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Scout Notes

Man City midfield picture clouded as Sterling, Mahrez and Sane all start

The two Manchester clubs booked their places in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, though neither side produced a particularly convincing performance in picking up the results they needed to progress.

Pep Guardiola’s team showed spirit to twice fight back from losing positions and rescue a draw against Lyon but the Citizens were perhaps fortunate to do so, having conceded several excellent chances to their hosts in the first half and not being their usual scintillating selves in attack.

Manchester United meanwhile were trundling towards a second consecutive 0-0 draw at home until Marouane Fellaini popped up in stoppage time to secure the Red Devils’ passage into the knockout stage.

In the rearranged Carabao Cup fourth-round tie, Leicester City defeated Southampton on penalties after a goalless draw at the King Power Stadium.

We’ve all the goals, assists, Fantasy talking points, manager quotes and injury news from the three matches involving Premier League clubs that were contested last night.

Lyon 2-2 Manchester City

  • Goals: Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m), Sergio Aguero (£11.5m)
  • Assists: David Silva (£8.6m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m)

Any Fantasy manager looking for clues as to which two wide-men Pep Guardiola will select for the visit of Bournemouth in Gameweek 14 would have been left none-the-wiser after all three of Raheem Sterling (£11.3m), Leroy Sane (£9.3m) and Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) started City’s 2-2 draw in Lyon on Tuesday.

Sane and Mahrez were deployed in their usual positions on the flanks as Sterling took up a more withdrawn, central role, and in truth, none of City’s three attacking midfielders particularly shone in France.

Guardiola explained his decision to overlook Phil Foden (£4.6m) and field Sterling centrally:

I decided for another player [rather than Foden], but everybody here is ready. I came here to show we wanted to win and I put on all the strikers that we have.

The unavailability of Bernardo Silva (£7.5m), Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) seemingly forced Guardiola’s hand with regards to the system change, and should one of that midfield trio be available for the match against the Cherries this Saturday, it would appear likely that the City boss will once again perm two from three of Sterling, Mahrez and Sane.

Mahrez and Sterling lasted the full game in Lyon, while Sane was withdrawn on 71 minutes – perhaps suggesting the German winger has the slightest of edges with regards to his chances of starting at the Etihad this weekend.

Sane was well below-par – save for a key pass that led to a chance for Mahrez – in the first half of yesterday’s tie, though slightly improved after the interval and almost squeezed a shot past Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal on 63 minutes.

Mahrez was similarly peripheral for much of the match and wasted a decent chance on 13 minutes after good build-up play from Sterling and Sergio Aguero (£11.5m).

The Algerian at least registered an assist for City’s second equalising goal and could have even had another when Aguero nodded his pinpoint cross at Lopes from six yards.

It is difficult to judge Sterling’s contribution given that the England international was playing in an unfamiliar role that severely limited his goal threat, with one tame effort from distance his only shot of the match.

Sterling did, however, whip in the free-kick that led to Aymeric Laporte‘s (£6.1m) headed goal on 62 minutes and recorded more key passes than any of his team-mates.

Perhaps the biggest credit one could give Sterling was that his presence was missed in the front three, which may make Guardiola reconsider any notion of resting the in-form winger on Saturday – though it should be said that City won 5-0 and 6-1 in the two previous league matches without him this season.

There has been much talk in recent weeks of how Sane will benefit from Benjamin Mendy‘s (£6.3m) injury, with the German’s presence needed to compensate for the width missing in Mendy’s absence.

Looking back at the period when Mendy was previously unavailable, this seems to have been the case:

Player Ful (h)

Sat Sep 15

Lyon (h)

Wed Sep 19

Car (a)

Sat Sep 22

Oxf (a)

Tue Sep 25

Bri (h)

Sat Sep 29

Hoff (a)

Tue Oct 2

Sane 90 35 90 0 70 90
Sterling 73 76 90 35 90 75
Mahrez 16 14 29 85 19 15
Above: The minutes played by City’s three wide players in Mendy’s last absence. The figures highlighted in bold are league matches.

Sterling, interestingly, also started all three of those league games in which Mendy was sidelined.

Where Sterling may also have the edge is that he has started three games in a week on three occasions already this season, while Sane has yet to achieve that feat.

The only time Mahrez has managed this in 2018/19 was when Gameweeks 9 and 10 sandwiched a Champions League tie against Shakhtar, though it should be said that the final match in that sequence – Spurs away – was held on a Monday night.

With matches against Bournemouth, Watford and Chelsea to contest in the space of seven days, of course, it seems very likely that all three will see bench duty at some point in early December.

Elsewhere, a muscle injury sustained to Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m) meant that Aguero played the entirety (save for a few injury-time minutes) of City’s 2-2 draw in Lyon.

Aguero has only played three games in a week once this season (Gameweeks 7 and 8 plus the trip to Hoffenheim) and there must be concern about his minutes for Gameweeks 14-16, given how carefully managed the Argentinean striker has been this season.

Jesus, if fit, looks a good bet to be granted his first league start of the season in the coming week and Guardiola’s update on the Brazilian’s injury seemed to suggest the problem wasn’t too serious:

Bernardo Silva is in the last step before being fit. Gabriel Jesus had had a muscular problem in training but isn’t ready. Ilkay Gundogan had a problem in his feet.

Even if Jesus is unavailable, Guardiola could possibly turn to the system he used in the final half an hour of the 5-0 win over Cardiff City in Gameweek 8 to give Aguero a rest, with Sterling used as the spearhead of the City attack and being flanked by Sane and Mahrez out wide.

Much has been made of Aguero’s middling form on the road in the Premier League this season, but in Lyon, the premium forward scored in his sixth consecutive Champions League away tie.

The Argentina international nodded home Mahrez’s 83rd-minute corner, having earlier headed an excellent chance at Lopes from the same player’s cross.

Goal aside, Laporte (who is still ever-present in the league) was immense at the back for City, with one block from Maxwell Cornet in the first half preventing a certain goal.

The City backline looked as though they were missing Bernardo or Gundogan in midfield, with David Silva (£8.6m) distinctly out of sorts and Sterling, while battling manfully, not quite offering the same protection to his defenders. An early booking to Fernandinho (£5.4m) also diminished the Brazil midfielder’s effectiveness as a shield.

Cornet struck the woodwork before half-time, while Memphis Depay fluffed another glorious opportunity from inside the six-yard box.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.8m) didn’t have the most comfortable of nights at left-back, so Fabian Delph (£5.3m) may well return to that role against Eddie Howe’s side on Saturday.

Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, David Silva, Sterling; Mahrez, Aguero (Foden 90′), Sane (Delph 71′).

Manchester United 1-0 Young Boys

  • Goal: Marouane Fellaini (£4.9m)
  • Assist: Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m)

Jose Mourinho’s Paul Simonon-esque goal celebration after Marouane Fellaini‘s (£4.9m) stoppage-time winner, an act of desecration on a water drinks carrier that was part-joy, part-relief and part-anger, summed up United’s turgid performance at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.

The Belgian’s late strike came from a route one United attack, with Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) flicking on a Luke Shaw (£5.0m) punt into Fellaini’s path, and was a sign of the desperation that had crept in after a goalless 90 minutes.

Mourinho wielded the axe after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace, with Lukaku and Paul Pogba (£7.9m) dropped to the bench and Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) missing from the squad altogether.

The United boss clarified that the Chilean’s omission was not down to fitness:

No, Sanchez is not injured. But is quite curious you always speak about the ones that are not playing. Tonight you had Marcus Rashford playing as a nine, that’s what you want, that’s what you ask all the time and you had.

So don’t speak about Lukaku, who doesn’t score a goal at Old Trafford since March. And then you ask why he’s not playing. You put me in difficult situations with difficult questions but you could be nice to me and say, ‘Jose tonight you play Marcus Rashford as a nine’, and I could go from there.

As Mourinho mentioned in those bullish comments, Marcus Rashford (£6.7m) was deployed as United’s central striker, with the desperately disappointing Anthony Martial (£7.6m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.7m) flanking him either side.

Rashford was lively up front, particularly in the first half, though once again his finishing undermined his excellent movement as he spurned several presentable opportunities, the best of which saw him chip over the bar on five minutes with the visitors’ goalkeeper committed out of his goal.

Rashford has six shots overall, with only one of them hitting the target.

Martial’s radar was also off, and just as the Frenchman had established himself in Fantasy managers’ thoughts with his red-hot form and United’s excellent fixtures, he has produced two flat performances at Old Trafford in the space of four days.

One Manchester Evening News writer was particularly pessimistic about Martial’s performance, midway through this encounter against the Swiss side:

Whether Martial is still affected by the knock he picked up over the international break or whether Mourinho’s reported comments about his attitude have impacted on him remains open to debate, but there has to be a small degree of concern for those who own, or are thinking of owning, the mid-price midfielder.

Phil Jones (£5.1m) had a fairly comfortable evening on his return to the starting XI alongside Chris Smalling (£5.7m) and could be the beneficiary of Victor Lindelof‘s (£4.8m) injury, having generally played on the same side of the United defence as the Swede in the past.

David de Gea (£5.7m) meanwhile pulled off one of the saves of the season in the second half, clawing a deflected shot off his goalline to keep the scores level.

After such a commotion over those alleged comments above, Mourinho made a point of commending his players in his post-match presser:

You say you left big names outside yes, I left big names outside. But I play other guys and for me the good thing was everyone that was on the pitch, for 90 minutes or 15 minutes, like Mata, all of them gave everything and I’m happy with the attitude.

Manchester United XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia (Mata 72′), Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Matic, Fellaini, Fred (Pogba 65′); Lingard (Lukaku 64′), Rashford, Martial.

Leicester City 0-0 Southampton (6-5 on penalties)

Southampton were left cursing their luck as Leicester City progressed to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup at the expense of the Saints, who twice struck the woodwork and had a goal chalked off following VAR intervention.

Reserve goalkeeper Danny Ward (£4.4m) was Leicester’s hero, pushing efforts from Nathan Redmond (£5.2m) and Manolo Gabbiadini (£5.6m) onto the bar, making decent stops from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.5m) and Michael Obafemi (£5.0m), and finally saving a spot-kick from Gabbiadini in the penalty shoot-out.

Obafemi also mishit a shot with the goal gaping on his first start for the club.

When Ward was beaten, VAR came to his rescue – Steven Davis’ (£4.6m) 85th-minute effort being ruled out for a handball by Redmond in the build-up.

Mark Hughes made five changes to his starting XI from the side that lost at Fulham, with Redmond joining Obafemi up front in a 3-5-2.

The Saints boss praised his strike pairing after the match:

I was pleased with the performance, I thought it was excellent. The young lads came in and gave us good energy. We played Nathan Redmond up top with Michael, which I thought was a good combination.

Only Jonny Evans (£4.8m) and Demarai Gray (£5.4m) kept their places in Claude Puel’s much-altered side, meanwhile, though there was a 90-minute run-out for Jamie Vardy (£8.9m), who came off the bench for Leicester at the weekend.

Vardy and the Foxes posed very little threat on the Southampton goal from open play, with the Leicester striker starved of service throughout.

Ricardo Pereira (£5.0m) and Ben Chilwell (£5.1m) had the night off, while James Maddison (£6.8m) served his one-match suspension and Harry Maguire (£5.4m) remained sidelined with a knee injury.

Southampton were still without the crocked Danny Ings (£5.4m), while Matt Targett (£4.2m) was forced off with a head injury on the hour and will be assessed ahead of Gameweek 14.

Leicester City XI (4-4-2): Ward; Simpson, Soyuncu, Evans, Fuchs; Diabate (Albrighton 78′), Silva (Mendy 61′), Ndidi, Gray; Iheanacho (Okazaki 61′), Vardy.

Southampton XI (3-5-2): Gunn; Stephens, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Targett (Soares 61′), Armstrong (Davis 73′); Redmond, Obafemi (Gabbiadini 90′)

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633 Comments Post a Comment
  1. MarkyMarkovic
    • 6 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Hazard sterling mane Fraser dud
    Jimmy Arnie Vardy

    3.2 ITB 1ft but travelling so limited information/tinkering As I'm stuck on a tiny screen.l and shoddy net.
    Suggestions welcome.
    Happy to keep Haz for Fulham.

    1. Arnie or Vardy offload priority?

    2. Fraser to Alli (but this hampers me getting say Kane)

    1. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Just get in kun for Vardy job done

  2. ALI_G
    • 2 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    I feel like this weekend FPL kicks into another gear

    New GW every 3/4 days - more chances for transfers and rank climbing
    Loads of footy on the TV - this Sunday is a cracker
    Booze and mince pies
    Doing transfers half cut / hungover

    1. ASAP Rocky
      • 8 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Hah, great post. +1

  3. arkom
    • 3 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Planning WC. How it looks?

    Fabianski - Lössl
    Alonso - Robertson - TAA - AWB - Bennett
    Sterling - Sane - Dsilva - Richarlison - Fraser
    Kane - Jimenez - Murray

    1,3£ short for this team. Who to downgrade?

    And if I want change Murray to Arnautovic it is 1,6£ short..

    1. arkom
      • 3 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      I can do for example Fraser to Anderson and Murray to Success..

    2. ASAP Rocky
      • 8 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Dsilva, Sterling, and Sane is ridiculous.

  4. jdp219
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Fab (Foster)
    Alonso, Robbo, Doherty, AWB (Bednarek)
    Salah, Hazard, Richa (Fraser, Gunnarsson)
    Aguero, Arnie, Wilson

    Not entirely sure what to do with this squad, but have 2FTs to spend. Maybe just address the fodder (Bed and Gunn)?

    1. jdp219
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Any thoughts are very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    2. ALI_G
      • 2 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      looks pretty good

      Are you planning to get Man City midfield cover?
      Do you have money to get Kane in next week?

    3. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Rich to silva

      1. Freddiebell
        • 3 Years
        1 year, 4 months ago

        B silva or D silva ?

        1. ASAP Rocky
          • 8 Years
          1 year, 4 months ago

          Dilva

  5. Champions united
    • 3 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Fraser to dsilva
    Murray to success (-4)

    Ye or no

    1. Freddiebell
      • 3 Years
      1 year, 4 months ago

      Better to do Fraser to Dsilva. Forget success

  6. Gnu Scott talent
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Forest 3-2 up on Villa after 22 minutes.
    Sounds like some game.

  7. ASAP Rocky
    • 8 Years
    1 year, 4 months ago

    Save or transfer? 0.2 ITB.

    Patricio - Hamer

    Alonso - TAA - Robertson - Peltier - Bennett

    Dilva - Richarlison - Martial - Salah - Camarasa

    Kane - Jimenez - Arnie