Nottingham Forest and Brentford played out a one-all draw on Sunday, with the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points addressed below.
Any graphics and stats you see in this piece are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can find Opta data on each and every Premier League match.
WHY GIBBS-WHITE WAS BENCHED
Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.8m) hasn’t started the season well and he was benched on Sunday, with Anthony Elanga (£5.0m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.9m) coming into the starting XI.
Explaining his decision just before kick-off, Steve Cooper said now is the right time to give him “a little breather” and that “it might do him good”.
“We have more numbers in the squad although we have picked up injuries this week. We’ve got options for different areas of the pitch. We’re trying to make the right decisions. Everyone knows how important Morgan is to us. He’s certainly not been dropped. We’re committing to the plan and hopefully we can take it to the pitch. Some of the changes today are forced. We’ve picked up injuries so that’s reflected on the bench. I wouldn’t say it’s a strategy of rotation. It’s just trying to get the right plan and the right team for the next game. It’s just that process.” – Steve Cooper
Gibbs-White did appear off the bench on 61 minutes, however, playing his part in the equaliser and creating one Opta-defined ‘big chance’.
DOMINGUEZ RESCUES POINT
Nicolas Dominguez’s (£5.0m) first goal for Nott’m Forest earned Steve Cooper’s side a point, despite being reduced to 10 men early in the second half, when Moussa Niakhate (£4.5m) was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Dominguez, lining up next to Orel Mangala (£5.0m) and Ibrahim Sangare (£5.0m) in the engine room, headed home substitute Harry Toffolo’s (£4.4m) cross and looked lively, although he was later forced off with an injury.
Elsewhere, Taiwo Awoniyi (£6.6m) had the ball in the net after eight minutes, but a VAR check confirmed he was offside. Aside from that, he didn’t get too much of a look-in, as he failed to register a single shot.
Having rescued a point, it means Forest have lost just two of their last 18 home Premier League matches, with their only defeats against Newcastle United and Manchester United earlier this year.
MBEUMO + BRENTFORD’S FORM
Christian Norgaard (£5.5m) headed in Mathias Jensen’s (£5.4m) free-kick to put the visitors in front, but having failed to hold onto their lead, Brentford have now gone five games without a win.
There is a lack of cohesion in attack, which hasn’t been helped by injuries to Rico Henry (£4.5m) and Kevin Schade (£5.4m), plus Ivan Toney’s (£7.9m) ban.
Worryingly, the Bees were second best against Everton last week and also struggled for large periods on Sunday.
They did have 59% possession and 18 attempts on goal, but only three of those shots were on target.
“Right now, we are in a spell where we are struggling to get over the line and get three points. What we are big believers in is that, if the performances are good and we are going in the right direction, the points will come. If you look at everything, we should have won this game. Leading 1-0, 11 against 10, [Dominguez] scores that header one in 100.
After that we should and could have scored, but on the day, we just couldn’t do it. Well done to Nottingham Forest for defending well. It’s not easy [against a team with 10 players]. I think we did well in spells, but the final quality – cross, pass, shot – was not there. And some great blocks and saves from Nottingham. We need to keep believing, keep learning and keep improving. Then we’ll be fine.” – Thomas Frank
Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m), meanwhile, didn’t have many sights at goal (two shots) and blanked for the third successive match. He started on the right flank but was very wide, which is captured below:
Above: Bryan Mbeumo’s touch heatmap v Nott’m Forest in Gameweek 7
In Gameweeks 5-7, Mbeumo has been presented with just one ‘big chance’, with his six shots in that period beaten by 19 other FPL midfielders.
Sales are picking up, too, with Brentford ranked 18th on the ticker for fixture difficulty over the next six.
However, they probably should have had a penalty at the City Ground for a foul by Matt Turner (£4.0m) on Yoane Wissa (£6.0m). It wasn’t the goalkeeper’s finest afternoon, either, which he discussed after the match:
“It was a terrible start for me in the second half in general. The ball was slow. I wasn’t getting it out of my feet and [Wissa] was pressing me really hard. I was a little bit worried but I tried to hold back as much as I could, because I knew he was going to win it. I’m glad VAR didn’t intervene because that would have made things go from bad to worse for me. But I’m proud of myself, also because of my response the rest of the game, keeping it at one [goal conceded] and coming for some crosses late to relieve pressure.” – Matt Turner