Manchester United players rewarded the patience shown by owners in Gameweek 19.
Despite losing at Watford and going behind against Newcastle, they went on to win 4-1 at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, owners of Sheffield United defenders were left disappointed by Watford getting a breakaway goal at Bramall Lane.
We’ve got all the latest Fantasy Premier League talking points from those two matches in this Scout Notes article.
Man United 4-1 Newcastle
Goals: Anthony Martial x2 (£7.7m), Mason Greenwood (£4.3m), Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) | Matthew Longstaff (£4.5m)
Assists: Andreas Pereira (£4.9m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.3m) | Joelinton (£5.6m)
Bonus Points: Martial x3, Greenwood x2, Wan-Bissaka x1
Manchester United attacking assets went some way to disproving the theory that they can only deliver against bigger clubs as they thrashed Newcastle 4-1 on Boxing Day.
Following a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Watford, Fantasy managers were perhaps a little less trusting of Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) and Anthony Martial (£7.7m) but, despite a disappointing start to their Gameweek 19 match, the Red Devils responded ruthlessly.
Martial bagged himself a brace for a 15-point haul and arguably could have netted a hat-trick while Rashford nodded home his 11th league goal of the campaign and scored six points.
While Newcastle did gift two goals to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, seeing them take apart a side that had, to some extent, set themselves up to defend should encourage owners of Manchester United attackers.
They had been accused of not being able to break down compact sides recently but did it perfectly at Old Trafford.
Crucially, the fact that Manchester United were 4-1 up around the hour-mark provided Solskjaer with the opportunity to rest Rashford and Martial in the final 30 minutes – all but securing both starts and relatively fresh bodies for the two players ahead of their Gameweek 20 trip to Burnley.
Owners may feel considerably more positive about that match after Manchester United’s Boxing Day exploits. Not only did they punish Newcastle, Burnley have also conceded at least three times in each of their last four against last season’s top-six.
Solskjaer’s men could be further boosted at Turf Moor by a first start since returning from injury for Paul Pogba (£8.4m).
For the second league match in a row, the Frenchman featured as a second-half substitute at Old Trafford on Boxing Day but an injury to Scott McTominay (£5.1m), as well as 45 minutes against Newcastle, may see him come into the team on Saturday.
“Paul (Pogba) it’s too early to demand too much of him. He’s worked really hard but then it’s been a long lay off. We’ll have to drip feed him in and gradually play him more and more.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Having said that, Solskjaer did hand starts on Boxing Day to Andreas Pereira (£4.9m) and Mason Greenwood (£4.3m) in more attacking roles than was afforded to Pogba.
“Andreas (Pereira) and Mason (Greenwood) have done well and they’ll give us fresh legs.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Therefore, with McTominay potentially out for a prolonged period, as is possible, Pogba may well find himself deployed in a deeper role than Fantasy managers would like.
“(McTominay) has done his ligament in the knee. Don’t know how bad. Biggest heart of the lot. Played until half-time. Not sure if he will be fit for Saturday. Probably not.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Shaw, Maguire, Lindelöf, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, McTominay (Pogba 46′); Rashford (Lingard 63′), A Pereira, Greenwood; Martial (Mata 67′).
Newcastle United XI (3-5-2): Dúbravka; Lejeune, Fernández, Schär (Krafth 88′); Willems, Almirón (Yedlin 63′), S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Maquillo; Gayle (Atsu 59′), Joelinton.
Sheffield United 1-1 Watford
Goals: Oliver Norwood (£4.9m) | Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m)
Assists: George Baldock (£5.0m) | Nathaniel Chalobah (£4.4m)
Bonus Points: Norwood x3, Chalobah x2, Baldock x1
Amid heavy backing for Gameweek 19, the Sheffield United defence was let down by a rare lapse of concentration against Watford.
As per usual, the Blades gave little quarter in their latest Premier League match, restricting the Hornets, typically goal-shy anyway, to just five shots, three in the box and two on target.
Despite that, and registering 12 penalty area shots of their own, Chris Wilder’s men were unable to find a way to win.
The roughly 80,000 Fantasy managers who captained John Lundstram (£5.2m) can certainly feel somewhat unfortunate not to get returns at either end of the pitch.
As already mentioned, Watford managed to make the most of their only big chance of the game, Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m), deployed on the flanks of attacking midfield, converting at Dean Henderson‘s (£4.8m) near-post after going through on goal from a Nathaniel Chalobah (£4.4m) pass.
By comparison, John Egan (£4.5m) had four chances inside the Watford box but could not get any of them on target, while Ben Foster (£4.8m) did well to stop Oli McBurnie (£5.7m) twice.
“My players were really not at it today as well as they have been. These are precious points in the Premier League and we will take one and move on. We have a positive result even if it was not one of our best and most positive performances. We never played with our drive and energy that got us into this position. If you’re not at full tilt, you will not get the result you want.” – Chris Wilder
While Sheffield United were disappointed not to win at Bramall Lane, Nigel Pearson continues to be pleased with the progress being made at Watford since he took over.
During his short tenure, the Hornets have claimed four points from a possible nine against Liverpool, Manchester United and this season’s surprise package in the Blades.
With Gameweek 20 pitting Watford against Aston Villa who, despite a Boxing Day clean sheet at home to Norwich, have been poor at the back this year, we should keep an eye on their assets as they continue to improve.
“We were far from at our best today. But what should give us encouragement is even when we have not been playing as fluently as we can do, we get something out of it. We still have enough time and games to affect our own season, and it is as simple as that in my view.” – Nigel Pearson
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): D Henderson; O’Connell, Egan, Basham; Stevens, Fleck, Norwood, Lundstram, Baldock; McGoldrick, McBurnie (Mousset 63′).
Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Foster; Femenía, Cathcart, Kabasele, Mariappa; Hughes, Capoue; Deulofeu, Chalobah (Dawson 89′), Sarr (Pereyra 46′); Deeney (A Gray 80′).
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