Pep Guardiola rang the changes as Manchester City beat Bournemouth 3-1 to complicate things for Fantasy managers.
The picture for Gameweek 15 is now looking increasingly unclear which could make some of the big upcoming FPL decisions harder to make.
We’ve tried our best to decipher the never-ending jigsaw puzzle that is Manchester City in this latest Scout Notes article.
Manchester City 3-1 Bournemouth
Goals: Bernardo Silva (£7.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.4m), Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) | Callum Wilson (£6.8m)
Assists: Leroy Sané (£9.3m) | Simon Francis (£4.4m)
Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) missed his first Premier League match of the season on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City were 3-1 winners of Bournemouth. The striker was left out of the matchday squad entirely owing to a muscle injury Pep Guardiola reported in his pre-match press conference. Frustratingly for Fantasy managers, it was one which was not even hinted at in Friday’s media commitments. Also, after the win over Bournemouth, he confirmed that he was not sure if Aguero would be fit to face Watford in Gameweek 15.
“He has a muscular disturbance. He is not I believe fit. It would be risky (to play him) the doctors and physios tell me. We don’t want to take that risk.” – Pep Guardiola
“I don’t know if Sergio Aguero will be fit in midweek. We shall see.” – Pep Guardiola
Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m) was the man who started in Aguero’s absence and even though he without a league goal since Gameweek 2, Guardiola was pleased with his performance. If there remains doubt over Aguero’s fitness come Tuesday night then Jesus looks odds-on to play as the Brazilian was withdrawn in the 76th minute against Bournemouth with the result not quite wrapped up at that point. In fact, when singing his praises in the post-match press conference, Guardiola explained that Jesus would be important for Tuesday’s match.
“The opinion that he has not made good performances I disagree with. I know strikers always we judge on goals. I know he can score goals, he did it against Shakhtar. He helped us today. Today we needed runs behind and he made a thousand million in many circumstances. Gabriel was so important and he will be so important for us next Tuesday.” – Pep Guardiola
There is now a perplexing dilemma facing Fantasy managers ahead of the upcoming midweek action. Aguero’s no-show and injury doubt are likely to incentivise more of his owners to sell him for Harry Kane (£12.3m) in time for Gameweek 15. However, the fact that he missed the game might actually make it more likely that he starts against Watford. It is always so hard to tell where a player’s fitness stands with Guardiola.
Likewise, more Fantasy returns for Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) and Leroy Sané (£9.3m) could force the hands of those who do not own the players. But the other way of looking at it is the fact they played the full 90 minutes against Bournemouth potentially jeopardises their chances of a start at Watford. Guardiola implied that Sané will play as long as he is impressing but, of course, even if that is true, it’s a subjective statement that only he can be the judge of.
“If he complains to me in the future why he has not played I will show him the video of today’s game. If you play like this you will play. He was incredible both offensively and defensively.” – Pep Guardiola
Sterling owners might be a little disappointed not to have collected more than his nine points. While that still represents a healthy haul, given his record against Bournemouth, a more explosive haul was expected. The England international operated very wide on the right on Saturday afternoon, providing width for his team rather than hovering around the six-yard box. There was the odd occasion when Sterling ventured closer to goal, coming incredibly close to scoring in the 53rd minute when he went on a mazy run from the right. Dribbling through several defenders, his shot was deflected onto the post. However, his ruthless poaching streak finally showed itself just shy of the hour-mark when he made a run right into the six-yard box to gobble up a Jesus shot that had been poorly dealt with by Asmir Begovic (£4.5m) and his defence.
David Silva (£8.7m) should be in the starting line-up against Watford after he was named on the bench and featured only in the final 15 minutes against Bournemouth. Guardiola explained that he was close to making the XI on Saturday but missed out with midweek football in mind.
“Maybe David (Silva) could have played today but after the game he played in Lyon, Watford would (destroy him). So that’s why we needed Gundogan. He made a good game, Bernardo we know how consistent he is.” – Pep Guardiola
Suggestions that Fabian Delph (£5.3m) could be a decent alternative to Benjamin Mendy (£6.2m) took a hit as he was named among the substitutes. Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.8m) was handed the left-back berth for the match, indicating that he and Delph could share minutes in the Premier League between now and when Mendy comes back from injury. The Englishman did come on for Zinchenko in the 54th minute, who was forced off with a facial injury. Meanwhile, John Stones (£5.3m) missed out at the expense of Nicolas Otamendi (£6.1m)
Given their attacking prowess this season, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock that Bournemouth did cause Manchester City problems at the Etihad. Manager Eddie Howe lined the Cherries up in a 3-4-3 formation with Tyrone Mings (£4.3m) making his first Premier League start of the season at centre-back.
The Cherries dominated possession in the final 15 minutes of the half, having previously asked questions mainly with counter-attacking runs. Once they were able to string some passes together in Manchester City’s defensive third, they always looked like scoring. Ryan Fraser (£6.2m) and Josh King (£6.3m) were able to get beyond full-backs Danilo (£5.1m) and Zinchenko on multiple occasions while Callum Wilson (£6.8m) made life difficult for the centre-backs. He was inches away from breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute when he could not control a ball into the box but he rose above the City defence just before half-time to level things up. It was Simon Francis (£4.4m) who put the ball in for the England international to head home.
“There were elements of the game we’re really pleased with,” the manager said. We looked a threat from set pieces and on the counter-attack, so that aspect is quite pleasing.” – Eddie Howe
While it was disappointing for owners of Man City defensive assets to lose their clean sheet, an interesting statistic should remind us why they are such good value this season. In scoring the goal, Wilson became the first non-defender to score an open play Premier League goal against Manchester City in 2018/19. It took 14 matches for that to happen, indicating just how much the defending champions usually dominate their matches.
David Brooks (£5.1m) was named as a substitute and featured only for the last 20 minutes when he came on for Fraser. There appeared to be no suggestion of an injury to him so it is likely his limited involvement was to keep him fresh for the Gameweek 15 visit of Huddersfield.
Dan Gosling (£4.8m) was supposed to be in the matchday squad but was forced to withdraw after feeling something in the warm-up.
“We’ll have to wait and see on Dan Gosling. We were keen for Gos to be involved with Jefferson Lerma suspended, but he didn’t feel right in the warm up and had to withdraw.” – Eddie Howe
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko (Delph 54′), Laporte, Otamendi, Danilo; Fernandinho, Gundogan, B Silva (Mahrez 87′); Sané, Sterling, Jesus (D Silva 77′).
Bournemouth XI (3-4-3): Begovic; Aké, Mings, Cook; Daniels, Surman, Cook, Francis; Fraser (Brooks 72′), Wilson (Mousset 85′), King (Stanislas 85′).
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