Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United
- Goal: Josh King (£6.3m)
- Assist: Adam Smith (£4.3m)
- Bonus: Smith x3, King x2, Aaron Ramsdale (£4.5m) x 1
Bournemouth secured a narrow victory over Ole Gunnar Solsjaker’s Manchester United with Josh King’s (£6.3m) first half-strike enough to give the Cherries their first win since Gameweek 6.
This was seemingly a match-up that favoured the visitors, who had lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions, yet the Red Devils were unable to overcome Eddie Howe’s side, who ended their recent drought to prevent a fourth successive game without a goal.
The Cherries were initially overwhelmed by United’s frontline, with Daniel James (£6.1m) looking very lively as the Welshman sought to exploit Bournemouth’s left flank, but Howe’s side persisted and were rewarded after clever work from King on the stroke of half-time.
The Norwegian, who had not registered any attacking returns since Gameweek 7 against West Ham, collected a cross from Adam Smith (£4.3m) and flicked the ball over Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) before carefully guiding a finish beyond the reach of David de Gea (£5.5m).
Whilst the performance of the Cherries’ front four was impressive, yet another clean sheet for a backline including budget defender Diego Rico (£4.3m) will be starting to catch the attention of Fantasy managers who are yet to invest in Bournemouth’s defensive assets.
This was a third successive shut-out for Howe’s side, whilst also taking their goals conceded to just one in their last four matches. There is unquestionable value in the likes of Rico, especially considering Bournemouth’s next two fixtures of Newcastle and Wolves.
But this newfound defensive solidity could also lead to Fantasy interest in Nathan Ake (£5.0m), who has already scored and assisted so far this season, and the Dutchman put in an impressive display against United to disrupt their attacking play whilst also marshalling the Bournemouth backline.
Managers in ownership of Wilson are likely to be faced with a considerable dilemma in retaining the Englishman’s services after yet another blank, with the striker registering just one goal attempt throughout the lunchtime kick-off. The forward has now failed to register attacking returns in four consecutive matches, despite starting the season with a blank-free opening seven Gameweeks.
Saturday afternoon saw Jefferson Lerma (£4.8m) and Ashley Young (£5.4m) pick up their fifth bookings of the season, meanwhile, which will see the duo miss their sides’ next league fixtures in Gameweek 12.
Although this defeat marked yet another disappointing domestic result for United, particularly for those managers in ownership of defensive assets such as Harry Maguire (£5.4m) or Wan-Bissaka, the likes of Marcus Rashford (£8.5m), Anthony Martial (£7.6m) and James did look lively in the early stages of the lunchtime kick-off.
The promise shown in the first half of Saturday’s game amounted to little, though, with Solskjaer saying afterwards:
I thought the front four looked promising but flattered to deceive a little bit today. It looked like we could create chances but we just didn’t have the last pass or the last finish and that’s something we need to improve on.
We had a lack of quality at times in front of goal. I thought we started well and opened them up with Dan James down the side, but we couldn’t get the important first goal. Then after 15 or 20 minutes, the game settled down and I thought they grew into it. It became a 50/50 match and you thought whoever would get the first goal would win this.
With the club having lost four of their first 11 league fixtures for the first time since 1990, United’s recent resurgence has been placed in some perspective.
Question marks will be asked by Fantasy managers of a team displaying such inconsistency, despite the flickers of hope that Rashford, Martial and James are displaying and the relative cut-price appeal of that trio.
With fixtures on the horizon including Brighton, Sheffield United and Aston Villa, who are exhibiting some strong defensive form in the current campaign (the Seagulls and the Blades are in the top three for clean sheets in 2019/20), keeping the faith in United’s attacking assets will be a difficult task for us FPL managers.
The value that James continues to offer at £6.1m cannot be ignored – ranking as United’s third-most-valuable player for form in the 2019/20 campaign behind just Scott McTominay (£5.1m) and De Gea.
This was a fixture that served as a timely reminder for managers that although United had been on a respectable run of results, they are hard to trust as Fantasy assets.
Defensive inconsistency coupled with a lack of reliable goalscoring options means that the Red Devils remain a lukewarm prospect, with yet another defeat perhaps being the straw to break the camel’s back for those managers still in ownership of United’s defensive options.
Those of us looking to bring United’s attacking assets in ahead of the next three “winnable” fixtures will also have a few concerns after this weekend.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Smith, S. Cook, Ake, Rico, H. Wilson (L. Cook 86′), Lerma, Billing, Fraser; C. Wilson, King.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka(Williams 80′), Maguire, Lindelof, Young; McTominay, Fred; Pereira (Lingard 68′), James (Greenwood 80′), Rashford; Martial.
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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