Manchester City picked up some more injuries in their final match of pre-season but have been boosted by the return to training of some of their World Cup stars.
Elsewhere, Everton are struggling to live up to their attacking potential as they tasted defeat once again while Claude Puel complicated matters by making a large number of substitutions as Leicester lost to Udinese.
In another Scout Notes article we assess what the goals, assists and Fantasy talking points from the weekend mean for our Fantasy Premier League teams.
STADE RENNAIS 4-1 EVERTON
- Goals: Richarlison (£6.5m)
- Assists: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m)
Another pre-season defeat for Everton may well discourage the Fantasy interest that been building around their squad for the last few weeks. While only Crystal Palace rank higher for attack potential over the first six Gameweeks, the Toffees have now found the net just twice in five pre-season fixtures since their 22-0 win over ATV Irdning – a fixture it is hard to take seriously.
Cenk Tosun (£7.0m) currently has 9.7 percent ownership but is yet to score outside of that freak result in Austria, and both Zaha and Arnautovic are showing stronger form at the same price point. The Turkish international did have the ball in the net in this recent friendly but was penalised for jumping on the defender. Richarlison (£6.5m) was the man who played the ball to him, and he proved the only positive in a disappointing match. It was him who scored the solitary Everton goal on his full debut for the club, where he was the most creative player.
The Everton midfield was never going to be at its best as Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) and Idrissa Gueye (£5.0m) were making their first starts of the summer, although this was perhaps the most disappointing pre-season defeat so far. The loss at Blackburn could, in part, be blamed on a swathe of substitutions in the second-half disrupting the flow. This home defeat to Stade Rennais featured a line-up close to first-choice for 75 minutes. According to local press, Everton were vulnerable to the counter-attack and were weak in midfield.
It does appear that Everton could be harder to trust with their early season fixtures than we initially thought. New signings at full-back and centre-back are now reportedly probable with Michael Keane (£5.0m) and Phil Jagielka (£4.5m) the current first-choice but struggling to perform well.
Jordan Pickford (£5.0m), Theo Walcott (£6.5m) and Ademola Lookman (£5.5m) will all eventually boost the squad with their presence, but it is still unknown when any of them will be able to make their first competitive appearance. It was revealed after Saturday’s match that Pickford will miss the final meeting of pre-season, Valencia’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday August 4, as a result of his compulsory three-week break following the World Cup. However, the Liverpool Echo reports that he has “been on an individual fitness plan to ensure he is ready for the season opener on August 11 against Wolves.”
EVERTON XI (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Baines, Keane, Jagielka, Coleman; Gueye (Davies 75’), Schneiderlin; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Sandro (Mirallas 75’); Tosun (Niasse 75’).
LEICESTER CITY 1-2 UDINESE
- Goals: Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m)
- Assists: Ricardo Pereira (£5.0m)
It was difficult to learn much from this latest Leicester City fixture as manager Claude Puel rang the changes in a big way. Four players who came on as substitutes were replaced roughly shortly after and nine members of the match squad registered no more than 30 minutes.
FPL midfielder Demarai Gray (£5.5m), who has been used as a forward in recent matches was not involved this time around as Puel handed time to five players returning from World Cup leave. Adrien Silva (£5.0m) was the only one to start the match but Ahmed Musa, Wilfried Ndidi (£5.0m), Yohan Benalouane (£4.0m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m) were all involved, the latter getting a late consolation goal. There was also a first appearance in Leicester colours for full-back Ricardo Pereira (£5.0m), who got the assist on Iheanacho’s goal. Of those now back in training the only one not to feature at all was Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m).
After two matches alongside each other, Wes Morgan (£4.5m) and Jonny Evans (£5.0m) were split up in this one the latter coming on at half-time. By all accounts, neither one of them played particularly well and one of them is expected to drop out when Harry Maguire (£5.5m) returns to the squad, although he may not be able to start in Gameweek 1. He and Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) are expected back in training next week and it appears that their presence in the squad is sorely needed.
LEICESTER CITY XI (4-2-3-1): Ward (Jakupovic 45’); Fuchs (Pereira 60’), Morgan (Evans 45’ | Benalouane 60’), Johnson (Elder 83’), Amartey (Simpson 60’); Iborra (Musa 60’), Choudhury (Ndidi 60’); Albrighton (Chilwell 30’), Silva (King 30’ | Mendy 60’), Diabate (Maddison 60’); Ulloa (Slimani 30’ | Iheanacho 60’).
BAYERN MUNICH 2-3 MANCHESTER CITY
- Goals: Bernardo Silva x2 (£7.5m), Lukas Nmecha
- Assists: Phil Foden (£5.0m), Adrián Bernabé
Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) is still expected to be available for Sunday’s Community Shield despite being withdrawn with an ankle injury in Manchester City’s 3-2 win over Bayern Munich on Saturday. He was pictured in a support boot and on crutches after the match but there was more positive news on Monday.
“Riyad Mahrez has been given the all-clear to return to training later this week after picking up an ankle knock. A scan today has revealed no significant damage, and he could be available for selection for this weekend’s Community Shield against Chelsea.”
Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m) and Phil Foden (£5.0m) were also forced off the pitch with the latter nursing “what appeared to be a tweaked hamstring”, according to the club’s website. There has been no update on either of them since then.
Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) was the standout star in the match as he looks to make his case to start in Gameweek 1. He secured a brace after coming on for Mahrez, making him the most involved player in goal-scoring during City’s pre-season campaign.
Leroy Sané (£9.5m) didn’t feature, meaning he is yet to start a pre-season match and has registered just 62 minutes so far this summer – surprising, considering the large number of first-team players absent because of the World Cup. Guardiola reiterated again that there is no injury in his case and that he is still working on his fitness ahead of the Community Shield.
However, the entire squad was handed a boost on Monday afternoon as a large number of World Cup players were pictured training again. That included Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m), Sergio Aguero (£11.0m), Nicolas Otamendi (£6.5m), David Silva (£8.5m), Fernandinho (£5.5m), Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m), John Stones (£5.5m), Vincent Kompany (£5.5m), Ederson (£5.5m) and Fabian Delph (£5.5m). How match fit these players will be, considering they have missed all the pre-season friendlies, is not known. Their returns could mean appearances in the Community Shield and maybe even Gameweek 1, although it is too early to tell. If that is the case though, it could potentially change the way a lot of managers set up their teams – although we will have to track Pep Guardiola’s press conferences between now and the start of the season for more information.
MANCHESTER CITY XI (5-1-3-1): Bravo; Zinchenko, Laporte (Harrison 67′), Garcia, Humphreys, Bolton (Bernabé); Douglas Luiz; Diaz (Gomes 67′), Foden (Garre 85′), Mahrez (B Silva 28′); Nmecha.
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