Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City
Goals: Harry Wilson (£6.0m) | Sergio Aguero x2 (£12.0m), Raheem Sterling (£12.2m)
Assists: Callum Wilson (£7.9m) | Kevin de Bruyne (£9.7m), David Silva x2 (£7.4m)
Bonus Points: Aguero x3, D Silva x2, Sterling x1
Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) reminded Fantasy managers what he is capable of as he scored a brace in Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Bournemouth on Sunday.
With three bonus points tacked on for good measure, the Argentinian finished Gameweek 3 with a score of 13, only Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) doing better of this weekend.
It is probably no surprise that Aguero’s first double-figure haul of the campaign came in his first 90-minute outing.
So far, Pep Guardiola has opted to manage his minutes with either starting Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) or using the Brazilian as a second-half substitute.
However, Jesus is now ruled out until at least after the international break with a hamstring injury, reported by Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
He, therefore, missed the Gameweek 3 trip to Bournemouth, leaving Guardiola with no choice but to name a substitute’s bench without a recognised centre-forward.
It had been suggested that Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m), the only man among the replacements capable of playing in the front-three, might come on for him and push Raheem Sterling (£12.2m) into the centre-forward role.
However, the Algerian came on for Bernardo Silva (£7.9m) in the 79th minute, allowing Aguero to complete the game.
With Jesus not expected to play against Brighton in Gameweek 4, Aguero’s points potential next weekend also looks good.
He was the chief goal threat at Bournemouth on Sunday, which at times detracted a little from Sterling’s.
With Manchester City often working in tight spaces behind a compact Bournemouth defence, Aguero rarely offloaded to Sterling on the left, opting to shoot where possible.
That is no surprise given the Argentinian’s goal-scoring pedigree and, in a game that Bournemouth made challenging, his ability to get shots off under pressure was vital for Manchester City.
“It was so important [Aguero’s second goal]. The game was tight, and you know everything could happen, and Sergio, you know his sense of goals in the box is unique in the world.” – Pep Guardiola
However, Sterling owners should not be too worried by Aguero’s display at Bournemouth. After all, he still found the net after getting behind Chris Mepham (£4.5m), a player he asked plenty of questions of for much of the afternoon.
That means he has scored a minimum of six points in each Gameweek so far this season.
Furthermore, given the way Bournemouth set themselves up it was always going to be hard for Manchester City to play to Sterling’s strengths.
On a small pitch at the Vitality Stadium, the Cherries limited the space behind their defence, which negated Sterling’s pace to some extent.
He was still able to get behind Mepham plenty of times, but his square passes into the six-yard box were often cleared by the mass of Bournemouth bodies.
It is also worth saying that Manchester City did not always have as much control of this match than Guardiola would have wanted.
While Bournemouth played a five-man defence and four-man midfield, Eddie Howe did a great job of encouraging his players to ask questions of the Manchester City defence while also getting back in time to defend against the counter.
It seems likely that Sterling will have more opportunities to register an explosive score at home to Brighton in Gameweek 4 as Manchester City should have greater control over that encounter than this one.
Anticipating a robust Bournemouth shape, Guardiola opted for a tactical tweak to the side that drew with Spurs in Gameweek 2.
New signing Rodri (£5.5m) dropped to the bench to make way for the more creative David Silva (£7.4m), who came in to make his 400th appearance for Manchester City.
Not surprisingly, the Spaniard was comfortably the best player on the pitch. His ability to drift between the defensive lines, operate in tight areas and still find the space in which to create proved to be the key that unlocked a stubborn Bournemouth defence.
“What can I say, everybody knows him [David Silva]. He has a sense, to move between the lines like nobody else in the world – he is a fighter.” – Pep Guardiola
In the end, Silva registered two assists, while Kevin de Bruyne (£9.7m) managed one himself.
The Belgian now has four assists this season and attacking returns in every match so far. That was welcome news for those who brought de Bruyne in to sit alongside Sterling in their Fantasy squads, as he continues to show his ability for consistent returns, even if they are not necessarily as explosive as his team-mates.
That said, de Bruyne probably should have emerged from this encounter with a double-figure score. In the 52nd minute, he was teed up for a big chance inside the box which he fired just around the outside of Aaron Ramsdale‘s (£4.5m) left-hand post.
“We know Kevin. He is an amazing player. He and David, their assists are so good. We are happy because they play for us!” – Sergio Aguero
However, one frustration for Fantasy managers on Sunday afternoon was a second successive clean sheet wipeout for Manchester City’s defence.
This time it came in first-half stoppage time as Harry Wilson (6.0m) fired an exquisite direct free-kick into the top corner of Ederson‘s (£6.1m) net.
“I saw him do it so many times for Derby last year in big games for them. When we got the free-kick you hoped he might deliver something but then to see what he did – it was an incredible goal – and at a time when we needed that lift.” – Eddie Howe
That means that those in possession of the goalkeeper (22.6% ownership), as well as Kyle Walker (£6.0m), Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5m) and Aymeric Laporte (£6.5m) owners (20%, 11.8% and 8.5% respectively) have just one defensive return in three matches.
While one could argue that Manchester City defenders have been unfortunate to concede the last two goals, one a neat header from Lucas Moura (£7.5m), and the other a spectacular Wilson free-kick, Bournemouth certainly deserved to score in Gameweek 3.
Having historically struggled to create much against Guardiola’s men since their arrival in the Premier League, the Cherries raced out of the traps on Sunday and asked some questions of the Manchester City defence.
In the first minute, Josh King (£6.4m) was allowed to run through the middle and unleash a fierce shot, forcing a decent save from Ederson.
Just a few moments later, Adam Smith (£4.5m) started an impressive counter-attack down the right flank which required Zinchenko to bundle over the defender unceremoniously.
Nathan Aké (£5.0m), officially playing in a back-five, was the next to surge forward in the opening exchanges, Walker flying in to stop him and arguably should have been booked.
Ederson also rode his luck with referee Andre Marriner. Callum Wilson (£7.9m) chased down a long ball out of defence in the 12th minute, reaching it by the left-hand touchline.
With most of Manchester City’s defenders up-field at this point, Ederson came charging off his line and took Wilson out illegally. The goalkeeper was incredibly fortunate to remain on the field, picking up only a yellow card.
Later in the first half, some questionable defending from Zinchenko after a ball into the box from Ryan Fraser (£7.4m) allowed Smith to have a shot from close range. Only an impressive block from Nicolas Otamendi (£5.4m) denied him from scoring.
Forward Wilson also got through the middle probably too easy in the 52nd minute and should have done better with his shot, which he aimed straight at Ederson.
Two minutes later, Fraser fired another perfect cross into the box for Wilson, forcing Ederson into a diving save to prevent the forward from making a connection.
Given the temerity with which Bournemouth attacked Manchester City, something we certainly didn’t see in this fixture last season, they can certainly feel unfortunate not to have scored more than once in Gameweek 3.
Whether that should be of concern to owners of City defenders remains to be seen though, as Brighton seem unlikely to trouble them as much at the Etihad next weekend.
“Yeah, there’s a lot [we need to change]. In our defensive box we have to be more solid. But it’s 2 o’clock, a sunny day, the rhythm is low and we knew it would be difficult, but we solved it. I said congratulations [to the players]. Sometimes it is more difficult to play today than Tottenham at home, with our fans, the rhythm, and you know Tottenham want to play, and here they set up waiting for the second balls to the long balls.” – Pep Guardiola
“We did have our chances and that’s the frustrating thing. You compare this game to our previous encounters against Manchester City, I think that’s the most we’ve created, by a long way. I thought we were a constant menace to them. Physically, we were good because it was a really tough afternoon. With the conditions without the ball for long spells in the match, we really had to dig in. I thought we were efficient in the situations we needed to be. We were a lot better on the ball. In those moments on the counter-attack, in those transitions, I thought our bravery was good. We were frustrated to lose, of course, but there were a lot of positives to take.” – Eddie Howe
It is also worth pointing out that this performance probably restores some faith in Bournemouth attacking assets after an underwhelming first few weeks of the season.
This was arguably the Cherries best offensive display of the 2019/20 campaign, perfectly timed for some appealing upcoming fixtures.
They face Leicester (away) in Gameweek 4, before Everton (home), Southampton (away) and West Ham (home) after that.
Forward Wilson now has three assists in as many matches so far this season, although whether this output is sustainable remains questionable.
Each of these have been ‘Fantasy assists’ rather than traditional ones stemming from exceptional levels of creativity.
His first came after his saved shot rebounded into the path of Mepham who scored against Sheffield United, while the second two came from being fouled for set pieces that were scored (King’s penalty against Aston Villa and Wilson’s free-kick in Gameweek 3).
Finally, there was bad news for Bournemouth defender Charlie Daniels (£4.5m) who was stretchered off with a serious-looking knee in the 36th minute.
After only recently coming back from a long-term knee problem, he went down in agony after firing a cross into the box.
He was reportedly taken to hospital during the match and reappeared at full-time in crutches.
“I don’t know exactly what he’s done but I know it’s potentially serious. To see a player go off on a stretcher like that, in the amount of pain that he was in, you fear the worst. Until we get a proper diagnosis it’s difficult to give you definites but we are concerned for him.” – Eddie Howe
That could mean more game-time for Diego Rico (£4.0m), with Lloyd Kelly (£4.5m) still out injured too, although he did not get onto the pitch against Manchester City.
Daniels’ departure caused a reshuffle for Howe, who brought Harry Wilson on to deploy him on the right of midfield in the 5-4-1, shifting King from that position to the left and dropping Fraser in at left wing-back.
However, it is worth saying that he is unlikely to play five at the back too often this season, so Rico probably stands a chance of involvement against Leicester.
Bournemouth XI (5-4-1): Ramsdale; Daniels (H Wilson 37′), Aké, S Cook, Mepham, A Smith (Ibe 68′); Fraser, Billing, Lerma, J King; C Wilson (Solanke 69′).
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker (Cancelo 90′); D Silva, Gündogan (Rodri 58′), De Bruyne; Sterling, Aguero, B Silva (Mahrez 79′).
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