The kneejerk analysis of Saturday’s Gameweek 6 action begins as we pick out the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Brentford v Everton and Burnley v Manchester United.
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UNITED WIN BUT FAR FROM IMPRESSIVE
Manchester United bounced back to winning ways on Saturday evening, with the well-earned Bruno Fernandes (£8.4m) and Andre Onana (£4.9m) finishing with a combined 17 points.
Satisfying returns for the FPL managers who kept faith in the pair, then, but hardly a team performance that suggested a corner had been turned.
Burnley dominated possession, with Zeki Amdouni (£5.4m) spurning two excellent early chances – one saved by Onana, one hitting the post – and Sander Berge (£4.9m) heading off target from close range late on.
United struggled to create anything of note before or after Fernandes brilliantly volleyed the visitors in front just before half-time. The Portuguese midfielder, starting on the right of a 4-2-3-1, had all three of United’s efforts from inside the box that ended on target.
Rasmus Hojlund (£7.1m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.9m) drew blanks but the former’s movement does suggest that goals will come, as he was inches from connecting with a Diogo Dalot (£4.9m) cross and a Rashford knock-down – something that isn’t obvious just from looking at the basic shot count from the game.
Sergio Reguilon (£4.4m) wasn’t as eye-catchingly advanced as he was in Gameweek 5 or in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. But he’s generally impressed in his first three games in a United shirt and he was a new entry on our Watchlist this week, with his price tag and medium-term fixtures favourable.
The left-back seemed to leave the field injured in the second half but Erik ten Hag suggested he was merely ill.
“Reguilon was ill. That tells something about character and spirit they want to show. He was ill but wanted to play, wanted to support and contribute for the team.” – Erik ten Hag
Jonny Evans (£4.0m) meanwhile was pressed into action at centre-half, with Lisandro Martinez (£4.8m) missing out and Raphael Varane (£5.0m) only fit enough for substitute duty, and rolled back the years with a fine showing.
It was the 35-year-old stopper who assisted Fernandes’ strike, having earlier been denied a goal of his own by the VAR.
This wasn’t the worst Double Gameweek 7 audition from bottom-of-the-table Burnley, who are slowly improving with every game.
Vincent Kompany at least seems to have stemmed the flow of goal concessions, with the Clarets keeping it relatively tight in Gameweeks 5 and 6.
“We had good pressure throughout the game, we were never exposed. If you look at our first two or three games, I don’t think this one had that type of vibe, because we were solid when we had to defend and we were good when we had the ball.” – Vincent Kompany
Their players are still hard sells for Gameweek 7, with a trip to Newcastle United representing one half of their ‘double’.
Amdouni poses some threat and was here playing more advanced in the absence of the suspended Lyle Foster (£5.0m), while tricky winger Luca Koleosho (£5.0m) is the Clarets’ leading chance creator in 2023/24 to date.
But it’s the budget-friendly options at the rear where a lot of the modest FPL interest will lie, with Charlie Taylor (£3.9m), Ameen Al-Dakhil (£4.0m) and Jordan Beyer (£4.0m) all part of a much-improved backline in the last two Gameweeks.
EVERTON FINALLY TURN SHOTS INTO GOALS
Everton surprisingly sit second for ‘big chances’ this season – and they finally turned underlying numbers into goals on Saturday.
Sean Dyche has been at pains to suggest that the Toffees have actually been performing well for much of 2023/24, despite early results.
The main thing that’s been missing has been goals: the blue half of Merseyside had the worst shot conversion rate in the league (3%) before Gameweek 6.
Occasionally, as it did in the 5-1 hammering of Brighton and Hove Albion last season and here at Brentford, things click.
“It’s good to get a result our performance warranted. We’ve stepped away twice [this season] – once against a very good Arsenal side in the second half, and at Villa we weren’t close – but the other games I think we performed well.
“It’s hard because you have to keep telling that story. I think the Evertonians realised [we have played well in most games] but you’ve got to win, you’ve got to score goals so to do that today at a tough place and be so effective in our play – we had 18 efforts at goal – was very pleasing.” – Sean Dyche
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and it’s worth reminding ourselves that Everton scored just 0.82 goals per match under Dyche in 2022/23 outside of that anomalous goal rush at the Amex.
But a buoyed Toffees side is not what owners of Luton assets would have wanted going into Double Gameweek 7, with a trip to Goodison Park first up for the Hatters.
In Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.8m) and Beto (£6.0m), Everton also have two fit competent strikers to lead the line rather than Neal Maupay (£4.9m) or an out-of-position Demarai Gray.
Calvert-Lewin emerged from the bench to round the scoring off after James Tarkowski (£4.4m) had assisted and scored from two set plays.
AN OFF DAY FOR BRENTFORD
Bad days at the office have been few and far between for Brentford but this was one of them.
Outfought and outrun by Everton, the Bees deservedly lost. Bar the Mathias Jensen (£5.4m) equaliser and a Keane Lewis-Potter (£4.8m) sitter, the hosts’ goal threat was minimal.
Bryan Mbeumo (£6.9m) was stationed too far wide to do any damage, even moving to right wing-back after the hour mark to further dent his goalscoring prospects. It’s a tactic we might not see all that much of even when Thomas Frank does play a 3-5-2 but it’s something to carefully monitor given that Rico Henry‘s (£4.6m) season-ending injury has diminished the wing-back pool by one.
“I think that Everton deserved to win. The first five games we played this season, we performed very well – this was a bad performance. We need to learn from that, move forward and bounce back.” – Thomas Frank
Injuries probably didn’t help, with Henry and Ben Mee (£4.9m) absent at the rear and Kevin Schade (£5.4m) pulling out of the starting XI just before kick-off.
“I’m pretty sure Kevin (Schade) wont train on Monday, but we will assess him then and go from there.
“Ben has a muscle injury he picked up a couple of days ago, we’re unsure how will he will be out.” – Thomas Frank