Southampton 1-0 Manchester City
- Goal: Che Adams (£5.3m)
- Assist: Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m)
- Bonus: Alex McCarthy (£4.5m), Adams x3, Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.4m) x1
A wonder goal from Che Adams (£5.3m) and a defensive performance that was the bus-park version of 300 meets Dunkirk produced one of the more unlikely wins of this longest league season.
Short version: Southampton score after 16 minutes and Manchester City fail in their attempts to equalise.
Stats version: Only three City players (out of the 13 who play) don’t have a shot – and one of those is Ederson (£6.0m).
Fantasy version: Danny Ings (£7.3m) doesn’t score, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) doesn’t start and the bonus points are shared out between three players with a combined ownership of 4.3% in Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
City coach Pep Guardiola almost out-pepped himself by making six changes to his side, with benchings for the 52.2%-owned De Bruyne and Phil Foden (£5.4m), whose 12-point heroics against Liverpool in Gameweek 32+ had earned him nearly 200,000 new managers. The 12.2%-owned Kyle Walker (£5.6m) was another sent for an evening of social isolation behind the dug-outs.
As for Southampton, close to 100,000 had bought Ings on the back of his stellar Project Restart form – three goals and one assist – but the Saints frontman blanked.
One of the key reasons for that was he had just the one attempt all match. It was a great opportunity, on 44 minutes, that he blasted over from inside the area, and it was a rare one – Southampton’s only big chance of the match.
City had five such clear-cut opportunities.
Two came in a frantic few seconds of play in the first half that summed up the entire match.
Home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) was forced into a fine save at his near post from a fierce Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) drive. The ball found its way out to Fernandinho (£5.1m), whose deflected shot hit the inside of the post but stayed out. Possession was recycled to the right flank, where a cross led to another McCarthy save, this time from a David Silva (£7.3m) header, before Sterling narrowly curled wide from the rebound.
All of that happened after the Saints went ahead.
Adams had been selected up front alongside Ings in a 4-4-2 formation that conceded the width of the pitch to the visitors while giving Southampton two players available for quick counters and the opportunity for a high press.
So when Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.2m) mis-controlled the ball in his own half, the home side had the personnel on hand to capitalise.
Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m) put in a challenge and the ball fell to Adams. The striker had gone 29 matches without a goal for his new club. Such a run invites doubt and dark thoughts. But Adams didn’t stop to think when the ball arrived at his feet. Instead, he curled a wondrous first-time lob, from 39 yards, over Ederson and into the net.
To claim that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side just parked the bus from then on in was not entirely true. They worked Ederson four times in total and broke with consistent purpose over the 90 minutes.
But their victory was definitely built on a backs-to-the-wall doggedness – and some slices of good fortune – that made for a one-sided affair involving pure anguish for the many Fantasy managers with City assets in their squads.
Both Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m and 10.3%) and Sterling, owned by 16.3%, endured a frustrating evening before being subbed off on 59 minutes, thus robbing their owners of another appearance point to soften the blow of their blanks.
Their replacements, Foden and De Bruyne, fared no better, although the Belgian’s work-rate was phenomenal – more of that in the Members Analysis section.
The two Silvas, David and Bernardo (£7.7m), mustered seven attempts between them, only to be repelled by a mix of McCarthy, any number of Southampton defenders throwing their bodies in the way and, occasionally, the duo’s own profligacy in front of goal.
But neither was as wasteful as Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m).
The Brazilian has managed only one assist since football returned. And he’s scored just the one goal since Gameweek 22.
He had plenty of chances to rectify that at St Mary’s Stadium. Six chances, to be exact, of which three were clear-cut opportunities, including a couple of close-range headers he really should have buried.
Still owned by just 4% in FPL, Jesus should really be a tempting differential option for City’s final fixtures, which will involve Newcastle at home and then four of the bottom six. But his woeful lack of form, and good ‘ol Pep Roulette, mean he remains strangely unattractive.
His future is not looking bright at present, and Guardiola, while describing yesterday’s game, could have been talking about what is still to come as well:
With ten Southampton players on the penalty spot, it’s difficult. I am so proud. I like the way we played but it’s not enough. It’s not a complaint of the players. Far from it. The game was a little bit of a repeat of how some games have gone this season – one mistake and they punished us. After, we created a lot, but as I say, they had ten players behind the ball.
Such a strong run of fixtures pretty much demands inclusion of key City assets in your Fantasy side, just with the usual caveats involving rotation.
As for the Saints, trips to in-form Everton and Manchester United are up next, which doesn’t exactly scream ‘buy buy buy!’.
But despite being safe for another season of top-flight football, the players have made it clear they’re not beach-ready just yet, with three wins from their last four matches.
They obviously relished the chance to stick it to the Man City yesterday, and they’ll need to keep channelling that doggedness over the next two matches before their schedule (BHA, bou, SHU) eases and the attacking points might come rather more easy again.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong (Smallbone 90′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond; Ings, Adams (Long 70′).
Manchester City XI (4-1-2-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Garcia, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho; Silva, Bernardo; Mahrez (De Bruyne 59′), Jesus, Sterling (Foden 59′).
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 33+
- Norwich City 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leicester City 3-0 Crystal Palace
- Manchester United 5-2 Bournemouth
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal
- Chelsea 3-0 Watford
- Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United
- Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham United
- Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
- Southampton 1-0 Manchester City
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £17.50. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.