The remaining three Gameweek 12 matches from Sunday are the focus of our latest Scout Notes piece.
Chelsea v Manchester City, West Ham United v Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa v Fulham are the fixtures in question.
The numbers and graphics 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.
In an end-to-end thriller at Stamford Bridge, a late Cole Palmer (£5.1m) penalty earned Chelsea a 4-4 draw with Man City. The Blues deserved no less, with the manner in which they went toe-to-toe with the champions impressive.
Palmer and Raheem Sterling (£6.9m) both netted against their former club and were key performers, with three of Chelsea’s five ‘big chances’ falling to the pair.
Palmer’s movement into central areas was a particular highlight and he almost scored a superb solo goal before delivering when it mattered, stepping up to convert his fourth penalty in five Gameweeks.
An unsustainable rate, perhaps, but it’s worth noting he’s fourth among all FPL midfielders in the last six matches for non-penalty expected goal involvement (xGI), so he’s not overly relying on spot-kicks.
“His personality and character, he is a player that arrived in the last moment and he his showing great character and performance. I thought before the game we needed to be careful to him to give time to improve and more experience, but he is improving every single game. I am happy for him and the team.” – Mauricio Pochettino on Cole Palmer
Elsewhere, Reece James (£5.3m) helped nullify the threat of Jeremy Doku (£6.7m) and provided the assist for Sterling’s goal, while Conor Gallagher (£5.4m) is responding to Mauricio Pochettino’s methods and continues to thrive in-behind Nicolas Jackson (£6.8m).
Gallagher now has five assists in the last five Gameweeks and, in that time, sits second among all FPL midfielders for chances created, with 14.
Chelsea have a particularly good run of fixtures from Gameweeks 16-21 and with Christopher Nkunku (£7.3m) nearing a return, expect interest in their assets to ramp up in the coming weeks.
Levi Colwill (£4.6m) missed Sunday’s game due to a minor shoulder injury, meanwhile.
“They are good, the talent cannot be controlled sometimes and they have a good process. Their shape is really good, they can build up with three, wingers go high and make four players in the middle and they have the quality to associate between them. They have speed to go [in behind]. Give credit to both teams. The game was tight, there was momentum for everyone and it was a fair result.” – Pep Guardiola on Chelsea
HAALAND’S IMPRESSIVE AWAY STATS
Erling Haaland (£14.0m) stole the show at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, at least from an FPL perspective, scoring a brace and providing an assist.
It means the Norwegian has now racked up back-to-back 16-point away hauls, with his 19 ‘big chances’ on the road at least 12 more than any other top-flight player, a remarkable stat.
Above: FPL assets sorted by big chances (away matches only) in 2023/24
However, despite scoring four, there was a vulnerability about City at Stamford Bridge, something we don’t often see.
One of the contributing factors was perhaps the inclusion of Doku over Jack Grealish (£7.2m), which meant City lacked some of their usual ‘control’, but Manuel Akanji (£4.9m) also struggled in the ‘John Stones’ role, sometimes failing to master the art of shuttling between two positions.
Above: Manuel Akanji’s touch heatmap v Chelsea in Gameweek 12
Ruben Dias (£5.5m) was unusually poor, too, conceding the late penalty.
City play Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in their next three Premier League games, so it’ll be fascinating to see how Pep reacts to Sunday’s showing.
“We took the game [to Chelsea] but it was difficult to control and they had quality from Cole Palmer and Mykhailo Mudryk. The players to dribble and run meant it was difficult to control the game – they were aggressive. We have momentum [during the game], two or three transitions one-on-one which we could not finish, but the game was in the moment at the end. A tight game, but a fair result. I congratulate the team, we go into the break and we qualify for the Champions League and we comeback [after international break] and go.” – Pep Guardiola
SET-PIECES COME UP TRUMPS
James Ward-Prowse (£6.1m) claimed two more assists against Nottingham Forest in Gameweek 12, taking his tally to 10 for the season in all competitions.
The returns, his first since Gameweek 5, both came from second-half corners. They also coincided with a return to a more advanced midfield role, with his 13 passes received in the final-third on Sunday a season-high figure.
Notably, Ward-Prowse and West Ham face Burnley next, a side whose set-piece concerns continued on Saturday with Arsenal’s second-half goals coming from corners.
“James Ward-Prowse’s assist record is unbelievable. If I was him, I’d probably be a bit annoyed the lads haven’t scored more from my deliveries. He’s on 10 but he could be on 12, 13 or even 14. But I’m really pleased with him. His deliveries are world-class and today we’ve done enough to get the goals.” – David Moyes on James Ward-Prowse
It suggests Ward-Prowse could be back on the FPL radar, but he faces stiff competition from team-mates Mohammed Kudus (£6.5m) and, in particular, Jarrod Bowen (£7.7m), for a place in our teams.
With Michail Antonio (£5.8m) benched for the first time in the league this season on Sunday, Bowen played as a centre-forward against Forest and got another goal, netting his eighth of the campaign so far. He wasn’t quite as involved as usual but improved after the break, flicking in Ward-Prowse’s corner delivery.
“He’s a lot better in the air than people give him credit for. His timing is down and he is able to get in front of people. I’ve got to say, the reason he’s up front is because we’re not surprised by his ability to score. When you’re playing up front you want to get goals, and he’s got another goal today.” – David Moyes on Jarrod Bowen
Despite the win, West Ham once again struggled defensively. Alphonse Areola (£4.3m) made an excellent save in the early stages but could only parry the shot which led to Taiwo Awoniyi’s (£6.4m) equaliser.
It means the Frenchman has kept just one clean sheet in his first 12 appearances in 2023/24 and is averaging only 3.3 points per match. The Hammers still have some decent fixtures to come, but recent defensive displays are a real concern.
As for Forest, despite defeat, there were positives. Awoniyi netted his first goal since Gameweek 3 and fellow attackers Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.7m) and Anthony Elanga (£5.0m) were lively.
Forest also have some good fixtures coming up but their away form is poor and losing Murillo (£4.5m) to a hamstring injury will be a serious blow if he is to miss matches.
VILLA IN CONTROL
Aston Villa have now won 13 Premier League home matches in a row, as their transformation under Unai Emery continues.
The latest, a 3-1 win over Fulham, was far from spectacular but efficient enough to get the job done.
The result means Villa have scored three or more goals in each of their six Premier League home matches in 2023/24.
However, sterner tests await, with Tottenham Hotspur up next and home matches against Man City and Arsenal to follow in early December.
Above: Aston Villa’s fixtures up until the end of the year
In Gameweek 12, Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) scored his sixth league goal of the season but later missed a sitter, the 12th ‘big chance’ he’s fluffed this term.
As for Diaby, he was denied in the early stages but later awarded the assist for Antonee Robinson’s (£4.4m) own goal, having got a touch on Youri Tielemans’ (£5.7m) cross. Owners will have been disappointed to see him depart on 62 minutes, however.
Elsewhere, John McGinn (£5.5m) grabbed his fourth attacking return in six matches, but Matty Cash (£5.2m) owners were left frustrated once again.
Cash initiated the move for McGinn’s goal and was an outlet down the right all afternoon but lost his clean sheet after Raul Jimenez (£5.2m) scored his first goal for Fulham, meaning he has just one return in the last five Gameweeks.
“We are the best scoring team in the league. It’s important because we’re showing our potential but we have to be stronger defensively.” – Unai Emery