Newcastle 2-1 West Brom
- Goals: Miguel Almirón (£5.6m), Dwight Gayle (£5.9m) | Darnell Furlong (£4.5m)
- Assists: Joelinton (£5.7m), Jacob Murphy (£4.9m) | Matt Phillips (£5.1m)
- Bonus points: Gayle x3, Almirón x2, M Phillips x1
Callum Wilson (£6.6m) owners were left frustrated with his role in Newcastle’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Over 300,000 Fantasy Premier League managers turned to the striker for Gameweek 12, many downgrading from Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) to facilitate a move for Mohamed Salah (£12.3m).
Newcastle’s favourable fixtures were also a factor in the decision but Wilson got that run off to a disappointing start with his fifth blank of the campaign, reduced by one point following a late yellow card.
Against the Baggies, the former Bournemouth man took on more of a hold-up role, bringing other players into the game and linking things up well.
It was very much an unselfish display, which saw him assist the assister for Newcastle’s opener. Great news for Steve Bruce and a side stricken by positive coronavirus (COVID-19) tests over the last fortnight but the worst possible outcome for his Fantasy backers.
Leeds (away) and Fulham (home) are Newcastle’s next two opponents so his owners would do well to hold the player in the short-term.
However, they would have already had half an eye on Gameweeks 15 to 17 when the Magpies face Manchester City (away), Liverpool (home) and Leicester (home), before any concerns about a new hold-up role.
Right now, Wilson looks like a classic case of “don’t sell” but “don’t sign” either.
SAY IT’S ALRIGHT JOE
By contrast, Joelinton (£5.7m) is increasingly becoming more of a focal point for Newcastle’s attack, his assist for Miguel Almirón‘s (£5.6m) opener on Saturday his third in two matches.
The Brazilian has been widely ridiculed since arriving in England but he does appear to be finally finding his feet.
In fact, he has outscored Wilson since Gameweek 10, pulling in 16 points in that time to the former Bournemouth man’s 13.
A steady increase of Joelinton’s confidence is something Wilson’s owners may want to be wary of, especially considering his near-post chance in the 31st minute.
Newcastle’s number nine got behind West Brom’s defence, executing some impressive footwork to cut inside with Wilson waiting in the middle of the box. Rather than tee a chance up for his colleague, Joelinton elected to shoot, forcing a smart save out of Sam Johnstone (£4.5m).
Whether Joelinton can continue his impressive attacking form in quite the same way over the coming matches remains to be seen though.
Not least because his struggles in the Premier League have been well-documented but also because of a stellar substitute’s appearance by Dwight Gayle (£5.9m) in his first Premier League outing of the season following an injury lay-off.
Coming on for a booked Jamal Lewis (£4.3m) in the 69th minute, the former West Brom loanee joined Wilson up-front with Matt Ritchie (£4.9m) dropping into left-back and Joelinton moving to the left-hand flank of a 4-4-2 midfield.
Gayle was only on the pitch for 21 minutes on Saturday and had found the net after just 13.
If he can work his way back into the Newcastle team, he could a powerful differential asset considering his Project Restart form.
Between Gameweeks 30+ and 38+ of last season, Gayle led the way for attacking returns for the Magpies with four goals and one assist in six starts and two substitute appearances.
Featuring for a total of 470 minutes, he averaged a goal involvement every 94 minutes and, finally back in the team on Saturday, he already has more shots on goal than Wilson has over the last two matches.
BACK IN BLACK
Any concerns about how Newcastle might play in light of their recent postponement and surge of COVID-19 cases were dashed with a relatively well-managed win on Saturday.
Bruce was able to select eight of the same players who started the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in Gameweek 10, his defence the hardest hit.
Central midfielder Isaac Hayden (£4.8m) was forced to fill in at centre-back alongside Ciaran Clark (£4.5m), while DeAndre Yedlin (£4.3m) was the only defender among Bruce’s substitutes.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.2m), Federico Fernández (£4.8m), Jamaal Lascelles (£4.3m), Fabian Schär (£4.9m) and Javier Manquillo (£4.4m) were all absent on Saturday although Hayden was the only COVID-19 case confirmed by Bruce in his post-match press conference.
“COVID knocked Isaac Hayden to hell but he emerged to put in a fantastic performance.” – Steve Bruce
“We tried to play it down and we weren’t looking for any excuses but they’ve stuck together. I think we finished with three midfielders in the back four. I couldn’t be more pleased. With the problems we’ve had, the work they’ve done at home or parks or whatever. I couldn’t speak highly enough of them. Their effort and endeavour was spot on.” – Steve Bruce
Newcastle United XI (4-4-2): Darlow; Lewis (Gayle 69′), Clark, Hayden, Krafth (Murphy 80′); Ritchie, Shelvey, S Longstaff, Almirón (Yedlin 86′); Joelinton, Wilson.
West Bromwich Albion XI (3-4-1-2): Johnstone; O’Shea, Ivanovic, Ajayi; M Phillips, Sawyers, Gallagher (Grosicki 80′), Furlong; Krovinović; Grant (Austin 46′), C Robinson (Gibbs 46′).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 12
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