Leicester City 3-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Goals: James Maddison (£7.0m) x2, Jamie Vardy (£10.3m)
- Assists: Vardy x2, James Justin (£4.9m)
- Bonus: Maddison x3, Justin x2, Vardy x1
James Maddison (£7.0m) hit the highest score of Gameweek 12 as Brighton were demolished in 17 minutes of deadly first-half action by Leicester.
The visitors had just enough time to create one excellent chance, which forced Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m) into a fine save to deny Danny Welbeck (£5.5m), before the carnage kicked in.
Maddison fired through a crowd to open the scoring after 26 minutes, Jamie Vardy (£10.3m) doubled the lead 14 minutes later and the England midfielder then curled home a beautiful third goal as half-time approached.
Home Sweet Home
Times have been hard at the King Power for Leicester this season – the Brighton win was only their third in six attempts at home, which seems well-timed with Everton and Manchester United to host over the festive period.
Maddison, who recorded a season’s-best 16 points, could be a tidy way to celebrate Christmas. He’s clearly an early pick of many as he’s currently in the top 10 for Gameweek 13 transfers-in.
His manager, Brendan Rodgers, did reveal an issue that might mean his minutes are managed in the near future, however:
He has such quality. What makes it even better is he hardly trained at all this week. He had an issue with his knee, so we took him out of our midweek game.
Maddison has started the last five league matches, but an injury-hit early campaign means he has just 612 minutes under his belt – Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) has 1,080 – and he is owned by only 3.4% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers.
Considerably more popular is Vardy (29.2%), who ran Maddison close on the night with a 13-point haul which included assists for both his team-mate’s goals.
The forward was clinical, scoring from one big chance and hitting the post (from a very tight angle) with another. He had only 20 touches all match, but still produced a fourth double-digit display of the season.
Vardy has now blanked in just three of the 11 matches he’s played in, and while the Foxes’ immediate schedule is tough – Spurs away on top of those Everton and Man U matches – both he and the team tend to thrive against the ‘bigger’ sides.
Leicester kept only their fourth clean sheet of the season against Brighton, thanks to Schmeichel’s excellence and the Seagulls’ now customary profligacy in front of goal.
The big winners in all of that were the 23.1% of bosses with James Justin (£4.9m) in their teams.
The wing-back was having a quiet enough night of it until Rodgers told him to switch sides and go up against the unit that is Dan Burn (£4.3m).
Justin conceded about three feet in height to his rival, but made up for it by having roughly twice the pace, an attribute he used to set up Vardy’s goal – one of four chances he created – on the way to a season’s-best 11-point haul.
He is by far and away the team’s most productive defender in FPL this campaign – and also one of the cheapest.
Investing in Leicester’s backline remains risky, however.
As well as a nasty injury list, the Foxes will now be without Jonny Evans (£5.5m) for the midweek match against Everton as he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season on Sunday.
Brighton’s most popular outfield player, Tariq Lamptey (£4.8m and 11.2%), missed the match as a precaution – he has a hamstring issue – according to boss Graham Potter.
The fact this was the biggest FPL news of the night for the Seagulls spoke volumes about their performance, which was neatly summed up by their manager:
We have no complaints with the result. There were some big moments for us before they scored and we were playing quite well, but the goal affected us.
Brighton’s next five fixtures (ful SHU whu ARS WOL) are okayish, but their form is anything but, with just one win since Gameweek 2 and one clean sheet all season.
As a result, even the low-priced, high-paced Lamptey is not looking so attractive anymore.
He should be back for the trip to Fulham, at least, with Potter saying on Monday:
Leicester City XI (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel, Fofana, Evans, Fuchs; Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi (Mendy 80), Justin; Pérez (Barnes 62), Maddison (Praet 75); Vardy.
Brighton XI (4-4-2): Ryan, Veltman, Dunk, Burn, White; Bissouma (Mac Allister 72), March, Gross, Jahanbakhsh (Alzate 55); Maupay, Welbeck (Connolly 62).
Arsenal 0-1 Burnley
- Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m) own goal
- Assists: Ashley Westwood (£5.3m)
- Bonus: Nick Pope (£5.4m) x3, Matt Lowton (£4.4m) x2, Ben Mee (£4.9m) x1
A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m) own goal heaped the misery on ten-man Arsenal as Burnley’s second win of the season took them out of the bottom three.
The Gunners midfielder’s form is entirely in keeping with that of his team, although matters were clearly not helped on Sunday by the second-half dismissal of Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) for grabbing Ashley Westwood (£5.3m) round the throat.
But the stats don’t lie – Arsenal have now lost four straight league games at home for the first time in 61 years and they’ve won just once since Gameweek 4.
Out Of Position, Out Of Sorts
Aubameyang’s reclassification as an FPL midfielder should have been the stuff of Fantasy gold this year.
But even such a class performer can’t thrive in a side so lacking in guile and a cutting edge.
He’s managed a mere two goals in 12 appearances and has blanked for five straight matches.
The Gabon international was joint-top for attempts (four) against Burnley, but visiting keeper Nick Pope (£5.4m) was only truly stretched by an Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) drive.
That was one of six saves Pope made to earn him the maximum bonus point award and an 11-point haul for his 9.1% ownership.
Feel The Burnley
Significant investment in Burnley assets has been based, in Pope’s case, on pedigree.
Otherwise, it’s been down to the bargain bucket price (if minimal minutes) of both Jimmy Dunne (£3.9m and 6.1%) and Dale Stephens (£4.3m and 5.1%).
But Sean Dyche’s men are starting to re-find their Burnley mojo, with three clean sheets from their last five matches.
Matt Lowton (£4.4m) and Ben Mee (£4.9m) led the way against Arsenal, earning bonus points for their clearances, blocks and interceptions (CB) tallies of 12 and 13 respectively, and it’s no coincidence that their recent run of shut-outs has coincided with the return of Mee to the team in Gameweek 8.
Dyche was in no doubt as to the impact Xhaka’s dismissal had on the game, however:
Arsenal just got their feel in the game until the sending off. In the modern game – it is so soft now, the modern game – it has to be given.
Burnley won’t be able to rely on such indiscretions (or Aubameyang’s eye for an own goal) over the next few matches, but their schedule does suggest more clean sheets are there for the taking.
The Clarets will travel to Aston Villa and Leeds – two teams that have struggled at home this season – and entertain low-scoring Wolves and low-hanging Sheffield United and Fulham.
Lowton, or the ever-present Charlie Taylor (£4.4m), look to be the cheapest ways to tap into that defensive potential.
Face Like A Smacked Arsenal
‘Potential’ was not a word on the grimly-pursed lips of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta post-match:
We threw it away, we were in control of the game. When you give the red card away the game changes. I don’t know what it is we have to do to score a goal.
That last comment looks particularly damning for a manager who has made the side more disciplined at the expense of much of its creativity.
Fantasy-wise, their festive fixtures don’t offer much prospect of points as the Gunners will be up against Southampton and Chelsea (both at home) and Everton away.
And in their current form, even trips to Brighton and West Brom either side of New Year’s Eve look beyond them unless Arteta sacrifices solidity for some semblance of flair.
Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Leno; Bellerin (Maitland-Niles 74), Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Elneny, Saka; Willian (Nketiah 82), Lacazette (Ceballos 60), Aubameyang.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil, Brady; Rodriguez (Barnes 58), Wood (Vydra 70).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 12
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