Two more Gameweek 22 fixtures are dissected as we look back on the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the weekend.
Everton v Arsenal and Brentford v Southampton come into focus here.
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.
A FIRST LOOK AT DYCHE’S EVERTON
Everton were excellent in their 1-0 win over league leaders Arsenal on Saturday, with Sean Dyche tasting victory in his first match in charge.
The off-the-ball graft was expected but there were plenty of openings created at the other end of the pitch, too, with the Toffees winning 4-0 on big chances and 1.67-0.91 on expected goals (xG).
In our Scout Report of Sean Dyche, we discussed how his Burnley side were sixth or better for headed goal attempts in each of his last five seasons in charge.
And staying true to their new manager’s historic approach, Everton have had more headed chances than any other team in Gameweek 22 so far:
|GW22 total (rank v other clubs)|
|Passes attempted||252 (20th)|
|Successful crosses||9 (1st)|
|Headed chances||5 (1st)|
It all bodes well for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) up top, if – and it’s a big if – he can stay fit: he may have blanked but he had four attempts in the box, two of them big chances, as well as seven touches in the Arsenal area. That was all done within 60 minutes, too, as Dyche removed his striker on the hour mark because of a tight hamstring. A precautionary scan now follows.
Wingers Dwight McNeil (£5.1m) and Alex Iwobi (£5.4m) are ranked joint-first and joint-sixth respectively among FPL assets for crosses attempted in Gameweek 22, with McNeil’s 60th-minute corner nodded in by James Tarkowski (£4.2m) for the game’s only goal.
Above: How Everton lined up in Gameweek 22
As a unit, Everton covered the most distance of any game so far this season and restricted Arsenal to mostly half-chances.
“We’ve gone back to basics a little bit. And that doesn’t just mean we lump the ball forward and get around it a little bit. We want to still play football, but it’s also about getting back together as a team, working hard together, and showing that grit and determination we need in this league to get results.” – James Tarkowski
Potential bargains like Tarkowski and Jordan Pickford (£4.4m) might soon be on FPL watchlists soon if Everton can back up this solid display with others like it, although the upcoming five fixtures appear more favourable from an attacking perspective:
A rare defeat and some early substitutions were not what owners of Arsenal assets wanted to see ahead of Double Gameweek 23.
Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m) didn’t even make the hour mark before he was hooked, while even the in-form Martin Odegaard (£7.0m) was withdrawn after 76 minutes with the game still there to be rescued. Ben White (£4.6m), the most substituted defender of 2022/23, was also taken off late in the game. All of them were poor on Merseyside, not that any of their team-mates were much better.
Having said all that, it seems unlikely that Mikel Arteta will ring the changes against Brentford in Gameweek 23. He’s done the complete opposite in the campaign so far, with everyone bar Nketiah and Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.1m) of Saturday’s line-up starting every league match that they’ve been available for this season.
After the game, the Arsenal manager’s talk of “loving” the players suggest he’s not about to wildly overreact to one rare defeat – even if the purchases of Leandro Trossard (£6.7m), Jorginho (£5.8m) and others mean that Arteta now has more options to change things around from the bench. The ‘expected minutes’ of Martinelli et al may be down as a result, but it’s probably a tad too early to be fretting about ‘expected starts’.
“I want the team to know how much I love them. I love them much more now than three hours ago, a week ago, month ago, three months ago. It’s very easy to be next to the players when they are winning and performing. This is the moment I love my players more, the staff more and now we stick together. This journey is going to be difficult and challenging, and there’s going to be bigger stones in the middle that we’re going to have to overcome that. And now we’re going to prepare really well in the week to get to Saturday in the right emotional level and right spirit to be perfect.” – Mikel Arteta
There were near misses despite the sub-par display, with Eddie Nketiah (£6.6m) and Odegaard lashing off target when well placed and Bukayo Saka (£8.3m) seeing a deflected goalbound shot booted off the line.
Here’s a stat to finish with ahead of Gameweek 23: Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard have had just five ‘big chances’ between them in the last 11 league games – that’s as many as Nketiah has managed in Gameweeks 20-22.
BRENTFORD UP NEXT FOR ARSENAL
A home match against Brentford is up first for Arsenal in Double Gameweek 23, and it won’t be easy based on recent results.
Above via SoccerStats
Thomas Frank’s troops are top of the Premier League form table over the last six matches, while they haven’t been defeated since Gameweek 13.
That unbeaten run has featured matches against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, as well as some more admittedly easier tests.
Above: Brentford are fourth for expected goals conceded (xGC) in the last nine matches and seventh over the course of 2022/23
Arsenal can point to their 3-0 win in west London in September, of course, although the influence of the fit-again Christian Norgaard (£5.3m) – who missed the reverse fixture – in front of the Brentford defence can’t be underestimated.
As for the on-field action on Saturday, Ben Mee (£4.8m) rose to fourth in the defenders’ FPL points table with a goal and clean sheet, Mathias Jensen (£4.8m) delivered his fifth attacking return in eight games (hugely overachieving on the xGI front, in case you’re wondering) and Bryan Mbeumo (£5.8m) hit a second double-digit haul in four Gameweeks.
Ivan Toney (£7.7m) somehow blanked: he had three goalbound shots blocked, one off the line, and was even deprived of an assist when Yoane Wissa (£5.3m) struck the post with the goal gaping. One cause of concern for existing owners is that he picked up his eighth booking of the season, so is now just two cautions away from a two-match ban.
Brentford and Southampton themselves are probably off the FPL radars of many managers now, for very different reasons.
The Bees have Arsenal away, a confirmed blank and a very possible second blank to come in the next six Gameweeks, so medium-term planners will be deterred despite the Bees’ good form.
The sorry Saints, meanwhile, are on a run of eight defeats in nine league matches and have kept just one clean sheet all season.
“I think the first half was an overall performance, maybe the most complete this season.” – Thomas Frank
“Really poor. At spells in the first half we weren’t aggressive, didn’t play quick enough and didn’t play with any tempo, and when we did we looked the better side, but defending our box we have to be better.
“They ran harder than us, outrun us, outworked us, and then when they put the ball in the box they looked more threatening than us.” – Nathan Jones