Man City 5-0 Newcastle
- Goals: Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m), David Silva (£7.3m), Raheem Sterling (£11.7m)
- Own Goals: Federico Fernández
- Assists: D Silva x2, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m), Sterling
- Bonus Points: D Silva x3, Jesus x2, De Bruyne x1, Sterling x1
Manchester City’s 5-0 win over Newcastle was very much achieved by the alternative options with the more mainstream Fantasy assets struggling to live up to their billing.
While Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) managed just one assist in the rout, Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) reminded managers how much of an explosive differential he could be for the remainder of the Premier League season as he scored 10 points on Wednesday evening.
The England international only played 29 minutes in Gameweek 34+ but still managed to come away with a goal, an assist and one bonus point as he operated as a centre-forward once again.
The fact that he initially was rested for this game is great news for the 16.3% invested in Sterling looking forward to the Gameweek 35+ trip to Brighton as it would imply he will start at the Amex Stadium.
However, he might be of more use to Fantasy backers in the Gameweek 36+ home game against Bournemouth, considering where his attacking returns have come since the Premier League returned.
From Gameweek 30+ onwards, every one of Sterling’s three goals and three assists has come at the Etihad Stadium, the player blanking in both of his away trips during that period.
Sterling’s latest spell up-front could be somewhat ominous for owners of Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) in Gameweek 35+, who has struggled to make that spot his own since Sergio Aguero‘s (£11.7m) injury. The Brazilian by no means had a poor game, putting up eight points against Newcastle before coming off on the hour-mark.
Jesus could have taken a little more from the game too, which was very open in Manchester City’s favour, as he could not direct a first-half header beyond Martin Dúbravka (£5.1m) and saw his pass into Phil Foden (£5.4m) screwed wide shortly after. Jesus was also in possession of the ball when Matt Ritchie (£5.3m) tackled him and kicked it onto Federico Fernández (£4.6m) for the own goal that made it 3-0.
Whether or not Pep Guardiola decides to start him for that trip to Brighton is rather hard to second guess at this stage though. Coming off around the 60th minute sometimes implies the manager wants to keep that player fresh for the next outing, but that happened for Sterling at Southampton before his Gameweek 34+ benching. Perhaps, with both player’s minutes now managed over the last two matches, Jesus and Sterling could start together at Brighton.
After all, it does seem unlikely that Foden will feature from the beginning next time out as he is yet to make a start away from home since the Premier League restart.
Those in possession of the budget midfielder will be cursing their luck after his blank against Newcastle as he really should have come away with at least a brace.
After acting as the assister for the assist of the first two goals, Foden went through for a chance of his own in the 39th minute. A neat one-two with Jesus put the goal at his mercy, but the midfielder somehow managed to pull it wide of the post when he really should have scored.
It was even more galling for his owners in the opening exchanges of the second half. In the 49th minute, De Bruyne looped a cross over to Foden on the back post for what looked an easy chance from very close range. But the budget midfielder looked in two minds as he approached the ball, almost standing on it as he spooned agonisingly wide.
Despite the frustrating nature of both near-goal incidents, the level-headed way of responding to such a performance would be to retain faith in Foden, perhaps benching him for Gameweek 34+ and bringing him back into the starting line-up when Bournemouth come to the Etihad Stadium in Gameweek 35+. Even though he failed to return on Wednesday evening, the youngster still averages 9.3 points per home game since the Premier League restart.
Mahrez’s credentials for Fantasy inclusion continue to look good, especially at home. He was one of Manchester City’s most dangerous players before youngster Tommy Doyle (£4.5m) replaced him in the 74th minute.
The Algerian was rewarded with his 10th strike of the season, taking him into double figures for both goals and assists for the first time as a Manchester City player.
It was also Mahrez’s fifth attacking return of the Premier League restart, although, like many of his colleagues, the majority of them have come at home.
Even though the huge contingent of De Bruyne captainers were disappointed to get just one return from a 5-0 win, he was almost as unlucky as Foden not to come away with more from the 5-0 win.
In the 44th minute, De Bruyne played a shot-turned-cross into the box, only to see his own player Rodrigo (£5.3m) direct it over the bar like a defender’s clearance.
He was then stood over the direct free-kick won by Sterling in the second half, having netted plenty of them this season. However, it was David Silva (£7.3m) who pulled rank and dispatched it himself.
It was Silva who blocked another De Bruyne goal involvement in the 74th minute, the Belgian getting around the back on the left-hand side, squaring to his colleague who could only force a save out of Dúbravka from the edge of the six-yard box.
Then as stoppage time beckoned, De Bruyne won the ball on the right, offloading to Silva. He pressed towards goal from a tight angle but could not trouble the goalkeeper with his effort.
For all of those reasons, De Bruyne’s place in Fantasy teams remains exceptionally secure, especially with Brighton and Bournemouth up next.
Despite those late fluffs, Silva was actually the top-scoring player from this game, his goal, two assists and three bonus making for a 17-point haul.
Whether that sets him apart as an option for the run-in is probably still in question though. 90-minute outings in each of the last two matches will not have done him any favours in terms of starting at Brighton. Furthermore, since the Premier League came back, Silva has only delivered attacking returns in two of a possible six matches.
“We have games every three days so everybody has to play.” – Pep Guardiola
It was arguably very difficult to find too many takeaways from this game as far as Newcastle were concerned.
Recent injury problems forced Steve Bruce into a back-five that featured three full-backs, with both
With Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.5m) and Jamaal Lascelles (£4.3m) standing a better chance of involvement in the Gameweek 35+ trip to Watford, the Magpies are sure to have better fortunes at Vicarage Road than they did at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko, Stones, Otamendi, Cancelo (Walker 46′); Rodrigo (Gündogan 46′), De Bruyne, D Silva; Foden (B Silva 61′), Jesus (Sterling 61′), Mahrez (Doyle 75′).
Newcastle United XI (5-4-1): Dúbravka; Rose, Fernández, Schär, Krafth (Muto 84′), Yedlin; Ritchie (Atsu 84′), Bentaleb, Shelvey (M Longstaff 66′), Lazaro (Manquillo 66′); Joelinton (Gayle 66′).
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