With the lunchtime game between Arsenal and Wolves postponed in advance, Gameweek 20 began with a trio of truly festive sights – weekday 3pm matches. The line-up rotations that come with such a fast turnaround brought some early pain for those who thought they’d just about squeezed out 11 players.
Teemu Pukki, Tino Livramento, Armando Broja and Gameweek 19 star Lucas Moura were all absent from starting line-ups, with Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher one of several new Covid victims unable to take part against Norwich.
First goal of the day came from the leading scorer amongst forwards – despite not playing in the last three Gameweeks – Emmanuel Dennis. He’s soon off to the African Cup of Nations but gave his owners one more memory, assisted by Josh King.
While Watford quickly faltered, Crystal Palace shot out of the blocks and were 3-0 up by half-time. Odsonne Edouard netted a penalty and assisted the other two for a 14-point haul.
Elsewhere, West Ham turned their early deficit into a 2-1 lead thanks to assists from Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio. For the latter, his productivity would end there. But for Bowen? Not quite.
Bowen soon added a goal but it was quickly ruled out by VAR. The same happened to Harry Kane, who had earlier equalised from the penalty spot after Son Heung-min was fouled.
The second halves of Crystal Palace v Norwich and Southampton v Tottenham fizzled away, finishing with the same 3-0 and 1-1 scores from the interval. But West Ham – and Bowen in particular – were relentless. He won a penalty that Mark Noble successfully dispatched and laid on another for late subsitute Nikola Vlasic.
The trio of assists took Bowen up to 11 for the season – highest throughout the league. Expect his ownership to rapidly escalate by Gameweek 21.
The 8pm kick-off had Leicester host Liverpool. Mohamed Salah captainers had the strange feeling of actually being able to rise up the rankings if he was to produce, as many managers hid behind their sofas after selling him last Gameweek.
And then it happened – Salah missed a penalty!
Leicester went on to win 1-0, causing Liverpool to be goalless for the first time this season and giving all Salah captainers zero points. What a rollercoaster FPL can be!