Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed more information about what his back-four could look like in Gameweek 1 after Antonio Valencia was sent home from the US tour.
However, there were more positive developments further up the pitch as both Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata furthered their cases for inclusion in squads.
Elsewhere we learned more about who could line-up in defence for Spurs, with Ben Davies and Kyle Walker-Peters at the centre of the dicussion from a Fantasy perspective.
Another Scout Notes article looks at what some more pre-season goals, assists and line-ups mean for our Fantasy Premier League teams.
AC MILAN 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (8-9 PENS)
- Goals: Alexis Sánchez (£10.5m)
- Assists: Juan Mata (£6.5m)
Jose Mourinho revealed further problems in the right-back area for Manchester United after their latest pre-season friendly. Matteo Darmian (£5.0m) started there against AC Milan with Antonio Valencia (£6.5m) having left the tour in the USA with a torn calf muscle and the Manchester Evening News reporting the newly-announced club captain could miss the first month of the campaign. We discussed the alternatives to Valencia earlier this week, but Mourinho has gone on record himself with his thoughts about the situation, name-checking the still absent Ashley Young (£6.0m) in the process.
“Antonio Valencia is injured and he will be injured for the beginning of the Premier League, Diogo Dalot is also in a recovering phase and he will not be ready for beginning of Premier League. Ashley Young is a possibility to play right-back, but is on holiday. I don’t know if he fancies to be back for that and put himself to be available for the team or stay on holiday. Victor Lindelof is a possibility, he is not a right-back but is a possibility, he starts training next Monday. I will send people to Manchester to train with Victor, it makes no sense for him to come to the United States. So if Matteo leaves he leaves because the right offer arrives and if he stays, he can be important for us.”
The United manager also revealed a little more about what the future holds for Darmian, who could prove a cheap route into the United defence early on if he stays at the club. With current ownership of 0.1 percent, a U-turn in his transfer situation could make him an excellent differential.
“Matteo wants to leave and I think when a player wants to leave, if the right offer arrives you have to try to be human and let the player follow his instinct but not at any price. And, until now, the offers we got for Matteo are not even close to being accepted.”
Mourinho actually experimented with a 3-5-2 formation for this match, but despite the change in system, still named Eric Bailly (£5.5m) and Chris Smalling (£6.0m) in the back-three. With Phil Jones (£5.5m) still absent, Marcos Rojo (£5.0m) linked with a move away and Victor Lindelof (£5.0m) another late returner, the pair look increasingly like the most assured way to invest in United’s defence, alongside David de Gea (£6.0m), who is reportedly on his way to join the squad with Fred (£6.0m). The goalkeeper is still infinitely more popular though, his ownership of 30.1 percent considerably higher than Bailly’s 5.5 and Smalling’s 4.8.
Further up the field, there may be increased interest if Alexis Sánchez (£10.5m) gets a chance to follow up what was an impressive goal-scoring display as a centre-forward against AC Milan. The Chilean always looked more dangerous in that position rather than deployed on the left-flank of a front three although we’ll have to wait and see whether he played up front as a result of Anthony Martial’s (£7.5m) departure from the squad to be present for the birth of his second child or if there was some design from Mourinho behind the move. Either way, the United boss will have taken notice from Sánchez’s hugely energetic man-of-the-match performance which featured good skill for his goal and could have even featured an audacious goal direct from a corner, his effort landing on the roof of the net.
Just behind Sánchez in the front two was Juan Mata (£6.5m) who has serious potential to be an early season differential too. This was the second time in three matches that Mata started the game in the forward line, and once again he was involved in the goal-scoring. It was him who assisted Sánchez’s first-half strike, and the former Chelsea man took free-kicks as well. With just one percent ownership and some assurances from Mourinho that he will be in team sheet for Gameweek 1, there is a real opportunity for Fantasy managers with Mata.
Luke Shaw (£5.0m) also continued to make effective attacking runs down the left-flank and had a chance to score a deserved goal, denied by an excellent save from former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The Spaniard also denied Mata a second pre-season goal after Sánchez had played him in.
Juventus’ goal came very soon after United’s opener, Leonardo Bonucci playing a long ball over the top for Suso to beat Lee Grant (not in FPL).
Finally, Mourinho hinted that Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) may also have an injury, although the extent is not known, other than the fact that he trained on his own on Tuesday.
“The important thing for me is with the group of players we have – and losing already Valencia and Matic – even worse to play against Milan’s best team and to play the way we did and get the result that could be even better than it was. I think was good.”
MANCHESTER UNITED XI (3-5-2): Grant (J Pereira 45’); Tuanzebe, Smalling, Bailly; Shaw (Fosu-Mensah 74’), McTominay, A Pereira, Herrera, Darmian; Sánchez, Mata (Hamilton 89’).
AS ROMA 1-4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
- Goals: Fernando Llorente x2 (£6.0m), Lucas Moura x2 (£7.0m)
- Assists: Luke Amos, Moura, Serge Aurier x2 (£6.0m)
Lucas Moura (£7.0m) furthered his case for inclusion in Fantasy squads by involving himself in three of Spurs’ goals scored against Roma on Wednesday night. After starring in a 6-0 training ground win over Southend, this time he delivered on a slightly bigger stage, assisting one of Fernando Llorente’s (£6.0m) two goals and finding the net twice himself. With Dele Alli (£9.0m) coming back to training late and Son Heung-min (£8.5m) off to the Asian Games in August with South Korea there are vacancies in the Spurs attacking midfield and another fantastic display from Moura bodes well for him, amid potential competition with Erik Lamela (£6.5m).
The most popular Spurs midfielder is back already, though. That’s Christian Eriksen (£9.5m) who went straight into the side on Wednesday after a slightly delayed return to training following a World Cup campaign with Denmark. He was not involved in any of the goals directly but did hit the post in the match. Either way, the fact Eriksen is getting minutes under his belt now is an encouraging sign for the 16.7 percent of managers who have been convinced by his FPL pedigree to include him in their squads for 2018/19.
There was an interesting development in defence as left-back Ben Davies (£6.0m) was deployed as a centre-half, an option that we had perhaps overlooked as an alternative in this position. We’ve known for some time that Spurs’ first-choice centre-backs will not be having the best preparation for 2018/19 and were all at risk of not being involved in the early Gameweeks. Both Jan Vertonghen (£6.0m) and potential want-away Toby Alderweireld (£6.0m), are not yet back in training after Belgium made it to the final weekend of the World Cup while Davinson Sanchez (£6.0m) still made it back late, although is with the squad now.
Davies’ role in the middle allowed Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m) to get another run-out at left-back and, by all accounts, put on a good performance. Obviously it’s early days in pre-season for Spurs, but the defensive situation is one worth tracking as there could be two important developments for Fantasy managers if these roles continue for the players in question. If Davies continues to be used in the middle than his attacking potential as a marauding full-back will be largely diminished until Vertonghen and Alderweireld return, although it would unlock a potential bargain if Walker-Peters is given game-time on the left. In fact, he even spent the last 15 minutes as a left-winger.
Fernando Llorente (£6.0m) added his third and fourth pre-season goals in three matches against Roma but Fantasy managers shouldn’t get too sucked into considering him just yet. Yes, if the Spaniard were to start a few matches, continuing his summer form at the start of 2018/19, he could offer incredible value and is reportedly in really good shape, but there are still doubts over whether Mauricio Pochettino is that keen on the former Swansea man. As we all know, Harry Kane (£12.5m) has always said he is aiming for a Gameweek 1 return, so more information is needed on his front before anyone can commit to Llorente. Furthermore, this is the rather guarded response Pochettino gave the press post-match when asked about whether the striker would feature in his plans for the coming season.
“I’m not going to talk about individual situations because if I’m going to talk now about someone I need to speak about everyone. I am focusing on trying to work hard, trying to provide the team and every single player with the best tools to improve.”
Before the match, the Tottenham team-sheet handed to members of the press indicated that Victor Wanyama is injured, although there is no detail on this development at present.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR XI (4-2-3-1): Vorm (Gazzaniga 60’); Walker-Peters (Georgiou 85’), Davies, Carter-Vickers, Aurier; Amos (Marsh 85’), Sissoko; Moura (Nkoudou 85’), Eriksen (Skipp 60’), Lamela (Sanchez 79’); Llorente (Son 60’).
Read more with Scout
Pick your FPL team for 2018/19 using our list of best available players, sorted for your convenience by position and price:
Also check out our detailed statistical analysis articles on every team comparing data for the last two seasons to highlight the players to sign and the players to avoid:
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Cardiff City | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Tottenham Hotspur
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the pre-season price of just £12.50. This will increase to the regular price of £15 after the first Gameweek of the season.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 130+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.