Raheem Sterling was the star of the show at the Etihad as he racked up the biggest score by a Fantasy Premier League player in a single Gameweek this season.
Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane also delivered double-digits hauls but there wasn’t to be a seventh straight clean sheet for the reigning champions as their defence was finally breached by Southampton and Danny Ings.
We’ve all the goals, assists, Fantasy talking points and manager quotes from a comprehensive victory for Pep Guardiola’s side on Sunday afternoon – the fourth occasion in 2018/19 in which City have scored five or more goals in a Premier League match.
Manchester City 6-1 Southampton
- Goals: Wesley Hoedt (£4.4m) own-goal, Sergio Aguero (£11.3m), David Silva (£8.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) x2, Leroy Sane (£9.2m) | Danny Ings (£5.6m)
- Assists: Leroy Sane x2, Raheem Sterling x2, Sergio Aguero x2
Another home win and another sensational attacking performance from Manchester City, who are averaging four goals per league fixture at the Etihad this season.
Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) proved quite the differential for his owners on Sunday afternoon – before kick-off, 17 midfielders could boast a higher ownership in FPL than the England winger. We will now surely see his 7% ownership – and price – rise before the Gameweek 12 deadline rolls around next Saturday morning.
Sterling was only the ninth-most-popular captaincy option of Gameweek 11, meanwhile, and just 21.5% of the former Liverpool midfielder’s owners handed him the armband for the visit of Mark Hughes’ side.
The “eye test” was enough of a barometer of Sterling’s performance, but his underlying statistics also back up how prominent the premium midfielder was in advanced positions at the Etihad on Sunday: Sterling’s penalty box touch count (15) was the highest tally that any FPL player (forwards included) has recorded in a single Gameweek this season.
Indeed, no Premier League player has registered as many penalty box touches as Sterling in 2018/19 – this despite the City wide-man sitting out two of City’s plum-looking home fixtures in Gameweeks 2 and 9.
On Sunday, no City player could beat his totals for shots on goal, attempts in the box and efforts on target.
Sterling had missed out on the 6-1 and 5-0 wins over Huddersfield Town and Burnley but this time it was Riyad Mahrez‘s (£8.7m) turn to be the fall guy, with Leroy Sane (£9.2m) brought back into the side on the left flank and Sterling switching over to the right.
Sterling has demonstrated that he can rack up attacking points from whichever position he starts in (with goals against Arsenal and Newcastle United earlier in the campaign when deployed on the left) but there is perhaps a sense that he is more dangerous when he lines up on the right of a front three, the role he occupied for much of his 229-point season in 2017/18.
A direct comparison is flawed this season given that four of the matches in which Sterling was fielded on the left wing were tricky away fixtures (Arsenal, Wolves, Liverpool and Spurs), but it should be noted that he has racked up more penalty box touches, shots in the box, efforts on target and big chances in his four games on the right flank than in his five starts on the left.
Sterling acknowledged the special bond he shares with Sane after the game, referencing City’s sixth goal that was scored by the German:
Leroy is always a man who looks up for me. He always has his eyes open. I was on a hat-trick but I am happy to set one up for him.
Sterling’s manager, Pep Guardiola, paid tribute to him after full-time, while still highlighting some deficiencies in the in-form midfielder’s game:
Raheem is a top player and he’s in incredible form. He’s sharp, fast, clever, always fighting, decisive, he can play both sides, can play in the middle and receive the ball between the lines and commit the centre-back with a lot of aggressiveness.
It was an incredible performance but still, with the young guys like him and Leroy, I feel they can improve.
Still, he can lose simple balls, like in the Tottenham game, when he made an amazing assist in the first few minutes but then lost a lot of balls.
Guardiola also commented on the improvement in Sterling’s finishing since his early days with the Citizens:
The first season he was scared, he was looking: ‘Who is the guy I’m going to pass the ball to?’
He wasn’t looking, even when it was only the keeper there. We spoke about that and said: ‘Try to score goals’.
Sterling’s two strikes were both set up by Sergio Aguero (£11.3m), though there was a degree of fortune about the first goal as Sterling had initially mis-hit the Argentinean’s pull-back before prodding home at the second attempt.
Sterling’s second goal – City’s fifth – was more convincingly despatched, with the England midfielder rifling home from a narrow angle after another tee-up by Aguero.
The same two players had earlier combined for Manchester City’s second goal, with Sterling jinking his way into the Southampton box and cutting the ball back for Aguero to tap in.
Sunday’s match saw Aguero complete 90 minutes for the first time since Gameweek 4 and the Argentinean forward, while overshadowed by Sterling, rewarded the 1.87 million FPL managers who captained him with a first double-digit haul since August.
No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than Aguero this season (13) and the long-serving striker now leads his fellow forwards for FPL points accrued, but it will be interesting to watch the Fantasy market this week given that Sterling is available in a similar price bracket and in a position that heralds more points for goals scored.
Two of the main arguments against owning Aguero in recent weeks have been his managed minutes and lack of sizeable hauls, but the Argentinean striker delivered on both fronts against the Saints by lasting the course and leaving the Etihad with 13 points.
Aguero could easily have had a 20-point return himself, having spurned an excellent opportunity provided by Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) in the first half and then coming within inches of a third assist when Sane’s curling effort crashed back off the post on 62 minutes.
The Germany international could easily be forgotten about after Sterling’s display but was excellent himself in registering a first double-digit return of the season.
Sane’s pace down the City left ultimately led to Wesley Hoedt (£4.4m) turning the ball into his own net before the German winger registered his second assist of the match with a flick on to David Silva (£8.5m) for City’s third goal.
Guardiola has now twice started with Sane and Benjamin Mendy (£6.4m) in the same side this season, both games being eminently winnable home fixtures against Burnley and Southampton, though would seem to favour Sterling on the left flank in away matches against the trickier opposition (those four aforementioned matches against Arsenal, Wolves, Liverpool and Spurs).
For those who like their FPL assets to be flat-track bullies, Sane has delivered a goal and/or assist in each of his five home appearances this season.
Silva and Bernardo were superb in the centre of the park but, as one would expect, their attacking KPIs lagged behind those of the City front three.
The pair registered only three key passes between them, while had the same number of shots combined as Sterling managed on his own.
The injury to Kevin de Bruyne (£9.8m), however, means less competition in the centre of the park and the pair aren’t quite the rotation risks they threatened to be in the run-up to Christmas – though Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) will soon return to fitness and add to Guardiola’s options in the engine room.
City’s backline had a rare off-day, though after six straight shut-outs we can surely (begrudgingly) forgive them the lack of clean sheet on this occasion.
It was perhaps inevitable that a side who hadn’t scored in their last five league fixtures would finally break their resistance and in truth, Southampton were well worthy of a goal or two – carving out more big chances in this game than City’s other five opponents at the Etihad this season had managed combined.
Guardiola highlighted his side’s defensive frailties after the match:
We were lucky to score the fourth goal at the last minute of the first half because I had the feeling the game was not over at 3-1. We played so well with the ball but not without the ball. We were not stable behind.
We concede a lot of corner-kicks and with the best taker in the league like Southampton had. The team showed me some signals that in some positions we are not stable enough.
When they were close to our box, the feeling was that they can score goals. That’s not good. In general, in the duels, we didn’t defend well the passing between the lines and many situations.
Danny Ings (£5.6m) ruined millions of clean sheets across the world with a 29th-minute penalty and should have had a second early in the second half when following up a James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) shot that Ederson (£5.8m) had failed to collect.
Ederson was unconvincing in spells and flapped at a couple of Southampton crosses (also conceding the penalty that Ings converted), while Mendy was exposed down the City left on a handful of occasions.
Shane Long (£4.8m) also had a golden opportunity late in the game but could only fire wide from the edge of the six-yard box, while Ings forced an excellent save out of City’s Brazilian goalkeeper with a header from a corner.
Mendy wasn’t quite the potent threat down the City left that many Fantasy managers hoped he would be, registering only one penalty box touch and key pass, though did supply a big chance that Sane failed to capitalise on.
Aymeric Laporte (£5.9m) kept up his ever-present record as Guardiola made only one change (Sane for Mahrez) from the side that beat Spurs last Monday, while Mark Hughes had made three alterations in bringing in Ward-Prowse, Long and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.5m) for Charlie Austin (£5.5m), Mohamed Elyounoussi (£6.2m) and Oriel Romeu (£4.3m).
The Southampton manager bemoaned the opening 18 minutes of the match that effectively killed the game as a contest:
We’re disappointed with the opening period as that’s when the game was lost. We were never able to get a foothold in the game and didn’t have an opportunity to clear our heads.
We were a little bit, I’ll say the word milky, in terms of our defensive work and there are times where you have got to be really aggressive at both ends.
If you’re trying to score a goal you’ve got to be aggressive and if you’re trying to defend your goal you’ve got to be really aggressive and put your blocks in to make sure people can’t keep the ball alive in poor areas for you as an opposition player.
In my view, they were able to do that too easily in terms of keeping the ball alive, keep moving around and given the quality they have you fully expect them to dispatch the chances they created.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones (Kompany 67′), Laporte, Mendy; Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho (Delph 78′), David Silva (Foden 71′); Sterling, Aguero, Sane.
Southampton XI (4-5-1): McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Long, Ward-Prowse (Obafemi 72′) Lemina, Hojbjerg, Redmond (Elyounoussi 72′); Ings (Armstrong 81′).
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the price of just £15.
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.