Scout Notes

Budget midfielder Gundogan a goal threat in new role as De Bruyne stars as a striker

Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City

  • Goals: Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) | Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m), Phil Foden (£6.2m), Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m)
  • Assists: Kai Havertz (£8.2m) | Foden, De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling (£11.4m)
  • Bonus: Foden x3, De Bruyne x2, Gundogan, Foden x1

Manchester City chose an opportune time to deliver what was arguably their best Premier League performance of the season.

One of 12 top-flight clubs in action in Blank Gameweek 18 and then among a dozen teams who enjoy two fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, City are high on the Fantasy Premier League watchlist in early January.

And if their clash with Chelsea on Sunday was an audition of sorts, then Pep Guardiola’s troops passed it with flying colours.


Pepped Up

Manchester City’s defensive aptitude hasn’t been in doubt for some time.

Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s (£5.7m) late, late consolation goal for Chelsea on Sunday was the first time that an opposition player had scored against the Citizens since Gameweek 9 and ruined what would have been a sixth clean sheet in seven.

What has been called into question is their attacking prowess and the lack of value for money being provided by their FPL forwards and midfielders.

From Gameweeks 4 to 15, City scored one goal or fewer in nine of their 12 matches.

Even plum home fixtures against Fulham and Newcastle United returned only 2-0 wins; these were games in which City would have traditionally run riot and matches in which Fantasy managers would expect hauls from.

At Stamford Bridge, we saw the City of old return.

First-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m), Phil Foden (£6.2m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m) saw City sail into an unassailable 3-0 lead, while there were other chances beyond those strikes: De Bruyne spurned a one-on-one opportunity after a quarter of an hour, Gundogan flicked an effort wide from six yards just before the break and Rodri (£5.4m) wasted a De Bruyne assist with a 53rd-minute header.

Guardiola agreed that this display was more reminiscent of City of yesteryear:

We had a plan, we tried to play in a certain way that we did in the past and it worked. The players were incredible, fantastic in all departments.

We are a team that has to play in one certain rhythm. A lot of passes and, in the right moment, attack. We won Premier Leagues in that way, and we miss a little bit for many reasons this tempo, and today we got it. The way we won the League titles, it was because we were like today.

The question now, of course, is whether the “tempo” is here to stay and whether it can be as effective against teams who won’t employ Chelsea’s high, aggressive press.

Brighton, a more possession-based team who are not renowned for their backs-to-the-wall approach, might just well be the ideal Gameweek 18 opponents – Graham Potter’s troops lost by an aggregate score of 9-0 in their two league meetings with City last season.

Belgian Waffle

With City unable to call upon Gabriel Jesus (£9.1m) and Ferran Torres (£6.9m), and with Sergio Aguero‘s (£10.3m) game-time being carefully handled, Guardiola turned to De Bruyne to lead the line in west London.

We have seen the Belgian playing in a more advanced position anyway this season but this was a step beyond a number 10 role, with De Bruyne veering between ‘false nine’ and outright centre-forward.

Explaining his tactical decision after full-time, Guardiola said:

Kevin can play in many positions. We wanted more solid players in the midfield and Bernardo is more solid in those areas.

[De Bruyne] is so good, with his energy to run in behind. He did it really well. He can play there, as a winger, attacking midfielder. There is no doubt about this.

De Bruyne himself said of Sunday’s role:

A little bit bizarre in the beginning. I’ve done it a couple of times in my career. Obviously, there are lot of strikers, forward players who are out. The coach asked me to do this job, so I tried to do it the best as possible.

We have different players, so we play a little bit different this year and we adjust to the personnel we have. The team is finding the rhythm in the last month so we’re playing better and the difference today when we have the chance we took them.

In Formation, Entertainment

It should be pointed out, of course, that the deployment of De Bruyne as a striker may just have been a needs-must, one-off experiment.

Jesus ought to be back from self-isolation by Gameweek 18, with Torres likely available for Double Gameweek 19. Aguero may also be closer to a start himself by the time next Wednesday’s clash with Brighton comes around.

So long as the attacking swagger is here to stay, then starting positions might be less of a concern for Fantasy managers.

Indeed, De Bruyne had three fewer big chances in the whole of 2019/20 than he has managed in Gameweeks 2-17 of the current campaign, yet still found the net on 13 occasions, with five of his goals coming from outside the box.

What is worth keeping an eye on is Gundogan’s role within Guardiola’s team.

Part of the double pivot with Rodri for months in the more conservative 4-2-3-1, we have seen the German allowed a bit more attacking freedom of late.

Gundogan and the excellent Bernardo Silva (£7.4m) were the two number eights stationed either side of Rodri on Sunday, registering six shots in the box between them.

After the match on Sunday, Gundogan said of his more advanced role:

To be honest, in the last few games where I scored, I played more of a number eight than a number six. Before that, I played more of a holding midfielder role together with Rodri.

It is different and every position needs a little bit of adaptation. I think I am a player that can adapt quickly and well into a system and the manager knows I am quite flexible.

Also, me personally, even though I like to be included in rotating the ball, when I am playing as a number eight and more offensive position, I try to put myself in the spaces where I think something could happen or I feel like the space is not occupied by a player of ours or the opponent.

Both goals I scored in the last games were similar in the way they were from the right side and Raheem assisted me both goals and I tried to be in a space where I am free and able to get the ball and finish with one touch. It worked out quite well and as long as I am playing in that position I try to continue like that.

The Self-Isolating Six

The visitors were missing six of their squad because of positive COVID-19 tests.

The unavailability of Kyle Walker (£6.1m) and Jesus we were already aware of, while social media posts from Ederson (£6.0m) and Tommy Doyle (£4.4m) all but confirmed that they too were among those self-isolating.

Torres and Eric Garcia (£4.7m) have reportedly been added to that list, with the latter still struggling with injury, too.

Nathan Ake (£5.4m) was absent on Sunday because of “fitness issues”, while Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) missed out because of a tight hamstring.

All of that meant a start for reserve goalkeeper Zack Steffen (£4.4m), who will drop to the bench once Ederson is fit again, and Foden, who featured in Guardiola’s XI for only the second time in 11 league matches.

Foden produced a superb display from the left flank, leading the way for chances created in Sunday’s game and having three shots in the box of his own.

The hard work starts now with players expected back from illness and Riyad Mahrez (£8.1m) waiting in the wings but Guardiola was enthused by the youngster’s display:

So proud. He never dropped one, nothing for his energy, how he helps. He can play up front in all four positions and again he has a sensational goal, he scored a fantastic goal. He is a guy, we rely on him incredibly, national team for England will be a top player because he’s so clever, so calm, he did a good performance today.

Got the Blues

While the wheels haven’t completely come off, the Chelsea bandwagon has been seriously derailed in recent weeks.

One clean sheet in seven, and four defeats in six, has seen FPL managers slowly drift away from previous high-achievers like Ben Chilwell (£6.1m) and completely desert the misfiring Timo Werner (£9.2m).

A bright start against City couldn’t be sustained and they had managed only one effort on target until second-half injury time, when substitute Hudson-Odoi popped up to ruin a clean sheet for Joao Cancelo (£5.7m) and Ruben Dias (£5.8m) – the former also seeing a projected bonus point go up in smoke.

A run-out in a central position couldn’t end an eight-match goal drought for Werner, while a hitherto solid backline – who were again missing the injured Reece James (£5.2m) – has now shipped seven goals in three matches.

Easier tests await, of course, starting with a Double Gameweek 19 home fixture against a Fulham side who have scored just two goals in their last five matches, which should provide encouragement for Fantasy managers still sitting on Chilwell.

Lampard cited youth and unavailability as mitigating excuses when interviewed after the match:

One month ago people were asking when I’m signing a new contract, and now people will be saying different things because in a tight, busy period we have lost four games of football in quick succession. The pressure remains constant in this job.

The reality is a lot of the players who have come in are new, are young, have been injured, haven’t played together. It was the first time I’ve been able to play Ziyech, Pulisic and Werner in the same team.

Without a doubt, we have the character to get out of it, because we went 16 games unbeaten. What we can control is what we do tonight and tomorrow and the next day and what we do against Morecambe and what we do against Fulham.


Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kante (Gilmour 64), Kovacic (Havertz 77), Mount; Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech (Hudson-Odoi 64).

Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Gundogan (Fernandinho 75), Rodri, Bernardo; Foden (Mahrez 86), De Bruyne (Aguero 86), Sterling.

Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 17

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

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.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

867 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tsparkes10
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 14 days ago

    Adams and McCarthy out could be a rip to my bb. -8 inbound

    1. TheDragon
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 14 days ago

      Both will be back for 19 surely

  2. TheDragon
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 14 days ago

    People benching Soucek to play Adams probably put Son third on their bench

    1. BenDavies
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 14 days ago

      This. Adams being rested reminds me of monkeys smashing a typewriter and coming out with a Shakespeare quote

      1. Captain_Shirokov
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 14 days ago

        straight into my veinsss

    2. Captain_Shirokov
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 14 days ago

      lmao injecting your tearssss

      1. TheDragon
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 14 days ago

        There are no tears

        People with that kind of decision making are probably ranked 5m+. No threat to us top 100k crew.

        Happy that people at those ranks get something to smile about occasionally

        1. Christina.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 14 days ago

          stop talking nonsense.

          1. TheDragon
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            You made a mistake - it’s ok we are all human

            1. Christina.
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 14 days ago

              I also played CTaylor over Holding(10)
              Two wrongs make a right.

              1. TheDragon
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                🙂 congrats on the monster score

                Why I have Bissouma over Soucek I’ll never know

        2. Captain_Shirokov
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 14 days ago

          lol

          was 84k at the start of the GW

          try again please

        3. Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 14 days ago

          Didn't realize you were this toxic mate

          1. TheDragon
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            If you think this is serious.... just a bit of fun - people can’t even just enjoy getting the 11 points they also want to be told they are geniuses for it

        4. In Bale We Trust
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 14 days ago

          Christ, what a load of garbage.

  3. Lovren an elevator
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 14 days ago

    Whats up with Adams?

    1. Milkman Bruno
        3 months, 14 days ago

        His temperature

        1. Twisted Saltergater
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 14 days ago

          underrated comment

          1. Milkman Bruno
              3 months, 14 days ago

              As I tell my wife “I enjoyed it anyway”

              1. Twisted Saltergater
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                If you can't love yourself then who can!

                1. Milkman Bruno
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    😆

          2. Evasivo
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            What's up with McCarthy?

            1. Duke Silver ☑
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 14 days ago

              His temperature.

              1. Evasivo
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Forster 2nd Keeper but just curious

                1. Duke Silver ☑
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  He's isolating with Covid.

          3. LewanGOALski
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            He has Soucek 1st sub

          4. Pépé Pig
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            Dinnery just tweeted he's out with concussion (guess just a precaution)

          5. tambourineman
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 14 days ago

            Concussion protocols after Dawson kicked him in the head

        2. Bielsa Murderball
            3 months, 14 days ago

            So guys, what happens if the cup tie is drawn? How is the winner declared then?

            1. Pukki Party
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 14 days ago

              Most goals scored

              1. Pukki Party
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Then fewest conceded, and if still not a winner it will be a cointoss.

                1. Bielsa Murderball
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    cheers 🙂

            2. tbos83
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Need TAA to score less that 8 points to win my cup game. Squeaky bum time

              • Trophé Mourinho
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Hmm maybe I could do Kane & DCL > Vardy & Ings for the double, for a -4. Wasnt so keen on losing Kane but if it enables DCL>Ings maybe its ok

              • jdp219
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Considering dropping Chilwell ( > City defender) so I can save my FH this week.

                Is Chilwell worthy of a hokey-cokey there, or just stick with whichever City defender I bring in? I mean, he's going to have more attacking potential than any City defender, save for Cancelo maybe.

                1. Scholes Out Forever
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  id stick with City defender. They have Palace and Villa at home

                  1. jdp219
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    Kind of what I was thinking. But Chilwell's ownership is the ultimate concern there.

              • Jordan.
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                justin for wood,soucek and dier 2and3 subs ,rookie error strong bench not sorted ,grrrr

              • Qaiss
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Bruno in the DGW even more appealing for captaincy playing against no centre backs in the first game.

              • Bees4Lyf
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                Down to 10 men for the week, cheers adams!

                1. Little Red Lacazette
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  I have Bissouma coming in. We are the same.

              • Konstaapeli
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 14 days ago

                James to

                A) Dias
                B) Stoned

                1. Konstaapeli
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  *Stomes

                  1. Konstaapeli
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    Aaaaaaaaarghhhh!

                  2. Bolivian Seaman
                    • 10 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    bake em away toys

                    1. Duke Silver ☑
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 6 Years
                      3 months, 14 days ago

                      Perfect 😆

                2. Pépé Pig
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  B

              • Milkman Bruno
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Tonight I become a saints fan

                • Woy_is_back
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  TAA haul, Salah blank

                  TA

                • Captain_Shirokov
                  • 2 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Yeah I own Adams

                  Yeah I have Soucek 1st sub

                  8)

                  1. Duke Silver ☑
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    That's just filthy.

                  2. Super Saints
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    Anyone that isn't starting Soucek v Everton don't deserve his points.

                    It's one thing having a decent bench but to get lucky enough to get them the week the score for a player no one knew was gonna miss out if disgusting luck

                    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
                      • 6 Years
                      3 months, 14 days ago

                      bit like saying you can't spell then you can't write ?

                    2. Scholes Out Forever
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 7 Years
                      3 months, 14 days ago

                      but what is the point of a good bench? so they come in when you have a benching in your first 11....

                      Soucek isnt coming on for me but im not crying about it...

                • Steve The Spud
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Need 21 from salah and bobby to get my maiden fpl century

                  1. TheDragon
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    You need 20 from Salah then

                • Firminoooo
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Soucek first on bench.....and stays first on bench. Lets go Salah(C), Mane and Robertson you can all outscore Soucek.

                • Long ago I drew a walrus
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Interesting how Liverpool play with no CBs and Everton play with 4

                • balint84
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  In dgw
                  Vardy
                  Or
                  Bamford + Adams
                  ?

                • Bookkeeper
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Jammit Che not playing!

                • Sun Jihai
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 9 Years
                  3 months, 14 days ago

                  Both OR#1 and #2 have the Adams + Soucek combo
                  Only one will get his points though

                  1. BenDavies
                    • 8 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    One is adequately punished for a poor decision, the other is the recipient of undeserved good fortune

                    1. Sun Jihai
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 9 Years
                      3 months, 14 days ago

                      OR #1 is why I don't like playing 5 (or even 4 ATB) - the pain of having a 90th minute CS wipe out!

                  2. Dino
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    They obviously know what they are doing having a good sub to come off the bench. Adams playing striker against to centre mids playing cb would have probably outscored soucek. Some noobs on here don't know their rear from their elbow

                • Milkman Bruno
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    Is 1-1 with Djnepo and Ox goals too much to ask for?

                    Tbh can see a Thiago masterclass running the game especially with no Romeu

                  • Salarrivederci
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 14 days ago

                    Lets go TAA & Robbo!
                    Outscore Salah + 5 points to send me through in the Cup 😛

                  • BeWater
                      3 months, 14 days ago

                      Playing Adams over Soucek wasn't some dumb call like people are making out. It was a 50/50 for a lot of people including myself. Liverpool with their CB issues and with Ings back meant Adams could definitely have returned. Soucek points were fairly fortunate as well. The bitterness some people have over a game is unreal.

                      1. Dino
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 11 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Shouldn't hate the player, hate the game

                      2. Ajax Hamsterdam
                        • 6 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        i would just ignore these comments to be honest

                      3. Super Saints
                        • 4 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        It was a terrible call and I'm a saint's fan, have you watched Soucek play lately

                      4. TheDragon
                        • 3 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Just no - terrible decision which has been luckily rewarded

                        Learn from your mistake and enjoy your luck

                      5. Bookkeeper
                        • 4 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        "Adams could definitely have returned"
                        Made me laugh!

                        1. Bushwhacker
                          • 1 Year
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          With Hendo as CB . . .

                        2. BeWater
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            He's a 6M forward on 70 points from 15 games. Only 5 forwards in the game have more points.

                        3. Jon Walter's Hatty
                          • 7 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          People are up their own backsides about how clever they are in a game with crazy amounts of luck and unforeseeable circumstances. Thankfully this game humbles everyone

                      6. Kizza_10
                        • 6 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        If I play the free hit chip can I make as many changes as I like up until the deadline, or do you need to stick with the free hit team you’ve got when activating the chip ?

                        1. Konstaapeli
                          • 4 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          Unlimited

                      7. Shardlow
                        • 3 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        For my telegraph fantasy football - no more transfers until the end of season.
                        Is it likely Lowton keeps his place until the end?

                        1. Dino
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 11 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          50/50 bardsley with his no nonsense approach is a favourite of dyche

                          1. Shardlow
                            • 3 Years
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            Cheers, I will avoid then and go for someone more nailed, as no subs in this game

                      8. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                        • 4 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Forster rising. People buying him with DGW BB in mind?

                        1. Duke Silver ☑
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          McCarthy should be back by then.

                          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                            • 4 Years
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            Thats what. Why are people wasting a transfer then?

                            1. Duke Silver ☑
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 6 Years
                              3 months, 14 days ago

                              Idk maybe they just realised that if they have both McCarthy and Forster in their team they will always have a starting keeper.

                        2. Pépé Pig
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 2 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          McCarthy won't be out that long

                          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                            • 4 Years
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            Yes. Why buy Forster then? Such a waste.

                      9. ajay_kl +42
                        • 10 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Mee, McCarthy and Adams out this week.

                        Soucek, Coufal and Johnstone off the bench. Will take that any day of the week

                      10. Niho992
                        • 2 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Trent haul needed !

                        1. Bushwhacker
                          • 1 Year
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          That hasn't looked very likely this season sadly.

                      11. Naby K8a
                        • 5 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Lijnders: how many midfielders should we start?
                        Klopp: yes

                        1. The Train Driver
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          Lol

                        2. Twisted Saltergater
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 11 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          Ah the infamous 271 tactic deployed by the West Bromwich Strollers in 1879.

                      12. mookie
                        • 7 Years
                        3 months, 14 days ago

                        Who will play in the center of the mid 3 for Pool?

                        1. Firmino
                          • 5 Years
                          3 months, 14 days ago

                          Gini Ox Thiago

                          1. Firmino
                            • 5 Years
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            Oh, I think Gini

                          2. mookie
                            • 7 Years
                            3 months, 14 days ago

                            Cheers!