An unexpectedly entertaining five-goal thriller at Craven Cottage brought Gameweek 13 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) to a close on Monday.
Fulham were the victors over Wolverhampton Wanderers, who were once again at the wrong end of some controversial VAR decisions.
“We’ve discussed a lot, there is the Vinicius with the headbutt on Max Kilman, it should have been a red. Tim Ream should have been sent off for the penalty, and those are my opinions and they have theirs.
“The penalties went against us. Nelson [Semedo] plays the ball, I’ve watched it back with the referee and he thinks it was wrong, and he should have been sent to the monitor but it doesn’t help me or my players, and the ref admitted a mistake.
“On Harry Wilson, I disagree, he thinks there is enough contact to give the penalty, but I think it is soft.” – Gary O’Neil
Injustices aside, we attempt to pick out the main FPL talking points from the clash at Craven Cottage.
HWANG AND WILLIAN ON PENS
Three converted second-half penalties rounded off the scoring in west London.
They were the first spot-kicks that Fulham and Wolves had been awarded in 2023/24. As a result, there was some doubt about who would step up from 12 yards for each team – particularly as their previous first-choice takers had departed in the summer.
Willian (£5.3m) – twice – and Hwang Hee-chan (£5.6m) were entrusted with the responsibility, making no mistake from the spot.
That’s now 30 straight Premier League penalties that have been taken without failure, the last miss coming in Gameweek 3.
“We know the quality of Willian in that moment. Of course, last season it was my decision in certain moments to not change the penalty taker (Aleksandar Mitrovic) because it was a player that needed to score to get some more confidence to score in the other moments of the game.
“But we knew that Willian was always a taker for us as well. It was my decision for him to be the taker tonight, and it was nice to see him to take the responsibility. Two penalties, very good moments from him.” – Marco Silva
Hwang’s goal takes him to seven for the season, a tally that only four players can better.
The South Korea international had earlier rattled the bar, one of three efforts that he registered at Craven Cottage. One in three is, coincidentally, his exact shot-to-goal conversion rate in 2023/24, a high figure that very few players sustain across a season.
WOLVES’ SCORING RUN
Wolves have now found the net in each of their last 12 Premier League fixtures, Matheus Cunha‘s (£5.3m) 22nd-minute header against Fulham ensuring the run went on.
Only Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, who have scored in all 13 matches this season, can better that.
It’s not just the defences of the division’s fodder that have been breached in that time: Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Spurs have all failed to keep a clean sheet against Gary O’Neil’s side.
That’s something to bear in mind ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Wolves at the Emirates, as good as the Gunners’ backline has been.
O’Neil’s troops are only ranked 11th for goals scored and 13th for expected goals (xG), it should be said. They haven’t scored more than twice in a match this season, so it’s been a steady drip-feed of strikes rather than a real goal glut.
WOLVES TO BE WEAKENED AT ARSENAL
At the other end, Wolves have been less impressive.
Only one clean sheet has arrived in the current campaign, and even that was a lucky one against Everton in Gameweek 3.
Ranked 14th for expected goals conceded (xGC), only three sides have conceded more actual goals than their 23.
While they’ll welcome back centre-half Craig Dawson (£4.5m) from a one-match ban at the Emirates this Saturday, they’ll be weakened in the engine room with the loss of midfield spoilers Mario Lemina (£4.9m) and Joao Gomes (£4.9m). Both players picked up their fifth booking of the campaign at Craven Cottage.
Rayan Ait-Nouri (£4.5m) may also miss out on Gameweek 14, having lasted less than 20 minutes of the defeat to the Cottagers. An update is awaited on him after he limped off with an ankle injury.
One Big Numbers-style nugget to add here: Wolves have given away more penalties (five) than any other Premier League team, while Arsenal have been awarded more spot-kicks (six) than any other side in the division.
Fulham have now taken 13 points from their five meetings with clubs sitting 12th or below in the Premier League table.
In their eight fixtures against the rest of the division, they’ve yet to taste victory and have conceded 19 goals. It’s Liverpool up next for the Cottagers.
One of the main causes for concern at Anfield will be Tim Ream‘s (£4.5m) lack of pace, the veteran American struggling against Hwang on Monday night. Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) will be relishing the prospect of facing him.
The influential Joao Palhinha (£5.0m) will at least be back from suspension for that match, having missed this one due to yellow card accumulation.
Fulham’s full-backs continue to offer a little bit of attacking threat, with Antonee Robinson (£4.4m) claiming back-to-back assists when teeing up Alex Iwobi (£5.3m) to score the game’s opener. Timothy Castagne (£4.5m) finished as the leading chance creator of the match, meanwhile, with three.