Dean Smith vows to find source of Aston Villa leak as Fantasy Football causes clubs concern


Dean Smith

Unfair advantage

Early news surrounding the absence of Jack Grealish  for yesterday’s game against Leicester City led to Dean Smith commenting on the situation after their 2-1 defeat.

“I’ve been made aware that on social media there were some rumours that he wasn’t going to play. If it’s coming out of our training ground, then I find out where it is coming from and reprimand where it’s coming from.”

In his Monday Athletic article, David Ornstein has linked the leak to the incredibly popular Fantasy Football games played by fans and players alike.

Dean Smith vows to find source of Aston Villa leak as Fantasy Football causes clubs concern

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on December 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

The issue is that news is in the public arena and if players of the game know where to find it, then it is highly likely opposition clubs do too. A problem that has been discussed at boardroom level by clubs in the Premier League and one of increasing concern.

The England international, one of the star players of the season both on the pitch and in the game, stopped training towards the end of last week and it seemed as though his availability for the game was a doubt for all who were there.

Here in lies the problem, three of his team mates, Matt Target, Conor Hourihane and Neil Taylor all took him out of their Fantasy football teams. Other members of the Aston Villa inner circle, Scott Adey Linforth the first-team performance analyst and physio Rob Marshall did likewise.

Other clubs suffering

Jack Grealish

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 01: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa reacts during the Carabao Cup Final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on March 01, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This isn’t an isolated case. Leeds United also had an incident this week when captain Liam Cooper transferred out Gjanni Alioski, who had played 17 games in a row, out of his side, ahead of a week where they played two games.

Eagle eyed users of website Reddit had been monitoring teams run by Leeds players and staff and made changes accordingly and Man United and Fulham had also had changes highlighted by “insider” social media accounts.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Premier League will stop players playing the game, but clubs are considering asking players and staff to not pick players from their own clubs as it could provide crucial information to opponents.

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This article was edited by Tom Canton.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 24 34 56
2 Leicester City FC 25 17 49
3 Manchester United FC 24 19 46
4 West Ham United FC 25 10 45
5 Chelsea FC 25 16 43
6 Liverpool FC 25 11 40
7 Everton FC 24 4 40
8 Aston Villa FC 23 11 36
9 Tottenham Hotspur FC 24 10 36
10 Arsenal FC 24 6 34
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 25 -6 33
12 Leeds United 24 -3 32
13 Southampton FC 24 -9 30
14 Crystal Palace FC 24 -15 29
15 Burnley FC 25 -12 28
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 24 -5 26
17 Newcastle United FC 24 -15 25
18 Fulham FC 25 -11 22
19 West Bromwich Albion 25 -36 14
20 Sheffield United FC 25 -26 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 15
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 11
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 8
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7