Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
- Goals: Phil Foden (£5.1m) x2, Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) x2, David Silva (£7.3m)
- Assists: Bernardo Silva (£7.7m) x2, Fernandinho (£5.1m), Sergio Aguero (£11.8m), Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m)
- Bonus: Foden x3, Mahrez x2, Bernardo, Silva x1
Pep Guardiola said Sergio Aguero‘s (£11.8m) knee injury “doesn’t look good” after the Manchester City striker limped out of his side’s 5-0 win over Burnley on Monday evening.
Aguero appeared to injure himself when winning a first-half penalty for Guardiola’s troops but the Argentine had been sighted holding his knee earlier in the game and his manager confirmed after full-time that it is an issue that has caused discomfort for some time.
The City boss said in his post-match interview and press conference:
He felt something in his knee. He was struggling the last month, some pain in his knee.
It doesn’t look good for this season.
Tomorrow we will see and know exactly what he has. But the doctor says it will take time. A few games [out] for sure but maybe tomorrow the tests he is going to get maybe some good news – we will see.
Aguero’s Fantasy assist for Riyad Mahrez’s (£8.5m) spot-kick was his last contribution at the Etihad and while it was at least some consolation for the premium FPL forward’s owners, his total of eight points across two Double Gameweek 30+ matches would have left many feeling short-changed.
The stock of Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) could be about to rise as we await a proper diagnosis from the City medical department, although it should be said that Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) has operated as a ‘false nine’ in Guardiola’s various systems before and the Brazilian will surely not be starting week-in, week-out from now until Gameweek 38+ even if Aguero is sidelined.
With eight goals scored, none conceded and 174 Fantasy Premier League points plundered, Manchester City were the success story of Double Gameweek 30+.
The trouble is, of course, that the minutes and points were shared across 20 different City assets, with only Ederson (£6.0m), David Silva (£7.3m) and Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) starting against both Arsenal and Burnley.
The Brazilian goalkeeper was, rather predictably, the only member of Guardiola’s squad who was handed three hours of pitch-time over the last week.
The City boss made a whopping eight changes from the side that beat the Gunners last Wednesday, with Jesus, Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m), Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m), Kyle Walker (£5.6m), Benjamin Mendy (£5.5m) and Ilkay Gundogan (£5.2m) all dropping to the bench.
Sterling (who has now missed out on 8-0, 6-1 and 5-0 wins), Mendy and Walker were all unused substitutes against the Clarets, while De Bruyne and Laporte emerged for one-pointers in the second half.
With the Citizens set to be in action twice a week between now and Gameweek 38+ and league results likely to be low down on Guardiola’s priority list, this ‘new normal’ (which is just the old normal on acid) is something Fantasy managers are going to have to get used to if they are to tap into this free-scoring City side.
Above: Manchester City players’ game-time in Double Gameweek 30+
Of the players who did start on Monday, Mahrez and Phil Foden (£5.1m) were the undoubted stars of the show.
The Algerian scored a fine individual effort after cutting in from the right flank on 42 minutes and, with Aguero, De Bruyne and Gundogan all off the field, stepped up to convert from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time after the Argentine had been felled by Ben Mee (£5.0m).
Guardiola’s comments in January about Mahrez being injury-resistant have been wheeled out as proof that the Algerian will be a regular starter during the forthcoming period of fixture congestion but it is naive to think that he too isn’t at risk; Sterling’s powers of “regeneration” had also previously been hailed by his manager and the England winger was consigned to bench duty against the Clarets.
While some of us will baulk at paying premium Fantasy money for assets that may only start every other game, Foden is arguably worth the risk at just £5.1m.
His 21st-minute strike from distance had broken the deadlock and he rounded off the scoring just after the hour-mark, finishing sharply after Jesus had miscued a shot in his direction.
Better still was his “assist for the assist” for David Silva’s goal, with a no-look pass setting Bernardo Silva (£7.7m) free in the Burnley box.
Foden is seen as the long-term successor to the ageing Silva but they were both deployed in the same team here, with the young midfielder operating further up the left flank.
Guardiola said after full-time:
When David said it was his last year I told the board we have Phil, so we don’t have to invest.
It is difficult to find a replacement but [in Foden], we have a young Manchester City fan who every time he plays gives us something unique and special.
In the next decade, or 15 years, he will be an outstanding player for us. I don’t have doubts.
Foden won’t start every City league match from now until Gameweek 38+ and chances are that he may be back among the substitutes at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
As a fifth FPL midfielder, however, he certainly has his merits and if we could sense that a start was in the offing, perhaps via a team news leak or the feeling that he was “due” a run-out following a benching or two, then Foden may prove decent value for money in the run-in.
From a Burnley perspective, this is simply one of those games to forget about and move on.
The Clarets couldn’t lay a glove on City and managed just one shot all match but “easier” tests await, starting with a home clash against Watford on Thursday.
There is a sense that all is not well within the Burnley camp, however.
With Chris Wood (£6.1m), Ashley Barnes (£6.1m), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.9m) and Robbie Brady (£5.5m) all injured, the Clarets were further weakened by the loss of another four players ahead of kick-off; Joe Hart (£4.2m), Jeff Hendrick (£5.4m), Aaron Lennon (£4.6m) and Phil Bardsley (£4.3m), all of whom are nearing the end of their contracts, were not even among the substitutes as doubts linger over their futures.
Four academy products made it onto Dyche’s under-strength bench as a result, with two goalkeepers among the seven substitutes that the Burnley boss named.
Dyche was evidently irked by his board’s attitude, saying:
These situations didn’t need to occur. That is something the chairman and the board must learn from.
The COVID crisis has not been helpful for sure but it’s not been the cover story because I’ve been talking about this for 18 months.
It’s a strange situation with contracts. Players who haven’t been offered things have decided not to finish their contracts.
We have had a healthy return but the chairman makes the decisions. I can only advise. Life at Burnley is tough at times.
With many of us opting for Nick Pope (£4.9m) between the posts between now and Gameweek 38+, there’ll be concerns that those off-the-field issues could be adversely affecting the Clarets’ on-field displays during the run-in.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho (Laporte 60′), Otamendi, Zinchenko; Foden (Sane 79′), Rodri, D Silva; Mahrez (De Bruyne 60′), Bernardo, Aguero (Jesus 45′).
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Rodriguez (Pieters 59′), Vydra (Thompson 88′).
Double Gameweek 30+ FPL Lessons Learned
- Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
- Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal
- Norwich City 0-3 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
- Watford 1-1 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal
- West Ham United 0-2 Wolves
- Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
- Newcastle United 3-0 Sheffield United
- Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
- Everton 0-0 Liverpool
- Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
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