Pep Guardiola frustrated Fantasy Premier League owners with his team selection on Tuesday night.
Several key players were absent from the Manchester City side as they beat Watford 3-1.
We’ve got all the Fantasy talking points in this latest Scout Notes article.
*FPL prices are accurate at the time of writing (Tuesday PM).
Watford 1-2 Manchester City
Goals: Abdoulaye Doucouré (£5.9m) | Leroy Sané (£9.4m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m)
The team Pep Guardiola put out for their trip to Watford provided some clues to his rotation policy ahead of the busy winter period. Several of the players who missed out on the 3-1 win over Bournemouth came back in at Vicarage Road. David Silva (£8.7m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m), Fabian Delph (£5.3m) and Kyle Walker (£6.5m) were the headline changes to the side.
Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) was left on the bench for just the third time this season. Some rotation for him should not come as too much of a shock, though. He played the full 90 minutes against Bournemouth amid Guardiola’s recent comments that Mahrez was breathing down his neck to rotate with him.
With the Algerian in excellent form when he does play, Guardiola can be confident playing him whenever he needs to give Sterling a rest – which could be quite often over the next month. In Mahrez’s last four Premier League starts he has amassed a total of three goals and two assists now as he was the top FPL scorer at Vicarage Road (13 points). Sterling owners can probably be confident of a start at the weekend though, with Tuesday’s rest under his belt.
Leroy Sané (£9.4m) continued his excellent form by scoring the fourth goal in his last five appearances, taking his points per game over that time to 9.2. As has been said plenty of times, his place in the side does feel more secure than those around him because of Benjamin Mendy’s relatively long-term absence. However, there can be no ignoring of the fact that the German international has now played 180 minutes across the last two fixtures. That may be enough for Guardiola to consider benching him for Chelsea, although it is a big game for Manchester City.
“Now we try to recover our legs and minds and go to Chelsea on Saturday and play our game. We know how difficult it is at Stamford Bridge, but first, we must rest and recover.” – Pep Guardiola
Also out of the side was Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m) who finally missed a match this season. That reconfirmed that nobody in this Manchester City side is safe from Guardiola’s rotation policy. The French centre-back had played every single minute in the Premier League up until the trip to Watford. He will probably come back in for the Chelsea match but this benching shows that over Christmas he may not necessarily be as nailed on as his owners might hope. Frustrating for his owners he came on for a one-point cameo in the closing stages. Responding to Watford’s late flurry, Guardiola introduced him for Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m) to sure things up.
Calling the full-back selection may be easier to call based on Manchester City’s line-up at Watford. Delph may have to continue at left-back with Zinchenko’s nose injury, but the fact that he played only the last half an hour against Bournemouth should mean he is rested enough in Guardiola’s mind. Walker also missed that one which means his 90 minutes in Hertfordshire shouldn’t jeopardise a start ahead of Danilo (£5.1m) at Stamford Bridge.
Prior to that were some clues about the options Guardiola wants to safeguard for the trip to Stamford Bridge in Gameweek 16. David Silva was replaced in the 73rd minute by Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) in a clear sign that the Spanish midfielder is needed this weekend. It is possible that Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) will be able to keep his place after coming off in the 83rd minute. The Belgian international had to leave the pitch limping, holding his hamstring, but Guardiola confirmed it as nothing more than cramp post-match. Kompany will face competition from both Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi (£6.1m), who combined for just nine minutes of normal time in Hertfordshire. Having played 90 minutes, John Stones (£5.3m) is unlikely to hold onto his place.
As expected, Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) missed out once again after his recent struggles with injury. The Argentinian did not travel with the matchday squad and neither did Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.8m), and Guardiola was not prepared to give an update on their condition in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s win.
“I don’t know (if Aguero will be fit). I don’t have the report right now.” – Pep Guardiola
Overall, it was not a hugely comfortable win for Manchester City, especially as Watford fought back late on. However, they did have plenty of chances to kill the game earlier on but didn’t take them. It is possible that six changes were what removed the ruthless edge. A testament to the quality in their ranks was the fact that even with the likes of Sterling and Aguero, Manchester City sill secured the three points.
“We had the chances to kill the game and score a third and then maybe a fourth, but we missed them. It is what it is. We knew it. We are not new in this league and we know it happens.” – Pep Guardiola
Javi Gracia made three changes to the side that lost at Leicester at the weekend. Christian Kabasele (£4.4m) returned at centre-back, coming in for Adrian Mariappa (£4.2m), Troy Deeney (£5.9m) replaced Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4m) up front while Nathaniel Chalobah (£4.5m) slotted in for the suspended Etienne Capoue (£5.0m).
“We tried to find the best option with Capoue out. It was the best option in my opinion – trying to be strong and compact in the middle with three players there plus Roberto, Troy and Isaac ready when we recover the ball to counter-attack. I think he played well. I think he needs to play more times to show what he can do but I think he showed a very good level.” – Javi Gracia
Will Hughes (£5.0m) was forced out of the game in the second half with a knock and was replaced by Domingos Quina (£4.4m), who made his first ever Premier League appearance.
“(Quina) is training well. He’s a young player but with high quality. I think he has a very good present but he will have a great future. Today is a special day for him because he has done his debut against City and played very well in my opinion.” – Javi Gracia
“(On Hughes) I think it’s the same pain as in the last games – in the hip. We’ll see in the next games but I’m confident he’ll be ready for the next game.” – Javi Gracia
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Delph, Stones, Kompany (Otamendi 83′), Walker; Fernandinho, D. Silva (Gundogan 73′), B. Silva; Sane, Mahrez, Jesus (Laporte 88′).
Watford XI (4-4-2): Foster; Holebas, Kabasele, Cathcart, Kiko Femenia; Pereyra, Doucouré, Chalobah (Deulofeu 63′); Hughes (Quina 51′); Deeney, Success (Gray 75′).
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