The Gameweek 4 review continues as we pick out the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Arsenal v Manchester United.
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It was another disappointing day at the office for Kai Havertz (£7.3m), who looked a little lost in his ‘left-eight’ position.
The German struggled to link-up with Gabriel Martinelli (£7.9m), spurned a great chance in the first-half and on the hour mark, looked to have won his side a penalty, only for the call to be overturned after a VAR review.
To make matters worse, he sloppily gave the ball away for Marcus Rashford’s (£8.9m) opener.
He’s trying, but Mikel Arteta might consider starting Fabio Vieira (£5.4m) over him after the international break. The Portuguese, who played much higher and wider than Havertz, notched his third assist of the season off the bench, combining well with fellow substitute Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m).
On whether Vieira could start in Gameweek 5, Mikel Arteta said:
“Every player has a chance to do that, today we decided to start with Kai, we knew that Fabio would have a big impact especially in the last few minutes, or final minutes if we needed something and something has changed with Fabio, you notice with the crowd when he steps in he is different to how he was last year, he’s more mature, he’s more senior in the squad and his confidence in the squad is high so I’m really happy to have those options.” – Mikel Arteta on Fabio Vieira
Martinelli was the architect of Arsenal’s equaliser and his owners will be pleased to see Jesus back from injury, given how well they connect in the final-third.
Elsewhere, Bukayo Saka (£8.7m) missed a decent chance in the second-half but he did at least earn the assist for Rice’s winner, while Martin Odegaard’s (£8.5m) equaliser means he has now scored more league goals than any other Gunners player since the start of last season (17).
Gabriel Magalhaes (£4.8m) made his first start of the 2023/24 campaign on Sunday, as Mikel Arteta reverted to the back four he used for most of last season, with Ben White (£5.5m) at right-back in place of the injured Thomas Partey (£4.9m).
Asked about the extent of the injury, the Spaniard said:
“I don’t know, unfortunately he got an injury in training and it doesn’t look good, we need some more tests, we believe he’s going to be out for weeks. We think it’s a groin but can be something in between.” – Mikel Arteta on Thomas Partey’s injury
As for Gabriel, his return coincided with Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.9m) being back, and he played very well, bringing aggression and physicality into the backline.
He also helped Arsenal maintain a high line which kept them in the game.
With White, William Saliba (£5.2m), Gabriel and Zinchenko lining up together, the Gunners conceded only one big chance and 10 shots which carried a combined expected goals (xG) value of just 0.94.
RASHFORD BEST ON THE LEFT/HOJLUND’S DEBUT
The most-sold midfielder in Gameweek 4, Marcus Rashford, scored his first goal of the season at the Emirates.
His performance, which included five shots, underlined why he is so much better on the left, where he can run at defenders with pace and cut inside onto his stronger right foot, which is exactly what he did for the opener.
Above: Marcus Rashford’s average position by Gameweek (left) and shot map (right) since moving back to the left flank in Gameweek 3
Since reverting to his favoured role in Gameweek 3, Rashford has one goal and two assists, and it’s highly likely Erik ten Hag will keep him on the left with Rasmus Hojlund (£7.0m) getting up to speed.
The Dane made his debut on Sunday, replacing Anthony Martial (£6.5m) on 67 minutes, and showed what he has to offer, adding a much-needed physical edge and focal point to Man Utd’s attack.
It was a promising start and it finally looks like the Red Devils have a ‘proper’ centre-forward to call upon.
Asked about the former Atlanta striker in his post-match interview, ten Hag said:
“I think Anthony Martial played a good game, but when Hojlund came on, he definitely had an impact. He was difficult to play against, [he showed] very good movement behind. I think he was also close in the box with finishing, one time was very near [at the] front post and one time I already mentioned, it could have been a penalty. [It was] a foul on Hojlund in the penalty area, I think not even noticed, I don’t think, by the VAR.” – Erik ten Hag on Rasmus Hojlund
Elsewhere, substitute Alejandro Garnacho (£4.9m) thought he’d won it in the final minutes, having slid the ball past Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m), but VAR replays showed he was narrowly offside.
UNITED’S DEFENSIVE ABSENCES
Erik ten Hag was already without Raphael Varane (£5.0m), Luke Shaw (£5.4m) and Tyrell Malacia (£4.4m), but he also lost Lisandro Martinez (£4.9m) and Victor Lindelof (£4.5m) on Sunday.
The pair made way in the second-half, leaving former Leicester City pairing Harry Maguire (£4.3m) and Jonny Evans (£4.0m) as their two centre-halves.
Notably, neither Martinez or Lindelof were on the pitch when the Gunners scored two injury-time goals.
Explaining why they were substituted, ten Hag said:
“Victor was ill, so he had to come off. And Licha [Martinez] said he had a problem on his foot. But I’m not sure if it’s an injury. We have to wait, we have to see, we have to make the diagnosis.” – Erik ten Hag
The Reds do at least head into the international break now, giving their players almost a fortnight to recover for their next fixture, at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in Gameweek 5.
Sofyan Amrabat will add a bit of protection, but having so many key defensive players out is a worry, especially for owners of Andre Onana (£5.0m).
The shot-stopper probably should have done better with Rice’s strike but his distribution was once again good at the Emirates, to the point Arsenal didn’t even bother pressing him.