Our recap of the Gameweek 27 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) action continues with some takeaways from Fulham v Arsenal and Manchester United v Southampton.
Further analysis will follow on Sunday’s other two fixtures.
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ARSENAL BENCH FRUSTRATION
Arsenal produced a slick attacking display to beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage. All three goals were created by Leandro Trossard (£6.6m), with Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.2m), Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m) and Martin Odegaard (£6.9m) on the scoresheet.
Still, for many FPL managers, it turned out to be a frustrating afternoon, with Arsenal assets widely benched in favour of those who play twice in Gameweek 27. Gabriel, for example, was benched by more than 60% of his owners in the top 10k.
As for the on-pitch action, Martinelli’s first-half strike took his tally to five league goals in as many games. He had another disallowed and linked up beautifully with false nine Trossard, who has now produced five assists since his move from Brighton.
“When we talk about composure and finding the right pass, and looking to the right player in the box, it’s very blurry and some other players make rash decisions, and he created three goals. He could have scored two – I think he was really impressive. Not only that, he had an injury only a few days ago and that injury could have taken a week or 10 days. He was really willing to come back early, the physios and doctors did really well to do that. That changes things in the team, and we needed him today, his contribution was superb.” – Mikel Arteta on Leandro Trossard
Odegaard also netted, but Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) blanked for the third time in four matches. At Fulham, he struggled to make as much of an impact as others and failed to register a single effort on goal.
Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m) made his long-awaited return from a knee injury as he appeared as a late substitute. The Brazilian was one of Arsenal’s star players in the first third of the season, winning 12 of his 14 Premier League games.
He almost scored at Fulham, too, but missed his ‘big chance’ when he shot straight at Bernd Leno (£4.5m). Still, he was heavily involved in the final third and impressed with his link-up play, although Trossard’s performance was a reminder that he won’t give up his place easily.
“[It’s a] big boost! His first steps today and we didn’t know whether it was the right game for him today. A few days ago, he told me he was missing something and then yesterday he looked me in the eyes and told me he was ready. Then today we had the opportunity to throw him in because it’s that first step to give him the boost. He looked free and generated two big chances straightaway, and it’s great to have him back.” – Mikel Arteta on Gabriel Jesus’ return
“Now he needs to earn his place like anyone else in the team. We have alternatives that can play in different positions and we have different roles to fill in relation to the chemistry of the players and what we ask them to do. It’s a great problem to have, believe me.” – Mikel Arteta on who Jesus could replace in Arsenal’s starting XI
“Yeah, we try to adapt to the qualities that we have to play to their strengths and the positions that we want them in as much as possible. Leo [Trossard] has very different qualities to Gabby [Martinelli], and Martin [Odegaard] as well compliments him really well in turns of space and understanding. It’s great to have that versatility in the team.” – Mikel Arteta on if Jesus’ absence showed a different side to Arsenal’s attack
FULHAM MISS PALHINHA
Fulham have now lost back-to-back matches against Brentford and Arsenal, conceding six goals. That’s coincided with influential midfielder Joao Palhinha’s (£4.9m) suspension.
In both games, they have been well below their usual standards, allowing a league-high seven big chances and 4.57 expected goals (xG).
“The player who replaces Palhinha is a different profile. Our style won’t change. The reaction of Joao in those moments is a big thing, he wins the ball quicker than other players.” – Marco Silva on Sasa Lukic replacing Joao Palhinha
The good news for Fulham is that Palhinha is now available again after serving his two-match ban, with a trip to Bournemouth up next after their ‘blank’ in Gameweek 28.
Elsewhere, the goals have dried up for Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.7m), who last scored in Gameweek 19, while Willian (£5.5m) was ruled out with a back-muscle injury.
“Willian had a tough week. Last game he felt his hamstring a bit, but nothing really serious. We assessed him during the week, and the last two days he felt something in his back. He was supposed to start the game this afternoon but he felt pain in his back. We tried, he was with us until the last minute, but we decided he was not in a position to start.” – Marco Silva on Willian
Casemiro (£4.9m) was sent off for the second time in his Manchester United career in the goalless draw with Southampton. The 31-year-old was initially booked for his challenge on Carlos Alcaraz (£5.0m), but referee Anthony Taylor changed his decision and gave the Brazilian a red card after a brief VAR review.
His dismissal meant Erik ten Hag’s side had to play for over an hour with 10 men and, despite fashioning a number of chances – most notably Bruno Fernandes’ (£9.7m) shot which hit the post – couldn’t find the winning goal.
Casemiro will now serve a four-match ban across domestic competitions and, as a result, won’t return until Gameweek 31. That means he will sit out Man Utd’s Double Gameweek 29, which slightly dents the appeal of their FPL defenders.
THE GAMES CASEMIRO WILL MISS THROUGH SUSPENSION:
- 19 March: Fulham (h), FA Cup
- 2 April: Newcastle (a), Double Gameweek 29
- 5 April: Brentford (h), Double Gameweek 29
- 8 April: Everton (h), Gameweek 30
Bruno Fernandes was deployed in a deeper starting position on Sunday, initially alongside Casemiro in midfield.
He still found time to create two big chances and almost scored a fantastic goal, but both of his efforts were from outside of the box. If the experiment continues against Fulham in next weekend’s FA Cup clash, it will surely impact his FPL appeal ahead of Double Gameweek 29.
Above: Bruno Fernandes’ touch heatmap v Southampton in Gameweek 27
As for Southampton, they have now picked up seven points from four games under Ruben Selles. In that time, they have kept clean sheets against Man Utd, Leicester City and Chelsea.
The man advantage was clearly a key reason behind their shutout at Old Trafford, but they are showing signs of improvement ahead of Wednesday’s rearranged game v Brentford.