The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Sunday’s three Premier League fixtures are discussed in our latest Scout Notes article.
The numbers you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture this season.
After ending his mini-goal drought on Thursday, Erling Haaland (£12.2m) was back on the scoresheet against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Norwegian hit an excellent hat-trick, his fourth of the season so far, despite being withdrawn on the hour mark and replaced by Julian Alvarez (£6.0m). Overall, it’s 25 goals in the Premier League (two more than any player managed all of last season), with 72% of those efforts arriving in front of his own fans at the Etihad.
“The numbers are incredible. He lives 24 hours for his profession, job, passion, love. He’s not stressed much when it’s going well or going bad. He is stable. He feels the defeats. It’s really good. He is not a player who will take the ball 10 metres behind the box. It is not his ability. He has to get the balls being delivered as much as possible from the fantastic players around him. The first goal is because he’s there. The delivery from Kevin De Bruyne is fantastic. Always I believe. We know each other.
Listen, when we lost the competition [Community Shield] against Liverpool, all the debate [in the] week, ten days before West Ham, is he will not adapt to the Premier League. When he played and scored, I don’t know many goals, he is the solution and everything of the team and when he does not score, he is the problem in our team. This is a great vision of these kind of things. We know his quality. We know each other. He is not a player to be dropped. We can’t play the false 9 with him. You have to adapt some movements with him. And we are doing quite well.
The numbers are quite similar when we were champions many years here, except the season (we got) 100 points. So, we are there. Getting to improve, improve, improve. This is what we have to do.” – Pep Guardiola on Erling Haaland
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.5m) – back in the starting XI after his midweek benching – and Riyad Mahrez (£7.6m) both supplied assists, with the latter taking his post-World Cup points tally to 45, just one behind Haaland. He also had an effort disallowed for offside.
Elsewhere, Joao Cancelo (£7.1m) was an unused substitute for the second match in a row, with Rico Lewis (£3.9m) and Aymeric Laporte (£5.7m) preferred. Lewis, however, was withdrawn at half-time and replaced by substitute Nathan Ake (£5.0m), despite Pep Guardiola previously stating “… without Nathan right now we cannot play good”. As a result, not one City defender has started all six of their matches since the Premier League resumed, with Cancelo the most-sold player since Saturday’s deadline.
FODEN INJURY LATEST
Phil Foden (£8.1m) missed out on Sunday with a foot injury that he initially picked up in the Manchester derby defeat at Old Trafford last week.
He will now be monitored ahead of Friday’s FA Cup meeting with Arsenal at the Etihad.
“He was in action, in Old Trafford, jump. With Wan Bissaka. He had a problem with his feet. He’s struggling so far. [It’s] Painful. Two or three days rest. We decide with the doctors to stay and recover well. We will see if he arrives against Arsenal. If he’s not fit, we will wait until the next game against Spurs. Because otherwise he cannot train well. He’s a little bit uncomfortable. That’s why we decided with the doctors, all together, to two or three days stay off and then see if getting better.” – Pep Guardiola on Phil Foden
RASHFORD’S RUN GOES ON
Another Gameweek, another goal for Marcus Rashford (£7.1m). The England international has now scored in every round since the World Cup and is bang in form ahead of Man Utd’s potential Double Gameweek 22. Averaging 8.2 points per start from Gameweek 17 onwards, his form is certainly worthy of the Triple Captain chip, with back-to-back home clashes against Crystal Palace and Leeds United in store.
In an action-packed match at the Emirates, Bruno Fernandes’ (£9.8m) assist was his fifth attacking return in as many matches. He’s now created 17 chances for his teammates since the restart, more than any other FPL midfielder including De Bruyne (16).
However, today’s loss inflicted Man Utd’s first league defeat since November, with Erik ten Hag cutting a frustrated figure after full-time.
“You have to defend better. You make mistakes and then it is like a pack of cards. In this situation, it is something we have to avoid, the same as the first two goals when you start the game and you come up. It was too easy to give the goal at 1-1 away. When you are in the game and at 1-0 you have to realise that more spaces will come. We have to learn these lessons if we want to come here and beat these big teams.
‘I think [the] two games head-to-head [versus Arsenal and Crystal Palace], they were really close. It is hard to accept that in the final stages of the game you lose and this can’t happen. We have to face that, we have to learn lessons, and that we are going to make mistakes as I think all three goals were avoidable. Normally we are better in those situations.” – Erik ten Hag
MARTINELLI’S FORM/UNDER THE RADAR NKETIAH
Arsenal edged past Man Utd with a statement victory at the Emirates, with Eddie Nketiah (£6.6m), Bukayo Saka (£8.1m) and Martin Odegaard (£6.9m) all among the points.
However, for the Gunners’ most-owned player Gabriel Martinelli (£6.7m) it was a third successive blank, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.3m) making life difficult and debutant Leandro Trossard (£6.7m) eventually replacing him on 81 minutes.
There isn’t a lot wrong with Martinelli’s underlying numbers from Gameweek 19 onwards. In fact, he’s taken more shots in the box than Odegaard and Saka in that time, with his -1.95 xGI figure only trailing Nketiah. It’s also worth noting that no player in the entire division has underachieved their xGI by more during that spell.
As for Nketiah, he is still going under the radar with his ownership sitting at just 3.8%, despite netting four goals in five starts since replacing Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m). Furthermore, he has also played every minute of every game from Gameweek 17 onwards.
“What Eddie is doing is incredible. We cannot say that we saw that, we were hoping that he could do that because of the way he is, because of his mentality, because of his qualities and how those qualities fit within the team. Losing Gabby [Jesus] was a big blow, it is a big blow today, but Eddie is responding and the team I think in an exceptional way.
The qualities that he has, how much he wants it, how much belief he’s got in himself to become Arsenal’s number 9. His desire, his background, we’re with him every single day, [he’s] a special kid, he’s so loved by everybody at the football club, he’s got a real Arsenal heart and experience within him and that’s really special. You cannot put that into numbers. He’s really, really good.” – Mikel Arteta on Eddie Nketiah
Elsewhere, Ben White (£4.7m) was withdrawn at half-time and replaced by Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.2m), with the substitution potentially linked to the fact he was carrying a booking and up against Rashford.
However, it’s good news for owners of Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.2m), William Saliba (£5.3m) and Saka, who all avoiding fifth cautions in Arsenal’s 19th game, with the threshold now reset to 10 yellow cards for a ban.
LEEDS ATTACK UNDERWHELMS
In a disappointing game, both Leeds and Brentford’s attacks offered very little quality in the final-third.
The game marked another start for budget forward Wilfried Gnonto (£5.0m), who started out on the left wing but regularly moved into more central positions in behind the disappointing Rodrigo (£6.4m). The Spaniard, meanwhile, struggled to get involved in the game against Brentford’s three centre-halves and was shown a yellow card for throwing the ball in response to a throw not going his way.
Luis Sinisterra (£6.5m) and Patrick Bamford (£7.2m) both appeared from the bench, while club-record signing Georginio Ritter (£5.5m) was an unused substitute, so Jesse Marsch does have options if he chooses to shake things up.
Defensively, Sunday marked the White’s second clean sheet in four matches, with new signing Max Wober (£4.5m) impressing on his first Premier League start. He was stationed at centre-back in the absence of Liam Cooper (£4.4m), but was on some direct free-kicks and picked up a bonus point.
As for Brentford, Ivan Toney (£7.7m) registered three shots but failed to hit the target with any of them, while David Raya (£4.7m) moved up to second in the FPL goalkeeper standings with his third clean sheet in four matches.