We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United in our first Scout Notes report of Blank Gameweek 28.
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ISAK SHOWS HIS QUALITY
Alexander Isak (£6.6m) is starting to show why Newcastle forked out £60m to sign him, as his brace of goals at The City Ground gave the Magpies a fully deserved win.
In an electric display, the Sweden striker was a constant threat, scoring in each half, including an injury-time penalty which for a moment looked like Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) was going to take.
He almost turned provider, too, when substitute Elliot Anderson (£4.3m) saw his goal controversially ruled out. Isak ended the night with five shots in the box, two big chances and nine penalty box touches, all match-leading totals.
“Alexander Isak took our last penalty and scored it really well. Kieran Trippier is an incredible penalty taker but Alex is our designated taker and he took it really well.” – Eddie Howe
The young forward has been blighted by injuries in his opening season in England but has now scored three goals in his last two games, which has coincided with Eddie Howe shuffling his front three to include him alongside Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.1m) and Jacob Murphy (£4.1m).
In an eventful evening, Newcastle also hit the bar twice and missed a hatful of chances, in a performance that will increase interest in Isak, who is owned by just 2.2% of FPL managers ahead of Double Gameweek 29.
CLEAN SHEET WIPEOUT
Owners of Kieran Trippier and co were dealt an early blow in Blank Gameweek 28 when a Sven Botman (£4.5m) howler gifted Nott’m Forest an early lead against the run of play.
In truth, there wasn’t a lot wrong with Newcastle’s defensive display, as they allowed just five shots which carried a combined expected goals (xG) value of 0.38.
Still, they have now failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last six matches and generally haven’t looked their usual selves at the back.
NEWCASTLE – LAST SIX MATCHES
|Total (rank v other Premier League teams)|
|Goals conceded||8 (12th=)|
|Clean sheets||0 (18th=)|
|Big chances conceded||13 (11th=)|
|Expected goals conceded (xGC)||7.28 (8th)|
ALMIRON, SCHAR + WILSON UPDATES
Miguel Almiron (£5.5m) is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after picking up a thigh injury in training with the club.
Eddie Howe revealed after the match he will be out for six weeks, potentially ruling him out until May.
“Miggy pulled a thigh muscle in training. Unfortunately, it’s quite a bad one. It’s going to be six weeks.” – Eddie Howe on Miguel Almiron
The Newcastle boss also offered updates on Fabian Schar (£5.0m), who has been left out of the Switzerland squad, plus Callum Wilson (£6.9m) and Saint-Maximin. The latter was replaced at half-time, with his hamstrings causing concern.
“Fabian’s been carrying lots of different things in the last few weeks. He’s been carrying a foot problem and also had concussion, so I think it’s just a chance for him to rest his body and go again.” – Eddie Howe on Fabian Schar
“Allan wasn’t quite right today, physically, I didn’t think. He’s been carrying a tight hamstring. I don’t think it’s a pull, it’s just a little bit of tightness. For me, it was obvious during that first half that he probably wouldn’t be able to carry on.” – Eddie Howe on Allan Saint-Maximin
“I didn’t want to expose Callum today, he hasn’t done a lot of training, so I decided to go with Elliot [Anderson] and he repaid me, he did really well. Hopefully, we’ll have Callum and Maxi [Saint-Maximin] fit and available after the international break.” – Eddie Howe on Callum Wilson
FOREST FINALLY LOSE AT HOME
Nott’m Forest failed to put some distance between themselves and the dreaded drop zone on Friday in a disappointing display. As a result, it’s now six league matches without a win, a period that has seen them score just five goals and concede 14.
Nonetheless, their home form has generally been excellent this season. Prior to tonight, they were unbeaten in nine Premier League fixtures at The City Ground, last losing to Fulham all the way back in Gameweek 8. Now, Double Gameweek 29 offers them an opportunity to get back on track, when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers before visiting Leeds United.
It was Emmanuel Dennis (£5.6m) on the scoresheet against Newcastle, although the quicker-than-expected return of Brennan Johnson (£5.7m) from injury means he is the forward to target, for those wishing to invest in Steve Cooper’s attack.
“We’re really frustrated to lose. It was a difficult game. The main talking points for me are how we didn’t manage ourselves around the two goals. The timing of the goals are moments in the game where you just have to see it out. The first goal was right at the end of the first half, and the second was right at the end of the second. For us to make those decisions in the build-up is something you will get punished for at this level. That’s where my immediate frustration is, and the players will be frustrated with that as well.” – Steve Cooper