Watford 0-4 Manchester City
- Goals: Raheem Sterling x2 (£11.9m), Phil Foden (£5.5m), Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m)
- Assists: Kyle Walker (£5.6m), Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m)
- Penalties missed: Sterling
- Penalties saved: Ben Foster (£4.9m)
- Bonus Points: Sterling x3, Foster x2, Walker x2
Raheem Sterling (£11.9m) has all but cemented himself in Free Hit squads for Gameweek 38+ with his latest double-figure haul.
The premium midfielder’s 20.1% ownership got exactly what they wanted in the big win over Watford, as Sterling secured three attacking returns in a scintillating display and came off just after the hour-mark too.
Between the massive haul and rest time Pep Guardiola was able to give him, Sterling already looks likely to be a relatively sure starter when Norwich come to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
There was already plenty of interest in the Englishman before this latest Premier League outing, his score at Watford the fifth double-digit haul from a possible eight since the restart, but he has also added another feather to his cap. Penalties.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m) has been the spot-kick taker for Manchester City since solving the club’s issues from 12 yards in February.
However, it appears that Sterling’s late charge for the Premier League Golden Boot award might have influenced the pecking order, with the Englishman taking the penalty against Watford which he won. Admittedly, he saw his effort saved by Ben Foster (£4.9m) but was savvy enough to bury the rebound.
“I seen I was on, I scored the first one and knew I was on 18, I knew if I got the second one and I was on the pitch for 90 I knew I had another chance of getting a hat-trick. So I wanted to try and get a hat-trick today but it didn’t happen but I’m really happy with the two goals. A winger to score 20 in the Premier League is a great achievement, we have one more game left and hopefully, I can do it then.” – Raheem Sterling
While Sterling has been involved in eight of Manchester City’s last 16 goals, De Bruyne has had a direct hand in just two, the latest an assist for Aymeric Laporte‘s (£6.3m) headed effort on Tuesday evening.
However, the Belgian was certainly unfortunate not to come away with a bigger score at Watford.
Just before half-time, Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) got to the dead-ball line and cut the ball back for De Bruyne, who was arriving at the back post, but he could only hook it high and wide under pressure from the defence.
The two players swapped roles after the break, De Bruyne pouncing on a loose ball from a Foster save, squaring to Bernardo, who could not find the target.
Then, on the hour-mark, the Belgian won a free-kick in a prime position on the edge of the box. Stepping up, De Bruyne always looks like scoring direct efforts from this sort of range and he went incredibly close against Watford, finding the top corner perfectly, only for Foster to produce a fantastic stop.
De Bruyne would have also received the assist for a Sterling in the second half, were it not rebounded to Foden to convert.
While Sterling was able to get on and off with just over 60 minutes to his name, owners of Gabriel Jesus (£9.9m) might be a little more concerned ahead of Gameweek 38+.
The Brazilian striker, who was arguably a little unfortunate to blank at Watford as a late goal was ruled out for offside, has now played 90 minutes in each of the last two matches in all competitions. That fact, combined with Sterling’s managed minutes at Vicarage Road, could see Jesus drop out of the starting XI against Norwich, especially as his English counter-part can play the centre-forward role and is potentially on a late charge for the Golden Boot.
Similarly, De Bruyne and Phil Foden (£5.5m) also lasting the entirety of the Watford perhaps concerning their respective owners, especially in light of Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) and David Silva (£7.4m) earning rests in Gameweek 37+. The Algerian came on for Sterling for the last half-hour, while Silva, ahead of a Premier League finale against Norwich was an unused substitute. A start on the last day of the league campaign looks even more assured now, and the Spaniard has double-figure hauls in each of his two most recent home matches.
Silva has played alongside De Bruyne recently, but 90 minutes in each of the last two in all competitions could be enough for Guardiola to consider benching the Belgian.
Foden’s case is harder to assess, especially after he stole in to convert Sterling’s rebounded shot in the second half. Manchester City’s number 47 got his rest in the FA Cup semi-final, playing just 24 minutes of the defeat to Arsenal and has started all but one home Premier League match since the return of football.
With Jesus also getting sufficient game-time to place a question mark over his starting berth, there is a chance the Manchester City front-three could feature Sterling as the spearhead, leaving room for Mahrez and Foden either side.
Anyone looking to Guardiola’s defence for the final Gameweek of the season were given a helping hand by the Manchester City manager.
After he had found the net in the second half, Laporte was handed a brief resting period at the end of the Watford win, replaced by John Stones (£5.3m) in the 74th minute.
That should see the premium centre-back start against Norwich, who have conceded more goals from set-plays than any other side this season…
“Laporte had a tough tough injury important player for us a lot of time out. a big guy, needed more time to regain condition. today was one of the best games he has played int he last month.” – Pep Guardiola
Watford XI (4-3-3): Foster; Femenía, Dawson, Kabasele, Mariappa; Hughes, Doucouré (Chalobah 82′), Cleverley; Pereyra (Masina 87′), Deeney (Welbeck 67′), Sarr.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Laporte (Stones 74′), Garcia, Walker (Zinchenko 64′); De Bruyne, Rodrigo, B Silva; Sterling (Mahrez 64′), Jesus, Foden.
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 37+
- Norwich City 0-2 Burnley
- Bournemouth 0-2 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 0-1 Everton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Watford 0-4 Manchester City
- Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
- Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea
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