FPL review: Rashford delivers again, Fernandes’ creativity

We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Manchester United v Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United in our latest Scout Notes piece.

The numbers and graphics 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.

Man Utd comfortably brushed aside Leicester on Sunday, as Marcus Rashford (£7.3m) increased his 2022/23 goals tally to 24 in all competitions, the most he has ever managed in a single campaign.

His record includes 14 in the Premier League, with 11 of those strikes arriving at Old Trafford. In fact, he’s now scored in each of his last seven home appearances, a run that includes four double-figure hauls.

Rashford, who started the game spearheading United’s attack with Wout Weghorst (£5.9m) in behind, registered five shots v Leicester, all from inside the box. He was withdrawn on 69 minutes, no doubt with an eye on Thursday’s UEFA Europa League clash with Barcelona, but had already secured 15 points, rewarding the 781,328 FPL managers who captained him.

Jadon Sancho (£7.1m), who took up a no. 10 role after coming on as a half-time substitute, looked really sharp and completed the victory just after the hour mark.

Tactically, United started as they did in Barcelona with Weghorst in behind Rashford and Bruno Fernandes (£9.8m) playing off the right wing.

The latter remained on the right for the duration and was excellent, as he assisted two goals and created another clear-cut opportunity for Diogo Dalot (£4.7m), who missed from four yards out when it was easier to score. Fernandes created nine chances overall, more than any other player in Gameweek 24.

“The team is putting Rashford in the right positions, especially Bruno, he creates how many passes, he gives behind, he crosses in. Not only Bruno but I think he is doing a great job.” – Erik ten Hag on Bruno Fernandes

Above: Bruno Fernandes’ touch heatmap (left) and the chances he created (right, assists in green) v Leicester in Gameweek 24

United’s 3-0 win was backed up by some decent underlying numbers, with their 26 shots carrying a combined expected goals (xG) figure of 4.23, including a whopping seven big chances.

Elsewhere, Luke Shaw (£5.4m), who was selected in his more familiar left-back position for the clash, scored six FPL points and only just missed out on bonus. Casemiro (£4.9m) is now back, too, boosting their clean sheet prospects after their Gameweek 25 blank is out of the way.

While Erik ten Hag’s side started brightly, it was the visitors who managed to fashion a couple of early chances, with Harvey Barnes (£6.7m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m) both denied by David de Gea (£5.0m).

However, it was James Maddison (£8.1m) who carried the most threat, registering six shots and creating three chances for his colleagues.

And while Leicester failed to keep their latest revival going, they did look decent in the first half, with this loss their first in five games across all competitions.

They still have some tricky fixtures to come and could potentially blank in Gameweek 28, but their attacking assets will surely be on a lot of FPL managers’ radars after.

Still, beyond Danny Ward (£4.0m), it’s hard to see their defensive assets picking up much interest: only Bournemouth (44) have conceded more goals than the Foxes (41) in the Premier League this season.

Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw (Wan-Bissaka 69); Sabitzer (Mainoo 80), Fred (McTominay 59); Fernandes, Weghorst, Garnacho (Sancho 45); Rashford (Elanga 69)

Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1): Ward; Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen; Dewsbury-Hall (Tielemans 59), Mendy (Soumare 59); Tete (Praet 75), Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho (Vardy 75)

Tottenham bounced back from successive defeats to beat West Ham 2-0 in north London.

Wing-backs Pedro Porro (£5.0m) and Ivan Perisic (£5.5m) were both named on the bench, but their replacements linked up for the first goal, with Ben Davies (£4.8m) assisting Emerson Royal (£4.9m) for his second strike in five matches.

Discussing his wing-backs after the match, Cristian Stellini said:

“To play wing-back to wing-back and to score is one of our targets, one of our requests for the team. Also, using the wing-backs to come inside and create the space for players like Deki [Kulusevski] and Sonny, to affect the space and play.” – Spurs assistant manager Cristian Stellini

“Emerson played an amazing game. It’s not the first time I’ve said it. Don’t forget at the start of the season, Emerson was amazing. He had some problems after the red card against Arsenal. Now he’s back, and we want him to perform like this, to be consistent like this, with all the team.” – Spurs assistant manager Cristian Stellini on Emerson Royal

Substitute Son Heung-min (£11.6m) then fired in his side’s second from a Harry Kane (£11.8m) through ball.

The winger made a real difference upon his introduction, connecting the midfield and attack well, which resulted in plenty of opportunities for the home side. Despite only making two appearances from the bench this season, he has scored four goals as a substitute in the Premier League. And one from his 20 starts!

“It’s really difficult to drop Sonny or put him on the bench. It was the same for Perisic. But, in this type of game, we need players at 100 per cent. It’s a strange season, difficult after the World Cup, and there arrives a moment when you have to take care of them. It means sometimes to stay on the bench, then they come onto the pitch, change the game, score, do their best. We wait for Sonny to play from the first minute. I’m happy to work all the week with Sonny to bring him to 100 per cent again.” – Spurs assistant manager Cristian Stellini on Son Heung-min

It was an impressive win for Spurs, given that they had their manager unavailable and several key players including Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) and Rodrigo Bentancur (£5.4m) injured.

West Ham, meanwhile, remain in the bottom three, having only scored 19 goals in 23 Premier League games this season. At Spurs, they failed to create a single big chance.

Their away form is a real concern, too. The Hammers have won just one of their 12 away matches this season, with tricky trips to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City on the horizon. In fact, no side has won fewer away points in the Premier League this season than West Ham (six), averaging 0.5 points per game. Last season that average was 1.3.

However, it is worth noting they generally looked organised in the first half, limiting Spurs’ ability to create good chances. Budget defender Emerson Palmieri (£4.0m) made his fourth start in a row, with David Moyes opting to stick with his wing-back system despite introducing another midfielder, Flynn Downes (£4.2m), into his first XI.

“We changed slightly to try and tactically give ourselves the best chances not to concede any goals. We were quite compact, stopped them getting through and I think we did better in the first half. We allowed them to play a little bit more through us in the second half. We went backwards when we didn’t need to, we had to go chasing it a little bit. I just thought that started to open up some spaces.

I’m trying to find ways of getting more goals, more shots, more attempts on goal. Jarrod Bowen has a half chance after they score and maybe could have made it 1-1 and started to change the look of it but we are not making enough chances. We’re hoping Danny Ings will come up with some goals for us. We have got to hope that Benrahma, Antonio and Bowen come up with the goods because we are lacking in that area. We still try to be a threat but we are not as big a threat as we have been.

Recently we have not been scoring loads so what you can’t afford to do is concede a goal and we can concede one but the minute they score the second one, we made it doubly difficult.” – David Moyes

Tottenham Hotspur XI (3-4-2-1): Forster; Romero, Dier, Lenglet (Perisic 78); Royal, Skipp (Sarr 89), Hojbjerg, Davies; Kulusevski (Moura 89), Richarlison (Son 68); Kane

West Ham United XI (3-4-2-1): Fabianski; Kehrer, Ogbonna (Johnson 81), Aguerd; Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Emerson (Fornals 82); Downes (Benrahma 72), Bowen; Antonio (Ings 72)

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