Assessing Grealish’s appeal in the weeks ahead as Pope’s bonus magnetism explained |

Aston Villa 0-0 Burnley

  • Goals: None
  • Assists: None
  • Bonus: Nick Pope (£5.4m) x3, Ahmed Elmohamady (£4.3m) x2, Emiliano Martinez (£4.8m) x1

Aston Villa couldn’t find a way past Burnley on Monday evening, with Nick Pope‘s (£5.4m) well-earned clean sheet moving him back to familiar territory: top of the Fantasy Premier League goalkeepers’ points table.

There was joy for owners of both shot-stoppers on show as Emiliano Martinez (£4.8m) picked up his sixth clean sheet of the season.

But for the most-popular asset involved in the penultimate fixture of Gameweek 13, the 43.5%-owned Jack Grealish (£7.8m), it was an evening of frustration and nearly moments.


Grealish has now blanked in home matches against Sheffield United, Leeds United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley this season but his failings have often been less his own than those of his teammates.

That was again the case on Monday night, with Anwar El Ghazi (£5.7m) particularly wasteful with the opportunities presented to him by the Villa playmaker.

A nailed starter in a period rife with rotation, Grealish has the underlying stats, the talismanic status and the fixtures to surely make him a ‘don’t sell’ over the next two Gameweeks.

Thereafter, owners perhaps face a more difficult decision – particularly if there is value tied up in a player who has risen £0.8m since the start of 2020/21.

Villa face four of the top seven after Boxing Day and are one of the ten clubs who don’t (yet) have two fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, although outstanding matches against Manchester City and Newcastle United have yet to be rearranged.

The Villans’ schedule gets tough from Gameweek 16 onwards, just as Tottenham Hotspur’s picks up:

Spurs are quite a fitting team to bring up at this point.

Son Heung-min (£9.6m) and Harry Kane (£10.9m) have been reliant on each other’s clinical finishing ability to tide them over in a tough period of fixtures in which chances have been few and far between.

Grealish, by comparison, has the misfiring El Ghazi, Bertrand Traore (£5.9m) and, previously, Trezeguet (£5.3m) on the end of his key passes – and not one of those players has a non-penalty goal to their name this season.

Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) continues to blow hot and cold and blanked for the fourth Gameweek in a row on Monday, meanwhile.

The imminent return from injury of Ross Barkley (£5.9m) may be a boost, as he and Grealish had shown signs of an excellent understanding following the loanee’s arrival from Chelsea.

And were the Premier League to spring a surprise on us and throw in one of Villa’s outstanding fixtures (particularly the Newcastle game) in a bonus Double Gameweek in the New Year, then the situation could change again.

Keep an eye on the results of the Brentford v Newcastle and Arsenal v Manchester City ties in the EFL Cup next week, as a defeat for either of those two away sides could – and we stress, could – increase the possibility of a Double Gameweek 17 for Villa, as a free midweek would emerge in early January.


Almost out of nowhere, last season’s top-scoring FPL goalkeeper is back on the summit again.

Back-to-back 11-point hauls for Pope have lifted him to top spot in the goalkeepers’ points table, despite the fact that he has played two games fewer than many of his peers.

Three home matches in the next four Gameweeks, two against the bottom three, give him an excellent chance to build on his run of five clean sheets in eight appearances.

Burnley’s goal led a charmed life on Monday, it has to be said, with Kortney Hause (£4.4m) hitting the post from close-range, Tyrone Mings (£5.3m) nodding an excellent opportunity wide and Watkins seeing an inadvertent effort cleared off the line.

Pope has now racked up a remarkable 14 bonus points this season, more than any other goalkeeper.

He was top among players in his position for that stat last season, too.

Should the Burnley goalkeeper prove to be too pricey at £5.4m, then there is always good old Charlie Taylor (£4.4m): the Burnley left-back has more FPL points to his name than any player under £4.5m this season.


With Trezeguet ruled out and Barkley failing to recover, Villa were further hit by the absence of Ezri Konsa (£4.8m) last night.

The 10%-owned centre-half missed this game through illness, the specifics of which weren’t revealed by Smith before or after the goalless draw.

Matthew Cash (£5.0m) and Douglas Luiz (£4.9m) will both return in Gameweek 14, meanwhile, having served one-match bans on Thursday.

Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez, Elmohamady, Hause, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Grealish, Traore (Davis 80′), Watkins.

Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brady (Pieters 90′), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood (Vydra 82′), Rodriguez (Barnes 65).

Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 13

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