We continue to assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Gameweek 26 in our Scout Notes series.
Here, we focus on Aston Villa v Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur.
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.
Both matches produced 1-0 home wins, settled by Joachim Andersen‘s (£4.5m) own goal and Adama Traore‘s (£5.4m) rebound. In Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) and Harry Kane (£11.7m), they also featured disappointing blanks from popular FPL forwards.
The late defeat is a blow to Spurs’ top four ambitions, considering Liverpool reacted by beating Manchester United 7-0, whilst Crystal Palace are without a win in nine matches and now find themselves joint on points with previously-struggling Wolves.
WATKINS’ STREAK IS OVER
After scoring in five successive matches, almost 240,000 managers bought Watkins for a good run of fixtures starting at home to Palace. Naturally, such is the nature of FPL, the 27-year-old immediately blanked.
In a match where neither side produced a shot on target until the 74th minute, Watkins only had one penalty area touch. In fairness, he was right by Andersen for the own goal, as the intended target for Matty Cash‘s (£4.6m) cross.
Also, that sole in-box touch really should have been a goal. It was an absolute sitter. A brilliant Emi Buendia (£5.7m) pass put Watkins on the penalty spot, one-on-one with Vicente Guaita (£4.4m). Yet he somehow put this 0.66 expected goal (xG) shot wide
With Leon Bailey (£4.4m) in and out of Unai Emery’s starting line-up, Watkins is still the best route into Villa’s attack for their promising Blank Gameweek 28 match against Bournemouth, followed by a Double Gameweek 29 and then Nottingham Forest (H).
PALACE LOOK BLUNT FOR DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 27
Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion are rightly getting the attention ahead of Double Gameweek 27, with Crystal Palace proving why their assets will likely be avoided.
Their only attacking moment at Villa Park was a Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) goal that was ruled out for offside. Adding to the concern of being winless since Gameweek 18 is that no team has had fewer big chances in this period.
That has to be good news for those with Manchester City, Brighton and Arsenal defensive coverage – these are the Eagles’ next three opponents.
Perhaps the return of Zaha, having missed the previous four matches because of a hamstring injury, will spark an upturn in fortunes. He’s scored six times during this campaign, following last time’s personal best of 14 goals.
He’s proven himself to be a reliable FPL asset, just not with penalty kicks – missing three of his last four.
IS KANE WORTH THE PRICE?
Headlines will state that Spurs have a bad week – following a midweek FA Cup elimination to Championship side Sheffield United – but they did have a higher number of shots (21 v 8) and expected goals (1.20 v 0.52) versus Wolves.
On a day when Pedro Neto (£4.9m) played his first minutes for Wolves since injuring his ankle in Gameweek 9, forward Diego Costa (£5.4m) was sadly stretchered off after 27 minutes.
They kept a clean sheet, meaning Kane blanked for the third time in four matches. He’s only once exceeded six points since Gameweek 19, making upcoming Wildcard users question whether he’s currently worth the premium price tag.
However, he almost registered an assist here, setting up one of two Spurs shots that hit the woodwork. His underlying stats show that he’s delivering plenty of goal attempts since the Gameweek 17 restart, beaten only by Martin Odegaard (£7.0m), who had 11 of his purely on Saturday.
His penalty area touches and big chances have been beaten by many others, though. For example, cheap Brighton midfielder Kaoru Mitoma (£5.4m) has more of the former and an equal amount of the latter.
Those wanting to pounce on Watkins, Ivan Toney (£7.7m) or even Brennan Johnson (£5.7m) – all of whom are cheaper, play in Blank Gameweek 28 and have a Double Gameweek 29 – should be aware that Kane is about to face Nottingham Forest (H), Southampton (a) and Everton (a).