The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from two of Saturday’s Premier League fixtures are discussed in our latest Scout Notes article.
Manchester United v Crystal Palace and Newcastle United v West Ham United are the games in question.
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.
FERNANDES ON PENS?
One of the most-asked questions of the week concerned who was first on penalties at Manchester United, and we got an answer on Saturday afternoon – we think!
As called by Lateriser in his article earlier this week, it was Bruno Fernandes (£9.9m) who stepped up from the spot to convert after the Red Devils were awarded a seventh-minute spot-kick at Old Trafford.
That was the first time that the Portugal international had scored from the spot since 2020/21.
This was the fourth penalty United have been given this season, and there have been four different takers:
|Taker||Won by||Who else was on the field||Who wasn’t on the field||Result|
|Europa League group stage (Sep 15)||Ronaldo||Dalot||Fernandes||Rashford, Martial||Scored|
|Gameweek 9 (Oct 2)||Martial||Martial||Fernandes||Rashford||Scored|
|FA Cup third round (Jan 6)||Rashford||Garnacho||Fernandes||Martial||Scored|
|Gameweek 22 (Feb 4)||Fernandes||Rashford (for handball)||Rashford||Martial||Scored|
So Anthony Martial (£6.5m) is the only current United penalty-taker who hasn’t been on the field for any of the other spot-kicks that he didn’t take. He did, however, win that Gameweek 9 penalty himself and immediately grabbed the ball.
Getting him on the pitch (more of which below) is another matter altogether, of course.
Fernandes and Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) have each taken a penalty when the other has been on the field but, as Lateriser discussed in his article, there may have been a charitable reason why Fernandes relinquished those duties in the FA Cup third round.
MARTIAL INJURY LATEST, CASEMIRO BANNED
Martial was – surprise, surprise – absent from the United squad on Saturday afternoon, with another injury keeping him out of action.
There was no mention of him in the post-match presser but before kick-off, Erik ten Hag said of the Frenchman:
“He had a setback from the game when he returned. He thought he could build up, but he dropped a little bit back. We have to wait, we have to be patient not to force it.” – Erik ten Hag on Anthony Martial
Casemiro (£4.9m), transferred in by over 100,000 FPL managers ahead of Friday’s deadline, will now be missing for the next three games, keeping him out of league action until Gameweek 26.
The midfielder was sent off for violent conduct midway through the second half of the win over Palace, with United going on to lose their clean sheet.
The shut-out prospects of Luke Shaw (£5.2m) and co may take a bit of dent with the Brazilian spoiler out. First for clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBIs) and second for successful tackles among midfielders since his Gameweek 10 full debut, we saw how open United were at Arsenal last week in his absence.
Marcel Sabitzer (£5.0m) at least looked promising on his own Red Devils bow as a late substitute.
RASHFORD TRIPLE CAPTAINCY
Above: Effective ownership stats for United players by rank tier
Over 550,000 FPL managers made Rashford their Triple Captain in this Gameweek; that’s over 100k more than backed Erling Haaland (£12.2m) in Double Gameweek 20.
Over one in five (21.55%) of the top 100,000 FPL managers used this chip on Rashford.
It’s already advantage Rashford backers with half of Double Gameweek 22 still to go, with his current tally of 12 points four more than what Haaland managed in Gameweek 20.
The Palace game panned out as the underlying stats form guide suggested it would: Rashford betters every single other FPL asset for goal attempts (seven) in Gameweek 22 so far, while Fernandes is joint-top for chances created (four). Doubters of the Portuguese midfielder can claim a hollow moral victory while licking their wounds: outside of his early penalty, he didn’t have a single shot all game. ‘Penandes’, indeed.
|xGI v Palace||non-pen xGI v Palace|
Newcastle United conceded their first league goal in three months as West Ham United gained a deserved point on Tyneside thanks to Lucas Paqueta‘s (£5.9m) strike. Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) blanked at home for the first time in over a year as a result.
The absence of the banned Bruno Guimaraes (£5.6m) was lamented by Eddie Howe after the game:
“He’s our difference maker, he’s got that creative flair we possibly missed today.” – Eddie Howe on Bruno Guimaraes
It should be said, however, that Newcastle hadn’t scored a single goal with him on the pitch since Boxing Day. In fact, it could be argued that they missed him more defensively on Saturday.
From having a press-resistant, ball-retaining number six in Guimaraes and operating with a conservative left-winger – Joelinton (£5.9m) – to going with neither against West Ham, Newcastle did look a bit more open and were second best for much of the game.
Replacing Guimaraes in the starting XI, Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.1m) was barracked by some of the home support for his display. Over half of the big chances that the Magpies have conceded (14 of 25) in 2022/23 have come with the ‘luxury’ French winger in the starting line-up – and he’s only started five matches all season. A grossly unfair apportioning of blame, perhaps, but the personnel change did appear to affect Newcastle going in both directions.
While Saint-Maximin didn’t take his chance on a rare start, debutant Anthony Gordon (£5.2m) certainly made the most of his second-half cameo with a lively display. Barely any FPL manager will be bringing in a Newcastle asset now given the upcoming blank in Gameweek 25 but Gordon is one to monitor for Gameweek 27 onwards, given his bargain price.
“I’m really pleased with his debut. Teams when they play us now will make it difficult for us, The onus is on us to break teams down.” – Eddie Howe on Anthony Gordon
Callum Wilson (£7.1m), temporarily deprived of competition due to an Alexander Isak (£6.6m) concussion, put Newcastle 1-0 up but there was another blank for the quiet Miguel Almiron (£5.7m). This was Almiron’s second-lowest xGI total of the season (0.05) and he’s not had a single big chance since Gameweek 17 – although he was admittedly centrimetres away from claiming an early assist for Joe Willock (£4.7m), only for VAR to spot that the ball had crept out of play.
More FPL sales will justifiably follow this week but the next two fixtures, against Bournemouth and leaky Liverpool, may be enough to persuade his remaining owners to keep whatever faith still exists.
SOLID WEST HAM
Above: Premier League teams sorted by mins per expected goals conceded (xGC) in 2022/23
Every season there’s a team (usually Brighton) who look great on the underlying stats front but who don’t translate that into FPL returns.
West Ham are a bit like that in 2022/23. Only four sides have conceded fewer goals than the Hammers (who are also fourth for xGC, above), yet only Southampton (one) have kept fewer clean sheets than David Moyes’s side (four).
The recent return to fitness of Nayef Aguerd (£4.8m) could be key on the shut-out front, with the Moroccan absolutely superb on Tyneside – as was midfield shield Declan Rice (£4.7m).
Moyes mostly going with a more conservative shape (a wing-back system) in the last month also perhaps bodes well for future clean sheets. Budget FPL defenders Emerson Palmieri (£4.0m) and Vladimir Coufal (£4.1m) stand to benefit from this tactical set-up, each starting again here.
“They’re a big, big side. They can put the ball on top of you when they don’t go round you. Nayef had a brilliant tackle. Part of your job is to defend well and we did defend well today.” – David Moyes