Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
- Goals: Jan Bednarek (£4.5m), James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) | Bruno Fernandes (£10.8m), Edinson Cavani (£8.0m) x2
- Assists: Ward-Prowse, Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m) | Cavani, Fernandes, Marcus Rashford (£9.5m)
- Bonus: Cavani x3, Ward-Prowse x2, Bednarek x1
A stunning second-half comeback won Manchester United the points at Southampton as Edinson Cavani (£8.0m) announced himself as a Fantasy prospect in spectacular style.
The Uruguayan veteran scored two goals and set up another after replacing the ineffectual Mason Greenwood (£7.1m) at half-time.
Other than that, it was Fantasy Premier League (FPL) business as usual at St Mary’s, with more set-piece joy for Saints midfielder James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) and yet another away day haul from Bruno Fernandes (£10.8m).
Saints Alive – For Half A Game
Southampton led 2-0 at the interval as Ward-Prowse continued his blistering recent form with a fourth goal and second assist since Gameweek 6.
Two bonus points meant it was also a third double-digit score in those five starts and the England international is currently in the top ten FPL midfielders – and the cheapest to make that list.
His goal against United, from a free-kick, shortened David de Gea‘s (£5.4m) involvement in the match as the keeper collided with the post in trying to keep out Ward-Prowse’s pin-point effort.
Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t overly concerned about the Spaniard post-match, probably helped by the fact that Dean Henderson (£5.3m) is an excellent understudy:
A knock just above the knee, so hopefully he’ll be okay for Wednesday, but we don’t know. Let’s have a little scan or check tomorrow, but Dean came on and looked very assured.
The other keeper in action at St Mary’s, Alex McCarthy (£4.6m), was even more assured, producing fine saves to deny Greenwood, Fernandes and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m).
His 20.5% ownership did not enjoy a fourth straight home clean sheet, however, as United turned things round after the break.
Change Is Good
Solskjaer often gives the impression that he’s a conservative manager, but he made some big calls both before and during Sunday’s game.
He handed starts to Greenwood and Donny van de Beek (£6.7m) and the latter again impressed in the balanced role that caught the eye in the Champions League last week.
That role – a mix of defensive shield and midfield conduit – allows Fernandes further attacking freedom, which does dampen the Dutchman’s Fantasy appeal.
The same cannot be said of Cavani.
Two goals and an assist from 45 stellar minutes positively oozes FPL potential as Solskjaer’s decision to bring the striker on at half-time changed the game.
Small surprise, then, that the United manager was glowing in his praise for the striker:
On the training pitch, in the dressing room and during meal times, how meticulous he is. He is one of the best because of his experience and qualities, that movement. He is one of the best movers you can see. He can peel off the shoulder, he can get in front of you, he can pin you. He wants to be in between the two posts, which I love.
A Foil For Fernandes?
Despite all that love, Solskjaer preferred to start Greenwood ahead of Cavani because the youngster ‘needed the minutes’. And there is also the matter of Anthony Martial (£8.7m), who missed the match through illness.
But United’s almost unhealthy reliance on Fernandes – he’s been involved in 11 of the team’s 16 league goals this season – underlines just how important Cavani could become.
In just 127 minutes of action, he now has more goals (three) than Rashford (two) and Martial (zero) have managed from 1,175 minutes of collective toil up front.
This season’s crazy schedule will demand rotation – particularly around Christmas – but Cavani is beginning to look like a starter, not an impact sub.
If he can take some of the strain off Fernandes, who made it three straight double-digit returns and a fourth consecutive haul on the road, both could flourish.
Whether the pair can combine so well at Old Trafford against far deeper-lying teams than Southampton will be the key, however.
Fixtures Over Form
One thing in the pair’s favour could be United’s short-term schedule.
They’re back on their beloved road, at West Ham, in Gameweek 11 and will also travel to Sheffield United before Christmas.
And their wretched home form – just one win from five attempts – might actually be helped by the arrival of Manchester City and Leeds over the next four Gameweeks as neither side is likely to sit back and frustrate Solskjaer’s side.
Ings Can Maybe Get Better
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl spoke ahead of Gameweek 10 about Danny Ings (£8.3m) maybe being available for the Brighton trip and that could prove to be a nice tonic for his troops:
We had gone seven games unbeaten before now, it’s a good run. And now we’ll need to start another run.
Southampton’s schedule offers little prospect of that, with decent fixtures – Brighton and Sheffield United next and a trip to Fulham – offset by tough home matches with Man City and Liverpool.
Ings would certainly boost the side’s attacking threat, while their defenders are relatively cheap and two, Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.6m and 12.1%) and Jannik Vestergaard (£4.7m and 10.1%), are well-owned.
But their backline is a curious beast this season.
The four clean sheets they’ve kept the second-best record in the league and yet they’ve conceded at least three goals in four separate matches.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters (N’Lundulu 90+4), Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand; Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (Diallo 90), Djenepo (Long 72); Walcott, Adams.
Manchester United XI (4-3-1-2): De Gea (Henderson 45); Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles (Williams 84); Fred, McTominay, van de Beek; Fernandes; Rashford, Greenwood (Cavani 45).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 10
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Newcastle United
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Liverpool
- Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
- Everton 0-1 Leeds United
- West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Sheffield United
- Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
- Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Arsenal 1-2 Wolves
- Leicester City 1-2 Fulham
- West Ham United 2-1 Aston Villa