It feels a momentous week. For the first time since lockdown, Bruno Fernandes doesn’t feature in the AlphaStack team of the week. We have plenty to talk about instead though, with not one but two max scores, the first since football’s return. In addition, we had a number of unlikely bids for the forward positions, so continue reading to find out who we’ve picked and why!
It feels like it’s been a rare thing lately, that we’ve had a number of strong goalkeeping performances to choose from. Nick Pope drew intense praise from Jurgen Klopp as he helped Burnley hold Liverpool to a draw, while Emiliano Martinez was Arsenal’s best player as the Gnners lost 2-1 in the North London derby. It may seem strange, therefore, that we’ve chosen Vicente Guaita – whose Palace side contrived to lose 2-0 to Aston Villa, for the goalkeeping spot – but we are huge believers in a strong base score. Guaita was on hand on numerous occasions to keep Palace in the game, registering seven saves, four high claims, one smother and one punch. He had an enormous base score of 55p, after some poor performances lately.
Norwich have been all but relegated for some time, and it was only with this drubbing at home to West Ham that their fate was finally sealed. Jamal Lewis was all at sea, as while his defensive colleagues registered payouts ranging between 27 and 37p, Norwich’s left back mustered an appalling payout of 10p. It wasn’t for ill discipline or gifting the opposition a goal, as is often the case with these low payouts – he just contributed VERY little, giving him a base score of just 5p.
Checking in for his second appearance in the team of the week since lockdown, Jan Bednarek registered a payout of 71p against Manchester United on Monday evening. He assisted Michael Obafemi’s late late equaliser, and had a solid base score – there was really nothing he could have done about either of United’s goals. Bednarek earned 14p from ball recoveries, 18p from CBIs, and 9p from passes made for a base payout of 46p. It is worth mentioning that, had Bednarek not made that last gasp assist, James Tarkowski would have made the team for the third week running.
Many Leicester players came away from their defeat at the Vitality not looking so good. Caglar Soyuncu was by far the worst though, as he left his side short-handed and they went on to crumble and hand Bournemouth their first post-lockdown win. After Wilfred Ndidi and Kasper Schmeichel had contrived to let Bournemouth back into the game with a farcical penalty, Dominic Solanke found himself in on goal, not two minutes later. Schmeichel again should have done better, and as both Soyuncu and Callum Wilson went to fish the ball out of the net, Soyuncu swung a leg at Wilson, earning himself a red card. After a productive start to the second half, Soyuncu lost 25p in the space of two minutes, and a further 10p for the goals that went in after he left the pitch. In light of all that, perhaps a base payout of 4p isn’t actually THAT bad?
Jurgen Klopp continued with his policy of not handing out Premier League starts by giving Neco Williams his second Premier League start in four days. After being subbed at half time at Brighton, Williams impressed in his 69 minutes of play at the weekend. He had a good base payout of 35p and total payout of 60p, giving a payout/min ratio of 0.87p. He contributed on both ends, with three shots on target, two dribbles, three ball recoveries and four CBIs.
Ruben Neves – total payout 81p; base payout 46p; 1 assist
While Wolves and Everton matched up four-against-four across the midfield at the weekend, there is no question that Wolves’ centre mids got the better of the game. Leander Dendoncker got his name on the scoresheet, but it was Ruben Neves that ran the game and gave the platform for the front three to play. He assisted in sublime fashion for Diogo Jota’s goal, and had a strong base payout of 46p. He earned 5p for a shot on target, 8p for tackles won, 11p for ball recoveries, 12p for CBIs and 11p for passes made; the deep-lying playmaker’s complete performance.
Bernardo Silva – total payout 81p; base payout 41p; 1 goal
While we are without Bruno for the first time since lockdown, the Portuguese influence in the midfield remains. Pairing up with compatriot Neves is Bernardo Silva, who was just one of the City players to benefit from a shambolic Brighton defence. He lined up as a central midfielder for Manchester City, and was given a rare 90 minutes. He was active throughout the game, producing a decent base payout of 41p and adding a goal on top. The level of quality that he and Kevin De Bruyne showed was perhaps not captured fully by the SportStack matrix, as City’s forwards dined out on their service, which we will see shortly.
Michail Antonio – total payout 125p; payout/min 1.6p; 4 goals
Undoubtedly the SportStack performance of the weekend was Michail Antonio’s, as he single-handedly sealed Norwich’s relegation on Saturday. He scored all of the goals as West Ham won 4-0 at Carrow Road, and while Norwich were absolutely appalling, Antonio did his job well and took the chances that came to him. He acted the fox in the box, ran in behind, and scored a header from a set-piece, and in addition to his four goals, had another five shots, three of which were on target. Remarkably he was subbed in the 78th minute on a total payout of 125p, the third highest we are aware of on SportStack, giving his the highest payout/min ratio we have ever seen, at 1.6p. Antonio has been shoved out wide here to accommodate an additional striker.
Raheem Sterling – total payout 103p; payout/min 1.14p; 3 goals
On the opposite wing we have the proprietor of the most unlikely hat-trick of the season, or perhaps the decade. While many still consider Raheem Sterling a tap-in merchant, he opened the scoring at the Amex with a tidy finish from outside the box. He added a second with a well-guided header, which Brighton’s towering centre halves will have been disappointed with. To top it off, in the second half, Sterling stumbled as Adam Webster nodded down an aerial ball, and it dropped onto Sterling’s head, rolling through the legs of the on-rushing Mat Ryan. The three goals formed the bulk of Sterling’s max score of 103p. He played the full 90 minutes, earning a payout/min ratio of 1.14p.
Gabriel Jesus – total payout 98p; payout/min 1.53p; 1 goal, 2 assists
While Sterling’s hat-trick was certainly noteworthy, we feel Gabriel Jesus’ performance was the best of the game. Jesus earned a 98p payout in only 64 minutes – a payout/min score of 1.53p! He had a goal and 2 assists on top of a really solid base score of 38p. While he lacks the finishing instincts of Aguero, his work rate and link up play were on full display, and he was a constant thorn in the sides of the Brighton centre backs. He had an additional six shots, four of which were on target, as well as six dribbles two CBIs and two ball recoveries.
Dominic Solanke – total payout 63p; base payout 8p; 2 goals
This weekend there were plenty of performances that might have been deserving of this second centre forward spot. Trezeguet might have worked his way in with two goals against Palace, while David McGoldrick had a brace of his own against Chelsea. On a quiet week, Christian Benteke might have got the nod for a red card after the final whistle. Dominic Solanke, also bagged two goals, his first in the Premier League, as Bournemouth turned Leicester over at home. This nomination is both a celebration of that fact, and an abomination for his appalling base payout.
Solanke managed a total payout of 63p, which with his two goals, amounts to a base payout of only 11p. For comparison, Trezeguet and McGoldrick both earned payouts of 84p on the back of a brace at the weekend. While Solanke did well, particularly for his second goal, he remains a poor proposition on SportStack for anyone looking to back a striker. He is often priced low, but his propensity to be tackled and give away fouls means that if he doesn’t score, he opens up downside that other strikers perhaps do not.