In our latest Fantasy Premier League (FPL) review, we’ve got the key FPL talking points from Everton v Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa.
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RASHFORD – NOT BRUNO – TAKES PEN
Manchester United’s only penalties so far this season have come against Nottingham Forest and FC Copenhagen, with both converted by Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m).
However, the Portuguese handed the ball to Marcus Rashford (£8.6m) to step up on Sunday, with the England international making no mistake from 12 yards.
Explaining his decision post-match, Fernandes said:
“[I did it] because I felt Marcus [Rashford] needed a little bit of confidence, he needed his goal. Marcus is an excellent penalty taker too, I am 100% sure he could score that penalty. It is not about who takes it, it is about scoring the penalty, and Marcus did it perfectly.
I think we all know strikers and wingers want to score goals, they need to score, that is part of their game. It gives you more of a boost and as you saw after the goal Marcus was unstoppable. He could take on everyone.
Sometimes you need this opportunity to get your confidence back and Marcus has been great for us. Last year he was amazing so therefore everyone’s expectations for this season have been a lot higher. It is just about getting his goals back and everyone saying he is world class again.” – Bruno Fernandes
Erik ten Hag offered his thoughts, too:
“You saw how great a captain Bruno is. He could see, feel, assess that his team-mate needed that goal. Also, he had the confidence in Rashy to take the penalty because he knows he is a very good penalty taker. ‘Take that ball and take your confidence’. As a team, you need that. You need such leadership and you back each other, you cover each other and you give each other the confidence because you know you need it to get a successful season.” – Erik ten Hag
Rashford has now scored 11 of the 13 penalties he has taken for United excluding shootouts.
He has been below par this term, but having notched his second goal of the season at Goodison Park, will be hoping it proves to be a turning point, with a trip to St James’ Park up next in Gameweek 14.
UNITED TOP FORM TABLE
There have been questions over Erik ten Hag’s team this season but they showed quality on Sunday and have now won five of their past six Premier League games, which has taken them to the top of the form table on 15 points.
They’ve scored just nine goals in that period, but with only five conceded and three consecutive clean sheets, it’s easy to see why.
Performances haven’t been great, but the 3-0 win at Goodison Park was at least a step in the right direction.
“Of course, we’re taking positives from it. We had problems in the start of the season. A lot went against us. We’re growing. We have to keep this process growing.” – Erik ten Hag
In addition to Rashford’s penalty, Alejandro Garnacho (£4.7m) scored a goal-of-the-season contender, before Anthony Martial (£6.4m) completed the scoring when he ran onto Fernandes’ pass before dinking the ball over Jordan Pickford (£4.4m).
Elsewhere, £4.4m Kobbie Mainoo impressed in midfield with and without the ball, while Luke Shaw (£5.2m) completed 76 minutes on his return, playing his part in another clean sheet for the Red Devils.
As for Everton, they will be wondering how they didn’t score, especially in the first half when Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.8m) missed a flurry of chances.
Worryingly, the defeat means only Burnley have earned fewer points at home than the Toffees in the Premier League this season.
INJURIES STACKING UP FOR SPURS… BUT POSITIVES TO TAKE
Tottenham had struggled to create opportunities at Wolverhampton Wanderers in Gameweek 12, but on Sunday, they had no such issues.
Yes, it’s now three defeats in a row, which has coincided with a string of injuries and suspensions to key players, but they generally played very well against Aston Villa, especially in the first half, having created 2.34 expected goals (xG).
On top of that, Son Heung-min (£9.7m) saw a hat-trick of goals disallowed for offside, much to the frustration of his owners.
It was very much an all-out-attack approach from Ange Postecoglou and his team, with a four-man defence consisting of four full-backs and Rodrigo Bentancur (£5.4m), Giovani Lo Celso (£4.8m) and Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) in midfield.
Lo Celso certainly stepped up as Spurs’ playmaker in the absence of James Maddison (£7.9m), with most of what they did well going through him.
“Yeah I thought Gio did really well today in the role we had him. He was creative and scored a good goal. He was always threatening and he worked hard. He hasn’t played a lot of football. The reality of it is that we’re not going to get too many back. We’ll get Bissouma back for next week but we might have lost Bentancur. We only had six or seven on the bench so everyone who is here at the moment is going to have to play a part.” – Ange Postecoglou on Giovani Lo Celso
Still, when you’ve got Emerson Royal (£4.4m) and Ben Davies (£4.3m) at centre-back and are without the entire midfield trio that had taken Spurs to the top of the table, there will, of course, be limitations to how well they can do, which was apparent at times in the second half.
Elsewhere, Pedro Porro (£5.3m) was a constant threat to Villa’s defence and claimed his fourth assist of the season, more than any other FPL defender bar Kieran Trippier (£7.0m).
So, there were positives to take on Sunday despite defeat, but with Manchester City up next in Gameweek 14, it might not get better anytime soon.
They could also be without Bentancur for that one, who started well on Sunday but was forced off on 32 minutes with a suspected ankle injury.
WHY CASH WAS SUBBED OFF AT HALF-TIME
Gameweek 13 carried so much potential for Matty Cash (£5.1m) owners, with the defender deployed ‘out of position’ as a right midfielder in Unai Emery’s 4-4-2.
However, Cash struggled in the first half and was replaced at half-time having picked up a booking, his fourth of the season so far.
On the tactical changes he made at the break, which also included Leon Bailey (£5.5m) coming on for the ineffectual Moussa Diaby (£6.8m), Emery said:
“We were struggling on the right side and tactically it was my correction. I needed to make a decision to correct it. Offensively as well, we weren’t attacking on the right like we were on the left. Cash was a risk on a yellow card, and the solution was Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans, trying to get two players different. One did the passes and the other for the running. They did it.” – Unai Emery
In one of the most open starts to a game we’ve seen this season, Villa looked vulnerable every time Spurs went forward, with their high defensive line often breached.
However, the second-half changes made all the difference, with Youri Tielemans (£5.6m) in particular superb.
Given their lack of height and centre-backs, it was no surprise Spurs conceded from a set-piece, when Pau Torres (£4.6m) nodded in Douglas Luiz’s (£5.6m) inviting free-kick, before Ollie Watkins (£8.5m) netted the winner with his seventh goal of the season so far.
Next up for Villa is a key UEFA Europa League Conference League clash with Legia Warsaw on Thursday, before Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth precedes home matches with Man City and Arsenal.