Friday, June 14, 2024

FPL notes: Isak, Wilson, Trippier + Richarlison fitness updates

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We begin our weekend Scout Notes with three of the six teams that ‘double’ in Gameweek 37.

The main takeaways from Newcastle United v Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley are below.

The Clarets are now relegated from the Premier League but with us being more interested in all things Fantasy, it’s the other three clubs who we’re focusing on.

WHY ISAK WAS SUBBED OFF + WILSON MISSED OUT

Alexander Isak (£8.4m) and Callum Wilson (£7.8m) had started together in Gameweek 36 but they didn’t get the opportunity to work on their strike partnership on Saturday.

Wilson missed out altogether, his place being taken by Elliot Anderson (£4.2m) as Eddie Howe reverted to a 4-3-3.

Wilson’s absence didn’t boost Isak’s game-time: the Swedish striker was hooked after 68 minutes, despite the match being delicately poised at 1-1.

There was a reason for his withdrawal, however.

“Alex wasn’t feeling very well yesterday. So I took the decision to just look after him with a three-game week in mind. So that was the reason. With Callum, it was also with illness and he was not feeling his best with his body.” – Eddie Howe on why he subbed Alexander Isak off, via the Evening Chronicle

Eddie Howe later clarified to club media that Wilson didn’t have an injury.

“A little bit of illness for Callum and also he’s just feeling a little bit tight in his body, so we didn’t want to take any risks. But no injury so hopefully he’ll be back very soon.” – Eddie Howe on Callum Wilson

lllness would explain Isak’s below-par display, not that he had much service. Newcastle’s attack has been mostly excellent in 2023/24 (79 goals scored) but this was a rare off day. Anthony Gordon (£6.4m) was again the brightest spark, pivotal to the hosts’ equaliser. Even he wasn’t quite at full tilt, blanking at home for only the second time this season.

Such is the state of Manchester United’s defence, however, that Brighton at home may end up being their toughest fixture of Gameweek 37.

TRIPPIER RETURNS

Kieran Trippier (£6.6m) made a return to the Newcastle squad, appearing as a (very) late substitute.

Howe explained after full-time that the Magpies were still being careful with the England international; the briefest of injury-time cameos suggests it’s not a certainty that he will start in midweek.

“Hugely important, massive player. We wanted to really look after him today, he’s been out a while with his calf injury. He’s only had a few days’ training but a massive positive to have him back.” – Eddie Howe on the importance of Kieran Trippier’s availability

Tino Livramento (£4.0m), excellent last week, was another one to struggle, with Julio Enciso (£5.0m) and Simon Adingra (£5.0m) giving him a tough time.

Martin Dubravka (£4.3m) kept his place but it’s a stay of execution; you would not be surprised if old trusted favourites like Nick Pope (£5.3m) and Joelinton (£5.8m) are brought back at Old Trafford.

VELTMAN SCORES… AND HOBBLES OFF

Newcastle’s xG of 2.27 was surprisingly high, given their struggles in the final third. Sean Longstaff‘s (£4.8m) goal and a point-blank header from a corner accounted for almost half of that total.

Brighton were, for the second week running, quite solid at the back. That’s two high-scoring teams they’ve largely frustrated in as many matches. If there’d been a bit more of this in the run-up to Gameweek 37, there’d have likely been more takers for their ‘double’.

Anyone who hopped across from Harry Maguire (£4.3m) to Joel Veltman (£4.3m) was quickly rewarded with the Dutchman’s first goal of the season.

But Veltman was to hobble off shortly before the interval.

“Yeah not too bad. I felt with sprinting, I need to be careful on the pitch. I could continue but then I’d make it worse.

“I know my body pretty well, I knew it was the moment to go off.” – Joel Veltman

Veltman was replaced by Tariq Lamptey (£3.9m) and it did make the Seagulls look that bit more vulnerable. With four less attack-minded defenders across the rear and Billy Gilmour (£4.8m) fit again, it was perhaps no surprise that they’d looked more solid in the last two weeks.

RICHARLISON LATEST

The rumours were true, then: Richarlison (£6.8m) was indeed injured.

Ange Postecoglou hadn’t given us any indication in Friday’s press conference but he was keen to explain himself after the win over Burnley.

“It was unfortunate. I know I did the press conference yesterday but it was literally the last kick of the [training] game and I saw him hobble off and I assumed it was nothing serious. Then it didn’t get any better later on in the evening and he was sent for a scan on his calf.” – Ange Postecoglou on Richarlison, speaking on Saturday

On Monday, it was confirmed that Richarlison’s season was over.

The Lilywhites missed him, as Son Heung-min (£10.0m) was again ineffective leading the line.

Brennan Johnson (£5.8m) owners were left cursing their luck after three missed big chances but the sight of him getting into some prominent goalscoring positions was at least encouraging.

Over the course of the season, only three midfielders – Messrs Salah, Bowen and Palmer – can better Johnson for big chances.

Above: Brennan Johnson’s hattrick of missed chances, the most glaring of which ruined a Son Heung-min assist

ALL CHANGE AT LEFT-BACK

Pedro Porro‘s (£5.9m) threat from right-back has been much discussed this season, and it resulted in a timely goal on Saturday.

But how about Micky van de Ven (£4.4m) as a rampaging full-back?

Since Destiny Udogie (£4.9m) got injured, we’ve seen the crocked Ben Davies (£4.3m), the dropped Emerson Royal (£4.3m) and now midfielder Oliver Skipp (£4.5m) start at left-back.

In the final quarter of the game on Saturday, van de Ven was switched over to that role as Radu Dragusin (£4.2m) came on at centre-half.

He duly responded with some barnstorming runs upfield, even grabbing a goal of his own. James Maddison (£7.8m), who looked better in this match after a really poor spell of form, supplied the assist.

Van de Ven has arguably looked more effective at left-back than any of the aforementioned Udogie replacements but Postecoglou was quick to explain why he hadn’t tried it already.

“Yeah, but at the same time I’ve been mindful with Micky that he’s had a couple of injuries and the demands of playing left-back are a lot different to playing centre-back. I just have to be careful – what’s more important is what we’re trying to build here, and I was reluctant to put him out there for that reason alone. It’s been quite a disrupted season and playing full-back as opposed to playing centre-back is a lot different from a physical perspective.

“But yeah I thought for the last half hour of the game it made sense. He looked strong, Skippy was never going to get through more than about 60 minutes; he hasn’t played for ages. And Radu coming on I thought was very good as well, so it helped us get over the line. Obviously, Micky’s goal was outstanding.” – Ange Postecoglou on whether Micky van de Ven gives him another option at left-back

The clean sheet obviously went up in smoke: that’s now just two shutouts from 27 league matches for Spurs. You wouldn’t even put it past them to concede to Sheffield United in Gameweek 38, let alone Manchester City in midweek.

Haaland Foden

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