EVERTON 2-1 ARSENAL
- Goals: Yerry Mina (£5.5m) | Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m)
- Own goals: Rob Holding (£4.4m)
- Assists: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) | Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£4.6m)
- Bonus points: Mina x3, Sigurdsson x2, Maitland-Niles x1
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) continues to divide Fantasy Premier League opinion with his latest Gameweek score below six points
It was the third match in a row that Everton’s centre-forward failed to find the net, his longest goal drought of the season so far.
But Calvert-Lewin does remain blankless in that time, assisting in every match from Gameweek 12 onwards. Each of them has been a Fantasy assist, the first a foul for a penalty, then a shot scored on the rebound and, against Arsenal, he forced Rob Holding‘s (£4.4m) own goal.
How strong Calvert-Lewin’s Fantasy credentials are right now, perhaps depends on what his owners are looking to get out of him. If steady returns work for you, then he is certainly delivering solid, if not spectacular, appeal.
However, one thing is for certain: Calvert-Lewin is offering less objective value compared to earlier in the campaign, slipping below Callum Wilson (£6.6m) and Patrick Bamford (£6.3m) for points per million spent after 14 Gameweeks (or 13 in the case of the Leeds forward).
We recently highlighted that Everton’s improved defensive ability, achieved by deploying centre-backs as full-backs, had damaged Calvert-Lewin’s supply lines and the same seemed to be true against Arsenal.
Chances were few and far between for the striker on Saturday who, up against Arsenal’s back-three, was tasked with more of the dirty work than usual, holding the ball up and pressing from the front to protect his team-mates.
Obviously, it has to be pointed out that the last three matches have pitted Everton against ‘bigger’ opposition (it is hard to use the term “better” when referring to Arsenal these days).
While that could be considered mitigating circumstances, they are circumstances that could continue throughout the winter period with Manchester City (home), Wolves (away), Aston Villa (away) and Leicester (home) four of Everton’s next six opponents.
It is also no surprise that Calvert-Lewin’s recent dip in value has coincided with James Rodríguez‘s (£7.7m) absence from the Everton team.
Unsurprisingly, Alex Iwobi (£5.9m) has not been able to replicate the Colombian’s early-season form in his last three outings on the right-hand side of the Toffees’ attack.
However, it is worth pointing out that Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) has taken on some responsibility for getting the team going from central areas.
Ancelotti has mostly favoured 4-3-3 this season, a system that does not typically get the best out of the Icelandic international, who is most comfortable as a number 10.
The Everton manager switched to 4-2-3-1 for the Arsenal game, with Tom Davies (£5.2m) deputising for the injured Allan (£5.3m) and André Gomes (£5.4m) in a deeper role next to Abdoulaye. That allowed Sigurdsson to have a more advanced role in central areas, finishing top for key passes among Everton players.
“(Gomes) had a problem in training. It is not possible to train. Because we have a lot of games, we don’t want to take a risk. I think he will be available for Chelsea on (Boxing Day).” – Carlo Ancelotti
Crucially, his role in penalties means he has registered a goal involvement in each of his last two Premier League home games (one goal, one assist), as many as in his previous 17 at Goodison Park.
GO ON MASON
Everton’s defensive improvements with centre-backs at full-back continued against Arsenal, despite giving up a first-half penalty.
Over the last three matches, the Toffees are still yet to concede from open play, particularly encouraging as they prepare to face the Premier League’s second-lowest scorers Sheffield United on Boxing Day.
However, it is still worth pointing out the complications with signing Everton defenders.
While Mason Holgate (£4.8m) and Ben Godfrey (£5.0m), in particular, have done well in wide areas, the return to full fitness of Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) is a factor worth monitoring.
Meanwhile, the goalkeeper position remains uncertain too, Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) coming back in for Robin Olsen (£4.5m), under Ancelotti’s pretence of this being “normal rotation” for this time of year.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s own goal-scoring problems persisted at Goodison Park. They have not scored from open play in any of their last five Premier League away games, with their two goals on the road since Alexandre Lacazette’s (£8.2m) strike against Liverpool coming from the penalty spot.
Could that bode well for Brighton, the next side to host the Gunners? They were without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.4m) on Saturday, who missed out with a tight calf.
“(Aubameyang) has got a small muscle injury so he will be out for a few days I think. I don’t know (if he’ll be fit for the next match). We’ll have to assess him again.” – Mikel Arteta
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Holgate; T Davies, Doucouré; Richarlison (Kenny 90+2′), Sigurdsson, Iwobi (Coleman 83′); Calvert-Lewin (Tosun 90+3′).
Arsenal XI (3-4-3): Leno; Tierney, D Luiz, Holding; Saka, Elneny (Willock 64′), Ceballos, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Nketiah (Lacazette 76′), Pépé (Martinelli 71′).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 14
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