We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the final match of Double Gameweek 22, Manchester United v Leeds United.
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.
Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) ended Gameweek 22 with a 20-point haul, heading in Man Utd’s first goal as they came back from 2-0 down to salvage a point.
Goals always looked likely in this fixture but it threatened to be a frustrating evening for owners of the Red Devils’ players in FPL, with a clean sheet going up in smoke in under 60 seconds and an hour passing before Rashford finally breached the visitors’ defence.
While the unavailability of some regulars was a contributing factor, Erik ten Hag cops some of the blame for the initial team selection – shifting Rashford over to the right seemed an odd call to accommodate Alejandro Garnacho (£4.2m) on the opposite flank. With the inexperienced Garnacho having an off-day, Wout Weghorst (£6.0m) looking utterly harmless up top and a second-string central midfield offering little, Leeds had plenty of spare resources to nullify FPL’s top-scoring midfielder.
The introductions of Facundro Pellistri (£4.3m) and especially Jadon Sancho (£7.1m) helped change the game, with the United attack more fluent as a result and Rashford operating through the middle, so the hope is that ten Hag has learned a few line-up lessons going into the swift rematch at Elland Road.
“Very poor. It’s unacceptable. You start any game, but especially a derby, the way we did. We were down and had to fight back. We made big mistakes. That’s to do with attitude. We were not ready to go into the duels. We lose the duels and the formation was also bad at the start.” – Erik ten Hag
With Anthony (£7.3m) and Anthony Martial (£6.5m) injured and not guaranteed a return in Gameweek 23, Sancho’s return to fitness and form could be key to unlocking Rashford’s potential in the return fixture.
“I’m really happy he is in the right direction, I hope he can keep this momentum going and I’m sure it will strengthen him and motivate him to do even more.
“As you see, he’s a brilliant footballer and if he invests and he is in the right levels he can perform outstandingly. I think we now have a team who can dictate games, who play more in an opponent’s half; he likes that. He can play in tight areas and he can make the difference. That second goal shows it but when he came on last week we saw it as well.
“You can see when he has good levels he is an outstanding football player and makes a difference. I hope he can stay in this mood and contribute to the spirit of the team and score a lot of goals or create a lot of chances and assists.” – Erik ten Hag on Jadon Sancho
As for Bruno Fernandes (£9.9m), well, wouldn’t you just know it: after managing to hit a double-digit haul from zero open-play shots against Crystal Palace on Saturday, he blanked from his joint-highest shots-in-the-box count (three) of the season against Leeds.
It was far from a vintage performance but one that again improved in the final half-hour; how much of that was tactical and how much of that was due to the subconscious retreat beat by the visitors is another question.
Above: Fernandes had four shots and created three other chances v Leeds, topping the xGI table at Old Trafford
LEEDS’ BUDGET BUYS DELIVER
Wilfried Gnonto (£5.0m) cemented his standing as the leading sub-£5.5m FPL forward in the game with a brilliantly taken opening goal at Old Trafford.
Also involved in the attacking returns was the fit-again Crysencio Summerville (£4.2m), who scored four in four before the World Cup, threatening to start a Gnonto-esque cult bandwagon before injury struck. Summerville replaced the hamstrung Luis Sinisterra (£6.5m) early in this encounter, going on to supply the cross that Raphael Varane (£4.8m) turned into his own goal.
That’s now seven attacking returns in eight matches for Summerville, although there’s much competition for the attacking midfield roles even if Sinisterra is now ruled out.
Michael Skubala didn’t deviate too much from the Jesse Marsch playbook (ie a 4-2-3-1) but there was more attacking freedom and aggression from the front. There was a consequence-free air about Leeds’ display; neither the interim boss nor the squad probably expects the caretaker head coach to get the job on a permanent basis, so there seemed to be an unshackling of sorts.
Patrick Bamford (£7.2m) led the line ahead of Sinisterra (and then Summerville), Jack Harrison (£5.8m) and Gnonto, with the latter again the most eye-catching of that group. A rematch now awaits at Elland Road, and there’ll be certainly more optimism that Gnonto can continue his purple patch given that the heart of Man Utd’s midfield looked utterly exposed without Casemiro (£4.9m) in it.
BLANK GAMEWEEK 28 LATEST
Fulham were defeating Sunderland in an FA Cup fourth-round replay at the same time that the match at Old Trafford was playing out.
That result means that one – and only one – of Wolves v Leeds and Liverpool v Fulham will go ahead in Gameweek 28, which clashes with the FA Cup quarter-finals.
We’ll only know the full extent of Blank Gameweek 28 after Gameweek 25, when the FA Cup fifth round has taken place.
Between two and five fixtures below will be postponed.
|GW28 Premier League fixture||Status||A blank will happen in the following situation:|
|Arsenal v Crystal Palace||On|
|Aston Villa v Bournemouth||On|
|Brentford v Leicester||Possible blank||If Leicester beat Blackburn in the FA Cup fifth round|
|Brighton v Man Utd||Possible blank||If Brighton beat Stoke in the FA Cup fifth round and/or if Man Utd beat West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round|
|Chelsea v Everton||On|
|Liverpool v Fulham||Possible blank||If Fulham beat Leeds in the FA Cup fifth round|
|Man City v West Ham||Possible blank||If Man City beat Bristol City in the FA Cup fifth round and/or if West Ham beat Man Utd in the FA Cup fifth round|
|Nottm Forest v Newcastle||On|
|Southampton v Spurs||Possible blank||If Southampton beat Grimsby in the FA Cup fifth round and/or if Spurs beat Sheff Utd in the FA Cup fifth round|
|Wolves v Leeds||Possible blank||If Leeds beat Fulham in the FA Cup fifth round|
There was the welcome sight of Aleksandar Mitrovic (£7.0m) and Andreas Pereira (£4.4m) combining for a goal in the north-east, with both players thrown on as half-time subs.