Scout Notes

City’s defence struggles as attacking assets blank against superb Wolves

Manchester City 0-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

  • Goals: Adama Traore (£5.0m) x2
  • Assists: Raul Jimenez (£7.1m) x2
  • Bonus: Traore x3, Jimenez x2, Willy Boly (£5.0m) x1

It was a grim day for owners of Manchester City assets as Pep Guardiola’s troops blanked across the board at the Etihad.

There is never an opportune time for City’s players to misfire but Sunday seemed particularly inconvenient, with Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) and Raheem Sterling (£12.1m) both captained by over 1.1 million Fantasy Premier League managers and Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) the most-bought player of Gameweek 8 by some distance.

A sizeable chunk of the 440,000+ FPL bosses who drafted in the Algerian ahead of this fixture would have been making the short-term, downward move from the injured Kevin De Bruyne (£10.0m) and hoping for an immediate points haul to gain an edge on those holding onto the Belgian, but the Fantasy Gods were particularly cruel.

Mahrez not only blanked but failed to even reach the hour-mark, with his 59th-minute substitution depriving his owners of an additional two points with the game still goalless.

Completing the game didn’t do Sterling or Aguero any good, however, with neither premium asset looking likely to score.

Sterling was pushed too wide and often nullified by the disciplined Adama Traore (£5.0m), while Aguero was well-shackled by Wolves’ imperious back three and a stoppage-time effort that sailed wide was about as close as he came to avoiding his first blank of 2019/20.

A simplistic conclusion would be that De Bruyne’s presence was greatly missed, although let’s not forget that the Citizens did win the league in 2018/19 largely without their influential Belgian.

The stats do bear out that theory this season, though: City’s two league defeats have come in the only matches that De Bruyne hasn’t started.

Ilkay Gundogan (£5.2m) deputised for the Belgium international on the right-hand side of central midfield in both of those games and created only three chances across the two fixtures combined; to put that in some context, De Bruyne supplied eight key passes in the 8-0 win over Watford a fortnight ago.

It wasn’t just the German’s fault, though, with David Silva (£7.6m) similarly neat and tidy but sometimes too ponderous with the ball and lacking the dynamism that De Bruyne brings.

It’s important not to get too carried away by this 2-0 reverse.

This was City’s first defeat at home of the calendar year and the first time they had failed to score in the league at the Etihad since May 2018, when they had already sealed their first Premier League crown under Guardiola.

The Sky Blues had racked up 14 goals in their previous three home league games this season and are head and shoulders above all other Premier League teams in as many attacking metrics as you’d care to name, be it big chances, shots in the box or efforts on target.

We can perhaps forgive the Citizens’ attacking options an off-day, then, particularly with a rested De Bruyne set to return after the international break and an appealing double-header to come at Eastlands after the Gameweek 9 trip to Selhurst Park.

The City defence is a different kettle of fish, however.

This latest self-destruction at the back wasn’t an anomalous bad performance but the latest in a string of ropey displays without the injured Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m), who is missing until 2020.

Last week we made the point that City will still get clean sheets this season even without Laporte, as their ball-hogging style and aggressive pressing will be enough to keep out lesser teams regardless of personnel at centre-half.

Top-flight teams are fast learning that Nicolas Otamendi (£5.6m) and Fernandinho (£5.2m) are no Cannavaro and Nesta, however, and particularly vulnerable to swift counter-attacks.

Wolves should have been ahead long before Raul Jimenez (£7.1m) made a fool of Otamendi and teed up Traore for their opener on 79 minutes, with the Mexican himself and strike partner Patrick Cutrone (£5.7m) wasting three one-on-ones in the opening half an hour.

Cutrone skewed wide after just five minutes before Fernandinho made a crucial double block from Wolves’ two strikers in the same move, with Jimenez later losing his balance when bearing down on Ederson‘s (£6.1m) goal.

Those who own Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.4m), omitted from the starting XI for the second time in three Gameweeks, will be wondering whether a sideways move to Otamendi is even worth the bother, although John Stones (£5.3m) does at least return after the international break to give Guardiola another option at centre-half.

Perhaps the biggest indictment of City’s defence is that they have already conceded 47.2% of the big chances that they allowed in the whole of 2018/19.

Guardiola, unsurprisingly, leapt to the defence of his two under-fire centre-backs, saying:

They were quite good. They suffered because we lost possession in front of them. No central defenders can sustain this kind of balls we lose in the first moments. They were good.

We have waffled on enough about the deficiencies of Guardiola’s side, though.

A big reason why they flattered to deceive on Sunday was the performance of Wolves, who evoked memories of last season with a superb display at both ends of the pitch.

This first away win of 2019/20 for Nuno Espirito Santo’s troops brought to mind the 1-1 draw with Arsenal 11 months ago, with the visitors imperious at the back and looking like scoring every time they countered.

We wrote two weeks ago that Wolves had shown promising signs in the last-gasp draw with Crystal Palace and the encouragement has continued over the last fortnight, culminating in this superb result in Manchester.

Even an early injury to Romain Saiss (£4.4m) and the benchings of Matt Doherty (£6.0m) and Jonny (£5.4m), all of whom have played important roles in the league and in Europe over the last two weeks, failed to disrupt their flow.

Willy Boly (£5.0m) was his usual immense self but credit should also go to Ryan Bennett (£4.9m) and Conor Coady (£5.0m) alongside him, with Guardiola’s side creating very little of note – a Silva free-kick that cracked the bar about as close as the hosts came to scoring, while the two City opportunities that Opta deemed ‘big chances’ (a Silva volley from a tight angle and a blocked Bernardo shot) were hardly gilt-edged.

Ruben Vinagre (£4.3m) and Adama, so suspect at Goodison Park a month ago, produced perhaps their best defensive performances at wing-back, leaving Mahrez and Sterling visibly frustrated figures.

Traore was later moved alongside Jimenez when Doherty was introduced and the tactical reshuffle proved a masterstroke, with the Mexico international twice setting the budget FPL midfielder free on goal to finish past Ederson.

Speaking after full-time, Santo said:

We played good, we played good. The performance was good and defensively we were very good, very organised, we knew exactly the points of pressure, and the boys worked hard today.

At the end, running, most of them were at their limits, but until the end it was fantastic. The fans enjoyed it, and it was good; it was very good.

Wolves now sit second-top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 9-17 and their upturn in form is coinciding nicely with the fixture swing after the international break.

The problem remains Europa League-led rotation, however, with Doherty and Jonny’s benchings further evidence of that.

Only Coady and Jimenez are ever-presents among Wolves’ outfielders, with those two players and Boly – who missed Gameweek 5 through suspension – about as secure Fantasy options as the Wolves boss can offer.

This time last year, Santo hadn’t made a single change to his starting XI in the league.

Traore is at least playing more of a part and has started the last five league games, with his versatility meaning he can play at wing-back, on the right of a front three or indeed up top in a two-man attack.

Speaking first of Traore’s finishing, Santo said

It’s something that is improving, he’s improving. Everybody remembers Adama, he is special because he’s very fast. He’s unique and we have to take advantage of that.

Putting in Matt [Doherty] to try to stabilise the defence and search for a moment of attacking talent.

Diogo Jota (£6.1m) missed out for the visitors with a toe injury, while City’s Benjamin Mendy (£5.9m) was sidelined with a hamstring problem that isn’t expected to keep him out of Gameweek 9.

Speaking of Kyle Walker‘s (£6.0m) half-time withdrawal, meanwhile, Guardiola said:

I made a change because Kyle Walker could not continue. In the first half, all the dangerous situations we created were from Joao [Cancelo].

Kyle had an infection in his stomach in the last weeks. He didn’t train and lost weight. He made an incredible effort today because we needed fast players.

At half-time he said he didn’t feel good, that’s why we made a substitution.

Members Analysis

Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker (Zinchenko 46′), Otamendi, Fernandinho, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, D Silva (Jesus 75′); Mahrez (B Silva 60′), Aguero, Sterling.

Wolves XI (3-5-2): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss (Bennett 13′); Traore, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Vinagre (Jonny 74′); Jimenez, Cutrone (Doherty 68′).

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999 Comments Post a Comment
  1. davies
    • 5 Years
    11 days, 16 hours ago

    Cantwell still the best 5th mid? (In a 343)

    1. Karan14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 days, 16 hours ago

      Yes if you bought him for 4.5m.

      If not or on WC then probably get Dendoncker for 4.4m.

      1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
        • 2 Years
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        +1

      2. davies
        • 5 Years
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        Yep on wildcard

        Dendoncker, then? Saka?

        1. ShaunGoater123
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          denedonker more nailed.

          laca coming back for arsenal will put saka on the bench

      3. Bring back Rafa
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          What about Longstaff Jnr?

          1. toca
              11 days, 15 hours ago

              I like it

        • Devo-McDuff
          • 1 Year
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          I’m happy to have as my first sub for now until a better option (say a nailed Sako, unlikely) emerges and I really needed the extra cash saved elsewhere.

      4. ZACTAY
        • 3 Years
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        Pukki Salah and Aurier to Auba Mount and TAA for a -4 worth it ?

        1. Devo-McDuff
          • 1 Year
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          I like it.

        2. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
          • 2 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Very decent

      5. ShaunGoater123
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        Best Adrian replacement? Thinking probably Ryan as have Button as reserve and already have a Burnley defender.

        Current defence:

        Tomori / Rico / Lundstram / Lowton / Soyuncu

        1. Dr. Mantis Toboggan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Yeah Ryan looks a good shout there, given you have Burnley and SU covered already.

        2. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
          • 2 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Would monitor Lloris situation. Gazzaniga at 4.4 could be a steal

          1. ShaunGoater123
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            11 days, 16 hours ago

            yeah gazzaniga could be good. couple of dodgy fixtures but long ish term looks ok.

            Spurs look hopeless defensively at the moment but that can change i guess

            1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
              • 2 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              They do look hopeless, but that will surely improve. And a GK from a (former) top 4 team priced at 4.4 is almost to good to ignore regardless of form.

              1. ShaunGoater123
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                very true. pretty much the exact reasons i got adrian in a few weeks or so ago

        3. Lestat
          • 9 Years
          11 days, 15 hours ago

          Ryan is the best fantasy GK option in the game full stop regardless of price.

      6. Ohh1454
        • 1 Year
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        Kane and pukki > Wilson and vardy (-4) ?

        1. Devo-McDuff
          • 1 Year
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          For sure without the hit, possibly with. Kane against Watford though could be a haul.

          1. Lestat
            • 9 Years
            11 days, 15 hours ago

            this season has taught us expect the unexpected - it wouldn't surprise me if Watford got something from this game

        2. thegaffer82
          • 8 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          I like it. Just make sure you’ve got a huge couch to hide behind when Kane plays Watford

        3. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
          • 2 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Nope! Crazy. Do it when you have 2 FT's. Kane is captain material this week

      7. PUKKIPARTY
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          What do here? 0,3 ITB 1 FT

          Pope (Button)
          Aurier-Tomori-Guillbert (Söyncu, Lundstram)
          Son-Mount-KDB-Mane (Cantwell)
          Auba-Vardy(c)-Tammy

          I have no ideas. Is Aurier dropped now if Foyth is back? Maybe save and remove Son next gw? Thanks for the advice!

        • thegaffer82
          • 8 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Pretty happy with the Wildcard team now. Seems a good time to WC after a few big red arrows and a fixture change coming...

          Any pointers or advice welcome....

          ........Pope - Button
          TAA - Ota - Soyu - Rico - Lundy
          Sterling - KDB - Maddy - Mount - Saka
          .....Auba - Abraham - Wilson

          Any changes you’d make?

          1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
            • 3 Years
            11 days, 16 hours ago

            It's good of course - very balanced. Basically it's the 50 50 calls now - are you worried about no pool attack, is Otamendi worth a spot, Vardy vs mads etc.

            1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
              • 3 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              My one definite is that I would not pick saka. Go for a nailed cheapie - even Guendouzi is a nice compromise

            2. Lestat
              • 9 Years
              11 days, 15 hours ago

              maddison to mcginn and Wilson to vardy for me

          2. ShaunGoater123
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            11 days, 16 hours ago

            brave going with no liverpool attack. i would look to try and get one in somehow.

          3. Pegboy
            • 9 Years
            11 days, 16 hours ago

            Mane + Vardy over Sterling + Wilson maybe.

            Looks decent otherwise.

          4. PUKKIPARTY
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Maybe Sterling -> Mane. Its like 50/50

              I would reconsider Saka. I dont think he will be getting too many mins after Lacazette is back next GW as expected

          5. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
            • 2 Years
            11 days, 16 hours ago

            Somebody talk me out of this -8 (I got exact cash)

            Aguero, Pukki and Son -> Auba, Vardy and Mahrez

            Would leave me with this team:

            Pope
            TAA Tomory Soy
            Sterling KDB Mahrez Mount
            Auba Vardy Tammy
            __
            Button; Hayden Lundstram Kelly

            0.0 ITB

            Loosing Aguero might be daft, but he is the most prone to rotation and I get Mahrez as a ''cover''. With BIlva likely to be banned, Mahrez looks a decent shout. Son will be travelling with South Korea and play an international match 4 days before facing Watford. Mahrez is also travelling with Algeria and have the same amount of days between two matches, but it's nowhere near the same distance.

            Thoughts?

            1. MTPockets
              • 10 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Aguero more prone to rotation than Mahrez? Not so far. Also has IB rest and Bernardo may not be banned

              1. MTPockets
                • 10 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                * But if you like the transfers then don't get talked out of it

                1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                  • 2 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  That's the thing. I'm really torn about it.

                  I want Leicester. That is my main issue. And I see no way to get in Leicester without sacrificing Son or Aguero.

                  Could do Son + Pukki -> Vardy + Maddisson, but not sure Leicesters warrants a triple up.

                  1. MTPockets
                    • 10 Years
                    11 days, 16 hours ago

                    Leicester have a good run for a while (9 games). Not sure I'll be ripping my team up to ensure coverage for every one of them, esp as best fixtures towards the end of that run.

                    1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                      • 2 Years
                      11 days, 16 hours ago

                      Solid advice. You gave me something to think about. Would you recommend saving then?

                      1. MTPockets
                        • 10 Years
                        11 days, 16 hours ago

                        Not necessarily saving, just wouldn't fancy that -8 esp without more info (KDB fitness, Bernardo ruling)

              2. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                • 2 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                It all depends on the Bernardo situation. If Bernardo is banned for 6 games, then I'm pretty confident Mahrez is more nailed and better value at 8.7

              3. mookie
                • 6 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                I think he means Auba. Aguero clear first choice, Mahrez not clear first choice even with Sane out.

                1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                  • 2 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  If Bernardo gets a ban, who is a threat to the RW position?

                  1. mookie
                    • 6 Years
                    11 days, 16 hours ago

                    That's a big if. As things stand not nailed and not sure whether first choice. Aguero is the best striker in the league and clearly first choice.

              4. Disturbed
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Agree with this MTPockets. Not too keen on these moves, specially for a double hit. Maybe sterling and Pukki > Madison and Wilson?

                1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                  • 2 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  The double hit is definetely the downside. And also why I am in doubt. Not keen on Wilson. More keen on Vardy.

                  And if I had to drop one of Sterling and Aguero, it would be the latter.

                  But I think I will just save my FT and then make a decision with 2 FT. Will be priced out of the exact move though

            2. jtreble
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              “... he is the most prone to rotation ...”. Don’t think so.

              1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                • 2 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                He got rested in gw7. If Aguero want's him to play CL, then Jesus might start in the league. Hard to say really, but I don't think I am biased here, as I currently have Aguero

                1. FC Hakkebøf (Chopped…
                  • 2 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  If Guardiola wants Aguero to play in CL*

          6. Talkaboutluck
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Decision decisions.

              Pope
              TAA Ota Lundy
              Mane Son Mount McGinn
              Tammy Aguero Haller

              (4.0) Lundy Cantwell Lowton

              Thoughts on the following
              (a) Haller -> Vardy
              (b) McGinn -> Maddison
              (c) Son -> KDB
              (d) Roll
              (e) B + C for a hit

            • AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
              • 3 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Any idea when we're likely to know about Bilva-ban?

              1. MTPockets
                • 10 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Deadline for response by mci is weds

                1. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
                  • 3 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  Cheers - my failed pre-wc punt was on Mahrez so I'm just wondering how this pans out.

                2. Internal Error
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  Is Mahrez nailed if Bernardo receives a ban?

                  1. jtreble
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 3 Years
                    11 days, 16 hours ago

                    No.

                  2. mookie
                    • 6 Years
                    11 days, 16 hours ago

                    Should be imo

                  3. MTPockets
                    • 10 Years
                    11 days, 16 hours ago

                    No idea. Jesus exists so guess formation could change

            • raoulduke71
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Salah & Pukki >> Mane & Cal Wilson?

              1. Bury94
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                If it's for free then sure, not for a hit

            • Penguin
              • 5 Years
              11 days, 16 hours ago

              Puki defo hitting a hatrick next GW

              1. Jarvish Scott Talent
                • 4 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                It's insight like this that makes this site number 1.

            • Weerman
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Thoughts on this WC team?

                Pope Button
                TAA Soyuncu Lundstram Lascelles Rico
                Sterling Mané KDB Mount Traoré
                Vardy Abraham Connolly

                Current team is

                Ryan Button
                TAA Alonso Zinchenko Lundstram Rico
                Salah Sterling DSilva Mount Dendoncker
                Abraham Pukki Greenwood

                1. Jekori
                  • 5 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  You've got exactly the same midfield as me (also on wc). i'm planning playing mostly 3-5-2 with Connolly on bench. I'm looking at Willems from newcastle or Saïs (if he recovers quickly) from Wolves as a rotation defender. So i love your team yeah

              • Pigeon
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Pick 3 on wildcard

                A) Sterling
                B) KDB
                C) Auba
                D) Mané

                1. FF Dirtbag
                  • 8 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  B,C,D

                2. MTPockets
                  • 10 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  Right now - the 3 that aren't injured

              • H-Over United
                • 3 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Would you WC this team?
                With the names i'm happy but not with the performances of Sterling, Otamendi, VVD & Co.

                Think Mané is a better choice than Salah and KDB is the go to guy for Pep.

                Also i think the Norwich Hype is over...

              • FF Dirtbag
                • 8 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Think I have possibly finalised my WC team. Are there any changes you would look to make? Is this just boring template?

                Pope Mcgovern
                TAA Soyuncu Tomori Dunk Lundstram
                Mane KDB Maddison Mount Dendoncker
                Aubameyang Vardy Abraham

                0.1 mill in the bank left.

                Is it too much chelsea/leicester?

                1. KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
                  • 4 Years
                  11 days, 16 hours ago

                  Maddison or Vardy

              • jtreble
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                Just saw the SOUCHE game on delay. Tomori looked shaky. I’m going to take a pass on him for now.

              • Devo-McDuff
                • 1 Year
                11 days, 16 hours ago

                No data to back this up but I feel like Sterling is suffering a bit through lack of Sane. Sane gives natural width and is happy to go on outside and beat a player which Sterling can do sometimes but not really his game, he’s at his best when nominally playing wide but being in and around the box. With Sane giving the width this stretches defences and allows Sterling to come in more, plus he’s just better on the right overall anyway. So many games this season he just looks isolated out on left wing and not worth the 12 million FPL squid, I took him out after watching it in the flesh for the Brighton game and then seeing more of it against Norwich.

                No regrets as yet and although he could easily haul at any time (he’s a talented lad after all) overall I think the money is best used elsewhere at the moment.

                1. EMERGING STAR
                  • 3 Years
                  11 days, 14 hours ago

                  Nice analysis. I liked it

                  1. Devo-McDuff
                    • 1 Year
                    11 days, 14 hours ago

                    Ta mate!

              • Zim0
                • 1 Year
                11 days, 15 hours ago

                Captain Wilson or Abraham?

                1. Patrick.22
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  10 days, 7 hours ago

                  Same dilemma. I’m thinking Abraham based on form and shots stats

              • firetog
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                10 days, 8 hours ago

                When is the Hall of Fame going to be updated ? The links to the managers' teams must be pointing to last years teams, as they all fail.
                I thought I saw a post before the last IB that said they were going to be updated during the break, which was 4 weeks ago.