FPL review: Gracia’s first match + Ings leads late West Ham surge

We continue to assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Gameweek 25 in our Scout Notes series.

Here, we focus on Leeds United v Southampton and West Ham United v Nottingham Forest.

The numbers you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data from every single Premier League fixture.

These were two huge matches in the relegation battle, with the bottom two meeting at Elland Road. The much-maligned Junior Firpo (£4.5m) secured a win in Javi Gracia’s first game as Leeds boss, the Yorkshire side’s first win since early November.

Meanwhile, a Danny Ings (£6.4m) brace helped West Ham score four goals in the final 20 minutes, ensuring that both winning teams have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone for the time being.

Things look increasingly difficult for Southampton’s newly-appointed Ruben Selles, although Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest at least have a four-point gap above the drop.


Our recent Scout Report on new manager Gracia suggested that he’d prefer a 4-4-2/4-2-2-2 system that could potentially put Wilfried Gnonto (£5.1m) up front.

Yet another known trait of the Spaniard is that he’s used to arriving mid-season and adapting to whatever he inherits. Therefore, whilst Leeds tended to play with more patient passing and width than when under Jesse Marsch, Gracia stuck with their 4-2-3-1 formation.

Above: Wilfried Gnonto’s touch heatmap v Southampton

Gnonto was a constant nuisance to Southampton yet, at the same time, played very wide and was restricted to two shots from outside the box.

He was the first player to depart, making way for Crysencio Summerville (£4.2m). The Dutchman came on to have a match-high nine touches and two shots inside the penalty area.

After coming close to scoring, he caused the goal by working the ball from a difficult spot towards Jack Harrison (£5.8m), who flicked it onto Firpo’s low finish.

Gnonto and Summerville are both incredibly cheap FPL options. Should one emerge as a Gracia favourite, he could be a great pick when anticipating future Bench Boost weeks.


Nottingham Forest are the league’s worst away team, scoring three goals and conceding 29 from a dozen trips. 70 minutes into Saturday’s match with West Ham, they’d only let in 25 and were frustrating the Hammers.

Then Ings tapped in some brilliant Jarrod Bowen (£8.0m) trickery to break the deadlock. Two minutes later, another close-range finish from a Said Benrahma (£5.5m) assist, before the Algerian set up Declan Rice (£4.7m) soon after. Once Michail Antonio (£7.0m) heads home, it’s somehow a heavy 4-0 win for David Moyes.

Arriving in January with plenty of Premier League pedigree, that was Ings’ first start and he currently leads the way with Gameweek 25’s highest expected goals (xG) tally of 1.75.

With FPL managers frustrated by Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s (£6.8m) injury woes, Callum Wilson‘s (£6.9m) recent slump and the lack of security in Eddie Nketiah‘s (£6.8m) game time, perhaps Ings could emerge as a real option.

The stage is set for him to score past recent employers Aston Villa in Gameweek 27, before hosting Southampton in Gameweek 29. What might hold him back is in between those, as West Ham’s match at Manchester City is likely to become a blank.


Speaking of which, the defeated Forest are currently one of only five teams to be guaranteed both a Gameweek 28 fixture and a Double Gameweek 29. Solid fixtures too – Newcastle United (H), Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) and Leeds (a).

This, combined with a defensive injury crisis, could put Neco Williams (£3.9m) back on the radar, provided Serge Aurier (£4.4m) is still out. Wolves are the season’s second-lowest scorers, Leeds have failed to net in four of their last six and the Magpies are really struggling for goals right now.

Of course, the very same defensive woes dampen Williams’ appeal, seeing this 4-0 defeat. But those wanting to Bench Boost in Gameweek 29 could see him as a way to get two decent fixtures on board without having to worry about leaving money on the bench afterwards.

Joe Worrall (£4.2m) costs slightly more but may be a more nailed-on route into their defence.

Leeds United XI: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo; McKennie, Adams; Harrison, Aaronson (Rutter 75′), Gnonto (Summerville 61′), Bamford (Roca 86′)

Southampton XI: Bazunu; Maitland-Niles, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Perraud (Walker-Peters 71′); S Armstrong (Walcott 63′), Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Elyounoussi (A Armstrong 82′); Sulemana (Mara 63′), Onuachu (Diallo 63′)

West Ham United XI: Fabianski (Areola 69′); Coufal (Cresswell 46′), Ogbonna, Aguerd, Ben Johnson; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Paqueta (Lanzini 83′), Benrahma (Fornals 83′), Ings (Antonio 84′)

Nottingham Forest XI: Navas; Williams, Worrall, Felipe, Renan Lodi (Toffolo 77′); Shelvey (Ayew 67′), Freuler, Colback; Gibbs-White; Brennan Johnson (Surridge 86′), Wood (Lingard 77′)

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