WOLVES 0-1 ASTON VILLA
- Goals: Anwar El Ghazi (£5.7m)
- Assists: John McGinn (£5.5m)
- Bonus: Emi Martínez (£4.8m) x3, Tyrone Mings (£5.3m) x2, El Ghazi x1
Fantasy Premier League managers finally got some clear answers to the Aston Villa penalty conundrum in Gameweek 12.
Whether or not they were happy with them is another matter.
Following Ollie Watkins’ (£6.1m) spot-kick miss at West Ham, and poor recent record from 12 yards, Anwar El Ghazi (£5.7m) was chosen to take the crucial penalty in a 1-0 win at Wolves on Saturday lunch-time.
Such a decision was hard to take for owners of Jack Grealish (£7.8m) who placed the ball in the winger’s hands himself at Molineux.
At the very least, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith revealed the official pecking order at full-time, confirming Watkins had been taken off spot-kick duty and offering crumbs of hope for Grealish owners moving forward.
“He [El Ghazi] has got very good technique. We don’t get too many penalties. He took the last one against Man City and scored. So if he was on the pitch he would have taken it and if not, Jack would have taken it.” – Dean Smith
El Ghazi last took a penalty in a 6-1 defeat against Manchester City last season, also dispatched when Grealish was also on the pitch – although the winger has not started a league match this season. Therefore, it sounds as if the next penalty Villa win, provided El Ghazi has not come onto the pitch by that point, is likely to be Grealish’s.
Speaking after the game, El Ghazi admitted that he is constantly practising spot-kicks even if he’s not starting games though…
“I think it was between Ollie and Jack. I appreciate it, Jack gave it to me. I thought he would take it but he knew my ability of taking penalties. It shows he’s a really good guy to give it to me. I practise a lot with shooting drills and the penalties. Even if I’m not playing, I try to do my best. I practise a lot and if you do that it’s something you get used to. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure.” – Anwar El Ghazi
EMI AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE
Emi Martinez (£4.8m) was pivotal for Villa and his FPL owners on Saturday. The ex-Arsenal keeper made seven saves, earning two extra points along with a further three from a BPS tally of 36. On the goalkeeper, Smith said:
“When they countered, when they had their spells of good pressure, we were indebted to our goalkeeper. He made some good saves. A really good away performance from the whole team.” – Dean Smith
In truth, only one Wolves effort really tested Martinez as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men shot at goal from distance and awkward angles. The absence of a tall figure prepared to lead the line and drop deep to hold up play, left by Raúl Jiménez (£8.2m), is certainly taking its toll.
“(Coping with Jiménez’s absence) is something we have to do as a team – find solutions.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
It was not until the 81st minute, when Leander Dendoncker (£4.8m) volleyed on target from close range, that the Villa stopper really earned his money by keeping the Belgian’s shot out.
“Emiliano Martinez was unbelievable, even in training it is so hard to score against him. He showed his quality today.” – Anwar El Ghazi
Martínez was beaten in the 69th minute but the woodwork rescued Villa, as a Fabio Silva (£5.2m) shot cannoned off the inside of the post. The 18-year-old striker was played through by Daniel Podence (£5.4m), who impressed in a number 10 role as part of Wolves’ 4-2-3-1 formation.
“(Silva) worked well. He was linking with team-mates and had good chances. He worked hard. The idea to make a player grow is to help him and give him competition.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
VILLANS COULD BE HEROES
With a four-game run of Chelsea (home), Burnley (away), Spurs (home), Manchester United (away), investment in Wolves assets is likely to be limited in the coming weeks, especially without Jiménez to pull everything together.
While Villa’s fixtures do turn difficult from Gameweek 16, Dean Smith’s side have two games in hand – against Manchester City and Newcastle – that are very likely to produce as-yet-unannounced Double Gameweeks.
Matt Targett (£4.5m) is the cheapest option in the Villa defence but the left-back now has four yellow cards to his name. Right-back Matty Cash (£5.0m) has already given a preview of what could be in store for the former Southampton man, incurring a one-match suspension for his fifth yellow card of the season in Gameweek 12.
Tyrone Mings (£5.3m) was the only member of Villa’s back four not to be booked in the derby clash with Wolves, though Ezri Konsa (£4.7m) only saw yellow for the first time this season. As a result, Martínez looks likely to continue as the focus of Villa defensive transfers after his outstanding performance.
Defensive midfielder Douglas Luiz (£4.9m) will also miss Gameweek 13 after being dismissed for two yellow-card offences. Wolves will be without Joao Moutinho (£5.2m) in midweek for the same reason.
John McGinn (£5.5m), who won Villa’s late penalty, is another player teetering on the suspension tightrope after picking up his fourth yellow of the season.
Meanwhile, Grealish owners will be interested in the latest update on Ross Barkley (£5.9m) who could be back soon.
“No [he’s not in the squad for Wolves]. He’s still carrying an injury. He’s rehabbing at the moment, he’s back running. It shouldn’t be too long before he’s back.” – Dean Smith
BACK TO THE FOUR-TURE
Nuno once again employed a back-four system in Gameweek 12. That saw the surprising inclusion of Romain Saïss (£5.1m) ahead of the benched Willy Boly (£5.5m). Budget option Max Kilman (£4.3m) was also a substitute, with neither defender brought on.
However, Nuno is yet to help his Wolves side look as comfortable in a back-four compared to what they offer with a three-man defence.
In the new setup, they are yet to keep a clean sheet, conceding an average of 1.8 goals per game since ditching their more familiar shape.
That, and their inability to look dangerous without Jiménez, could bode well for Chelsea assets at both ends of the pitch on Tuesday night when Gameweek 13 gets underway.
“It is always disappointing to lose. We played good. I didn’t see the images (for the penalty). The referee judged and the VAR saw it. We keep on going. In the first half it was an intense game and both teams were tight. In the second we controlled the game and had clear chances. We try to keep on growing on these aspects and be more clinical. Too many fouls in the first half. It did not flow. In the second it was better.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI (4-2-3-1): Rui Patricio; Marcal, Saiss, Coady, Semedo; Dendoncker (Neves 80′), Moutinho; Neto, Podence, Adama Traoré; Fabio Silva.
Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Martinez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash; McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Ramsey (Nakamba 90+6′); Grealish, Watkins, Bertrand Traoré (El Ghazi 74′).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 12
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