In his FPL Gameweek 12 review, Fantasy Premier League author David Wardale sees Man City’s most popular asset deliver yet again.
There was also an emphatic win by Chelsea at struggling Leicester, while three new managers made their mark on a frantic Saturday afternoon.
You can catch all our FPL Gameweek 13 tips right here.
FPL Gameweek 12 Review
Man City 3 Everton 0 – Cancelo Steps Up
Manchester City brushed off Everton like so much footballing dandruff as Joao Cancelo (£6.5m) ensured decent returns for most of the FPL managers invested in the match.
The 30.8%-owned defender was the most popular player on the pitch and he duly delivered, with his fifth assist of the season (and a third in two matches) a stunning pass off the outside of his boot to set up Raheem Sterling’s (£10.6m) opener.
It was just as well Cancelo did the business as three of City’s five most-owned players, including the 25.2%-owned Ruben Dias (£6.1m) either didn’t make the squad or were benched.
And a fourth, Phil Foden (£8.3m and 13.8%), played only 57 minutes to bring in just two points.
The game was a one-sided affair. City had 77% possession and out-shot Everton 17 to four, with seven attempts on target to the visitors’ one.
Further goals came from a Rodrigo (£5.5m) screamer and a Bernardo Silva (£7.2m) close-range finish.
That was the Portugal international’s fourth goal of the season, his second in consecutive games and his third in five starts.
He’s also produced two assists and his 52 points is bettered only by that man Cancelo among City players this campaign.
Only Cancelo and Ederson (£6.0m) have played more minutes than Silva as well, and yet he’s still found in only 7.8% of squads – one of FPL’s more puzzling facts this season.
Everton’s most popular player, the 13.4%-owned Demarai Gray (£5.7m) went off with a groin issue in the first half to further compromise the team’s threadbare attacking options.
And just to add to boss Rafa Benitez’s woes, striker Richarlison (£7.4m) was then booked, meaning he’ll miss the Gameweek 13 trip to Brentford.
That could mean uber-cheap striking options come to the fore, but Everton have failed to score in three of their last five league fixtures, so cheap will not necessarily mean cheerful.
Spurs 2 Leeds 1 – Conte Them In
Tottenham came from behind to grab a first league win under Antonio Conte in a game, in fantasy terms, most notable for its absences.
The visitors’ most-owned player, Raphinha (£6.7m and 20.2%) missed the match through illness, while hauls from two of the gameweek’s most purchased stars failed to turn up either.
That pair were Spurs duo Heung-Min Son (£10.4m) and Harry Kane (£12.2m). They both hit the woodwork, but brought in just four points between them as Kane, especially, was nullified by a man-marking job from the excellent Kalvin Phillips (£4.8m).
The joy to be found came, instead, further back.
Conte’s liking for attacking wing-backs meant a first increase in owners for Sergio Reguilon (£5.0m) since Gameweek 4, and the 10.7% now on the Spaniard were rewarded with the winning goal from their man.
Leeds took the lead via a fine finish from Daniel James (£6.0m) and they fully deserved that advantage at half-time.
But Spurs came out transformed and equalised through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) before Reguilon’s winner.
Tottenham’s fixtures look superb, aside from Liverpool in Gameweek 18, all the way through to the new year and the side’s key assets will only see their ownership levels expand as a result.
Leeds, however, ran out of steam in the second half and, Raphinha aside, there’s little to tempt investment with a set of fixtures turning nasty sooner rather than later.
Leicester 0 Chelsea 3 – Dominant Blues Outfox Hosts
A men-against-boys performance kicked off Gameweek 12, with Chelsea outclassing a leaden Leicester.
The second-most bought player heading into the weekend, Blues wing-back Reece James (£6.0m), handed his 470,000+ new owners a bumper haul, with an assist, clean sheet and (projected) maximum bonus making it three double-digit returns in his last four starts.
The 24.1%-owned James caught the eye, but big scores were spread across the defence as Ben Chilwell (£6.0m and 19.6%) produced a first assist of the season, setting up Antonio Rudiger’s (£5.9m and 17.5%) opener.
Those Chilwell owners could be excused for feeling a touch hard done by – their man led the way for shots and key passes (three apiece) and yet missed out on any bonus points.
He forced one superb save from Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m) and hit the bar with the best chance of the game, with that miss counting against him in the bonus points system (BPS).
The other goals came from N’Golo Kante (£4.9m) and substitute Christian Pulisic (£7.9m), set up by James and Hakim Ziyech (£7.3m) respectively.
Kai Havertz (£8.1m) led the line well, but with Timo Werner (£8.6m) back on the bench and Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) expected to train with the first team ahead of the midweek Champions League action, the midfielder’s time as a lone striker looks as limited as his output at the King Power – just one shot and no key passes.
Leicester were woeful in the first half, improved after the break, but were well beaten and are in a bad way at present.
They’ve scored just once in three matches and haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 1.
Their fixtures are good, their form awful and their talisman, Jamie Vardy (£10.7m), toothless.
He’s scored no goals in four, had just one shot today and is shipping owners week on week at present.
Watford 4 Man United 1 – Ole’s Wheel Falling Off
An action-packed match at Vicarage Road ended in victory for the hosts, a dismissal for Harry Maguire (£5.4m) and yet more pressure heaped upon Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
It’s not been a great FPL season for strikers thus far, but those managers with an interest in the cut-price charms of Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) and Josh King (£5.6m) are being increasingly well rewarded these days.
The pair now find themselves in the top seven for points-scoring strikers and the former had a busy time of it against United, scoring one goal and setting up another two.
Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) managed to have two penalties saved by David de Gea (£5.0m) – the first had to be retaken due to encroachment – much to the delight of the 178,000 or so bosses who binned off the Watford midfielder after five straight blanks.
They wouldn’t have been so happy when he then scored from open play, although a topsy turvy day for Sarr ended when he limped off after 67 minutes, with Maguire departing following a second yellow card two minutes later.
The other budget forward, King, had opened the scoring way back in the first half, while United’s goal came from one of this campaign’s most criminally under-used players, Donny van de Beek (£5.7m), who came on at half-time.
United have Chelsea and Arsenal next. Solskjaer (and many a fantasy manager) might not have much direct interest in those fixtures.
Watford’s immediate schedule isn’t much better, although a vulnerable Leicester are their Gameweek 13 opponents.
Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0 – TAA Very Much
Arsenal’s progress over recent weeks was put into brutal context as they were swept aside by an intense and ruthless Liverpool.
The Gunners went into the match on an eight-match unbeaten run in the league and came out the other side on the end of their worst beating since Gameweek 3’s 5-0 debacle at Man City.
All three of Liverpool’s front trio scored, which was especially good news for the 166,000+ who had bought into Diogo Jota (£7.5m).
The only other Liverpool player in the top 12 for transfers-in, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m), was the biggest points scorer on the night, with two assists, a clean sheet and maximum bonus bringing in 15 points – his third double-digit haul in four gameweeks.
Only two of those returns have included shut-outs, but Liverpool’s schedule is looking healthy enough to suggest more of them to come, and the right-back is looking as essential as such a costly defender can ever be.
Meanwhile, the Poundland Andy Robertson (£7.0m), Konstantinos Tsimikas (£3.9m), stood in for the hamstring-afflicted Scot and has now scored just two points fewer.
As for Arsenal, individual errors handed Liverpool the lead and although they showed purpose, they were second-best for much of the match and rarely bothered Alisson (£6.0m) in the Liverpool goal.
Aston Villa 2 Brighton 0 – The New Manager Bounce
Steven Gerrard’s debut game in charge at Aston Villa ended a five-match win drought courtesy of goals from Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) and Tyrone Mings (£4.9m).
Perhaps more pertinently, the victory also featured a first clean sheet since Gameweek 6, with the 6.0% owning Mings set to earn a bumper 15 points from their man.
Villa’s short-term schedule is not the best, but if they can build on that defensive solidity, there’s some bargains to be had in their backline.
As for Brighton, it’s no clean sheets in four, and the goals aren’t exactly flowing at the other end either – the Seagulls have hit more than one goal in just one of their last seven matches.
Norwich 2 Southampton 1 – New Manager Bounce 2, Electric Boogaloo
Villa’s former boss, Dean Smith, made a triumphant start to his new job at Norwich as the Canaries saw off Southampton.
Teemu Pukki (£5.8m) scored for the second straight match to cancel out Che Adams’ (£6.8m) opener – his second goal in three games.
The winner came from Norwich skipper Grant Hanley (£4.4m), which was a welcome return for a defender with zero clean sheets to his name this season, and there were also recalls for Billy Gilmour (£4.4m) and Todd Cantwell (£5.3m) as Smith rang a few changes.
That’s two straight wins for Norwich, which might cut back the snark from the likes of me, while the 23.8% of managers overjoyed to discover Tino Livramento (£4.6m) was fit to start the match then had to endure a first blank in six starts from the Southampton defender.
Newcastle 3 Brentford 3 – New Manager Bounce 3, This Time It’s Mental
Whatever the Eddie Howe era might bring to Newcastle, it seems unlikely to be tedium.
Covid-19 kept the new Toon boss away from his squad, but his instructions seemed clear enough: attack. And then attacks some more.
Newcastle fired in 23 shots against Brentford, with 17 coming from a front three of Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.8m), Joelinton (£5.8m) and the (relatively) well-backed Callum Wilson (£7.4m), who put on 126,000+ new managers for the fixture.
Sod’s Law was then applied, with Wilson the only one of those strikers not to score. It wasn’t for the want of trying – he had six shots, Saint-Maximin seven and Joelinton four.
Newcastle averaged 10.7 shots per game prior to Howe’s arrival. With Norwich, Burnley and Leicester to come over the next four gameweeks, a look at their three-pronged attack might be wise.
Defensively, they remain off limits – as do Brentford – and spare a thought for those niche enough to think owning Jamaal Lascelles (£4.4m and 0.2%) is a canny move. The defender scored a goal at both ends of the pitch, conceded another two and still ended up with a season’s best return of five big points.
And spare an even bigger thought for those former Ivan Toney (£6.7m) owners out there. The striker scored his first goal since Gameweek 5 – a barren run bizarrely marked by a major increase in both ownership and price.
Patience finally wore thin this week and nearly 140,000 sellers consequently missed out on a decent haul.
Burnley 3 Crystal Palace 3 – What Just Happened?
This time last year, you’d probably have made a few quid betting on a goalless draw involving these two.
But times, like Antonio Conte’s hair, can change dramatically, and the big difference at Burnley has been the explosive attacking threat of Maxwel Cornet (£6.1m).
The midfielder scored his fifth goal in six matches (and only five starts), although naysayers will point out that his output is unsustainable seeing as those strikes have come from just ten shots.
But the Clarets’ schedule is good enough, and Cornet’s ownership small enough (1.8%), to consider investment regardless of those stats.
A wide open match threw up some strangeness, with defenders Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) and James Tarkowski (£4.9m) providing two assists apiece.
Rather more predictable (and welcome) was another return for the gameweek’s most popular purchase, Conor Gallagher (£5.9m), his assist making it three consecutive hauls for his 21.6% fan club.
Christian Benteke’s (£6.3m) second coming as a striker who actually scores goals continued with a brace that made it four strikes from as many starts for the Palace man. He also missed a golden chance for a hat-trick, but still did enough to earn maximum bonus.
Fixtures are set fair for the Eagles and their form remains impressive. Whether that’s enough to prompt a boost in Benteke’s ownership, currently stuck at 1.5%, will be interesting to discover.
Wolves 1 West Ham 0
Raul Jimenez (£7.7m) brushed aside two games in a week and the long trip back from Mexico to score the winner for Wolves against the in-form West Ham.
That was all well and good for the 9.9% on the striker, but the rather more weighty 48.5% invested in Michail Antonio (£8.2m) – and that figure was upped by more than 230,000 for this fixture – had to make do with a third straight blank.
It was a first clean sheet since Gameweek 6 (and only a third all season) for Wolves, which was all the more impressive as the Hammers had failed to score in a match only once all campaign prior to Saturday.
West Ham’s fixtures stiffen for the immediate future and Wolves aren’t much better from Gameweek 15, so interest in both sets of players might dim for now, however.
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