The remaining three Gameweek 10 matches from Sunday are the focus of our latest Scout Notes piece.
Manchester United v Manchester City, West Ham United v Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion v Fulham are the fixtures in question.
Any graphics and stats you see in this piece are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can find Opta data from each and every Premier League match.
Man Utd were completely outplayed on their own patch on Sunday, with Erling Haaland (£14.0m) reminding us all of his haul potential.
The Norwegian put in an excellent display leading the line, scoring twice and adding a late assist for Phil Foden (£7.5m), resulting in his first double-figure haul since Gameweek 4.
Tougher fixtures had been touted as a reason to sell Haaland, yet he simply loves playing Man Utd and has now amassed more FPL points against them than any other opponent.
In total, Pep Guardiola’s side had 21 shots and ended the game with 4.00 expected goals (xG) – the highest xG total they have managed in a Premier League game this season.
Elsewhere, Jack Grealish (£7.3m) and Foden were both excellent on the flanks, with the latter presented with three Opta-defined ‘big chances’, his first clear-cut opportunities since Gameweek 1.
However, Julian Alvarez (£7.2m) found it more difficult to impose himself. He still put in some decent corners yet his deeper position restricted him to just two penalty box touches.
HOJLUND STILL SEEKING FIRST PL GOAL
It was another frustrating afternoon for Man Utd, who slumped to their fifth defeat in 10 Premier League matches.
In that time, they’ve scored just 11 goals, with Rasmus Hojlund (£7.1m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.7m) wasting their best opportunities on Sunday.
There’s no doubt the potential is there with Hojlund but he’s now reached 490 minutes without a Premier League goal, a period which has seen him average just under two shots per 90 minutes and fluff six ‘big chances’.
The young striker was taken off in the 73rd minute in Gameweek 10 despite the hosts chasing the game, with Erik ten Hag explaining his reasoning below.
“I have to protect Rasmus Hojlund and I have to protect the team. He is putting so much effort in pressing, going in the transitions, going long ways, being in the fight, a tough opposition. Then we are losing the game 2-0 and you are taking him off and he is not used to it – three games a week. So, as I said, I have to protect him and I also have to protect the team, to bring some energy in – we have bench players, so we have Mason Mount, we have Alejandro Garnacho and we know he can change games. We bring them in and that is the argument why.” – Erik ten Hag on why Rasmus Hojlund came off
Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m) is on the cusp of a suspension, meanwhile. The Portuguese picked up a late booking at Old Trafford and is now up to four for the season, just one away from a one-match ban.
In defence, ten Hag surprisingly lined up with Jonny Evans (£4.0m) and Harry Maguire (£4.2m) at centre-half, with the right-footed Victor Lindelof (£4.5m) at left-back, despite Raphael Varane (£5.0m) and Sergio Reguilon (£4.4m) playing in midweek.
Ten Hag said the decision was based purely on “tactics”, but after another lacklustre display, both players can expect swift recalls.
CALVERT-LEWIN SECURES WIN
The performances have mostly been positive for Everton this season and they put in another good display on Sunday, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s (£5.8m) super strike the difference.
The 26-year-old worked his socks off up front and is going from strength to strength under Sean Dyche, with three goals in his last five matches.
He’s produced 12 shots in the box during that spell, more than any other FPL forward bar Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) and Carlton Morris (£5.5m). If Dyche can keep his number nine fit, there’s no reason why Calvert-Lewin can’t become an option for our frontlines.
“It means everything. I love playing football and scoring goals. It’s the best feeling in the world so I’m happy to have put games back to back and be building match sharpness. I’ve got to give the manager credit for being patient and taking pressure off my shoulders because previously it killed me. The rush to get me back to get back fit and coming back too soon and breaking down, that cycle had to stop. He came in and said, ‘This will stop’ and he has allowed me to take time to get in this position. I guess we’re all reaping the rewards now.” – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Everton didn’t put a foot wrong defensively on Sunday either, with Jarrad Branthwaite (£4.0m) once again a key figure.
Overall, the Toffees restricted West Ham to just two shots on target and 0.66 xG, despite them dominating the ball (64% possession).
KUDUS’ FIRST START/WARD-PROWSE DEEPER
Mohammed Kudus (£6.5m) made his first Premier League start on Sunday and was, by far and away, West Ham’s best player.
Deployed as a roaming no. 10, he failed to register a shot, yet there were plenty of bright moments, with his passing in particular catching the eye.
Kudus’ start had implications for Tomas Soucek (£4.9m) and James Ward-Prowse (£6.2m), however.
Despite scoring in each of his last three home matches in all competitions, Soucek was benched, while Ward-Prowse was pushed into a deeper midfield role and failed to register a single penalty box touch for the first time since Gameweek 6.
Above: James Ward-Prowse’s touch heatmap v Everton in Gameweek 10
“Maybe just a bit more quality and that final pass, the final delivery in the box. We have been trying to get him in the team and the team has been playing very well so it was difficult for him to come in but we felt today was the time to do so.” – David Moyes on why he brought Mohammed Kudus into the starting XI
Still, despite Kudus’ best efforts, West Ham were poor offensively and looked out of ideas for most of the match, with Jarrod Bowen (£7.4m) presented with their only ‘big chance’.
West Ham visit Brentford in Gameweek 11, but they’ll face an uphill battle with both Edson Alvarez (£5.0m) and Lucas Paqueta (£6.0m) suspended, having received their fifth cautions of the season on Sunday.
“Today, we might have had more of the ball (64 per cent), but that doesn’t matter. We didn’t have more of the ball when we beat Chelsea or when we beat Brighton. Today, we did have more of the ball and it felt like we couldn’t open it up and make chances. This season in the early games, we played on the counter-attack. I think our play has got better, we built quite well and played out from the back. It was when we got to the final third we ran aground in terms of creating really good chances.” – David Moyes
DE ZERBI ON FERGUSON
Evan Ferguson (£6.0m) scored his first Brighton goal since Gameweek 4 on Sunday, but the hosts were unable to build on their midweek win over Ajax, drawing 1-1 with bogey team Fulham.
The Republic of Ireland international came into the starting XI as one of six changes, with Adam Lallana (£4.9m) surprisingly preferred to Joao Pedro (£5.3m) and Ansu Fati (£6.5m).
It coincided with a system change for Roberto De Zerbi’s troops, who lined up with a back three for the first time this season.
Despite Ferguson’s classy finish to open the scoring, De Zerbi didn’t sound completely happy, suggesting he hasn’t been at his best recently.
“Ferguson is not in the best moment of him but he is a different player for us. He is a different striker we have in the squad. I think he can play better but he is not in the best moment. Today he played a good game.” – Roberto De Zerbi
The 3-4-2-1 shape meant Kaoru Mitoma (£6.5m) and Simon Adingra (£5.0m) were deployed as wing-backs, yet it didn’t hold them back. In fact, Mitoma received 21 passes in the final third, the most he’s received in a single match since Gameweek 3.
As for Fulham, they grabbed their equaliser out of nowhere, with the ball dropping to Joao Palhinha (£5.0m), who hit a beautiful shot that flew past Jason Steele (£4.3m).
The Cottagers’ best player, however, was arguably Alex Iwobi (£5.4m). He slotted into the no. 10 role in place of Andreas Pereira (£5.4m) and played very well, so you’d think he’s done enough to keep his place for the visit of Man Utd in Gameweek 11.