We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from two Gameweek 23 matches, Arsenal v Brentford and Bournemouth v Newcastle 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.
ANOTHER EARLY SUB FOR MARTINELLI
Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m) blanked for the fifth match in a row on Saturday, being hooked around the hour mark for the second Gameweek running as replacement Leandro Trossard (£6.7m) came off the bench to score.
All this clock-watching isn’t good for the health and the fact that Martinelli’s owners were just relieved to see the 60-minute mark pass before his withdrawal, in order to see him pick up two extra points, shows how much his appeal has been dented recently.
“Not particularly bad but a long way off his scintillating best. Looks to be missing Gabriel Jesus.” – Football London’s write-up of Gabriel Martinelli’s performance
Martinelli wasn’t atrocious, as the succinct summary above points out, but he’s now got the misfortune of being one of the only Arsenal regulars with a top-class back-up/positional rival waiting in the wings. Since Trossard’s arrival, Martinelli has played 200 minutes to Bukayo Saka‘s (£8.3m) 270.
It was Saka who provided the assist for Trossard’s goal, with the England international’s six FPL points feeling like a good return in this low-scoring Gameweek so far. The winger also had more shots (seven) than Martinelli, Martin Odegaard (£7.0m) and a quiet Eddie Nketiah (£6.8m) put together.
“I think every player has got their moment. We took Gabi off for Leo because when Leo’s in those spaces, he’s so good. He’s so composed, he’s constantly faking movements, playing forwards, he’s got a smell for where the ball is going to land, and we believe it was the right choice to get him on today.” – Mikel Arteta on Gabriel Martinelli
Mikel Arteta has kept unenforced changes to an absolute minimum this season, with Martinelli, Saka and Odegaard among the 10 Gunners who’ve started every league match that they’ve been available for.
After the game, the Arsenal boss was asked whether he is considering the possibility of fatigue creeping in without any rotation in the line-up:
“We always thought about that, and with a few players, especially when you lose but those questions are always obviously when you drop a point or two points. I’m delighted to be fair with how the boys tried, how much they want it. With the players that we have, we try to maximise our resources, so far they’ve done really well.” – Mikel Arteta
Arsenal did rack up more shots than any other Premier League team on Saturday (23) but few of them were clear-cut, with Trossard’s goal the only ‘big chance’ logged by Opta.
As we wrote last week, however, an in-form, unbeaten-in-ten Brentford have become a tough nut to crack, and much easier tests await the Gunners in the weeks and months to come. Don’t press the panic button just yet.
Brentford have now scored against all seven of the teams above them in the league table this season, with Ivan Toney (£7.6m) plundering eight goals of his own against these clubs – that’s over half of his 2022/23 total.
The in-form Bees now don’t encounter any big-six side until Gameweek 33, unless their outstanding fixture against Manchester United is added to the schedule before then.
Their upcoming ‘double’ in Gameweek 27 is also hugely enticing, although there is that pesky blank in Gameweek 25 and another very possible one in Gameweek 28.
One other thing that’s worth mentioning is that Toney was spotted rubbing his hamstring when being substituted late in the game at the Emirates, although this could well have been part of the gamesmanship/dark arts that the Bees were using to waste time late on.
ALMIRON + WILSON INJURY LATEST
Newcastle extended their unbeaten run to 17 league matches but it was another uninspiring draw for the Magpies, their fifth in six matches – four of which have been against sides in the bottom half.
Bournemouth arguably merited the victory more, too, with Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) clearing off the line late on to preserve a point.
“A lot of effort but not the quality.
“We’ve had a few half-chances but we lacked that killer instinct today, we weren’t as free flowing in the final third as we have been.” – Eddie Howe
The impact of Bruno Guimaraes’ (£5.6m) absence was something we discussed in last Saturday’s Scout Notes and Eddie Howe’s side were again below par at both ends of the field at the Vitality Stadium.
NEWCASTLE WITHOUT BRUNO GUIMARAES IN 2022/23
It’d be human nature to have one eye on the upcoming EFL Cup final, too, and the subconscious or conscious bid to avoid injury for a rare old trip to Wembley.
That didn’t stop the fitness issues from racking up on Saturday evening.
Newcastle went into the game without Callum Wilson (£7.1m) because of a hamstring strain, while the Magpies lost Joe Willock (£4.7m), Miguel Almiron (£5.7m) and Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.1m) to hamstring, wrist and knee injuries respectively during the match.
Luckily for Howe and his thin Newcastle squad, only Willock’s problem seems to be causing concern.
“Miggy and Maxi I don’t think are too bad. Miggy, I think got a stamp on his hand, so I think he’ll be OK. Maxi, I think, was just a knock. The concern from today is Joe Willock who has a hamstring problem. We’ll see how he is.
“Callum’s just got a very minor hamstring complaint. We hope to get him back for the next one. Fingers crossed.” – Eddie Howe
Almiron was the most-sold FPL midfielder of Gameweek 23 and there was an inevitability that he would end his five-match points drought, although wounded sellers will still point to the fact that his equalising goal against Bournemouth was his only shot of the game and his first ‘big chance’ in six Gameweeks.
As for the Cherries, there have been three improved performances in a row now, helped by some fresh acquisitions and the return from injury of some key names. Only a late, late Brighton goal in Gameweek 22 has stopped them from stringing together a three-match unbeaten run.
But only rabid Bournemouth fans will be snapping up their players for the upcoming run, so the few mentions of them in FPL circles will chiefly concern how much of a whipping boy we think they still are for our prospective Gameweek 25-27 captains.