We assess the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Brentford v Leicester City and Chelsea v Everton in the next Scout Notes article from Blank Gameweek 28.
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LEICESTER’S BUDGET GOALKEEPER SWAP
After the much-discussed changing of the guard at Brighton and Hove Albion, there has been another seismic swap of goalkeepers at Leicester City.
Danny Ward‘s (£4.0m) ever-present starter status came to a crashing end on Saturday as he was benched for the Foxes’ trip to Brentford, with the even-cheaper Daniel Iversen (£3.8m) handed his Premier League debut instead.
Iversen couldn’t prevent Leicester’s clean-sheet drought from extending to 12 matches but the Danish shot-stopper now looks set for a “run of games” between the posts, which is a hammer blow to Ward owners who were relying on his appearances in Double Gameweek 29.
Iversen, of course, now comes into the thinking for those FPL managers who are after a dirt-cheap playing goalkeeper, albeit one whose team hasn’t kept a single shut-out since the December restart.
There were at least some green shoots, with the hosts reduced to few openings (an xG of 0.64) and reliant on a deflected Mathias Jensen (£4.8m) strike for their only goal. Leicester club reporter Jordan Blackwell indeed called it “one of the best defensive performances of the season”.
“It’s always important to give a goalkeeper a good run of games and I felt Danny Ward deserved that. I had a long conversation with him before the Chelsea game in terms of what I expect, the standard I expect and what I want from my goalkeeper.
“Daniel Iversen has played a lot of football over the past four years and he’s progressed. He’s continually grown. I’ve seen him in training, he’s a brilliant shot-stopper and he’s good on crosses. He has a calmness.
“Wardy took it great, as I would expect. We had an honest conversation. He was disappointed in how he’s done in his time. He can reflect now on it.
“Daniel will come in and play and we’ll go from there. He’ll get a run of games. It’s important he feels he’s not just judged on this performance. I thought he did really well. He was really assured.” – Brendan Rodgers, as quoted by Leicestershire Live
MADDISON FITNESS UPDATE
After some hard-luck stories in Gameweeks 24-27 when a plethora of chances he created went begging, James Maddison (£8.2m) finally banked his sixth assist of the season with a superb pass for Harvey Barnes‘ (£6.7m) equaliser at Brentford.
Maddison blotted his copybook by getting cautioned – his eighth yellow card of the campaign, so he’s now just two bookings away from a two-match ban – but four points felt like a decent score in an underwhelming Gameweek 28 for many FPL managers so far.
Fitness concerns have dogged Maddison for a while now, with Rodgers reiterating after full-time that the midfielder’s training time is “limited”, but at least the Leicester coach assuaged fears that Maddison’s late substitution in west London was injury-related.
“It was just cramp. He hasn’t trained much, he’s been limited in training, so he’s done well to last through as long as he did today.” – Brendan Rodgers on James Maddison, as quoted by BBC Radio Leicester
Barnes drew level with Maddison for goals scored in 2022/23; he’s also had more than four times as many ‘big chances’ as his teammate this season.
Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m) was back among the substitutes for the first time since Gameweek 21, meanwhile. Recent misses, Rodgers’ history of overlooking the striker, and Patson Daka’s (£5.6m) Gameweek 27 goal means that we oughtn’t have been too surprised at the team selection, but uncertainty rages again ahead of Double Gameweek 29.
TONEY AVOIDS 10th CAUTION
There was no attacking return for Ivan Toney (£7.8m) at the Gtech Community Stadium but there was also no 10th booking of the season, meaning that he’ll not be suspended for the first instalment of Brentford’s Double Gameweek 29 at the very least.
A caution in that clash with Brighton on April 1 would, however, rule him out of the next two league games.
Jensen, who scored his fourth Bees goal in five home fixtures, was taken off with hip pain as a precaution.
No Brentford player could better defender Rico Henry (£4.5m) for shots on goal or chances created (three of each) on Saturday, meanwhile.
CHILWELL: FROM EIGHT POINTS TO ONE
With a quarter of the evening kick-off in west London remaining, Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) was on course for a eight-point return thanks to a clean sheet and a couple of bonus points.
The most-bought player of Gameweek 28 ended up on just one solitary point, however, after an Everton side that went 57 minutes without a single shot in the box contrived to score twice.
Sean Dyche’s spirited side were again indebted to a set-piece goal to get off the mark, with Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.3m) scoring that first equaliser before claiming the assist for Ellis Simms’ (£4.5m) late leveller. That’s now four attacking returns in three games for Doucoure; he previously had none all season.
While the Toffees played party-poopers, there was plenty to encourage Chilwell’s many new owners: on a share of set plays again, no player on show at Stamford Bridge racked up more chances created (four).
Again deployed as an attacking wing-back rather than an orthodox full-back, he has also had more touches in the final third than any other Premier League player in Gameweek 28 so far.
In the end, it was opposite wing-back Reece James (£5.8m) who salvaged an attacking return out of the clean sheet loss when winning the late penalty that Kai Havertz (£7.6m) converted.
HAVERTZ v FELIX
The identically priced Havertz and Joao Felix (£7.6m) ended up on identical scores in Gameweek 28, each finding the net and walking away with two bonus points.
The pair are increasingly looking like the mainstays of the fluid Chelsea frontline as rotation in the third attacking spot continues, with Christian Pulisic (£5.6m) joining them this time.
Felix arguably had the better game on Saturday but it was Havertz who had the clearer openings, notably wasting a couple of headed chances from Chilwell crosses.
The penalty-taking responsibilities and the extra creativity of Havertz (11 v 4 chances created in the last six matches) may just give the German the edge but there’s precious little in it when it comes to goal threat.