The latest on Ramsdale and Martinelli as Villa’s ‘top eight’ woes continue

We dissect the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the only Gameweek 30 fixture of the day: Aston Villa v Arsenal.

GOALS, ASSISTS AND BONUS

RAMSDALE/MARTINELLI LATEST

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Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) Gabriel Martinelli (£5.3m) were both missing from the Gunners’ matchday squad altogether on Saturday, with Bernd Leno (£4.5m) Emile Smith Rowe (£5.7m) taking their places in the starting line-up.

Mikel Arteta confirmed before kick-off that Ramsdale has a hip injury, while Martinelli was out through illness.

FPL’s most-owned device has a similarly vague prognosis as Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.5m), who was ruled out for “weeks” by Jurgen Klopp on Friday, but Martinelli is still expected to report for international duty with Brazil in the coming days.

Both players traveled to the Midlands to be with their teammates today.

“He’s got a muscle injury and he will be out for a few weeks.

“He wasn’t comfortable in the last 50 minutes against Liverpool. He wanted to be here to support Bernd which tells you about a lot of things behind the scenes.” — Mikel Arteta on Aaron Ramsdale

“He’s been sick the last few days so he’s out of the squad, unfortunately.” — Mikel Arteta on Gabriel Martinelli

VILLA’S ‘TOP EIGHT’ PROBLEM

The gap between ninth-place Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers in eighth is 10 points, a fitting chasm as the Villans have struggled against the teams directly above them all season.

Since Steven Gerrard took charge, Villa haven’t recorded a single win or clean sheet against the sides currently ranked eighth or higher.

“The league doesn’t lie. [The top eight] at the moment are ahead of us for a reason and there’s a gap. That’s where we’re striving to be. If we want to take one of them places, we’ve got to be positive, we’ve got to believe in it – we can’t be indecisive.” — Steven Gerrard

The rot goes back further: the 1-0 success at Old Trafford in Gameweek 6 was their only victory and shut-out against the teams now in contention for European spots.

Above: Villa players sorted by points per start against the top eight this season

Villa were emphatically second-best against Arsenal on Saturday, not registering a single shot until the hour mark and only testing Bernd Leno (£4.5m) with the final kick of the match.

The reason we highlight this record is that the Villans’ next three league matches are against Wolves, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool: all clubs in the top eight.

Their run of matches from Gameweek 34-37, which will also include a Double Gameweek involving a home clash with Burnley, is more appealing, however.

Aston Villa in 2021/22 Played Won Drawn Lost Goals scored Goals conceded clean sheets
v top eight 12 1 1 10 11 26 1
v bottom 11 17 10 2 5 30 14 8

SUPER SAKA

Bukayo Saka (£6.7m) bounced back from two blanks in Double Gameweek 29 with a goal and maximum bonus points as Villa Park.

He now has 10 attacking returns and four double-digit hauls from Gameweek 16 onwards, averaging 6.5 points per match in that time.

He’s keeping some impressive company, as the below table shows.

Above: Midfielders sorted by attacking returns from Gameweek 16 onwards

“He was really fatigued. He’s played a lot of minutes. He needs to go with England and the best thing was to take him off.” — Mikel Arteta on Bukayo Saka’s substitution on Saturday

Elsewhere, Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) blanked for the first time in an away match since Gameweek 15 while Martin Odegaard (£5.5m) continues to do his best Luka Modric impression, having contributed no goals and only one assist this calendar year; Arsenal have scored on 12 occasions in that time.

The impressive Ben White (£4.5m) Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.3m) kept their 13th clean sheet in 25 league starts together at centre-half, meanwhile, both collecting maximum bonus points in the process. White has proven to be one of the bargain FPL buys of the season: his total of 103 points is higher than that of any other sub-£4.9m option in any position.

Some very decent fixtures book-end a tricky run from Gameweek 33-35 (a north London derby also has to feature in the above schedule somewhere), so there are plenty of points opportunities still to come for one of only two sides in the top Six who don’t have the distractions of cup competitions at home or abroad.


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