Our reaction to the Gameweek 22 matches concludes with this Scout Notes piece on Thursday’s two clashes: West Ham United v Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United.
ANOTHER GOAL FOR SOLANKE
Kalvin Phillips (£4.7m) made his West Ham debut on Thursday but endured a nightmare start, gifting a goal to Dominic Solanke (£7.1m) within the first three minutes of the match.
The former Liverpool man finished with ease, taking his tally to 13 for the season, just one behind Erling Haaland (£14.0m) and Mohamed Salah (£13.1m).
Bournemouth were certainly the more front-footed of the two sides and Solanke was unfortunate not to add an assist, when Alphonse Areola (£4.2m) produced a crucial save to deny Antoine Semenyo (£4.5m).
Next up for Solanke is Nottingham Forest, who he scored a hat-trick against in Gameweek 18.
Above: Only Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah have scored more Premier League goals (G) than Dominic Solanke this season
West Ham welcomed back Mohammed Kudus (£6.8m) from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), with the former Ajax man picking up from where he left off.
He won the penalty which was converted by James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) and was easily his side’s best player, acting as the link between midfield and attack.
His presence helped, certainly on the counter-attack, yet it often looked like he was the only one trying to make things happen, with David Moyes’ side flat a lot of the time.
As for Ward-Prowse, he played off the left-flank and scored from the spot for the second successive Gameweek.
With regular taker Said Benrahma (£5.6m) seemingly on his way out, his appeal increases as a cheaper alternative to Jarrod Bowen (£8.1m), who has now gone three Premier League games without a goal, his longest drought of the season.
“I love taking penalties. I love the pressure. I love the reward you get for the practice you do during the week. It’s pleasing to get another goal.” – James Ward-Prowse
A THRILLER AT MOLINEUX
A lively affair at Molineux saw Man Utd beat Wolves 4-3 in a Premier League classic.
For large periods, the hosts were all over the shop, looking a shadow of the team they normally are, something Cole Palmer (£5.8m) owners will be encouraged by ahead of Gameweek 23.
However, inspired by Pedro Neto (£5.6m), Wolves rallied late on and almost battled back to earn a point.
Given a free role high up the pitch, Neto was superb, with his three shots in the box and 11 attempted crosses both match-leading totals. Having scored and assisted, he’s now up to 11 attacking returns from just 12 starts this season.
There was another assist for Matheus Cunha (£5.8m), meanwhile, who has now returned in five of his last six at home.
MAN UTD A THREAT
Gary O’Neil’s team were undefeated in eight home league matches going into this one, but they struggled to cope with United’s attack, which looked sharp from the off.
Marcus Rashford (£8.4m) silenced his critics with the opener, before Rasmus Hojlund (£6.8m) got his third goal in as many matches.
Neither player has been effective this season but they both seem to have turned a corner, returning in each of the last four/three Gameweeks respectively.
“I think there is an old saying with strikers that if you get the first they keep rolling. This one is a scrappy one but I need to be there and it is a good cross from Luke [Shaw]. I think my role is to find the spaces where I can be free and normally the manager wants me to go in the front to create space in behind. It is very important.
“It is a good chemistry we are starting to get. You can see the relationship with me, Marcus [Rashford] and Garna [Garnacho] is getting good.” – Rasmus Hojlund
United are getting key injured players back, like Lisandro Martinez (£4.7m), Casemiro (£5.3m) and Luke Shaw (£5.2m), and notably, there were some great combinations down the left between the latter and Rashford.
Elsewhere, young Kobbie Mainoo (£4.4m) impressed with a cultured finish to win the game, while Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m) was busy pulling the strings, registering five shots and four chances created, both match-leading totals.
This was only the fourth time Erik ten Hag’s side have scored three or more goals in a Premier League match this season, so context is needed, but they are improving in the final-third.
Their leaky defence, however, is a concern. Andre Onana (£4.8m) was back between the sticks here but they have now conceded two or more goals in five consecutive league games.