Updated: Nov 12, 2021
While Fantrax EPL only directly involves games from the EPL, the players we all roster play other games outside of the league, believe it or not. Whether it's international matches or domestic and European cup games, other matches can often impact and indicate future EPL performances. In this special feature we cover cup performances, set piece takers, and what they might mean going forward.
European Cup Performances (Pre - GW11)
Result: (1-0 vs Malmo - Swedish side)
Performances: Tuchel's side played a surprisingly close battle vs the best team in the Swedish first division, the Allsvenskan. It was a well deserved win though as they won the XG battle 2.54 to 0.24 and out-shot their opponents 22 to 4. Chelsea had many stand out (real-life) performances, but the top 3 were Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, and Loftus-Cheek. Ziyech had his best game in a while in a Chelsea shirt, scoring his side's only goal, creating 5 chances for his teammates, and shooting 3 times on goal. He coolly converted CHO's beautiful cross for the winner, and totaled around 30.5 fantasy points and 21.5 ghost points in 74 minutes. Speaking of Hudson-Odoi, he provided his usual spark-plug energy all game, beating 4 men off the dribble, and provided 3 chances for his teammates, including the assist. Hudson-Odoi had 18 points and 12 ghosties in 74 minutes. RLC, despite not being part of an attacking return, may have been the best player on the pitch for Chelsea. He shone bright in the midfield, with 8 successful dribbles, 3 chances created, and 4 aerials won. Loftus-Cheek can really do it all in filling up the stat sheet, providing Tuchel with an interesting additional midfield option, and he finished with 16.5 and 15.5 ghost points! In terms of other performances, Havertz also had a solid game scoring 14.5 and 13.5. Alonso had 15.5 and 9.5, Azpi 13.5 and 7.5, Rudiger 13 and 7, Silva 11.5 and 5.5, Christensen 15.5 and 9.5, Jorginho 5.5 and 4.5. Looking forward: In terms of GW11: Chilwell is almost guaranteed to start after Tuchel ruled out Alonso. Mount is back somewhat healthy (Tuchel said he could "play some minutes") so Ziyech or CHO could, despite their good games, lose out to him in the XI. Havertz should stay up top, Reece James should return at RWB. The midfield 2 will likely be Kante (if fit) and 1 of RLC or Jorginho. Despite his great midweek performance, RLC may lose out to Jorginho due to his historical consistency. Set Pieces: Ziyech took 7 corners and Hudson-Odoi 1. Alonso 0 interestingly.
Result: (1-1 vs Spartak Moscow - Russian side)
Performances: Leicester faltered again in the Europa league, and could only tie their Russian opponents despite a 2.3 to 0.4 XG advantage and a late penalty for Vardy who missed the would-be winner. Leicester dominated possession (77%) but couldn't do enough against Spartak's low block. Perez assisted Amartey from a nodded on corner, and Lookman generated the penalty attempt for Vardy. No real stand-out (real-life) performances from the Foxes, but all 3 starting attackers, Iheanacho, Perez, and particularly Daka were poor on the night. Nacho had 5.5 fantasy points and 5.5 ghost points, Ayoze 10 and 4, and Daka 0 and 0 in a game where they made many bad decisions. Fantasy-wise Amartey was the leader with 14.75 and 6.75 as a result of his goal, Soyuncu had 8.25 and 10.25 and Castagne had 7.5 and 9.5 as a result of the 1 goal conceded. Vardy had -2 and 2 in his 19 minute cameo due to his penalty miss and Lookman had 3.5 in 30 minutes. Tielemans had 4 and 4. Looking forward: Maddison and Barnes were not in the squad for this game due to a sickness going around (not covid) but I expect both to be healthy for the weekend. Maddison likely comes straight into the side unless Rodgers rolls out a 3-4-3. Due to Iheanacho starting midweek and not playing particularly well, and Barnes and Lookman not starting midweek and looking good when they subbed on last weekend, I could see Barnes and Lookman flanking Vardy from the start this weekend. Ndidi should also come into the side for Soumare, after his 30 minute sub appearance this mid week. The outside backs are probably the hardest to predict, cause they depend on Ricardo Pereira's health. Luke Thomas looks likely to start due to his rest in the midweek, but Castagne and Ricardo could be selected as well. Set Pieces: Bertrand and Tielemans split corners, with Iheanacho also taking 1. Tielemans took 1 free kick, Maddison did not feature, as he was out sick.
Result: (2-0 vs Atletico Madrid - La Liga team)
Performances: Liverpool were quite impressive, easily dispatching their Spanish opponents behind goals from Sadio Mane and Dioga Jota. Trent Alexander-Arnold was the best player on the pitch, assisted both goals, and finished with 28.5 fantasy points and 14.5 ghost points. Fabinho also looked very good in his return to the side, imposing his influence on the midfield with 3 tackles and 2 chances created to the tune of 8 points, all ghosts, in 59 minutes. Tsimikas was the 2nd highest fantasy scorer with 21.25 and 15.25, then Jota with 17.5 and 8.5. VVD had 12 and 6, Mane 11 and 2, Ox 10 and 10, and Hendo 8.5 and 7.5. Matip saw the start and had 7.5 and 1.5 behind a clean sheet. Salah, believe it or not, did not score or assist in this one, but did still end up with 9 ghost points. Thiago had a nice substitute appearance and scored 5.5 ghost points in 31 minutes. Looking forward: With Firmino out injured and Jota firing, surely we'll see Jota join Mane and Salah in the front-line once again vs West Ham. Tsimikas continues to look good, but Klopp continues to prefer Robertson, so the Greek will likely have to keep waiting for the next midweek or injury to play again. Konate will likely start at CB as Matip started in the midweek and Klopp continues to rotate them. After a fine performance, I think Fabinho will start next to Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Guessing it still may be too early for Thiago to start at the weekend after a lot of time off, but Liverpool don't have many other options besides those 4. Set Pieces: Trent and Tsimikas split set pieces, none for Ox this time.
Result: (4-1 vs Club Brugge - Belgian side)
Performances: City dominated in all metrics, despite an early own goal from John Stones, and cruised to a win. Cancelo had a fantastic game with a hat-trick of assists to Foden, Mahrez, and Jesus. Sterling, from the bench, scored the other goal, assisted by Gundogan. KDB, Jesus, and Sterling were all rested from the start and subbed on late. Mahrez was the other standout starter, continuing to try to win back his RW XI spot. Having said that, Sterling in a RW role, and Jesus later, both were impressive after coming on. In terms of Fantrax scoring: Cancelo had 41 fantasy points and 22 ghost points, Mahrez 16 and 7, Sterling 16 and 7 in 21 minutes, Jesus 15 and 5 in 22 minutes, Foden 14.5 and 5.5, Gundogan 13 and 7, and Grealish 9.5 ghosts. Walker was injured late in the game and Zinchenko subbed on, but Pep still hasn't said whether he'll be fit to play in the Derby. Looking forward: Looking at the regulars who were rested this midweek, Jesus and KDB look likely to start against United at the weekend, despite KDB being out of form. If Walker is out Injured, Zinchenko likely comes in. Silva was subbed off early, so I expect him to start as well in the midfield. Interestingly, Foden, Grealish, and Mahrez were all also subbed off early, but given their previous rotation, Grealish and more-so Foden are good bets to start at the weekend. Sterling is a wild card as he looked good off the bench and could start, but Pep is just as likely to start Gundo and Silva and then KDB as a false 9 in a big game. Who knows? It's a fool's game Set Pieces: Foden, KDB, and Gundogan split corners for City, and Gundogan took the free kicks.
Result: (4-1 vs Club Brugge - Belgian side)
Performances: For the 3rd week in a row I can use the opener "A lacklustre United performance was saved only by a [insert different minute weekly] stoppage time winner by Ronaldo, of course." Again, again, and again. This time Ronaldo saved Ole's career in the 91st, assisted by Greenwood. Ronaldo also scored the 1st and was assisted by Bruno. Other than Ronaldo and Bailly on his starting debut(who looked great), the rest of the team was pretty poor. Pogba was very poor and look's to be squarely out of the preferred XI. Ronaldo ended up with 31.5 fantasy points and 13.5 ghost points. Bruno had 13 and 7, Shaw 10 and 14, Greenwood 9 and 3, and Bailly 7.25 and 11.5. Pogba had 6.5 ghosts but was hooked early and Rashford 3.5 and the same. Looking forward: Ole stuck with a 3-5-2 once again, but replaced Cavani with Rashford. With Cavani rumoured out for GW11 as well, Rashford or Greenwood could start next to Ronaldo up top. Bailly played very well and should start, particularly in Varane's injury absence. Sancho likely misses out again unless Ole is forced to play a 4 at the back due to Lindelof not being fit. Likely we see the same lineup as last week (minus Cavani, and with Varane - Bailly switch). Set Pieces: Shaw took 1 corner and 1 free kick
Result: (3-2 vs Vitesse - Dutch team)
Performances: Conte's reign started off with a bang, with Spurs scoring 3 goals in the first 30 minutes. Then things started getting shaky with Vitesse scoring 2 goals before half. Romero got a red, then Vitesse got 2 reds and the second half was general chaos. Tactically, Conte set up in a 3-4-3 with his wing backs, Reguilon and Emerson pushing high and wide. Skipp and Hojberg got the nod in midfield with Ndombele and Lo Celso on the bench. Davies came in at LCB and Sanchez later subbed on after Romero's red. Conte's front 3 were quite fluid, swapping spots, and Son made most of the runs in behind. Son and Moura had 2 goals, and the 3rd was an own goal. Kane had 1 assist. The front 3 all looked good, but no real stand out-performances from them or anyone else. Fantasy wise, Son had around 15 points and 6 ghost points in 72 minutes, Moura had 19 and 10, Kane about 10 and 4, Emerson 3 and 7 (2 goals conceded), Reguilon 4.25 and 8.25, Hojbjerg about 7 ghosts, and all 3 CBs in the negatives. Winks and Ndombele both looked good off the bench. Looking forward: We got confirmation that Conte does indeed want to play a 3 at the back, and opting for a 343 instead of a 352 showed us that we may see less lineups with an out and out 10, usually played by Ndombele, Alli, or Lo Celso. It's still early and any of those players (maybe Alli less so) could feature in a midfield 2 or Conte could change his setup. I expect Moura, Son, and Kane all start again at the weekend in a mostly unchanged side though. The centre-backs, particularly Sanchez, probably have the best case to come into the XI after some poor defending on Thursday, but their could be changes in the engine room as well with Winks and Ndombele making their cases. Set Pieces: Lo Celso took 2 corners. Son had 0 but Spurs didn't have any with him on the pitch.
Result: (2-2 vs Genk - Belgian side)
Performances: The Hammers played a fairly even match, but were unlucky to concede an own-goal from Soucek's head in the 88th minute. Benrahma scored twice, assisted by Coufal and Creswell. Antonio started for once in Europe but had a poor game and was subbed off in the 58th. Coufal returned for his first start and looked impressive. Masuaku had a particularly poor performance as he started at winger. Benrahma ended with around 38.5 fantasy points and 20.5 ghost points behind 3 chances created, 3 shots on goal, and 7 dribbles. Cresswell had 17.5 and 14.5, Coufal 8 and 5, Antonio 7.5 ghost points, Mausuaku 6, and Rice 4 ghost points. Set Pieces: Cresswell and Noble split set pieces, and Bowen took a corner when he subbed on.
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