Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City
- Goals: Steven Bergwijn (£7.5m), Son Heung-min (£9.9m)
- Assists: Lucas Moura (£7.1m), Tanguy Ndombele (£5.8m)
- Bonus: Hugo Lloris (£5.3m) x3, Bergwijn x2, Davinson Sanchez (£5.3m) x1
Sergio Aguero‘s (£12.0m) Gameweek 25 went the way of so many other well-owned Fantasy Premier League assets’ weekends, with the Argentinean forward blanking in a 2-0 defeat for Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Aguero had scored in each of his four previous Premier League appearances but that run came to an end on Sunday as City endured another cursed evening in north London.
The premium FPL striker’s luck was out from the start, as Hugo Lloris (£5.3m) toed his 26th-minute effort onto the base of the upright.
Aguero then won a penalty for the visitors (after intervention from the VAR), only for Ilkay Gundogan (£5.2m) to step up and take the resulting spot-kick.
Further salt was rubbed into the wounds when the German midfielder missed from 12 yards, depriving his teammate of even an assist.
Aguero missed the target from around two yards out and had a goalbound effort hacked away from near the goal line by Toby Alderweireld (£5.3m) either side of the break, with a day to forget rounded off in the 64th minute when he was brought off for Joao Cancelo (£5.2m) as Pep Guardiola restructured his line-up following the dismissal of Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.2m).
Not everything could be pinned on an absence of good fortune – Aguero ought to have done better with that aforementioned chance from point-blank range and he had a couple of wild stabs at the ball earlier in the game – but this was just one of those days where he failed to get the rub of the green.
On why Gundogan has stepped up to take the penalty, Guardiola said:
Their decision. When we spoke [about the running order] it was both, Sergio and Gund, Gund and Sergio, and they decide.
Raheem Sterling‘s (£11.7m) dismal run of FPL form continued and he couldn’t blame Lady Luck’s absence, having flirted with a red card for a nasty-looking tackle on Dele Alli (£8.5m) early in the game.
Jose Mourinho and co argued that he could have picked up a second booking for simulation in the 39th minute, too, hitting the turf under a challenge from Lloris and being denied a spot-kick award after a check from the VAR.
It’s now 11 blanks in 15 Gameweeks for the below-par premium midfielder, whose afternoon was capped off when he limped out of the game in the final ten minutes with an apparent muscle problem.
Guardiola said rather unhelpfully afterwards about Sterling’s injury:
I didn’t speak with the doctor, not yet.
The indefatigable Kevin De Bruyne‘s (£10.7m) magic touch deserted him in the final third as he occupied a more advanced central role alongside Aguero, while a bright start from Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) gave way to one of his more frustrating, selfish displays and it was from his awful 59th-minute corner that Zinchenko picked up his second booking.
A home match against West Ham United next weekend at least offers the perfect opportunity to exorcise Sunday’s demons, with the Hammers having shipped nine goals in their last three games and having lost 5-0 in the reverse fixture in Gameweek 1.
The fact that City then have a two-week break to recover would also be encouraging regarding rotation risk, although we never truly know with Guardiola and there’ll much crossing of fingers from Fantasy managers ahead of that match at the Etihad.
Either way, it’s hard not to see investment in City assets increasing ahead of Gameweek 26 despite their upcoming blank on EFL Cup final weekend.
Mourinho claimed his first ‘big six’ scalp as Spurs manager but it would be a stretch to say that this was a tactical masterclass from the Lilywhites, with the game following a similar pattern to the Gameweek 22 defeat to Liverpool.
With the impressive Fernandinho (£5.2m) mopping up well at centre-half for the visitors, Spurs hadn’t had a single attempt on goal until Zinchenko was dismissed on the hour-mark.
Even the hosts’ opener came out of the blue, with debutant Steven Bergwijn (£7.5m) superbly crashing in a volley from the edge of the box to break the deadlock.
Son Heung-min (£9.9m) then registered his eighth attacking return in ten starts under Mourinho with a deflected strike for Spurs’ second.
While the Spurs boss bemoaned the lack of a red card for Sterling, the hosts’ luck was otherwise in and two near-miss own-goals in stoppage time – Harry Winks (£5.2m) and Davinson Sanchez (£5.3m) almost diverting the ball past Lloris – rather summed up the two sides’ contrasting fortunes.
Speaking of Bergwijn, who limped off with cramp late on, Mourinho said:
It was a debut goal that was the icing on the cake of a very good performance. Independent of the goal I would say his performance was very good, very solid. Very mature.
We worked hard during the week. He came to us Tuesday so he had a complete week to work and to try as fast as possible to understand what we wanted from him.
So very solid performance against such a difficult opponent like Kyle Walker, but then he was clever enough to appear also in other zones and try to create some problems for City.
So very, very good performance. Also defensively very aware of his position, defending zonal, covering spaces. Very, very good and then, of course, the goal is a great goal. It’s so important for us.
On Alli, who needed treatment on his ankle following Sterling’s robust tackle, Mourinho added:
Since that moment he was ‘can I stay on the pitch or not?’. Half-time the same discussion, beginning of the second half the same discussion and then he realised that he couldn’t carry on.
A third clean sheet in 13 matches under Mourinho isn’t anything to get overexcited about, particularly given the nature of this latest shut-out, but it’s worth hailing Spurs’ defensive efforts in this match, with budget FPL defender Japhet Tanganga (£4.0m) among those to impress individually.
Lloris’ return could also be significant to Spurs’ future clean sheet prospects, given what we highlighted last week in our Big Numbers piece about his expected goal prevention (xGP) stats.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-3-3): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Tanganga; Winks, Lo Celso, Alli (Ndombele 70′); Son, Bergwijn (Lamela 70′), Moura (Dier 84′).
Manchester City XI (4-4-1-1): Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Sterling (B. Silva 84′), Gundogan, Rodri, Mahrez (Jesus 72′); De Bruyne; Aguero (Cancelo 64′).
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