Fantasy Premier League managers learned a few lessons about some budget assets on Saturday.
The pre-season picture continues to build for Manchester United, Sheffield United and Southampton.
We’ve got all the talking points from their latest matches.
Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United
Goals: Mason Greenwood (£4.5m)
Assists: Ashley Young (£5.5m)
Mason Greenwood (£4.5m) scored his second goal of pre-season over the weekend to ramp up interest in the budget striker.
The youngster may not have started for Manchester United in their win over Inter Milan but his 28 minutes on the pitch were certainly impressive.
While Greenwood’s place in the side is not yet assured, especially with Marcus Rashford (£8.5m) already ahead of him for pre-season minutes after three matches, his energy during the summer so far indicate he has promise.
The injured Romelu Lukaku (£8.5m) was not involved amid speculation that he might join Inter, so Greenwood’s chances of first-team involvement are not as unrealistic as some might assume.
At this early stage of pre-season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has laid down a potential pattern for his attacking midfield berths.
From left to right, Daniel James (£6.0m), Jesse Lingard (£6.5m) and Anthony Martial (£7.5m) were the attacking midfield trio named against Inter, and are all among the most-used options in pre-season so far.
The latter contributed to a lively start for the Red Devils while James once again demonstrated his frightening pace.
This trio are worth monitoring some more as pre-season progresses to ensure that their places are fully secure, but they all stand a good chance of starting in Gameweek 1.
Alexis Sánchez (£7.0m) remains on extended leave following the Copa America, and is probably the most likely to challenge them for a place in the side at this stage.
Luke Shaw (£5.5m) returned to the side after missing the win over Leeds, reminding Fantasy managers of his creativity, although it was the much-maligned Ashley Young (£5.5m) who got the assist for Greenwood’s goal.
Elsewhere in defence, Victor Lindelöf (£5.5m) started at centre-back alongside Axel Tuanzebe but was forced off with an injury in the 57th minute, replaced by Phil Jones (£5.0m), who has played more pre-season minutes than any other centre-back so far.
Also taken off with a knock was Tahith Chong (£4.5m), but Solskjaer does not appear too concerned about either player just yet.
“Well, we don’t know yet but they should be okay. Victor, we’ll have to assess him tomorrow but Tahith will be fine. I think it’s just a knock. I don’t blame the defenders for trying to stop him!” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea (Romero 62′); Shaw (Young 62′), Lindelöf (Jones 57′), Tuanzebe (Bailly 62′), Wan-Bissaka (Dalot 62′); Matic (McTominay 62′), Pogba (Fred 62′); James (Andreas 62′), Lingard (Mata 62′), Martial (Chong 62′) (Gomes 89′); Rashford (Greenwood 62).
Northampton Town 0-2 Sheffield United
Goals: Oliver Norwood x2 (£5.0m)
Assists: Callum Robinson (£5.5m), Kieron Freeman (£4.5m)
Sheffield United’s win over Northampton hinted at further important FPL lessons for the Blades.
New signing Callum Robinson (£5.5m) continues to be deployed as an ‘out-of-position’ option in the front two of Chris Wilder’s 3-5-2 system.
After a lively 15-minute outing against Burton Albion, Robinson started as a centre-forward and played 62 minutes there at Wilder’s former club Northampton.
While he is far from nailed-on as a starting option for Sheffield United ahead of the 2019/20 season, monitoring his position during pre-season is now very important.
Also deployed out-of-position once more was defensive midfielder John Lundstram (£4.0m), who is classed as a defender on FPL.
It is worth remembering that he played just 409 minutes for the Blades last season so he is not especially a key player for them.
However, a £4.0m defender playing in central midfield is something else to continue tracking throughout pre-season.
We also potentially learned something about Sheffield United’s penalty-taking situation in this game.
David McGoldrick (£5.5m) took four spot-kicks last season, converting three of them with Oliver Norwood (£5.0m) responsible for the last one of 2018/19 in March.
It looks as if the former Reading and Brighton midfielder may be staking a claim to assume the penalty duties from McGoldrick based on this match.
With the forward on the field, Norwood scored two penalties in the first half, neither of which he won himself.
The real test of whether Norwood will take spot-kicks in the Premier League for Sheffield United will be if one is given when he shares the pitch with Billy Sharp (£6.0m).
Sharp took two penalties last season, more than Norwood did, so is very much still in the conversation.
Sheffield United XI 3-5-2: Moore; O’Connell, Egan (Stearman 76′), Jagielka (Basham 58′); Stevens (Bryan 76′), Lundstram (Clarke 62′), Norwood, Fleck (Slater 87′), K Freeman (Baldock 62′); McGoldrick (Sharp 62), Robinson (L Freeman 45).
Preston North End 1-3 Southampton
Goals: Danny Ings x2 (£6.0m), Jake Vokins
Assists: Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m), Nathan Redmond (£6.5m)
Ralph Hasenhüttl experimented with an interesting formation as Southampton beat Preston on Saturday.
He went with a 5-2-3 system, reverting to the wing-back set-up that he had previously been uncertain of.
That saw Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m) and Cedric Soares used on the left and right of a back-five, with the former managing to get an assist.
Wesley Hoedt (£4.5m), Jack Stephens (£4.5m) and Jan Bednarek (£4.5m) were used at centre-back, but as this was just the second match of pre-season for the Saints, it’s hard to know which defenders are first-choice in this position just yet.
Danny Ings (£6.0m) demonstrated that he is ready to fight for his place at Southampton this season as he scored twice in the win over Preston.
Che Adams (£6.0m) joined the club to add some pace and power to the attack, but the former Burnley and Liverpool forward still has plenty to offer.
With Hasenhüttl going for a front-three at Deepdale, it’s hard to know if he believes Ings is compatible to play alongside Adams or not yet.
Against Preston, it was Shane Long (£5.0m) and Michael Obafemi (£5.0m) who
Southampton XI: Gunn; Bertrand (Vokins 72′), Hoedt, J Stephens, Bednarek (Klarer 72′), Cedric; Smallbone, Højbjerg (Armstrong 60′); Obafemi (Redmond 60′), Ings (Sims 60′), Long (Reed 60′).
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Watford
Goals: Will Hughes (£5.5m), Andre Gray (£6.0m)
Assists: Troy Deeney (£6.5m)
Javi Gracia named two XIs in Watford’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with the first of them arguably the stronger-looking.
This line-up featured Troy Deeney (£6.5m) and Gerard Deulofeu (£6.5m) as a front pairing in a 4-4-2 system, very similar to the one used last season.
The former got himself an assist as Will Hughes (£5.5m) opened the scoring in the first half.
However, it is worth noting that Andre Gray (£6.0m), used in the second period, scored his second goal in as many pre-season matches and is currently top-scorer for Watford at this early stage of the summer.
With so many defenders on the books at Vicarage Road in 2019/20, predicting their back-four could prove tricky.
As we’ve only had two matches to assess for the Hornets, we can’t draw too many conclusions.
However, if we are continuing with the idea that the first-half XI generally looked closer to Watford’s best line-up, then maybe options such as Kiko Femenía (£4.5m), Christian Kabasele (£4.5m) and Craig Dawson (£5.0m) are among Gracia’s thinking.
It is worth mentioning that the latter was replaced by Adrian Mariappa (£4.5m) in the 41st minute, indicating an injury, although no information has surfaced on Dawson since the game.
Jose Holebas (£5.0m) also started the match, but it would be no surprise if he retains the left-back berth over Adam Masina (£4.5m).
First-half Watford XI (4-4-2): Foster; Holebas, Dawson (Mariappa 41), Kabasele, Femenía; Sema, Capoue, Doucouré, Hughes; Deulofeu, Deeney.
Second-half Watford XI (4-4-2): Gomes; Masina, Cathcart, Mariappa, Janmaat; Forster, Capoue (Sema 71′), Wilmot, Cleverley; Okaka, A Gray.
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