Burnley 1-2 West Ham United
- Goals: Chris Wood (6.4 m) | Michail Antonio (6.4m) x2
- Helps: None | Said Benrahma (5.9 m), Vladimir Coufal (4.7 m)
- Bonus: Antonio x3, Coufal, Benrhama x2
The fit-again Mikhail Antonio (6.4m) is back on the Fantasy radar after a brace against Burnley on Monday night.
It was a signature Antonio show with two opportunistic goals from the six yards, a rejected ‘big chance’ and lots of positive underlying numbers to back up his eye-catching performance.
Fitness, not form, is Antonio’s main concern from a fantasy perspective, as he seems to stop a muscle strain just as well as deliver a monstrous score; this double-digit haul was strangely his first of 2020/21.
At least David Moyes had some positive words to say about his condition after a full-time job:
I was a little surprised, he came back in better shape than when he dropped out, but we never really felt like he had such a serious injury that it was going to be so bad. But I thought he looked super fit, he worked really hard and he earned his two goals tonight and another day he should have scored two more so there’s a little bit of both.
Not that we need another West Ham midfielder to add to the mix, but Benrahma said (5.9 m) possibly produced his best show of the season in Lancashire.
Benrahma was a beneficiary of Moyes’ decision to switch from a wing-back system to a back-four, Benrahma was on the left side of a 4-2-3-1 and had more final third touches than anyone else on the show.
With four shots of his own and five chances, Benrahma created Antonio’s second goal with a beautiful cross.
However, he remains a risky kick, especially when Moyes returns to a back five, as he so often does.
And the West Ham manager has been reluctant to praise the winger all season, even finding ways to criticize him last night:
I thought Said had done a lot of good things tonight, but I thought there were a few things he wasn’t doing very well that I think people will see too and we’re looking for consistency with him.
He got a few chances to score and made his chances, but I hope we have those [more of] they come.
While Jesse Lingard (6.7m) took a backseat for once – his late shot was his only shot in the match – West Ham’s fullbacks were heavily involved again.
Aaron Cresswell (5.6m) returned from injury and created five more chances to add to his impressive season total Vladimir Coufal (4.7m) contributed another assist to Antonio’s first strike.
It’s four assists in five games for Coufal and he’s now just two behind Cresswell for the season, with the pair responsible for a remarkable 32.7% of the goals scored by West Ham in 2020/21.
Not that the Hammers’ backline is in particularly good shape from a defensive perspective, as their seven-game clean sheet drought is the longest joint in the Premier League.
Burnley’s back four have been at sea for a while, with only one shutout in their last nine games. Only the relegated Sheffield United had more goals and big chances at that time.
However, the Clarets were more extensive on the other side of the field, and Chris Wood (6.4 million) benefited from this.
His early penalty against West Ham was his tenth offensive return in seven appearances.
With a Fulham squad needing a win and nothing else for Wood and Burnley, there’s a good chance the trip from Gameweek 35 to Craven Cottage could provide the space he needs to expand his purple form.
West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Goals: Mbaye Diagne (6.0 m) | Fabio Silva (5.2 m)
- Helps: Conor Townsend (4.4 m) | Nelson Semedo (5.3 m)
- Bonus: Semedo x3, Diagne, Silva, Sam Johnstone (4.6 m) x2
Wolverhampton Wanderers produced an improved attack display in the Black Country derby that nonetheless did not hide its ongoing shortcomings.
This match ended a four-game run in which they only faced teams in the bottom five of the Premier League table, but they only scored three goals in that period, with even their goal against the Baggies – a loop. Fabio Silva (5.2 m) ricochet – thanks to good luck.
Sam Johnstone (4.5 m) earned an impressive nine saves for the second consecutive week, but the fact that the visitors’ 20 shots were all less than one expected goal (0.98) summed things up.
With Willy Boly (5.4 m) suffered from the effects of ‘long COVID’ and not available. Nuno Espirito Santo’s move to back-four allowed his fullbacks to come forward.
Nelson Semedo (5.3 m) took the assist for Silva’s accidental attempt and the right back received as many penalty hits as everyone else on the show, forcing Johnstone to make his best stop of the game as well.
Not many FPL managers will be very interested in the Wolves backline after this week, with the lack of a ‘double’ in Gameweek 35 and some questionable matches beyond, negating any appeal they may have had.
The fact that in 2020/21 they only kept one clean sheet when using a rear four, plus another inconclusive defensive display at the Hawthorns, will keep owners of Harry Kane (11.9 m) and co ahead of Gameweek 36.
As for the Baggies, they are anything but down, but at least go out with a blast.
In dire need of wins, they have scored as many goals (11) as any other Premier League team in the past five Game Week, but they have also received the highest number of shots on target (38) in the same timeframe.
While an understated Matheus Pereira (5.5 m) could not continue its rich form, forward Mbaye Diagne (6.0m) made five offensive returns in as many games for the Albion.
And if the Baggies keep opening up in a tricky-looking run-in (admittedly, they could be relegated this weekend), then Johnstone will likely end the season where he is today, as FPL’s greatest rescuer.
He will most likely also be among the loyalty points if West Brom gets a Double Game Week 35, potentially bringing the clash with Liverpool to the fore.
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