Updated: Nov 27, 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 - GW13)
Result: (4-0 vs Juventus - Serie A side)
Performances: A comprehensive dismantling of the Serie A giants from Tuchel's side. Chelsea played one of their best games of the season, thoroughly outplaying their opponents and looking dominant in every part of the pitch. Their win came at a cost however, with Chilwell picking up an ACL injury that will rule him out for the year and very possibly the season, and Kante also taken off early with a knee injury. Chalobah, Reece James, Hudson-Odoi, and Werner were the goal scorers, with the assists going to Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, and Ziyech (1 each). Real-life wise, almost all Chelsea players looked great with the possible exception of Pulisic who was playing in a false 9, not his preferred position out wide. Fantasy wise, James was again the star of the show putting up 35.5 fantasy points and 19.5 ghost points. Rudiger had 18 and 5, Ziyech 17.5 and 10.5, Werner 13 and 4 in 18 minutes, CHO 13 and 3, RLC 13 and 7 in 53 minutes, Silva 13 and 7, Jorginho 9.5 and 9.5, and Pulisic 4 and 4.
Looking forward: With Chilwell ruled out for a while, Alonso looks very likely to start at LWB. While Azpi came on as an injury sub for Chilwell, Tuchel admitted it was only because he had planned to bring Azpi on for James or one of the CB's before the injury occurred. With Kante also hurt, RLC looks very likely to get the nod next to Jorginho in GW13, as Kovacic is still on the sidelines. In a game against United, I can't see anyone else, i.e. Saul, getting a runout in the engine room. Up top, the messy recipe commences. Werner came off the bench and looked impressive, so he may be first in line for a start up top, but Havertz is also back in training so it's a bit of a toss up. Lukaku was on the bench, but did not get the sub minutes potentially necessary before Tuchel risks starting him. Mount was a sub, so I do expect him to start at the weekend. That leaves one spot up for grabs for CHO, Puli, or Ziyech (assuming Barkley is too far down the pecking order). CHO has been on a great run of form (and was subbed off early), so seems like the favorite, but could always be rested as a matter of managing minutes in busy season.
Set Pieces: Ziyech and Reece James split corners and free kicks.
Result: (3-1 vs Legia Warszawa - Polish side)
Performances: Leicester won via a chaotic 4-goal 1st half which saw Daka, Maddison, and Ndidi score from Barnes, Lookman, and Maddison assists. After half time they locked up the shop and cruised along. Maddison and Ndidi were the star performers of the game, with Madds yet again showing positive signs in a midweek game. He scored, assisted, and was subbed off early with a small knock, hopefully in preparation for the weekend. Barnes and Daka both had great games, but Lookman not so much and he was subbed off early. Ayoze Perez had a surprisingly good appearance off the bench and Leicester fans are calling for a start at the weekend. Amartey had a particularly bad day at the office. In terms of Fantrax scoring, Maddison had 24 fantasy points and 8 ghost points, Ndidi had 16 and 6, Daka 16 and 7, Lookman 13 and 7, Barnes 12.5 and 6.5, Thomas 7 and 9, and Perez 6 and 6 in 27 minutes.
Looking forward: Vardy got a rest and surely comes back in the side for the weekend. Maddison and Barnes both played well and look likely to be in the side again. Due to a lack of options the somewhat shaky defence may stay the same but, if healthy, Evans will come in for Amartey. The biggest question is who gets the final offense spot, whether its a winger or a striker next to Vardy. Traditional logic would suggest a 3-5-2 where Iheanacho plays as he was rested, but Perez may come into thinking and could start at RW in a 3 up top. As I've said in many midweek articles now, Maddison is starting to show more and more positive signs, and has regained set pieces, so I highly recommend bringing him on the cheap if you can.
Set Pieces: Maddison took all the sets when he was on the pitch and then Perez did as well after he subbed on.
Result: (2-0 vs FC Porto - Portuguese side)
Performances: Klopp rotated his side somewhat, giving a few rare starts. Despite that, they were able to win via a long-range rocket from Thiago and some nice interplay between Henderson and Salah (who scored). The defense looked a bit shaky, with Konate particularly off, and Tsimikas having a quiet game as well. Thiago was man of the match, and next to him Ox and youngster Tyler Morton had solid games. Minamino didn't impress but fit in well enough with the always quality Mane and Salah. Fantasy-wise, Matip had 20 fantasy points and 14 ghost points, Neco 19 and 13, Salah 17 and 8, Thiago 16.5 and 6.5, Henderson 10.5 and 4.5, Mane 6 and 6, Ox 6.5 and 5.5, and Tsimikas 9.25 and 3.25 in 63 minutes.
Looking forward: The front three picks itself, outside of some random rotation. It looks like Robertson will come into the side after some minutes from the bench, especially after Klopp talked him up in his Friday presser. Matip may have the edge on Konate given the latter's underwhelming performance in the midweek. The midfield finally has more than three healthy bodies (with Fabinho, Thiago, and Henderson healthy). Thiago is in good form and will likely start if he can handle the minutes. I'd guess Henderson and Fabinho are the other two if healthy, given that three is usually the chosen midfield when healthy. Tsimikas, Ox, Minamino and others should get their time in the December period, so don't necessarily drop, but patience is likely needed. One other note being that Neco Williams played well enough such that he could get more starts in the future, slightly cutting into Trent's time.
Result: (2-1 vs PSG - Ligue 1 side)
Performances: City thoroughly outplayed Pochettino's star-studded side, doubling them in xG, shots, and goals. PSG did strike first though, from Mbappe in the 50th, but Sterling cancelled that out via a Jesus assist in the 63rd. Jesus then scored himself, via Bernardo Silva in the 76th, and City cruised on to win. Bernardo Silva was the star of the show, but Mahrez, Sterling, and Gundogan also all had very good games. Zinchenko got a rare start in the midfield, but wasn't particularly impressive and got hooked early. Cancelo finally had a quieter game but still played well enough with his hands full in defense. In Fantrax terms, Mahrez had 21 fantasy points (all ghost points), Sterling had 18.5 and 9.5, Jesus 17.5 and 2.5 in 36 minutes, Bilva 11 and 5, Gundogan 9 and 9, and Cancelo 5 and 7.
Looking forward: Foden and Grealish look unlikely to start at the weekend, and KDB is still out, so the attacking positions nearly pick themselves. As long as Pep doesn't throw another Cole Palmer wrench into the equation we should see Mahrez, Sterling, and Jesus up top.
Set Pieces: Mahrez and Gundogan split set pieces, with no KDB on the pitch.
Result: (2-0 vs Villareal - La Liga side)
Performances: For the 4th(!!) week in a row I can use the opener "A lacklustre United performance was saved only by a [insert different minute weekly] winner by Ronaldo, of course." Again, again, and again. Look it up, I'm not exaggerating. This time Ronaldo spurred United on to the win in the 78th, after Fred pressured Villareal into a mistake. Unusually, United did score another goal courtesy of a ripper off the crossbar from none other than golden boy Jadon Sancho (is it fool's gold? the jury's still out) via a layoff from Bruno Fernandes. In terms of real-life performances, Ronaldo, Sancho, Fred, and De Gea were those that looked good, especially Sancho and De Gea. Van de Beek and Telles failed to impress in their runouts and Martial, alongside AWB, were just poor. Fantasy wise, Ronaldo had 20 fantasy points and 11 ghost points, Lindelof had 15 and 9, Sancho 14.5 and 4.5, Bruno 11 and 5 in 24 minutes, AWB 10.75 and 4.75, Telles 10.5 and 4.5, Maguire 7 and 1, McTominay and Fred both 6 and 5, Martial 2 and 2, and van de Beek -2.5 with a yellow card.
Looking forward: Carrick likely has one more game in charge before Rangnick comes in, and United play Chelsea this week, so this coming game may not be a good indication of the future. Having said that, let's try to predict the near future anyways. Rashford didn't start in the midweek so looks likely to start at the weekend. Greenwood and Cavani look unlikely to start as they weren't with the squad. Depending on formation, Sancho could have a spot (if they play 4 attackers) or not (3-5-2). Martial was poor and should not start. Shaw is the remaining question mark. If he's fit he could play at LB, LWB, or CB. If not, Telles likely comes into the side. One other callout, is that AWB continues his very poor form, and should be nervous about Dalot stealing his spot, particularly when Rangnick comes in.
Set Pieces: Telles took 5 corners and Ronaldo 1 free kick shot, but Shaw and Bruno did not start.
Result: (2-1 vs Mura - Slovenian side)
Performances: The less said about this game, the better for Spurs. The half-rotated side that gave Conte a chance to see some of his backups in action looked abysmal for large parts of the game, not helped whatsoever by Sessegnon's double yellow in the 32nd. Ndombele, Alli, Gil, Doherty, and Sessegnon all failed to make their case and Conte spoke harshly about the club needing better players after the loss. Yikes. Kane did score a goal though, as he has tended to do against foreign sides of late. Fantasy wise, it was basically a wash but Kane did have around 15 and 6.
Looking forward: I expect Conte to roll out the exact same lineup as last week with Skipp coming in for Winks. He, rightly, should not have much faith in his backups, so Lucas, Emerson, Reguilon, etc. don't really face much risk of losing their spots for now. Sanchez was particularly bad so I expect Tanganga will again get the nod. Lo Celso was out with a knock so maybe he gets a proper chance in the future, as he was fortunate to miss the embarrassing loss.
Set Pieces: Son took all the sets when he came on, none that I could find before that.
Result: (2-0 vs Rapid Wien - Austrian side)
Performances: Moyes's side was mostly rotated but came away with a convincing win, where they netted twice and had nearly 4 xG, despite not many great individual performances. Yarmolenko and Noble scored before half time (Yarmo assisted by Vlasic). Noble was the only backup that had a particularly good day, and many had poor days. Notably, Coufal had a very solid game as he looks to claim his RB spot back.
Looking forward: Not a lot of implications here other than noting that the backups are the backups for a reason and don't look close to breaking into the starting XI. The Coufal vs Ben Johnson will rage on, but Johnson likely gets the runout, even in a tough matchup vs City at the weekend, purely because he was rested midweek. Coufal does look closer to winning back his spot though, and I could definitely see a West Ham loss leading him to becoming the starter again.
Set Pieces: Bowen and Noble split set pieces, and Fornals took a corner when he subbed on.
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