Our recap of the Gameweek 27 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) action continues with some takeaways from Leicester City v Chelsea, Bournemouth v Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest.
Further reaction will follow on Saturday’s other three fixtures.
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CHILWELL IN DEMAND
Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) furthered Fantasy interest in him with an early goal in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Leicester City, the third straight match in all competitions in which he has delivered an attacking return.
Chilwell is the most-bought player of Gameweek 28 at this early stage.
The significance of Graham Potter’s reversion to a wing-back system was something we discussed last week but the importance of Chilwell’s role at set plays was underscored at the King Power Stadium, with all three of the chances he created and indeed his volleyed opener stemming from corner-kick situations.
Chelsea are one of eight clubs who have a fixture in Blank Gameweek 28 and then double in Gameweek 29, so that combined with their upturn in results over the last week means we are witnessing a spike in Fantasy interest.
Joao Felix (£7.6m) had been touted as a possible transfer target for this period and, not for the first time, he was again left cursing his luck after being denied by the woodwork and the VAR on Saturday. He was culpable for Leicester’s equaliser, however, and ended up being hooked at the break.
“No, just tactically, I wanted to use an extra midfielder. I felt we needed someone who could ball win, a different profile and I thought Conor was fantastic when he came on.” – Graham Potter
The much-maligned Kai Havertz (£7.5m) – who, remember, is on penalties for the Blues – stepped up to the plate to put him on the Gameweek 28/29 watchlist, finishing superbly for Chelsea’s second strike and then playing a key role in the third goal. That’s two encouraging performances from the German this week but remember that it was only seven days ago when his latest profligate display, against Leeds, was being bemoaned.
Potter interestingly opted to field Mykhailo Mudryk (£6.5m) as a false nine for this game and while he claimed an assist for Mateo Kovacic‘s (£4.9m) strike, his display screamed ‘Raheem Sterling (£9.7m) placeholder’.
MORE MADDISON POINTS-DODGING
Owners of James Maddison (£8.1m) suffered some wretched luck in the defeat to Southampton last weekend and the points-dodging continued in Gameweek 27, with Maddison racking up five shots and three chances created without converting any of them into FPL returns.
A point-blank miss from Daniel Amartey (£4.0m) from a Maddison free-kick summed up the desertion of good fortune.
That spurned opportunity from Amartey helped Leicester to the highest expected goals (xG) tally of Gameweek 27 so far but it was an eighth defeat in 11 post-restart fixtures for the Foxes, who are still without a clean sheet since the Boxing Day resumption.
Rodgers changed shape to a wing-back system for this game, using Maddison behind a front two of goalscorer Patson Daka (£5.6m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.2m). That formation choice may have been dictated by Harvey Barnes (£6.7m) only being fit enough for substitute duty, however.
LIVERPOOL’S AWAY-DAY BLUES
Seven-nil victors over Manchester United one week, defeated by relegation-threatened Bournemouth the next.
Liverpool reverted to the below-par side they’ve been for much of 2022/23 at the Vitality Stadium, with the travel sickness narrative furthered by this latest display.
The Reds have won only three times on the road this season, and their only away victory of this calendar year came against 10-man Newcastle United.
Both of Liverpool’s Double Gameweek 29 fixtures are on the road.
“Concerned, yeah, I see it. I think with the home games we are top four, if I’m right. With the away games we are not even in Europe. There is always a reason for the situation you are in and our away record is for sure [one of them]. We could have had more points at home as well – or maybe should have. Away, definitely. It was a big strength of us in the last years, it made a real difference between, but that’s how it is when you are successful, when you do the things consistently in the right way, with the quality we have, we have a good chance to win away or get away results as well. This season not often enough. It’s a clear point, to be honest.” – Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s away form
All of the above being said, if Liverpool had converted their clear openings they would have taken something from the match.
Four big chances went begging on the south coast (no side had more on Saturday), including a second-half penalty that a subdued Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) put wide; the Egyptian again getting the nod from 12 yards despite James Milner (£4.4m) being on the field at the time.
We’ve written positively about Bournemouth in these Scout Notes articles in recent weeks, with high-flying sides like Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United given tough tests before this win over Liverpool.
The schedule also improves now for the Cherries, who like Chelsea also have three fixtures over the next two Gameweeks:
Philip Billing (£5.1m) scored for the second straight match in this much-needed victory, taking him up to six for the season, the second-highest tally among sub-£5.5m midfielders.
Dango Ouattara (£5.0m) claimed the assist and went close to scoring himself; since his Gameweek 21 debut, he’s comfortably clear of his team-mates for expected goal involvement (xGI).
A word on Murara Neto (£4.5m), too, who makes such a difference to this Bournemouth side. He’s sixth and fourth respectively among first-choice Premier League goalkeepers for save percentage (75%) and expected goals prevented (xGP, +2.90) this season.
20 GOALS FOR KANE, JOHNSON INJURY LATEST
Harry Kane (£11.7m) remains on course for his best-ever FPL season, with his brace in Saturday’s win over Nottingham Forest taking him to 20 goals for the campaign. He’s now averaging 6.5 points per match in 2022/23, a figure that only Erling Haaland (£12.2m) can better.
He’ll have a massive part to play in Blank Gameweek 28, too, as arguably the stand-out captaincy candidate of a decimated round of fixtures.
Son Heung-min (£11.6m) and Richarlison (£8.4m) looked more like their own selves as they banked attacking returns and nine-points hauls, while Pedro Porro (£5.6m) continues to grow in confidence after an inauspicious start to his Spurs career; it was his assist that led to Kane’s opener, one of three chances that the wing-back created in north London.
Never underestimate Nottingham Forest’s ability to make even the most unremarkable of players and teams look good on their own soil, though. This was Steve Cooper’s side’s ninth defeat in 13 away games this season, with Joe Worrall‘s (£4.2m) consolation only the fourth goal Forest have scored on the road in 2022/23.
Worrall’s point-blank-range strike and Andre Ayew‘s (£5.0m) missed late penalty accounted for over 70% of Forest’s total xG in this match, with the late flurry of goalmouth activity masking a limp display; the visitors didn’t have a single shot in the opening 45 minutes.
Ayew was likely only taking the spot-kick because the in-form Brennan Johnson (£5.7m) and substitute Chris Wood (£5.6m) had been lost to injury, something that may pique the interest of owners of Newcastle United defenders ahead of the two clubs’ Blank Gameweek 28 meeting. Loanee Wood, of course, can’t play anyway on Friday.
“Brennan has come off with a groin strain; we don’t know how bad it is yet, we’ll see how he is in the next day or two.
“He has been a really important player for us, but we’ll see how he is. Let’s see when it settles down, see what the scan says, and fingers crossed it’s not as severe as these injuries can be.
“Woody was just so unfortunate. He goes on, and in his first moment in the game he gets a really bad knock to his thigh which really swells up instantly like you wouldn’t believe.” – Steve Cooper