We’ve already brought you the statistical summary of Saturday’s Gameweek 6 action but we now turn our attention to the wider Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the day’s fixtures.
With there being a bumper crop of eight matches taking place yesterday, our Scout Notes articles are split into two as we first focus on the matches at Stamford Bridge, the City Ground, St James’ Park and Molineux.
The numbers you see in this article are from our Premium Members area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture.
CHELSEA 2-1 WEST HAM UNITED
Owners of Marc Cucurella (£5.2m) may be sitting nervously after the Spaniard’s positional rival replaced him midway through the second half of Saturday’s match against West Ham and grabbed two attacking returns.
Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) scored from a narrow angle to draw Chelsea level after Michail Antonio‘s (£7.2m) scrappy, deadlock-breaking tap-in, with the left wing-back then teeing up substitute Kai Havertz (£7.7m) for the winner.
Chilwell ended up with a double-digit haul from an 18-minute appearance; his last Premier League seven starts, incidentally, have seen him plunder three goals and two assists.
Thomas Tuchel’s post-match comments did suggest that Chilwell has more work to do on the fitness front, however:
“I think he has the full fitness you can have from training and pre-season matches. Of course you can also feel fitter and be fitter with consecutive matches in the Premier League.
“In my opinion, he lacks the rhythm and he lacks a good feeling for the game. This is what I see in training. The player always thinks he’s ready, I think there are still a few things missing.
“He started for us at Everton, he came on against Southampton, he came on today and had a huge impact. This is what we want from him. The wing-back position is his best position in my opinion. He gives a lot of energy, runs and deliveries. So I’m very happy because these things happen like nothing else.”
“Much more important than any training or talk with me is that he feels it and he experiences being back on the pitch and being decisive.” – Thomas Tuchel on Ben Chilwell
This was a fifth straight match without a clean sheet for the Blues, with Cucurella and Reece James (£6.0m) compounding their blanks with yellow cards. Two more cautions for James before Chelsea’s 19th fixture will result in him getting a one-match ban.
Chelsea are worryingly second-bottom for big chances conceded over their last five fixtures, and the form of Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) is not inspiring confidence either: he flapped for West Ham’s opener and then was fortunate to have his blushes spared by VAR after Maxwel Cornet (£5.9m) tucked in what we thought was a late leveller.
Mendy will now be assessed for a shoulder injury allegedly picked up in that disallowed goal, although the phrase ‘milking it’ did come to mind on first glance.
“He was in a lot of pain, we have to see, it’s too early to comment on it.
“I think he’s at the moment a bit unlucky. In training he’s fantastic, he’s in general a very calm, very self-reflective guy who is aware that he lacks a little bit of luck at the moment. Things do no go in his favour. He has situations where if it’s not 100 per cent clear because of his actions he gets punished massively.
“He’s just in this moment, it feels like it’s not so much his fault. I have a feeling that he tries everything, he’s very focused and we will keep on supporting him.” – Thomas Tuchel on Edouard Mendy
Further forward, Mason Mount‘s (£7.7m) stock plummets further as he was named only among the substitutes.
Opponents West Ham have been much better in Gameweeks 4-6 than the three games before that, and barely gave Chelsea a sniff for much of this match.
They sit third-top of our Season Ticker for fixture difficulty between now and the World Cup, although the Thursday-Sunday fixture run due to Europa Conference League involvement is a deterrent.
Chelsea XI: Mendy; Fofana, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly; James, Loftus-Cheek (Jorginho 83), Kovacic (Havertz 72), Cucurella (Chilwell 72); Gallagher (Broja 60); Pulisic (Mount 60), Sterling
West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Kehrer, Zouma, Emerson; Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Paqueta (Ogbonna 83), Fornals (Cornet 86); Antonio (Benrahma 74)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2-3 BOURNEMOUTH
If Nottingham Forest can get their defence sorted out, then Neco Williams (£4.1m) will be a heck of a Fantasy asset.
Top among FPL defenders for shots and joint-third for chances created in 2022/23, the budget buy got his first attacking return of the season when winning the penalty that Brennan Johnson (£5.9m) converted. Any dreams of a Lundstram-sized haul were dashed, however, when Bournemouth came back from 2-0 down to not just spoil a Forest clean sheet but also claim all three points.
A tricky start to the season is mitigation for the fact that Forest have allowed more shots than any other team but to concede three goals against the side with the worst expected goals (xG) total in the division is more of a concern.
The Cherries did admittedly score three times from an xG of just 0.78: Philip Billing‘s (£5.3m) long-distance strike would fly into row Z on a normal day and Dominic Solanke‘s (£5.7m) equaliser was crucially deflected, while the only ‘big chance’ that Forest conceded came when Scott McKenna‘s (£4.5m) error was punished by match-winner Jaidon Anthony (£5.3m).
Cooper at least has plenty of alternative options at the rear after his summer spending spree, so it may take a little time for the Forest boss to settle on a first-choice backline.
“The first goal, we didn’t defend well enough before the ball went in the net. That has then set the tone for the second half, and we’ve not managed that very well.
“The second goal was from a set-piece. We should do better, but we were slightly unfortunate that Yatesy was off the pitch because he had a knock on his head before it.
“Then there was a mistake from Scott for the third goal. That’s the first time he’s put a foot wrong since I’ve been here.
“But let’s not hide away from the fact that we’ve thrown away a win. We’ve not done it in a very good way. We’ve conceded three goals at home, and there’s nothing good about that.” – Steve Cooper
Two more notes on Forest: Johnson is, as he was last season whenever the now-departed Lewis Grabban was absent, on spot-kicks, while Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.5m) has wrestled set-piece duties away from Williams. It was from Gibbs-White’s corner that Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.5m) nodded in the game’s first goal.
Despite the manager exit and league-worst goal difference, Bournemouth somehow have seven points and are now top of our Season Ticker from now until the World Cup.
Temporary head coach Gary O’Neil has got a tune out of the same set of players that Scott Parker was dismissive about but we’ll see if the fabled ‘new (caretaker) manager bounce’ lasts.
Solanke’s an attractive proposition as one of the cheapest starting FPL forwards in the game but the form and fixtures of Ivan Toney (£7.1m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.8m), and the more attacking mindset of the teams they play for, makes the Cherries striker a harder sell, even at the lower price. Solanke’s goal, for example, came from his only shot of the game.
Nottingham Forest XI: Henderson, Worrall, S. Cook, McKenna, Williams, Yates, Kouyate (Colback, 76), Lodi, Gibbs-White, Lingard (Awoniyi, 67), Johnson (Dennis, 85).
AFC Bournemouth XI: Neto, Smith, Mepham, Kelly, Zemura (Fredericks, 45), L. Cook, Lerma, Christie (Anthony, 85), Billing (Moore, 90), Tavernier, Solanke (Stacey, 90).
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
“43 shots and no goals” was how Sky Sports labelled their video package of this game – and Nick Pope (£5.1m) was the main beneficiary of that profligacy.
Nine saves and maximum bonus points saw him rise to the top of the FPL goalkeeper standings, while Kieran Trippier (£5.2m) climbed to second in the defenders’ list. The right-back’s total of six chances created against Palace was the highest of Gameweek 6 so far and also helped him claim two bonus points to go with his clean sheet.
Eddie Howe’s side are now on a remarkable run of six clean sheets in their last 10 home fixtures.
Despite Pope’s nine saves, Palace didn’t register a single Opta-defined ‘big chance’; Newcastle had five.
It was a frustrating afternoon for the Magpies as Miguel Almiron (£5.0m) hit the woodwork, Joe Willock (£4.9m) saw a goal harshly chalked off by the VAR and new signing Alexander Isak (£7.0m) wasted a glorious one-on-one opportunity. Having twice found the net expertly at Anfield (one was disallowed due to offside), perhaps it was over-confidence that led him to attempt a dinked finish – but self-assurance isn’t a bad quality in a striker.
“He will be disappointed to miss that because I think he would back himself to score and I’d certainly back him to score but he’s gone for a certain type of finish but he didn’t quite execute it right.
“I thought we starved him of with the ball a little bit and I desperately wanted him to try and get on the ball more, especially in the attacking third.
“It’s just that he’s had no training time with us. So he’s been thrust right into action and I think he’s done very well but there’s a lot of improvement for us as a team to try and serve him.” – Eddie Howe on Alexander Isak
Both of these sides have favourable fixture runs coming up, with Newcastle’s schedule from Gameweek 8-13 appealing and Palace enjoying a much easier stretch from Gameweeks 10-18.
The Eagles are actually rock-bottom for big chances conceded so far in 2022/23 but given that they’ve faced Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City already, some context is needed.
Newcastle United XI: Pope, Trippier, Targett (Burn 79), Botman, Schar, Joelinton, S.Longstaff, Willock, Fraser (Anderson 70), Almiron (J.Murphy 70), Isak (Wood 90+2)
Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Ward, Andersen, Guehl, Mitchell (Clyne 63), Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze (Olise 63), J.Ayew, Zaha, Mateta (Edouard 63)
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON
The joint-lowest scorers in the division ground out a 1-0 victory on Saturday and it was fitting for a team that can’t finish for toffee that their winning strike was a mishit effort that bobbled apologetically over the line.
Daniel Podence (£5.5m) was the goalscorer, with one of just seven shots his side had all afternoon. Podence has scored two of Wolves’ three strikes in 2022/23.
Pre-season bandwagon Pedro Neto (£5.2m) blanked for the sixth straight match and with Liverpool and Manchester City up next, the exodus will continue ahead of Gameweek 6.
Wolves tried to remedy their goalscoring woes with the capture of Sasa Kalajdzic (£5.5m) in the transfer window and he’s a budget forward to monitor in the medium term, as he was thrown straight into the starting XI here at the expense of Raul Jimenez (£6.9m).
Kalajdzic duly picked up a knee injury in the first half, while Jimenez pulled out of bency duty because of “chronic fatigue”.
“It’s nothing special. What is important is that he played 45 minutes at a good level.” – Bruno Lage on Sasa Kalajdzic’s injury
The opening six Gameweeks have been better from a defensive perspective, with only Brighton – who have played a game less – conceding fewer goals than Wolves (four). Nathan Collins (£4.5m) and Max Kilman (£4.5m) are now fourth and joint-fifth respectively for FPL points among defenders but the fixtures have been favourable and the real work starts now.
Saints have been much improved since their change to a back four midweek through Gameweek 2 and could have easily had a point here. Che Adams (£6.4m) nodded against the bar and somehow contrived to cock up an even better chance when his mistimed jump resulted in him handling, rather than heading, into an open goal.
“It (the defeat) shouldn’t happen, but we have to accept it, although it’s hard to take. I think we showed for the whole game how resilient we are and how good we can play; created chances, and in the end missed only the goal. That was the only thing that was missing today.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
Wolves XI: Sa, Jonny, Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Nunes, Neto (Traore 81), Podence (Hwang 82), Kalajdzic (Guedes 46).
Southampton XI: Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Salisu, Bella-Kotchap, Perraud (Edozie 73), Elyounoussi (S. Armstrong 56), Aribo (Maitland-Niles 73), Ward-Prowse, Diallo (Djenepo 56), Adams, A. Armstrong (Mara 83).