We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Friday night’s meeting between Aston Villa and Leeds United.
The numbers and graphics below are taken from LiveFPL and our own Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture.
A fun, open, match for neutrals ended in a 2-1 home win for Aston Villa despite all the efforts of Leeds.
There was very little FPL interest in this contest, with Rodrigo (£6.3m) the only starter with over five per cent ownership.
Yet it was Leon Bailey (£4.5m) who starred here with a goal, assist and 12 points, a man whose start-of-season popularity saw him in over 1.5 million squads.
BARGAIN BAILEY WAS BRILLIANT
The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker was given a pre-season price drop from £6.5m to £5.0m and this caught the attention of the FPL community. Not for long, though. An opening day blank at Bournemouth was followed by a Gameweek 2 benching, leading to mass abandonment that now puts his value down to £4.5m.
Between Bailey and Andreas Pereira (£4.6m), we are spoilt for quality cheap midfielders this year. It took just three minutes for the 25-year-old to score his fourth of the campaign, as Leeds’ corner quickly turned into a counter-attack where Boubacar Kamara (£4.8m) set up Bailey’s left-footed curler from just inside the penalty area.
Midway through the second half, it was 2-0. A powerful Bailey shot was saved by Illan Meslier (£4.5m) but fell onto Emiliano Buendia’s (£5.7m) header. Initially given offside, VAR rightly deemed it a fair goal.
Unai Emery has started Bailey for four successive league games. Not only will this performance keep him in the line-up, it’s also reinforced by the first-half ankle injury to Ollie Watkins (£7.1m).
Managers could consider having both Bailey and Pereira in tandem if it frees money up for elsewhere. Furthermore, while the Fulham playmaker is about to face Spurs and Chelsea, Bailey has Southampton and Leicester City up next.
BAMFORD BETTERS RODRIGO
Leeds will feel frustrated that they couldn’t leave with at least a draw, considering their 2.38 expected goals (xG) bettered Villa’s 1.28. Armed with the five best individual expected goal involvement (xGI) scores, they lost and remain in 14th place.
As the first FPL midfielder to reach ten goals this season, Rodrigo’s low ownership is surprising. Being played as a forward, he entered Gameweek 20 as the second-best in his assigned position for shots and xG.
It was therefore interesting to see forward Patrick Bamford (£7.2m) score on his comeback. His 2020/21 ended on a whopping 194 points following 17 goals and 11 assists. Injuries have plagued him since but he was there by the penalty spot to convert a Wilfried Gnonto (£5.0m) pullback.
BITS AND PIECES
In fact, Gnonto was a constant menace in this match – he looks like a real talent. The 19-year-old has started all league games since the World Cup and, after netting against West Ham United last time, was cruelly robbed of an assist here thanks to Joe Gelhardt’s (£5.1m) toe.
FA Cup injuries to Matty Cash (£4.6m) and Crysencio Summerville (£4.3m) meant both managers made one change to their starting line-ups, although Villa were forced into a pair of early substitutions. Watkins’ ankle is joined in the treatment room by Lucas Digne’s (£4.6m) shoulder, leading to an early debut for new £13.2m signing Alex Moreno (£4.5m).
The attacking left-back produced five goals and four assists for Real Betis last season but was needed for a crucial intervention after Rodrigo took the ball around Emiliano Martinez (£4.9m).
Argentina’s recent World Cup winner soon made amends with a magnificent save to end the first half. Luke Ayling’s (£4.5m) cross was met by Jack Harrison (£5.8m) at point-blank range but Martinez found a way to stop it.
Aston Villa XI: Martinez; A Young, Konsa, Mings, Digne (Moreno 10′); J Ramsey (Sanson 81′), Kamara, Douglas Luiz, Buendia (Coutinho 81′); Bailey, Watkins (Ings 32′)
Leeds United XI: Meslier; Ayling, Koch (Firpo 88′), Cooper, Struijk (Wober 66′); Roca (Greenwood 77′), Adams; Harrison (Bamford 67′), Aaronson (Gelhardt 77′), Gnonto; Rodrigo