Pépé finally delivers as Martial returns for dour Man United win

Thursday night’s Europa League matches gave Fantasy Premier League managers team news clues ahead of Gameweek 10.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Wolves all won their respective meetings but had to work hard for their results.

We’ve assessed the impact these exploits will have on FPL in this latest Scout Notes article…

ARSENAL 3 VITORIA GUIMARAES 2

Goals: Gabriel Martinelli (£4.5m), Nicolas Pépé (£9.3m) x2

Assists: Kieran Tierney (£5.4m), Lucas Torreira (£4.8m), Matteo Guendouzi (£4.7m)

Two superb free-kicks from Nicolas Pépé (£9.3m) rescued what was threatening to become a disastrous night for Arsenal in the Europa League.

The Gunners had twice fallen behind to their unheralded visitors, who arrived in London pointless and goalless, before the Ivory Coast international saved the day in the last ten minutes of a frantic affair.

Pépé was only brought on after 75 minutes, but his pace and direct running had an immediate impact before his dead-ball prowess sealed the deal.

He scored from free-kicks awarded for fouls on Lucas Torreira (£4.8m) and then Matteo Guendouzi (£4.7m) to maintain Arsenal’s 100% start to their European campaign; a record last night’s performance barely deserved.

Their Portuguese opponents frequently exposed the defensive shortcomings of Unai Emery’s side, opening the scoring after just eight minutes and retaking the lead almost immediately after young striker Gabriel Martinelli (£4.5m) had headed home an equaliser.

Only Joe Willock (£5.0m) was retained from the team that lost at Sheffield United on Monday, but a first start since September 1 for Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) and a defence bolstered by Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) and summer signing Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) suggested a good night ahead for the Gunners.

Instead, an increasingly restless crowd witnessed only sporadic bursts of attacking flair and a consistent vulnerability to the counter–attack which Vitoria exploited time and time again.

Tierney had a particularly torrid start to the game as his positioning was twice revealed to be suspect and eventually led to the opening goal.

The left-back did at least grow into the match and it was his fine cross that produced Martinelli’s equaliser.

Far more disappointing was Lacazette. He was understandably rusty after close to two months out with an ankle injury, but he did little to suggest he’ll be replacing Bukayo Saka (£4.5m), who was an unused substitute last night, in the starting line-up for Gameweek 10’s fixture against Crystal Palace.

Pépé, however, might just have turned a corner.

Emery certainly hinted at that in his post-match comments.

It’s important for Pépé. He can gain confidence from tonight. When he scores it’s good for him and the team. He’s getting better, playing minutes, playing matches and scoring goals like tonight and he helped us tonight to win this match. – Unai Emery

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The club’s record signing has struggled to live up to the hype since arriving in the summer, scoring only once and providing two assists in a run of starts since Gameweek 3.

Then again, that’s been enough for him to top the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) midfielder charts for Arsenal, with 29 points, and he can only have gained in confidence after making such a massive impact last night.

The Gunners’ schedule all the way through to Boxing Day is favourable – only a trip to Leicester and a trip to Manchester City look beyond them over those ten matches – and Pépé clearly has the tools to take advantage.

His price, and Arsenal’s continued flakiness, might well count against him, however, leaving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) as the top Gunner probably worth relying on for the foreseeable future.

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Torreira, Willock (Ceballos 45); Maitland-Niles (Guendouzi 45), Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette (Pépé 75).

Subs: Leno, Ceballos, Pépé, Chambers, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Saka.

This article was originally posted on Fantasy Football Scout. You can read the rest of the article there./

Roland Tony

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