It’s a quick turnaround with Premier League’s first midweek slate of the season. Gameweek 12, to be brutally honest, was quite appalling. The weeks of record-breaking goal tallies feel a long way in the past, with only 19 goals scored in the weekend just gone. This is reflected in our team of the week line-up, which is really struggling for goals. The worrying part is that, with the prospect of heavy rotation in gameweek 13, we don’t expect things to get much more exciting.
Burnley’s win at the Emirates is a big result given how the bottom half of the table looks. Nick Pope (87pts) was instrumental to that, making six saves and 15 ball recoveries. He had the highest score of the weekend, but given the lack of goals it should come as no surprise to traders that there was competition for his position. Emiliano Martinez (74pts) and Lukasz Fabianski (70pts) were also star performers as their respective teams earned tight victories.
Leeds right-back Luke Ayling (62pts) was on the losing side on Friday when West Ham travelled to Elland Road, but he had a good game nonetheless. He earned 20pts from CBIs alone for a base score of 47pts. Angelo Ogbonna (66pts) emerged the match-winner in that game nodding home from a set piece with ten minutes to go. He lines up at centre-half next to Jan Bednarek (74pts), who caused enough trouble in the opposition’s box as to create the opening goal in Southampton’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United. Perhaps the goal threat from set pieces would offset the stodgy brand of football we would have to play. Matthew Lowton (72pts) has attacking limitations that wouldn’t help our cause in this respect, but defensively he was phenomenal against Arsenal. Our right-back here, he had 34pts from CBIs and a base score of 47pts to match Ayling’s on the opposite flank.
We’re playing a narrow diamond in midfield, with Oriol Romeu (64pts) anchoring things. While James Ward-Prowse’s set piece ability will snag him more headlines, Romeu has been an excellent partner in midfield. He assisted Southampton’s final goal at the weekend, which topped off an excellent all-round performance. Jordan Henderson (71pts) will play a box-to-box role, having held things together for Liverpool when they were under so much pressure at Craven Cottage. He had a base score of 49pts, with 14pts from ball recoveries, 14pts from CBIs and 11pts from passes made. Partnering Henderson in midfield is the disgraced Granit Xhaka (15pts), whose sending off at the weekend had a huge hand in Arsenal failing to beat Burnley. James Maddison (79pts) will offer the lion’s share of the creativity – and, apparently, the goal threat – in this side. He scored two against Brighton on Sunday evening, including a wonderful curled effort with his left peg.
Aboubakar Kamara (3pts) has had a torrid time in the Premier League. He’s barely featured since his red card against Palace a couple of months ago, and he won’t have done himself any favours with Scott Parker last weekend. He came on with Fulham leading and, despite such scrutiny being placed on defenders’ body positions, he raised his arm when in the wall and gave away the penalty that allowed Liverpool to equalise. Jamie Vardy (68pts) will benefit from his understanding with James Maddison here, having also scored at the weekend, and assisted both of Maddison’s goals.
Nick Pope – total score 57pts; base score 47pts
Luke Ayling – total score 62pts; base score 47pts
Angelo Ogbonna – total score 66pts; base score 31pts; 1 goal
Jan Bednarek – total score 74pts; base score 39pts; 1 assist
Matthew Lowton – total score 72pts; base score 47pts
Oriol Romeu – total score 64pts; base score 29pts; 1 assist
Jordan Henderson – total score 71pts; base score 49pts
Granit Xhaka – total score 15pts; base score 7pts
James Maddison – total score 79pts; base score 24pts; 2 goals
Aboubakar Kamara – total score 3pts; base score -4pts
Jamie Vardy – total score 68pts; base score 8pts; 2 goals; 1 assist