Updated: Jan 15
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.
EFL Cup Performances (Pre - GW22)
This week we'll be covering the FA Cup 3rd round and EFL Cup semi-final matches. (Note, Brentford, Norwich City, Southampton, and West Ham United will not be covered as they have played in the Premier League since then).
Results: (0-0 vs Liverpool, 0-1 vs Nottingham Forest - Championship side)
Real-life Performances: An embarrassing loss to Forest from a half-rotated squad to an impressive draw vs Liverpool with a mostly full strength squad. Odegaard got COVID, Saka got injured, and Xhaka got a red card in the 30th minute vs the Reds, but Arsenal managed a draw at Anfield. Fantasy Performances: Nothing impressive fantasy wise from Arteta's side, despite the hard-fought result.
Looking forward: Arsenal are short on players due to injuries, AFCON, and Xhaka's latest red. Arteta already began talking about a possible postponement of the upcoming NLD (which would thus eliminate Spurs chance at a DGW). Lineup wise, Xhaka is suspended which leaves Lokonga as the only available senior center mid. We could see a start for young Patino, but otherwise White will likely be pushed up to the mid if the game goes ahead. Odegaard and ESR are likely out again, meaning Martinelli is locked on, as is Saka if he's healthy. Nketiah looks likely to start due to the lack of options. If Saka's injured we could see a very ugly 3-4-3. Chambers likely to deputize at RB with both Tomiyasu and Soares likely to miss out.
Set Pieces: Martinelli got the sole corner for Arsenal
Results: (0-2 vs Manchester United)
Real-life Performances: A pretty back and forth, even matchup with United saw Villa fall victim to a McTominay screamer that got past Emi. The full team looked solid, but unspectacular and couldn't quite get a non-offside goal. Fantasy Performances: Watkins had around 11 ghost points, Cash 10 (but a goal conceded), McGinn 6, Buendia 3.5, and Ings 4.5
Looking forward: It's all about the new signings coming into the XI and where they fit in. Most likely Coutinho will slot in at LW and Watkins will shift to ST, meaning Ings loses out. Digne will likely rotate with/steal the job of Matty Targett at LB. Personally, I think its too soon to see those changes at the weekend though, so we'll probably see about the same lineup minus the suspended McGinn. Sanson looks the only healthy midfield replacement at the moment.
Set Pieces: McGinn and Luiz split set pieces like normal. Let's see if that lasts with Coutinho and Digne now around.
Results: (2-1 vs West Bromwich Albion - Championship side)
Real-life Performances: A Moder goal in the 81st saved Brighton from an impending loss and then a Neil Maupay goal, assisted by Moder, won them the game in extra time. Maupay, Moder, and Burn were the standout performers Fantasy Performances: Gross had 12 ghost points, Maupay had 16.5 fantasy points and 8.5 ghosts, Welbeck had 8 ghosts. Burn had 22 fantasy points behind 14 aerials won!!
Looking forward: Gross got his first start in a while to mixed reviews. He put up good stats, but looked off the pace at times. Potter talked him up in his press conferences, but maybe more for the player's confidence than anything. Mwepu got hurt, and with Bissouma away, Brighton are short bodies in the midfield. Mac Allister surely will come back in, and Lallana (if fit) and Moder seem to have good chances as well. Whether there's a 4th spot for Gross or someone else remains to be seen. Lamptey and Cucurella both got rare rests so both should be ready for the upcoming DGW.
Set Pieces: Gross took everything as he played 90
Results: (1-2 vs Huddersfield Town - Championship side)
Real-life Performances: After going up 1-0 early thanks to a Jay Rodriguez goal, Burnley suffered an awful defeat after giving up 2 late goals. Jay Rod was probably the best player for the Clarets, but the team overall was quite poor including Tarkoswki, Lennon, and Wood (in his last game for Burnley). Fantasy Performances: Poor across the board, except Rodriguez - with 18.5 fantasy points and 10.5 ghost points - and Westwood with 8 ghost points.
Looking forward: Burnley are in trouble after losing Chris Wood to relegation rivals Newcastle. Their only healthy striker is Jay Rod and maybe Vydra. Lennon will likely be forced to play up top as he was last week if Vydra isn't back. Taylor and McNeil were out with COVID so TBD if they return for the weekend.
Set Pieces: Westwood took all the corners with McNeil out, and Brownhill had a free kick.
Results: (1-0 vs Tottenham Hotspur, 5-1 vs Chesterfield - National League side)
Real-life Performances: An easy win vs a non-league side followed by a dismantling of Conte's troops. In the real test, Mount assisted a Rudiger header. The team played well across the board in a 4-2-2-2, with Lukaku, Werner, Jorginho and the center backs as the standouts. Werner, unsurprisingly, seemed to work particularly well in the formation next to Lukaku. Fantasy Performances: Rudiger had 24.5 points and 10.5 ghost points and Mount had 12 and 5. Werner had 4.5 ghost points, Lukaku 7, CHO 8, Mount 5, Kova 6, Jorginho 7.5.
Looking forward: Alonso, Silva, Kante, Pulisic, and Havertz were all on the bench and could come in against City, although the latter 2 may not in an important game. Werner was impressive and could stick around, or could drop out for an extra midfielder in Kante.
Set Pieces: Mount had a monopoly due to Alonso and Ziyech not starting.
Results: (2-1 vs Milwall- Championship side)
Real-life Performances: Finally, the rare sight of Eze and Olise starting together. Palace got it done courtesy of goals from Olise and Mateta, assisted by Olise and Gallagher respectively. Those 2 assisters were the standouts, with Mateta and Eze looking solid as well. Fantasy Performances: Olise had 23.5 fantasy points and 9.5 ghost points. Gallagher had 14.5 and 8.5. Mateta had 8.5 and 2.5. Eze had 3 ghost points and Hughes had 6.
Looking forward: Olise played very well and is deserving of the game time he'll get in Ayew and Zaha's absence. Benteke and Edouard got a breather and likely will come back in alongside him at the weekend. Milivojevic possibly the same.
Set Pieces: Eze and Olise split corners, Gallagher took some free kicks. Nothing for Hughes. Seems like we finally got our answer there.
Results: (3-2 vs Hull City - Championship side)
Real-life Performances: Townsend saved Benitez's side in extra time, with the Toffees just scraping by after Gray and Gomes scored in regular time. Gbamin, Kenny, and Gordon had the assists. Gordon, Gray, and Gomes were the standouts, whilst the defense was poor. Fantasy Performances: Gordon had 14.5 fantasy points and 8.5 ghost points. Gray and Gomes both had 15 and 7. Mykolenko had around 12 ghost points but lost all 6 of his duels and looked pretty rusty/poor.
Looking forward: Gordon continued his hot streak and should continue to start despite Richarlison and Townsend's return to health. Gray, the same. DCL will likely be back in the starting XI. Mykolenko had promising Fantrax stats but it was against Hull in 120 minutes as a wing back. It will be interesting to see if they stick with a back 3 or revert to a 4 with Townsend in.
Set Pieces: Gordon and Gray split as usual (as of late) but Townsend may be back in the lineup soon to disrupt.
Results: (0-2 vs West Ham United)
Real-life Performances: Raphinha sat, some new faces started, and Leeds got thoroughly outplayed. Youngster Hjelde (18 years) was probably the standout, but that is not saying a ton. Fantasy Performances: Nothing good; Klich and Harrison likely did the best with roughly 6 ghost points each.
Looking forward: Who will be healthy is always the question these days for Leeds. Probably no one else that was missing this game, but at least they'll get Raphinha and Forshaw playing again.
Set Pieces: Harrison took their 1 corner.
Results: (4-1 vs Watford)
Real-life Performances: A very nice dismantling by Brendan Rodgers' beat up side. Barnes, Tielemans, Maddison, and Albrighton all scored, with Lookman assisting twice. Most of the side played well except Ayoze Perez and the young Daley-Campbell at LB. Fantasy Performances: Lookman had 18 fantasy points and 6 ghost points. Maddison had 19 and 11. Barnes had 15 and 7. Tielemans had 19.5 and 11.5. Albrighton had 17.5 and 11.5
Looking forward: Daka, Thomas, Soyuncu and KDH are apparently healthy so all 4 could start at the weekend. Perez and Daley-Campbell would likely drop out. Tielemans, Maddison, Lookman, Barnes, Vestergaard, Thomas, Soyuncu, Daka, KDH, Albrighton is my ranked list of expected likelihood to start 2 in the DGW.
Set Pieces: All Maddison, with Tielemans taking a penalty
Results: (0-0 vs Arsenal, 4-1 vs Shrewsbury Town - EFL League 1 side)
Real-life Performances: Easy win vs the Shrews with plenty of the youth playing. Fabinho scored twice, including a penalty, and Firmino scored off the bench. Versus a 10-man Arsenal for most of the game, Liverpool couldn't get a single shot on goal. The front 3 of Minamino, Firmino and Jota all looked ineffective and uninspiring. Fantasy Performances: Minamino had around 3, Firmino 6, and Jota 1 ghost points. Henderson had around 8, Trent 7 (with a clean sheet), and Robertson the most with 17 fantasy points and 11 ghost points.
Looking forward: Minamino did not impress in the front 3, so I could see Oxlade Chamberlain starting alongside Firmino and Jota vs Brentford. Curtis Jones got his first start in a while so he should be back in the midfield rotation, and may even start alongside the normal Fabinho and Henderson (with Thiago and Keita also out). Matip vs Konate is its usual tossup
Set Pieces: In the 1st, Robertson and Curtis Jones took corners (no Trent or Neco), and in the second Trent and Robbo split sets.
Results: (1-0 vs Aston Villa)
Real-life Performances: A shaky win for Rangnick with McTominay the goal scorer and star of the show once again. Dalot and Cavani were the other 2 solid performers. Most were mediocre, with Lindelof and Rashford pretty poor. Fantasy Performances: McTominay had 25 fantasy points and 16 ghost points, Dalot had 16 and 10, and Shaw had 11 and 5.. Greenwood had 12 ghost points and Bruno had 11. Rashford had 3.5.
Looking forward: Ronaldo and Sancho were out injured for this game, with Ronaldo looking more likely to come back in. Rashford was poor again and is probably most likely to lose his spot. McTominay and Shaw are suspended so Telles and Matic will likely come in.
Set Pieces: Bruno, Shaw, and Greenwood all got corners.
Results: (4-1 vs Swindon Town - EFL League 2 side)
Real-life Performances: Pep played an amusingly strong side as he always seems to do. Jesus, Palmer, Silva, and Gundogan all scored. Silva, KDB, and Palmer all assisted. They did allow their common clean-sheet breaking goal though in the blowout. Jesus missed a penalty and he's probably done taking them for a while (again). Everyone looked very good, but Cole Palmer was probably the standout Fantasy Performances: They all did superbly but worthwhile calling out Palmer who scored 28 fantasy points and 14 ghost points.
Looking forward: Palmer might get some more time soon after another excellent performance. Walker is back, so Zinchenko will probably sit on the pine for a while. Grealish and Foden were not involved and could miss the weekend as well.
Set Pieces: KDB led the way, but Silva, Gundogan, and Palmer all got corners as well. Gundogan scored from a direct free kick and Jesus missed a pen.
Results: (0-1 vs Cambridge United - EFL League 1 side)
Real-life Performances: A downright embarrassing loss for the soon-to-be-refreshed side. Everyone looked pretty poor with the exception of a motivated Trippier on his debut as well as a lively Jacob Murphy playing a bit more forward that he has been. Fantasy Performances: Trippier had 14 ghost points behind 5 Key Passes from 9 crosses (3 corners). Fraser had 11.5 ghost points behind 5 Key Passes (9 corners). Joelinton had 15.5 ghost points!
Looking forward: The re-enforcements are coming. Chris Wood will slot in up top, and next will likely be some CBs to shore up the back line. Joel continues his hot run of ghost points from the midfield, and Trippier showed some promise, at least from his plethora of crosses and set pieces.
Set Pieces: Fraser and Trippier split set pieces. Ritchie and Shelvey had none.
Results: (0-1 vs Chelsea, 3-1 vs Morecambe - EFL League 1 side)
Real-life Performances: Spurs escaped a loss to Morecambe after 3 late goals from Winks, Moura, and Kane. Lo Celso had 1 assist. Then they proceeded to get outclassed by Tuchel's men on Thursday. Against Chelsea, Sanchez and Kane played pretty well, with Tanganga, Doherty, and Lo Celso all struggling. Fantasy Performances: Against Chelsea, Kane had 9.5 ghost points, Sanchez had 9, Lo Celso had 6, and Hojbjerg had 5.5
Looking forward: Conte has spoke plenty about his side playing poorly when he doesn't have his preferred XI. Well in the upcoming NDL, he'll definitely be missing Son and possibly Reguilon. Who comes in for Son is the biggest question. It was Lo Celso for the previous 2 games but he wasn't great and was taken off early vs Chelsea. Conte could opt for Winks, Hojbjerg, and Skipp as he has done in the past in big matchups, which seems awfully defensive but could just work versus a depleted Arsenal midfield.
Set Pieces: Lo Celso was on corner kick duties and Winks scored from a free kick. Kane also took a direct free kick (off target)
Results: (1-4 vs Leicester City)
Real-life Performances: A half-rotated side was battered by Leicester, with Joao Pedro scoring their only goal, assisted by Ashley Fletcher. Those 2 were the only standouts with the rest of the team looking rather defeated. Fantasy Performances: Pedro had 14 fantasy points and 6 points. Cucho had 6 ghost points and Sierralta had 4.5 ghost points
Looking forward: A surprisingly relevant team for this upcoming DGW with matchups vs Newcastle and Burnley. I expect new signings Kamara and Samir to come straight into the side after this latest defensive meltdown. Dennis and King will almost definitely start again (assuming Dennis is fit which it sounds like he is). Kucka was rested and I expect him to start twice and be a good option for the DGW. Those 3 are the only ones I truly like for the upcoming week. Sierralta if you think he starts both.
Set Pieces: Cleverley, Tufan, and Cucho each took set pieces in this one
Results: (3-0 vs Sheffield United - Championship side)
Real-life Performances: A strong Wolves side battered the former Prem club behind 2 goals from Podence and 1 from Semedo. Jimenez, Ait-Nouri, and Silva had the assists. Podence and the wingbacks were the standouts, with Traore getting a rare start but failing to impress. Fantasy Performances: Podence had 27.5 fantasy points and 9 ghost points. Semedo had 30 and 14 (goal and a clean sheet). Silva had 15 and 9. Ait-Nouri had 22 and 10. Traore only had 2.5 ghost points.
Looking forward: Podence earned himself more game time and I figure he'll partner Trincao in flanking Jimenez. The Ait-Nouri LWB, Marcal CB combination worked well so Wolves will likely do that again in Saiss's absence.
Set Pieces: Podence and Ait-Nouri split set pieces in the absence of Moutinho and Trincao from the lineup.
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