Norwich 1-2 Man United
Goals: Todd Cantwell (£4.6m) | Odion Ighalo (£6.3m), Harry Maguire (£5.3m)
Assists: Emi Buendía (£6.0m) | Anthony Martial (£8.2m)
Red cards: Timm Klose (£4.3m)
Selected Minutes Played:
- Bruno Fernandes – 120 minutes
- Odion Ighalo – 120 minutes
- Harry Maguire – 120 minutes
- Luke Shaw – 120 minutes
- Marcus Rashford – 57 minutes
- Paul Pogba – 42 minutes
- Anthony Martial – 24 minutes
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 0 minutes
Owners of Bruno Fernandes (£8.7m) are bracing themselves for a Gameweek 32+ benching when Manchester United travel to Brighton midweek.
That’s because the Portuguese midfielder played all 120 minutes of Saturday’s bumper FA Cup quarter-final win at Norwich.
Owned by 20.9% of Fantasy managers already, interest in Fernandes has been high but his last two outings have proved cause for concern.
He was one of just three players from the 3-0 win over Sheffield United to keep his place, which, in the current circumstances is far from ideal for Fantasy purposes.
Not only was Fernandes overshadowed by Paul Pogba (£8.3m) in the Gameweek 31+ Old Trafford victory, but he arguably had his worst game to date in a Manchester United shirt at Carrow Road too.
He scuppered a good chance to score early on in the second half, tried too many tricks that failed to come off and failed to find those around him with ambitious through-ball passes.
Crucially, Fernandes played every single minute of this FA Cup encounter which seriously jeopardises the chances of him starting at Brighton on Tuesday. That would have been a problem for his Gameweek 32+ credentials even if he had produced an impressive display at Norwich.
By comparison, most of Manchester United’s key Fantasy attackers were handed initial rests before Norwich got back into the tie.
Marcus Rashford (£9.1m), Anthony Martial (£8.3m) and Pogba were all among the eight changes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made from the side that beat Norwich, although all three were called into action later on.
Rashford and Pogba were treated to 57 and 42 minutes in East Anglia respectively, which was not the worst result for those relying on the pair for Gameweek 32+.
Neither player added much to proceedings on Saturday evening, refusing to exert themselves for the cause, which is probably the perfect outcome for their backers: some minutes back in their potentially rusty post-injury legs without a full 90 or 120-minute outing or another knock.
Meanwhile, things were even better for Martial owners, as he featured only for 24 minutes of the extra-time when Solskjaer was doing everything possible to find a winner.
Not only is that game-time nice and sparing, but the Frenchman also did well to carve out a furrow for himself in a crowded attack and compacted defence, providing the assist for Harry Maguire‘s (£5.3m) late winner.
Like Rashford and Pogba, Martial is almost certain to start at Brighton now, especially considering Odion Ighalo (£6.3m) lead the Manchester United attack for 120 minutes against Norwich.
However, his backers may want to just keep an eye on the Nigerian for the remainder of the campaign. He has started his Red Devils career admirably, often scoring whenever called upon, as he did at Norwich.
Solskjaer added after the game that Ighalo’s form does make him rotatable with Martial. There are, at most, two more FA Cup games this season, as well as seven in the league – so it seems highly unlikely that the former Watford man will go without a Premier League start between now and Gameweek 38+.
“(Ighalo) is very important, that was important for me [that we extended his loan], we worked hard to do it, Odion knows how much we value him in and around the dressing room. He’s a goalscorer, a poacher, he’s strong, we can play the ball into him, he showed for the second and Paul found him. He’s performing well but it also gives me the chance to rotate with Marcus [Rashford], Anthony [Martial] and Mason [Greenwood] so they can get a rest and we’re fresh for every game.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“It’s great to have the option to rotate. Anthony has done really well, Anthony came on and did brilliant, created chances. But Odion gives me a chance to rest Antho and is a proven goalscorer. And today he has played a part in both goals and is great to have around the dressing room.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
There were mixed implications for those invested in the Manchester United defence for Gameweek 32+.
Maguire and Luke Shaw (£5.4m) both played 120 minutes, potentially putting the latter’s chances of a start at Brighton in jeopardy, especially with Brandon Williams (£4.1m) playing just 57 minutes at Carrow Road. That said, the club captain scoring the winning goal will be of encouragement to Maguire owners, the centre-back perhaps more likely to retain his place on account of his position and role in the team.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) and David De Gea (£5.3m) managed to avoid any involvement in the FA Cup encounter though, left out of the squad and on the bench respectively.
Furthermore, Wan-Bissaka looks much less likely to be rotated than those around him, considering the poor performance of Diogo Dalot (£4.9m) on Saturday. The right-back looked incredibly rusty, producing poor passes and sub-par crosses, all while Wan-Bissaka himself has been increasing his creative output with each Premier League outing.
Perhaps the Fantasy managers likely to be most excited by Saturday’s FA Cup action are those who captained Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) for Gameweek 32+.
The defeat to Manchester United came at a high cost for Norwich, who lost Timm Klose (£4.3m) to a red card as well as Todd Cantwell (£4.6m) and Lukas Rupp (£4.4m) to injuries.
Klose was sent off for a tug on Ighalo, earning himself a one-match ban, which keeps him out of the trip to Arsenal on Wednesday.
That means Farke will arrive at the Emirates Stadium with one fit recognised centre-back in Ben Godfrey (£4.4m), who played 120 minutes in the FA Cup. Christoph Zimmermann (£4.4m) and Grant Hanley‘s (£4.1m) injuries mean that either Alex Tettey (£4.5m) will likely have to drop back from midfield, the more versatile Ibrahim Amadou (£4.5m) having left the club in January. Hardly an ideal set-up for Norwich, but potentially perfect for the Arsenal attack.
Backers of a Gunners’ clean sheet will also be encouraged to see fitness issues further up the field for Norwich, with Saturday’s goal-scorer Cantwell and Rupp now in a race to be fit in time for Gameweek 32+.
“Todd (Cantwell) was moaning during the second half about some problems with his abductor. I hope it is not too bad. He felt it a bit and after he delivered such a good performance I hope he is available for the next game.” – Daniel Farke
“Lukas (Rupp) had a fantastic performance and we have to wait over the next few days. He had some problems with his hip. He felt it about 10 minutes from half-time. I thought it was his best performance since he came here. I wanted him on the pitch because he was so crucial to how we wanted to press the play, many defensive situations he did well. I don’t think it is too bad and we got him off before he could do any major damage.” – Daniel Farke
Norwich City XI (4-1-4-1): Krul; Lewis (Idah 118′), Klose, Godfrey, Aarons; Tettey; Cantwell (Trybull 90′), McLean, Rupp (O Hernández 62′), Buendía (Duda 90′); Pukki (Drmic 71′).
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): Romero; Shaw, Maguire, Bailly (Martial 96′), Dalot (Williams 63′); Fred (Pogba 78′), McTominay (Matić 78′); Lingard (Rashford 63′), B Fernandes, Mata (Greenwood 63′); Ighalo.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 32+
- Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
- Watford 1-3 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
- Brighton 0-3 Manchester United
- Arsenal 4-0 Norwich City
- Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle United
- Everton 2-1 Leicester City
- West Ham United 3-2 Chelsea
- Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool
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