We round up the Fantasy Premier League headlines of Monday evening as we look back at home wins for West Ham United and Chelsea, both of whom leapfrogged Liverpool in the Premier League table.
GOALS, ASSISTS AND BONUS
RICE AND PENS
With Michail Antonio (£6.6m) injured and Mark Noble (£4.6m) on bench duty for large chunks of the season, the question over who would be next in line for West Ham United from 12 yards remained unanswered for months – until Monday.
It was the unlikely figure of Declan Rice (£4.7m) who grabbed the ball when the Hammers were awarded their first, overturned spot-kick against Sheffield United at the London Stadium and indeed it was the England international who despatched the 40th-minute penalty that put the Hammers in front.
So no luck for owners of Tomas Soucek (£5.4m), taker of 13 spot-kicks at previous club Slavia Prague – although David Moyes’ post-match comments hinted that there might be a different taker stepping up in future:
We want the organisation to be clear. If Mark Noble is on the pitch then he takes the penalty.
Next game we might try somebody different but this game it was certainly Declan [Rice].
TAKING THE MICHAIL
Antonio wasn’t involved in east London on Monday evening, missing out after failing a late fitness test.
“Fatigue” was cited as the reason for the striker’s withdrawal in the goalless draw with Fulham in Gameweek 23 and subsequent absence in the FA Cup fifth round last Tuesday.
But another hamstring problem is widely being attributed to Antonio’s non-involvement against the Blades, with David Moyes admitting after the game that the striker wasn’t even guaranteed to recover for Gameweek 25:
It wasn’t a risk to play him but we knew that he is in a position where something could happen and I don’t want to lose him for a long period. I hope that he’ll be fine for Sunday but I have no guarantee at this moment in time.
It was Jarrod Bowen (£6.0m) who was chosen to lead the line for the Hammers but it was Jesse Lingard (£6.0m) who again posed the greater goal threat, with the on-loan Manchester United midfielder topping the shot count table.
Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) is the only FPL asset who has had more goal attempts than Lingard since the latter made the move to east London.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.8m) consolidated his position as FPL’s highest-scoring defender with a 12-point haul.
Cresswell, deployed as a centre-half in a back three on Monday and denied the chance to venture forward much from open play, supplied his ninth assist of a remarkable campaign when his 57th-minute corner was nodded home by Issa Diop (£4.3m).
The West Ham man is one of just two FPL defenders who has played every single minute of their side’s campaign so far and, continuing on his current rate of goal production, would go close to emulating Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s (£7.4m) total of 15 assists in 2020/21.
It was a case of what might have been for opposite full-back Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m), who missed a one-on-one opportunity in the second half.
Cresswell and Coufal might have to be reliant on their attacking returns in the next nine Gameweeks, however, with the Hammers’ clean sheet prospects mixed at best:
THOMAS THE TINK-ERER
Chelsea kept their fourth clean sheet in five league matches under Thomas Tuchel but relatively few Fantasy managers would have enjoyed the spoils, with not one of the back five – including goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (£5.1m) – that Frank Lampard favoured for much of 2020/21 making their new manager’s starting XI.
The decision to start Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m) over Mendy in Monday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United underscored just how difficult it is to pin Tuchel down to a settled starting XI, with centre-halves Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.7m) and Antonio Rudiger (£4.6m) and the two ‘number sixes’ now the only players boasting an ever-present record under their recently appointed head coach.
Marcos Alonso (£5.7m), again preferred over Ben Chilwell (£5.9m) at left wing-back, rolled back the years with another performance full of attacking potential: he had more shots than any other player at Stamford Bridge.
Timo Werner‘s (£9.2m) own mini-renaissance continued under his new manager, meanwhile.
Again deployed in his preferred position as a left-sided number 10, Werner made it 21 points in three Gameweeks under Tuchel with his first goal since Gameweek 8 – but not before he had missed two big chances in typically profligate fashion.
Newcastle’s own performance, which was improved after half-time, mirrored that of Sheffield United’s in the earlier kick-off: no lack of effort but, minus the injured Callum Wilson (£6.6m), no cutting edge in attack when it mattered.
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