FPL notes: Brighton rotation, Mac Allister, Palace pens

The Scout Notes articles take a kneejerk look back at the Gameweek just gone, rounding up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the matches we’ve just witnessed.

Here we focus on Saturday’s three Premier League matches.

All 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 after full-time in each game.


You’ll know all too well by now that Brighton and Hove Albion plundered six goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday – and popular FPL midfielders Kaoru Mitoma (£5.6m), Solly March (£5.3m) and Alexis Mac Allister (£5.6m) somehow registered just three points between them.

Mitoma and Mac Allister were benched, emerging as second-half substitutes, while March was withdrawn after 55 minutes with the score at 5-0, having managed to avoid playing a part in any of his side’s goals.

Danny Welbeck (£6.5m), Pascal Gross (£5.4m) and Deniz Undav (£5.0m) did the damage with braces apiece, while Julio Enciso (£4.6m) chipped in with two assists from Mitoma’s usual left-wing slot and Billy Gilmour (£4.2m) was impressive on a rare start in midfield.

“I decided to change five players to give more energy, to be more alive during the game. I am not surprised for the performances of Gilmour or Undav, it’s just the other players’ level have been very high and it’s difficult to find the space for them, but I am delighted for the performance and the guys.” – Roberto De Zerbi

The concern for Mitoma and Mac Allister is that their understudies were excellent, while the worry for March owners is that perhaps their man is the next regular to taste bench-warming duties.

No-one’s suggesting that the ‘three Ms’ are going to play second fiddle from now on; the anxiety will instead be over more frequent breathers and early substitutions in the run-in, with the fixtures coming thick and fast and De Zerbi now keener to rotate after nigh-on seven months of naming a fairly settled side.

The fact that the Albion boss called the win over Wolves his “best game as a coach” would only have intensified those fears.

“I am not surprised, I love my players and it’s an honour to work here. The level of the players is fantastic. I think today was my best game as a coach but now we have to prepare for the next game. We deserve to achieve our target, to finish in a European spot.” – Roberto De Zerbi


The bad news might not end there for Mac Allister, after an only-just-fit-again Joel Veltman (£4.6m) picked up a muscular injury in the second half against Wolves.

Veltman’s substitution saw Gross once again move to right-back, a position he’s been filling in recent weeks. And with Gross needed in defence, a deputy has been required in the engine room. That man has typically been Mac Allister, redeployed from a more attacking number 10 role, with his goal threat predictably suffering.

Gilmour at least is now one more possibility alongside Felipe Caicedo (£5.0m), having partnered the Ecuador international (with Mac Allister further forward) in the closing stages on Saturday.

“This is my mistake because I should have substituted him before. I hope it will be a small problem. It’s important for us, especially in this moment, because we are playing without Lamptey and I would like to have one chance more to decide the first XI.

“With or without Joel changes a lot of things because only [Pascal] Gross can play as a right-back. We are working to make other solutions in case we lose some more players because we play with [Billy] Gilmour, Gross at right-back or in midfield.” – Roberto De Zerbi


After nine successive games of promising an attacking return without delivering, Pervis Estupinan (£4.8m) finally came up with the goods by assisting a Welbeck goal on Saturday.

Yet it could have been so much more for the left-back, with two excellent chances of his own going begging in the second half. It’s surely just a matter of time before he finds the net for the first time in 2022/23, while there’s not much competition for his place (save for March as an emergency measure) for the rest of the season.

He and Brighton weren’t made to work hard for their clean sheet by Wolves, who continue to impress at Molineux but stink the place out on the road.

They’re a team to target in Gameweeks 36 and 38, when Manchester United and Arsenal respectively host Julen Lopetegui’s mid-table troops.


The lunchtime kick-off at Selhurst Park produced an unexpected seven-goal thriller, with Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) marking his return from a groin issue with a goal.

Michael Olise (£5.4m), Jordan Ayew (£5.2m) and Eberechi Eze (£5.5m) also continued their fine form under Roy Hodgson with a goal contribution apiece; not one of this trio has registered fewer than four attacking returns in their new/old manager’s six games in charge.

There are still plenty of attractive fixtures to look forward to in the run-in, for any belated revellers hopping onto the Palace bandwagon.

Zaha did play through a knock in the second half against West Ham, eventually being withdrawn in the final 10 minutes.

“He got a nasty bang, Wilf, and great credit to him for carrying on really. I spoke to him. I said it may be a good idea to come off but Wilf said: ‘No, no, no – leave me on’. We then agreed we’ll give it another 10 minutes or so and [see] if you can get through those, because if I left the decision to the medical and sports science department, he would have been off [earlier].

“It was a knee-to-knee injury. Those bangs you get on the knee can be very painful.” – Roy Hodgson


Zaha’s patchy record from 12 yards is well-documented, and he didn’t step up to take Palace’s 66th-minute penalty against the Hammers.

Instead, the man who won the spot-kick, Eze, was tasked with the responsibility and scored.

Before we can add penalty-taking duties to Eze’s list of plus points, Hodgson did sound some cautionary words after full-time.

“I think [Zaha’s dead leg] probably did [influence the decision]. I must speak to them, I think he probably did, maybe. Eze’s good, we’ve got some good penalty-takers, Olise’s a good penalty-taker and the penalty-taker at Wolves, had we got one, would have been Luka Milivojevic, so we’re not short of them.

“But I still need to speak to them on Monday and find out what went on between them. I was pleased to see it.” – Roy Hodgson


West Ham had been reasonably solid since their 5-1 thrashing by Newcastle in Gameweek 29 but the defeat to Palace marked an unwelcome return to the bad old days.

David Moyes naming almost the same team for the most recent five matches in league and cup over the last fortnight perhaps was a factor, with Palace having freshened up their starting XI in midweek and having an extra day of recovery.

“I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but I think if you wanted to say could it be a reason, even Palace getting Tuesday and us getting Wednesday. If you win, you don’t say anything about it. If you lose, you do. That’s the way it is. Our fixture list has been pretty busy and it probably didn’t help us.” – David Moyes

Losing Kurt Zouma (£4.4m), arguably their best centre-half, with the score at 1-1 also didn’t help.

“It looked like he’s gone over on his ankle, his ankle has swollen up at the moment. We will get him checked in the morning tomorrow with a scan.” – David Moyes on Kurt Zouma

All three West Ham goals and 1.76 of their 1.86 expected goals (xG) tally came from set pieces, with Tomas Soucek (£5.0m) involved in all three strikes; the visitors posed little open-play threat.


Brentford got the victory against the division’s worst travellers in the end but they made hard work of it, relying on a late free-kick from Ivan Toney (£7.5m) to draw level before numerical advantage was made to count – Forest were down to 10 men through injury – in stoppage time.

It’s probably time to start flipping the Season Ticker for Brentford, who have generally impressed against top-half opposition but toiled against the Premier League also-rans.

This was the first match in 2022/23 when they’ve won after having the most possession.

‘Luckily’ for the Bees, three of their remaining four fixtures are against big-six sides.

This was a hammer blow for Forest, who lost Danilo (£4.5m) – scorer of two goals in as many Gameweeks and arguably their best player on Saturday – to a fateful hamstring injury late on.

Brennan Johnson (£5.6m) also appeared to pick up a knock before being replaced, to compound Steve Cooper’s misery.

Forest have at least looked much better in their two most recent away defeats, while a six-pointer awaits in Gameweek 35 with 20th-place Southampton visiting the City Ground.