Wednesday evening’s Champions League matches helped Fantasy Premier League managers in preparation for Gameweek 12.
Manchester City and Spurs both enjoyed varying degrees of success in their midweek European exploits.
We’ve highlighted the key Fantasy talking points in this latest Scout Notes article.
Arsenal also played Vitória on Wednesday night, but details of that match will be included in our Europa League round-up on Friday morning.
Atalanta 1-1 Manchester City
Goals: Raheem Sterling (£12.1m)
Assists: Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m)
Red cards: Claudio Bravo (£4.8m)
Missed penalties: Jesus
Pep Guardiola could be faced with goalkeeper concerns for Manchester City’s Gameweek 12 trip to Liverpool.
Ederson (£6.1m) was taken off with a muscle injury at half-time during the 1-1 draw with Atalanta and is currently a doubt for the weekend.
His manager admitted after the game that he did not know enough to make a call about the injury, which should enhance the importance of his Friday press conference.
“I don’t know right now. It’s a muscular problem. It was a risk so we took him off as he was feeling it late in the first half. We don’t know.” – Pep Guardiola
Guardiola’s problems in goal were further exacerbated in the second half when replacement Claudio Bravo (£4.8m) was sent off.
For much of the second half, Atalanta were pushing Manchester City to get back into the game, with Mario Pašalić equalising in the 49th minute.
Then in 81st minute, Josip Iličić took advantage of Manchester City’s high defensive line and bore down on the visitors’ goal.
Bravo took the bold decision to venture out of his penalty box and slide towards the onrushing forward and, even though contact was minimal, the video assistant referee (VAR) still confirmed the red card was the correct decision.
With no more goalkeepers left on the bench, Kyle Walker (£5.9m) was forced to come on and deputise during the closing stages, replacing Riyad Mahrez (£8.4m).
The first thing the right-back had to do was top the free-kick from Bravo’s foul, which he just about managed to do, spilling the original effort before smothering the ball.
Manchester City did a fantastic job of protecting Walker who, after that free-kick, had next to nothing to do.
However, the more important implications revolve around who will play in goal against Liverpool.
While Bravo will not be suspended for any Premier League matches, his wild error of judgement in the closing stages could count against him when Guardiola comes to picking the team.
If the manager doesn’t fancy starting him and Ederson is not passed fit either then we could see Scott Carson (not currently priced up in FPL), involved at Anfield.
The 34-year-old has already been named in a matchday squad in the EFL Cup this season but has not made a Premier League appearance since 22 May 2011.
While Manchester City fans are understandably concerned about the goalkeeper position ahead of a trip to Anfield, they may also have concerns about other defensive areas of the team.
Against Atalanta, Guardiola deployed Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m) and João Cancelo (£5.3m) either side of Fernandinho (£5.2m) and Nicolas Otamendi (£5.3m).
Despite a number of those among the first-choice selections at this point, they struggled to contain Atalanta, especially in the second half.
That will be quite worrying considering the huge step up in quality that Manchester City will experience when facing Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
However, it might actually reassure owners of Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) and Sadio Mané (£12.0m) who may have originally been put off by such a big game.
Those still in possession of Raheem Sterling (£12.1m) may also have found encouragement in Wednesday night’s match.
Officially stationed on the left flank of the 4-3-3, with the help of Mendy, he still drifted into central areas on occasion, finishing the encounter top for shots (four) and shots on target (two).
Sterling also scored Manchester City’s only goal of the evening, a wonderful team goal inside the first six minutes.
Bernardo Silva (£7.9m) curled a ball into the penalty area which Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) flicked into the path of Sterling, who had drifted into the middle of the penalty box, resulting in a routine poacher’s finish.
Owners of Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) may be faced with another dilemma ahead of Gameweek 12 as he was given most of the night off.
Meanwhile, it was a mixed night for Jesus who, despite setting up Sterling’s goal with a fantastic piece of skill, managed no shots on target and missed a first-half.
In fact, it was arguably one of the worst penalties of recent memory as he dragged it so far wide that all goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini had to do was watch it trickle past his right-hand post.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson (Bravo 46′); Mendy, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Cancelo; B Silva, Gündogan, de Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus (Aguero 73′), Mahrez (Walker 88′).
Red Star Belgrade 0-4 Spurs
Goals: Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m), Son Heung-min x2 (£9.6m), Christian Eriksen (£8.7m)
Assists: Son, Dele Alli (£8.4m), Danny Rose (£5.4m), Ryan Sessegnon (£5.4m)
Son Heung-min (£9.6m) seemed to successfully exorcise his Gameweek 11 demons by scoring twice as Spurs won 4-0 against Red Star Belgrade.
The South Korean was incredibly distraught on Sunday afternoon as his late challenge on Andre Gomes (£5.3m) resulted in the Everton midfielder suffering a horror ankle injury.
Son was erroneously issued with a red card for his tackle but with the sending off now rescinded by an independent board and two goals midweek, he looks a much more viable option for Gameweek 12 than he did a few days ago.
“I told you, it wasn’t a big issue. It was a problem for everyone, not only for Sonny, for everyone on the pitch. We feel very sorry about what happened to Andre, but he moved on quickly. We helped him to move on. It was a mix of everything, not only the injury, the red card, how we missed the three points.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Son was officially deployed on the left flank of a 4-2-3-1 formation but popped up in a number of central locations throughout the match.
First, Son provided what would have been a Fantasy assist for Giovani Lo Celso‘s (£7.3m) first-ever Spurs goal, although it was perhaps one of the messiest the Champions League has ever seen.
Lo Celso started the move off by playing Harry Kane (£10.8m) through, whose poked effort underneath the goalkeeper hit the post.
Son’s rebounded shot was blocked on the line, before a defender headed the ball out and Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m) prodded it back into the six-yard box.
Kane then blasted a shot across the goal-line from a tight angle, Son sticking a leg out on the back-post and hits the bar before Lo Celso finally stuck it in the net.
Son then found the net himself in the second half as Spurs scored from a brilliant counter-attack move.
Tanguy Ndombèlé (£5.9m) drove the ball into Red Star’s half, squared it inside to Dele Alli (£8.4m), who then moved it on again to Son on the left.
The South Korean let it just run across his body before slotting home emphatically with his left foot.
Shortly afterwards he made it 3-0. Danny Rose (£5.4m) was unleashed down the left-hand side, receiving a perfectly weighted ball from Kane, before squaring to an unmarked Son at the back-post.
Crucially, the South Korean was then replaced by Ryan Sessegnon (£5.4m) in the 75th minute, perhaps safeguarding his chance of starting against Sheffield United.
Also encouraging was the performance of Lo Celso, who capped his full debut for Spurs with a goal.
With Christian Eriksen (£8.7m) not having the best of campaigns, Spurs have been seriously lacking creativity in the middle of the park.
Lo Celso himself has had a delayed introduction into the team, an early-season hip injury limiting him to just six substitute appearances.
However, against Red Star, the Argentinian, featuring from the beginning, played some nice passes to his team-mates and displaying delivery from set pieces that were better than Eriksen has shown this season.
He was also on hand to bundle home that remarkably bizarre first-half goal for Spurs.
“I think (Lo Celso’s performance) was very good. Always it’s difficult for a new player when he arrives, and after the team was very successful last season. He arrived at the end of the pre-season. The circumstances were that he was behind everyone, got injured with the national team and then it was about building his fitness and his confidence, and then waiting for the opportunity to be in the starting XI and feel the opportunity. I am happy because he is a very good player and his personality and character is great. Now he only needs time like Tanguy [Ndombele] and Ryan Sessegnon. They are so young. They arrive now to the team in difficult circumstances, not the best circumstances. That is why like I tell you always I don’t expect too much, I am happy with that they provide to the team. They need time. I am happy with the players.” – Mauricio Pochettino
However, Pochettino did admit that he was not sure yet whether he could use Lo Celso for the Gameweek 12 clash with Sheffield United.
He also referenced Alli and Ndombèlé as players he was unsure of at this stage.
“Now we’ve finished the game we need to assess all the players now. We need to assess Dele, we need to assess Tanguy, we need to assess Giovani. Plenty of players that are…we play Sunday, then Wednesday and now we will play Saturday. It is so short the time to recovery that we need to be sure that everyone who is going to compete on Saturday, another massive game for us, is going to be fresh and in condition to be really competitive because we need to really strong and competitive against a very good team like Sheffield United.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Perhaps the only real blot on Spurs’ copybook in Belgrade was some poor defending, which they were fortunate not to have been punished by.
On two occasions, spaces were opened up behind the two centre-backs, Davinson Sánchez (£5.3m) and Eric Dier (£4.9m).
The first time, a loose ball was pounced on by Milan Pavkov who went clean through and forced a sprawling save from Paulo Gazzaniga (£4.4m).
Former Huddersfield Town man Rajiv van la Parra then exposed another hole at the back with his pace, Gazzaniga forced into turning it on to the post before Sánchez’s poor attempt to play it back to the goalkeeper turns it onto the bar.
However, the main encouragement for Spurs to take from this game was the result itself. Incredibly, this was their first away win of the season.
“I am very pleased. It is a very difficult place, it was a very good victory, it was fully deserved in the way that we approached. The way we started the game it was fantastic, we talked a lot with the players and we designed a plan to play and it was good to dominate and play in the opposition half, that was the idea. We provided them the ability to grow during the game with the atmosphere they were going to face here. I think it was fantastic, we have to keep going it is only a very, very small step. But it is a step forward.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Rose, Dier, D Sánchez, Foyth; Ndombèlé, Sissoko; Son (Sessegnon 75′), Alli (Eriksen 62′), Lo Celso (Skipp 86′); Kane.
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