Manchester City 8-0 Watford
Goals: Bernardo Silva (£7.8m) x 3, Nicolas Otamendi (£5.4m), Sergio Aguero (£12.2m), Kevin de Bruyne (£9.8m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m), David Silva (£7.5m)
Assists: De Bruyne x 2, Mahrez x 2, Otamendi, Aguero, D Silva
Bonus Points: De Bruyne x 3, B.Silva x 2, Mahrez x 2
Manchester City demolished Watford 8-0 at the Etihad to bounce back in emphatic fashion from their shock defeat to Norwich City last weekend.
Amid all the discussion about Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) and Raheem Sterling (£12.2m) pre-match, it was Kevin de Bruyne (£9.8m) who cleaned up and proved to be the key FPL star.
That was set against a backdrop of Sterling’s first benching of the season, as Pep Guardiola opted to rest the most captained player of Gameweek 6 and broadcast to the world that the Roulette wheel is now in full spin.
While last week it was de Bruyne who was dropped for the trip to Norwich, this time the Belgian put on an attacking masterclass in scoring one goal and registering two assists to collect three bonus points against Watford.
It was a timely reminder to those in possession of the absent Sterling, who did not come off the bench at all, that once Guardiola has rested his key personnel, they are always likely to do well the next time and should probably be retained.
The 36% owned de Bruyne put on an exquisite performance, yet the player who excelled for the Citizens was Bernardo Silva (£7.8m). The Portuguese midfielder scored a hat-trick to reward the near 12% of managers who had kept their faith in the attacking asset. Not a key asset in terms of captaincy for Gameweek 6, but certainly a powerful differential.
Bernardo had registered just two attacking returns this season prior to the fixture against Watford, but an explosive and clinical attacking display saw him take home the match ball despite a number glorious chances for his team-mate Aguero, who arguably should have had his hands on it too.
The Argentinian’s performance was certainly bittersweet for his owners as, despite scoring and assisting for a nine-point score, the Argentine could have matched his counterpart Silva’s hat-trick at the very least.
A number of golden opportunities fell at the feet of Aguero, but the striker was unable to add to his initial strike, despite the exceptional team performance that he unquestionably contributed to throughout the 8-0 demolition.
Either way, Aguero retained his record of scoring in every Premier League game so far this season, and despite a number of his team-mates putting in exceptional attacking displays, it is difficult to look past Aguero as being City’s primary source of goals in 2019/20.
Whilst previous seasons have seen City’s starting striker berth be alternated between Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) and Aguero, Guardiola has seemingly put his faith in the Argentine as being the club’s first-choice striker. A midweek match against Preston should allow him to be rested ahead of a Gameweek 7 trip to Everton too, which is encouraging.
There can be no doubting that Aguero is not immune to potentially being rotated by Guardiola, yet for now, those managers without the striker may be asking themself if they should move for him.
Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) also sent a timely reminder of his explosive potential with a goal and two assists to record a 14-point score at the Etihad. Starting the game in place of Sterling, Mahrez tore through the Watford defence in an impressive attacking display, with a number of deft touches and mazy runs troubling the Hornet’s backline throughout the fixture.
David Silva (£7.5m) also delivered a typically reliable attacking performance with a goal and an assist in the rout, but whilst City’s attacking assets were mesmeric at the Etihad, there are some real questions emerging for managers in the Champions back-line.
Given the long-term injury that defender Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m) suffered in the game against Brighton, managers in ownership of the French centre-back were faced with a dilemma was to who could replace the defender in their squads. Those managers who opted for Nicolas Otamendi (£5.4m) were handsomely rewarded by the Argentinian centre-back with a mammoth 15-point haul, including a goal, an assist and a clean-sheet.
Yet Otamendi’s eye-catching performance was not the only point of note from City’s defence, with Benjamin Mendy (£5.9m) starting in place of Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.6m). Despite starting the first-half in impressive fashion, regularly bombing forwards on the left-flank, Mendy was taken off measure by Guardiola at half-time.
Despite initial concern that Mendy’s substitution was injury-based, Guardiola allayed any concern that the Frenchman could be back on the treatment table, whilst also praising his replacement, Angeliño.
“He [Benjamin Mendy] is well but after two years playing only a few minutes, it [45 minutes] was enough. Angelino is an
incrediblenice guy, and is training well – he deserved to play. I saw many good things in him.” – Pep Guardiola
With the ongoing absence of Laporte, Fantasy managers will be looking to retain a form of defensive coverage from City, and whilst the scoreline of Saturday’s victory will naturally mean interest gravitates towards the Citizens’ attacking assets, there is an interesting narrative developing at the heart of City’s defence.
Zinchenko appears to have lost his security of starts with Mendy’s return and whilst the enigmatic Frenchman has often rewarded managers with attacking returns in the past, it seems unlikely that he will start every week either. Instead, we might see Guardiola picking and choosing between his three left-backs
Therefore, a serious case presents itself for the reliable starter at centre-back Otamendi, who can similarly offer attacking output, but without the consistent concerns with regards to his fitness.
For Watford, this was an unfortunate result but Quique Sanches Flores’ side came out of the traps exceptionally poorly and were unable to come back from their dismal start.
Early-season interest in the likes of Gerard Deulofeu (£6.2m) has understandably simmered, whilst Saturday’s showing was also reliable advert as to just how unreliable Watford’s defence are from the perspective of solidity and clean-sheets.
Given the Hornets’ poor start to the Premier League season that saw Javi Gracia lose his job after four games, it is difficult to even consider any Watford players as viable assets at such a volatile time for the club, and after today’s performance it is unlikely that managers are likely to be considering investing in their assets anytime soon.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker (Cancelo 54′) Otamendi (Garcia 63′) Fernandinho, Mendy (Angelion 45′); De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Bernardo Silva.
Watford XI (4-4-1-1): Foster; Mariappa, Holebas, Femenia, Dawson; Foulquier (Pererya 33′) Capoue, Cleverley; Doucoure, Hughes (Sarr 59′) Deulofeu (A Gray 77′).
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 6:
- Southampton 1-3 Bournemouth
- Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Burnley 2-0 Norwich City
- Everton 0-2 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 8-0 Watford
- Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool