Sheff Utd 0-2 Southampton
- Goals: James Ward-Prowse (£5.9m), Che Adams (£5.8m)
- Assists: Nathan Tella (£4.3m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m)
- Bonus points: Ward-Prowse x3, Ryan Bertrand x2 (£5.0m), Kyle Walker-Peters x1 (£4.7m)
INGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER
In their 2-0 win over Sheffield United, Southampton demonstrated they can still find the back of the net even with Danny Ings (£8.4m) facing another spell on the sidelines.
James Ward-Prowse (£5.9m) and Che Adams (£5.8m) scored at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon while Nathan Tella (£4.3m) flourished in a more advanced role and placed himself on the Fantasy Premier League radar.
Both of the Saints goals against Sheffield United came after Ings was taken off in the 13th minute, who could be out for several weeks, according to the latest update from manager Ralph Hasenhüttl.
“I think it was again a muscle problem, but it doesn’t look good to be honest. I don’t know when we will have him. Muscle injuries we are normally waiting for a minimum of four weeks I think, so we will have a look. It’s a little bit fitting to the history we’ve had in these past weeks. It’s horrible this season, we have so many problems and as soon as players are coming back others are injured again.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
While Ings’ latest absence is unlikely to damage too many Fantasy teams, he has just two goals in his last 14 league appearances, it could unlock some budget alternatives.
The most appealing of those is Tella who, priced at just £4.3m, lined-up as a centre-forward in Double Gameweek 27.
He was rewarded with an assist for winning Southampton’s first-half penalty and was an exciting, direct threat all afternoon.
With both Ings and Michael Obafemi (£4.6m) in the physio room and Takumi Minamino (£6.0m) operating in midfield against Sheffield United, Tella can probably fancy his chances of more starts out-of-position, making him an exciting Fantasy prospect moving forward, especially for Wildcarders.
“(Tella) did a good job today. His runs in behind were great and we played good long balls today. We had more threat on the pitch, this is why we won today. I was always convinced about this guy. He is, for me, the most interesting youth player we have. Today he showed it. He can be a threat against everybody because he is quick, even on the ball, he is calm. He can relax in some moment. He had a good chance to score but I think his mentality is brilliant. He is never nervous, he is never arrogant and he has a good mixture of enjoying what he is doing and staying calm on the pitch. When you see our shape, we are so flexible you need to have all the qualities. He has shown us that he can play as a ten and a striker, in front.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Whether or not Adams can offer the same level of value as Tella is hard to say. With the forward £1.5m dearer the budget midfielder, Fantasy managers would probably expect a little more than they have seen of late.
His incredible Double Gameweek 27 goal was Adams’ first since Gameweek 12, the last time Southampton faced Sheffield United.
In fact, the ex-Blade has now netted four times against his former club, those goals accounting for 44% of his tally in the Premier League.
As for his general play, even Hasenhüttl was the first to admit that Adams has issues underpinning his ability to score spectacular goals with reliability handling easier chances.
“The tough ones he scores, the easy ones he sometimes doesn’t. This will do his confidence good as it is normal when you have not scored for some times and you have low confidence as a striker. It was a brilliant goal for him and I am happy for him. He did a good job today, to be honest. He had a few opportunities – but I am happy for this one goal.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Meanwhile, Ward-Prowse now has uncontested access to Southampton’s penalties in Ings’ absence.
Such duties helped him to an 11-point score against Sheffield United, his fourth double-digit haul of the campaign. He has seven goals in all competitions this season, already his joint-best return in a Southampton shirt, six of which have come from dead-ball situations (five direct free-kicks and one penalty).
Saints’ set-piece taker has flown a little under the radar in 2020/21, his latest exploits taking him to 117 points for the season, one more than the similarly priced Pedro Neto (£5.7m).
Just nine midfielders have a higher season score than Ward-Prowse at the time of writing, which means he also performs very well for value.
Among midfielders, only Ilkay Gundogan (21.6), Tomas Soucek (21.1) and Neto (20.4) have produced more points per million spent than Ward-Prowse thus far (19.8).
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): Ramsdale; K Bryan, Ampadu, Baldock; Stevens, Fleck, Norwood (McBurnie 46′), Lundstram, Bogle; McGoldrick (McGoldrick 58′), Brewster (Sharp 68′).
Southampton XI (4-4-2): Forster; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Minamino (Djenepo 88′), Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Armstrong; Tella (Redmond 77′), Ings (Adams 13′).
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