But it will only be if he continues to do what he’s been doing every day – and I don’t just mean in games, I mean his attitude to work at the training ground, both on and off the pitch.” – Steve Cooper on Taiwo Awoniyi
So, player and manager are making all the right noises, but is his form sustainable?
Firstly, his run of eight goals in six games – spread over two seasons – has arrived from just nine shots and 1.9 expected goals (xG), an immediate red flag.
|2||Sheffield United (h)||1||1||0.29|
|38||Crystal Palace (a)||1||1||0.16|
Looking back further at last season’s stats, Awoniyi averaged 2.2 goal attempts per 90 minutes, a similar figure to Bryan Mbeumo (£6.6m) and Phil Foden (£7.5m).
It offers a bit more encouragement, especially as it was his debut campaign in England, but I still find it difficult to fully trust Nott’m Forest’s potential to score goals: they averaged just one per game in 2022/23.
Still, when Awoniyi plays, he clearly makes them stronger and I do like the fact they have mostly used a 3-4-2-1 formation this season, a like-minded system to the one he thrived in at previous club Union Berlin, where he scored 15 goals in 2021/22.
In that set-up, the wing-backs were the centre of chance creation, supplying lots of crosses for Awoniyi. Serge Aurier’s (£4.5m) performance on Friday showed promise, but it’s debatable whether or not the Reds have enough quality at wing-back to supplement Morgan Gibbs-White’s (£6.0m) creativity from central areas.
For now, I still have reservations about Awoniyi, but his output once Forest’s fixtures ease will be very closely scrutinized.