Man United 0-1 Arsenal
- Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.7m)
- Assists: Hector Bellerin (£5.0m)
- Bonus Points: Bellerin x3, Gabriel x2 (£5.1m), Aubameyang x1
A penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.7m) was enough for Arsenal to win a dour match at Manchester United that even a mythical football purist would have struggled to enjoy.
The Gabon international’s spot-kick, earned when Paul Pogba (£7.8m) fouled Hector Bellerín (£5.0m), handed the Gunners their first league win at Old Trafford in 14 years.
It also extended United’s winless run at home to four league games this season in a match that was heavy on the footballing history but light on pretty much everything else.
Gunner Be Tighter
It is a mark of this topsy-turvy season that Liverpool (15) have conceded the most goals and Arsenal (seven) the least.
Under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners are clearly much harder to beat. They are also much harder to love, especially in Fantasy terms.
Despite that impressive defensive stat, Sunday’s win was only their second clean sheet of the campaign, making it tricky for Fantasy Premier League managers to rely on a backline that’s clearly solid, just not solid enough.
But when they do shut down the opposition, the bonus point credentials of centre-half Gabriel (£5.1m) shine very brightly indeed. He earned his 11.4% ownership two extra points on Sunday.
All this defensive goodness has come during a tough opening run for the Gunners – they’ve faced Liverpool, both Manchester clubs and Leicester over the last five Gameweeks.
If they can kick on as their schedule eases, the returning Rob Holding (£4.4m) looks a potential bargain if he stays fit and in favour.
Arteta has already switched between a four and a five at the back this campaign, heightening the appeal of the team’s centre-halves.
Boring, Boring Arsenal
It is much harder to big up Arsenal’s attacking assets though.
Aubameyang is a great case in point. Boosted by his newly-acquired FPL status as a midfielder, he was owned by three million managers at the start of the season.
Six games, one goal and an assist later, his eight-point return at Old Trafford – his best score this campaign – was enjoyed by just over a million Fantasy bosses.
At least Aubameyang had something to show for his work, thanks to his penalty-taking responsibilities.
Lone striker Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) had a miserable afternoon involving one penalty area touch and no shots, although he did lead the way – alongside Luke Shaw (£4.9m) – for chances created, with two.
With Aston Villa and Leeds up next for the Gunners, the prospect of goals looks good. But who’s going to score them?
United We Stand (Down)
As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, the return of Anthony Martial (£8.7m) from suspension probably cannot come soon enough.
Since he was dismissed against Spurs, United have fallen apart in that Tottenham debacle, left it very late to beat Newcastle and have now emerged goalless and with one point from home games against Chelsea and Arsenal.
The United coach started with a diamond formation on Sunday, with Mason Greenwood (£7.2m) nominally playing up front alongside Marcus Rashford (£9.6m).
It was a move that Arteta referenced post-match.
“They played a really tricky formation with four midfielders and two that constantly strain your back four.” – Mikel Arteta
Whereas Solskjaer was rather less enthused by his own master plan.
“The formation is down to the opposition. It depends on the team you play against and how you execute that shape yourself. Of course, today we were too sloppy, too many passes went astray and the rotations weren’t there. Too many things can go wrong in a game of football that maybe went wrong for us.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Greenwood did at least work Bernd Leno (£5.0m) – one of three (regulation) saves for the Arsenal keeper.
But it was a mark of United’s toothlessness that Rashford had just three touches, and no shots, in the box.
In fact, the team’s major offensive weapon ended up being Harry Maguire (£5.4m), whose aerial threat led to a match-leading four attempts and five touches in the penalty area as United hoped for the best from a series of corners and crosses.
The best never came and the hope is currently drifting away.
United now have a mixed bag (eve WBA sou whu) to find some of both before Gameweek 12’s Manchester derby.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Matic 62); Pogba, Fernandes (van de Beek 75), Greenwood (Cavani 75); Rashford.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Partey; Saka, Willian (Maitland-Niles 86), Aubameyang (Mustafi 87); Lacazette (Nketiah 76).
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 7
- Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City
- Burnley 0-3 Chelsea
- Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
- Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton
- Newcastle United 2-1 Everton
- Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Fulham 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Leeds United 1-4 Leicester City
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