The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) takeaways from two of Sunday’s matches are covered in our latest Scout Notes article of Gameweek 10.
This time we’re looking at Aston Villa v Luton Town and Liverpool v Nottingham Forest.
Aston Villa recorded their 12th Premier League home win in a row on Sunday, but it was Moussa Diaby (£6.7m), not Ollie Watkins (£8.4m), who was the star of the show.
The Frenchman was a constant menace for the Luton defence and scored his first goal since Gameweek 3, driving the ball into the bottom corner after Lucas Digne’s (£4.7m) delivery had been headed away.
Diaby also played the ball across the box for Villa’s third, forcing an own goal from Tom Lockyer (£4.3m), which means he’s now created seven ‘big chances’ in 2023/24 so far, more than any other FPL player bar Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) and Kieran Trippier (£7.0m).
Watkins – the most-bought player for the second successive Gameweek – suffered a rare blank, however.
The former Brentford man didn’t have much in the way of goalscoring opportunities aside from an early chance, when he looked destined to tap in Matty Cash’s (£5.1m) cross, only for Luton ‘keeper Thomas Kaminski (£4.5m) to produce an excellent double save.
Still, with Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Bournemouth in the next four (see below), points are surely on the horizon.
Unai Emery had gone with both Cash and Digne at full-back in all four of Aston Villa’s home league matches this season, a trend which continued on Sunday.
Digne was particularly lively, with no player from either side racking up more final-third touches.
He also created three chances for his team-mates but was outscored by Cash, who was substituted off just minutes before Aston Villa conceded, consequently leaving the pitch with his four clean sheet points still intact.
Elsewhere, Douglas Luiz (£5.5m) supplied his first assist of the season from a clever free-kick, maintaining his fine run of home form.
Meanwhile, Nicolo Zaniolo (£5.5m) attempted a match-leading six shots in the first 45 minutes, before he was replaced by Leon Bailey (£5.5m) at the break, who had produced arguably his best performance of the season in Thursday’s UEFA Europa Conference League win over AZ Alkmaar.
MORE LUTON DEFENSIVE WOE
In a routine home win, Aston Villa cruised past Luton, with their 17 shots carrying a combined expected goals (xG) value of 2.39.
Unai Emery’s troops executed their game plan very well, setting up in a structure that nullified their opponents’ threat on the break while limiting the number of corners they conceded, but they were helped by some poor Luton defending.
Having conceded again, it means Rob Edwards’ side are one of only four clubs who have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their first 10 matches. Worryingly, they have also given up 36 ‘big chances’, more than any other top-flight side bar Sheffield United.
Injuries are mounting at the back, with in-form Liverpool and Mohamed Salah up next at Kenilworth Road in Gameweek 11.
“The goals were all avoidable, they were all disappointing. We are missing some players which made us go down to the bare bones in the back unit but I love this group of players. Our strength will be sticking together.” – Rob Edwards
However, it is worth noting Luton’s defensive numbers have been much better at home, with Kenilworth Road generally considered a tough place to play.
In four home matches so far, the Hatters have conceded just six goals, compared to 14 in six on the road. The strength of opposition is of course worth factoring in, mind.
Above: Luton’s home (left) and away (right) defensive underlying numbers compared (average per match)
Further forward, Luton offered little threat at Villa Park, registering just one shot on goal.
They did at least pull one back when Ezri Konsa’s (£4.5m) header rebounded off the crossbar and stuck Emiliano Martinez (£4.9m) before rolling in, but their lack of fluidity in the final-third bodes well for Kostas Tsimikas (£4.5m) owners in Gameweek 11.
Diogo Jota (£7.7m), Darwin Nunez (£7.4m) and Mohamed Salah were all on the scoresheet on Sunday, as Liverpool made it back-to-back wins with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Nott’m Forest.
The Reds are oozing confidence in attack right now, with Darwin in particular purring.
The Uruguayan registered a goal and assist at Anfield, attempting a match-high five shots in the box. It means he’s now contributed to goals in each of his last four Premier League matches.
As for Salah, he’s back to the top of the FPL player standings on 83 points, with his goal created by Dominik Szoboszlai (£7.0m) after a Matt Turner (£4.1m) error.
90-minute man Szoboslai was another standout performer in Gameweek 10, registering two assists. He now sits joint-third among all FPL midfielders for chances created, level with Pedro Neto (£5.8m).
Elsewhere, substitute Cody Gakpo (£7.2m) had a goal ruled out late on, but fellow attacker Luis Diaz (£7.5m) was absent following the terrible news that his father is missing in Colombia.
Discussing Diaz’s situation, Jurgen Klopp said:
“We heard last night late about it. Then we spoke to Lucho; [he] wanted to go home, [we] sent people with him, have people there who take care, there’s part of families there as well so that’s why they want to be together. Absolutely understandable. Then we got the news with [his] mum, which is fantastic, and since then nothing really. They work on it, clearly. By some distance we are obviously not the first people who get informed but we try to have knowledge of everything as much as we can, but we don’t want to disturb in any way. [We’re] not the important people there. We just want to support. That’s it.” – Jurgen Klopp on Luis Diaz
While Liverpool’s attack again caught the eye at Anfield, the defence also played their part, keeping their second successive clean sheet. Forest did hit the bar late on through Anthony Elanga (£5.0m) but they were restricted to just one shot on target.
Elanga surprisingly led the line in Gameweek 10, with Chris Wood (£4.9m) ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Taiwo Awoniyi (£6.4m) did at least make his comeback as a second-half substitute, which coincided with Steve Cooper shifting to a 4-3-3 shape, rather than the wing-back system they started the match with.
“Woody unfortunately picked up a hamstring injury and is going to be out for a little while. We have no recognised striker in the starting XI and it’s not ideal in terms of attacking options.” – Steve Cooper on Chris Wood