SOUTHAMPTON 3-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED
- Goals: Che Adams (£6.0m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m), Nathan Redmond (£6.4m)
- Assists: Jan Bednarek (£4.6m), Danny Ings (£8.4m), Oriol Romeu (£4.5m)
- Bonus: Bednarek x3, Adams x2, Jannik Vestergaard (£4.9m) x1
A comfortable 3-0 win saw Southampton dispose of Sheffield United and enter the top four, thanks to goals from Che Adams (£6.0m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) and Nathan Redmond (£6.4m)
Torrential rain couldn’t placate joyous Saints fans on their first match back inside St Mary’s. The 2,000 were rewarded with a clear-cut victory against a blunt Blades side who are extending the worst start by any team in Premier League history.
INGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER
Pre-match optimism was boosted by the return of Danny Ings (£8.4m) to the starting line-up, having missed three matches due to the knee injury sustained at Villa Park. He made a match-winning cameo at Brighton last Monday, with his successful penalty suggesting a continuation of the form that saw him score five goals and assist twice during the season’s first seven matches.
Euro 2020 is on the horizon and Ings is on a mission to replicate the 22 goals of last season. He had two big chances here that, although offside, reminded FPL managers of his quality. Both opportunities were teed up by striker partner Adams but foiled by Aaron Ramsdale (£4.8m).
Ings assisted the Saints’ second goal by enabling Armstrong’s heavily-deflected left-footed shot but the cheaper Adams outscored him to once again suggest that, whilst he might not be able to match Ings’ output over an entire season, he can provide much better value.
Adams, indeed, now has seven attacking returns in the last eight Gameweeks.
The awkward price of Ings could prevent managers from purchasing the 28-year-old. He is deserted in between premium assets like Harry Kane (£10.9m) and the batch of cheap options such as Adams, Patrick Bamford (£6.2m) and Callum Wilson (£6.6m). Combined with a mixed bag of upcoming fixtures starting with a trip to Arsenal and a hosting of Man City, Ings may be overlooked by many and therefore become a great differential.
He replaced Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m) in manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s only change, having kept the same team for the last three games. Theo Walcott (£5.8m) played on the left-wing but has shown his versatility during six consecutive starts and, with Gameweek 13 a few days away, Hasenhuttl may rotate his three main strikers.
It’d be a shame for Adams, who has shaken off the inconsistency of last season by starting every match so far and, most shockingly of all, going five successive games without his usual second-half substitution. However, now Ings is back, the routine Adams change reappeared here.
SET PIECE BLANKS FOR WARD-PROWSE
Set-piece king James Ward Prowse (£6.2m) has risen up to 16.4% ownership due to some stunning form. His four goals, three assists and trio of double-digit hauls have all come since Gameweek 6, although he couldn’t produce on this occasion.
A weak shot was straight at Ramsdale and a second-half free-kick landed on top of the net. Owners must be frustrated to see the uncredited Ward-Prowse contribute to two goals, as his free-kick led to the opener. Initially cleared away, Jan Bednarek (£4.6m) nodded the ball towards goal before Adams took advantage of Ramsdale’s hesitancy to scuff a shot into the net.
Various Ward-Prowse corners were perfectly placed onto Jannik Vestergaard’s (£4.9m) head without success, before a late corner missed everyone and was retrieved by substitute Redmond on the left flank. After a one-two with Oriol Romeu (£4.5m), Redmond slid his shot past Ramsdale to make it 3-0.
“It was not as easy as it looked maybe because especially against a team that had nothing to lose and sits very deep, in the past we have struggled very often against such opponents. But you can see that now we have more solutions with the ball, more quality in decision making and game management and it gives us more opportunities. When you see us at the moment there is not so many weaknesses in our game.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
Ward-Prowse only has six penalty box touches all season – a number surpassed by the likes of Ben Osborn (£4.8m), James McArthur (£5.3m) and the 168 minutes of Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) – but his 22 chances created ranks fairly highly amongst midfielders.
Only Son Heung-min (£9.6m) and Kane exceed their xGI (expected goal involvement) number more than him.
“We have to look at ourselves over the first goal. Usually, with us, we don’t make a catalogue of mistakes but there are three mistakes in the goal. I think Southampton are a fabulous side, they’re right up there with the best sides we’ve faced this season. They’re brimming with confidence, reminiscent of how we were playing last season with belief and a bit of swagger.” – Chris Wilder
Sheffield United were so feeble that McCarthy didn’t make a single save. Their only half-chances were John Egan (£4.8m) heading a corner over the bar and Sander Berge (£5.0m) side-footing an Enda Stevens (£5.1m) pull back wide of the post.
WHAT DID BREWSTER DO WRONG?
The Blades are rooted in last place with just one point so far, seemingly set to be another casualty of second season syndrome. Their players are barely-owned by FPL managers and perhaps the only one of interest is striker Rhian Brewster (£4.5m).
The youngster made a £23.5m move to Bramall Lane over the summer, yet has only started on three occasions. When Oliver McBurnie (£5.6m) failed to shake off a should injury early in the second half, it was David McGoldrick (£5.2m) who replaced him rather than Brewster.
Managers with 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 formations inevitably selected Brewster as their cheap third striker, expecting two points each match and the occasional goal. Yet a team that has only scored five goals is still reluctant to play their expensive striker and FPL managers must be wondering what it will take for Brewster to be entrusted with a starting place.
He did eventually make an appearance here, coming on for veteran Billy Sharp (£5.6m) and securing one point for those who may need him to step in for the injured Diogo Jota (£6.9m) or James Rodriguez (£7.7m).
In fairness, the Blades actually entered Gameweek 12 with a higher xG (expected goals) number that Southampton – 11.96 versus 11.77. Underperforming this by 6.96 goals is far higher than any other team, with Burnley next at 3.12. Perhaps it is bad luck and the goals will start coming.
But the Blades are also without a clean sheet, denting the early-season appeal of goalkeeper Ramsdale. Up next for them are meetings with Manchester United (h), Brighton and Hove Albion (a), Everton (h), Burnley (a) and Crystal Palace (a).
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu (Diallo 86’), Walcott (Redmond 80’); Ings, Adams (N’Lundulu 84’).
Sheffield United XI (5-3-2): Ramsdale; Baldock, Basham (Mousset 70’), Egan, Jagielka, Stevens; Berge, Ampadu, Fleck; McBurnie (McGoldrick 48’), Sharp (Brewster 60’).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 12
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