Manchester City 2-1 Southampton
- Goals: Sergio Aguero (£12.1m), Kyle Walker (£5.9m) | James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m)
- Assists: Walker, Angelino (£4.7m) | Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m)
- Bonus: Walker x3, Ward-Prowse x2, Angelino x 1
Manchester City left it late to secure all three points against Southampton at the Etihad, with the Citizens’ premium assets delivering mixed fortunes yet again for Fantasy managers who had backed them to haul big against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side.
The most captained player of Gameweek 11, Raheem Sterling (£12.1m), failed to register any attacking returns, with his owners’ misery compounded when the England winger registered his first “one-pointer” of the campaign after picking up a yellow card late in the first half.
Sterling’s midfield counterpart, Kevin de Bruyne (£10.2m), was also unable to deliver against the Saints, with the Belgian blanking for the second time in his last three outings.
In truth, neither player looked like scoring, with the Belgian’s 79th-minute effort from an indirect free-kick inside the Southampton box about as close as either player came to finding the back of the net.
Yet whilst Sterling and De Bruyne’s returns were a source of disappointment for their owners, a goal for Sergio Aguero (£12.1m) will have understandably provided belated joy to the Argentinian’s remaining backers – his ninth of the season and a first in the league since the 8-0 demolition of Watford in Gameweek 6.
Although Guardiola had opted to rotate Aguero at the expense of Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) in Gameweeks 9 and 10, with the Brazilian forward making his first consecutive league starts for the first time since December 2018, the Spaniard opted to return the £12.1m striker to the starting XI.
Aguero’s equalising goal was just-rewards for those who had maintained faith in the striker, although there remain real concerns over his risk of rotation and this may well have been his swansong in many FPL squads with some unfavourable fixtures ahead.
The City boss spoke after the game regarding his half-time team talk and the response from his squad that delighted him:
I told them at half-time to keep going for it, to keep attacking. It is the only way. There was no space, it was almost impossible but we did it and that is why I am delighted.
City’s defensive selections continue to perplex Fantasy managers, with Joao Cancelo (£5.3m) and Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m) – who were both rested in the EFL Cup in midweek – only among the substitutes for this rematch against the Saints.
Guardiola instead opted to select Angelino (£4.7m), John Stones (£5.3m), Fernandinho (£5.2m) and Kyle Walker (£5.9m) on Saturday, with Walker stealing the show at the Etihad with a goal, an assist and three bonus points: his first double-digit haul of the 2019/20 campaign
Nicolas Otamendi (£5.4m) did not feature in the starting XI and, much to the frustration of the Argentinian’s 5% of owners, Guardiola opted to bring on the centre-back in injury time for a one-minute cameo – a particularly disappointing situation for those managers who may have had the likes of 21-point hero John Lundstram (£4.7m) on their benches.
City were not at their best against Southampton, who frustrated Pep Guardiola’s side throughout the fixture and went ahead when James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) found the back of the net after 12 minutes – Ederson (£6.1m) spilling a shot from Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m) at the midfielder’s feet.
After being humbled in a 9-0 defeat against Leicester City in Gameweek 10, two games against City in a week – in the Carabao Cup and the Premier League – would have seemed a daunting prospect for the south coast side.
Hasenhüttl spoke after the game regarding his side’s task in visiting the Etihad twice in just a week, saying:
To come here twice after losing 9-0 is not the easiest moment for a team but I think it was a chance to show up today, and we did, and it was really a pity that we didn’t get something for the amazing work we did today.
Although neither of the games resulted in a victory for Southampton, their performances, particularly in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat, can be seen as a source of credit to Hasenhüttl and his staff.
Some favourable fixtures await the Saints between now and Gameweek 18 but many of us are likely going to need to see a lot more improvement before their assets re-enter the Fantasy radar.
Southampton XI (4-5-1): McCarthy, Valery (Danso 75′), Bednarek (Adams 88′), Stephens, Vestergaard, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Armstrong, Ings (Djenepo 84′), Redmond.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino, Gundogan, Silva (Jesus 45′), De Bruyne, Bernardo (Foden 84′) Sterling, Aguero (Otamendi 90+2′).
Lessons learned from Gameweek 11
- Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 1-1 Wolves
- Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
- Brighton 2-0 Norwich
- Manchester City 2-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley
- West Ham United 2-3 Newcastle United
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City
- Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
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