Man City 3-0 Spurs
- Goals: Rodri (£5.3m), Ilkay Gündogan x2 (£6.0m)
- Assists: Gündogan, Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), Ederson (£6.1m)
- Bonus points: Gündogan x3, Ederson x2, Rodri x1
ON THE SPOT
Manchester City’s penalty-taking saga of 2020/21 took another intriguing turn in their 3-0 win over Spurs.
After the first match of Double Gameweek 24, the club’s designated spot-kick taker remains unknown even though they scored a penalty on Saturday.
Fresh from his Gameweek 23 miss at Anfield, Ilkay Gündogan (£6.0m) did not step up this time, even though it was him who won the latest penalty.
Despite Ederson (£6.1m) waltzing to the half-way line, figurative cap in hand and sporting puppy-dog eyes, Pep Guardiola would not let his goalkeeper anywhere near the penalty.
Instead, Rodri (£5.3m) was the man who grabbed the ball and took it.
His effort was not exactly convincing, squeezing just under Hugo Lloris‘ (£ outstretched palm in what could have been a save for the Spurs goalkeeper.
Incredibly, that was the midfielder’s first-ever penalty in club football, the fact he took it simply coming down to his attitude, based on his post-match quotes.
“No (I’ve never taken a penalty in my club career before). I was a bit angry the last weeks because we’ve been missing many penalties, more than we expect. You have to score big penalties. I grabbed the ball and nobody take it away from me. We were laughing in the locker room. Next penalty, I’m going to take.” – Rodri
However, Guardiola was keen to nip Rodri’s enthusiasm in the bud, citing the fortune associate with the Spaniard’s penalty and ruling out any chance of him establishing himself as the first-choice taker.
“No (Rodri has not done enough to convince me he is Manchester City’s penalty taker). The taker was no good. We were lucky. So I love and admire the courage to take it but he was not a good taker. We were lucky.” – Pep Guardiola
Naturally, journalists put the question of Ederson taking a penalty to the Manchester City manager, which perhaps carried more weight considering his 70-yard pass to assist Gündogan’s second goal of the night.
“If he can play that pass from 70 yards he can shoot from 12. His quality of the shot is good. I know him. Penalties are different. I need to think.” – Pep Guardiola
For all Gündogan’s brilliance in Man City’s 3-0 win, his burgeoning ownership will still have one eye on Guardiola’s next press conference.
After racking up his fourth double-figure haul since Gameweek 19, the German international asked to be brought off in the 68th minute, clutching his groin.
Guardiola revealed after the game that they would not know enough to assess the damage and provide a return date until he had been looked at tomorrow.
“We will see (how he is) tomorrow. He told me (his groin) was tight. He is intelligent to say it but we will see tomorrow.” – Pep Guardiola
Aside from the injury latest, Gündogan owners will be pleased with one development in Double Gameweek 24: how he combines with Gabriel Jesus (£9.2m).
We recently reported that the midfielder was struggling to occupy advanced pockets of space when Guardiola deployed a centre-forward instead of a false-nine.
But it appears that Gündogan is rapidly learning to overcome that stumbling block.
Against Spurs, he pressed into dangerous areas with ominous regularity, popping up to get on the end of passes from Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) and Ederson in the second half after winning a penalty for a similar run in the first.
DIAS ANOTHER DAY
Even though Manchester City recording a 14th clean sheet of the season, the somewhat surprising absentee was Rúben Dias (£6.1m).
It was the first time Guardiola’s men had taken to the field in the Premier League without him since Gameweek 3.
Judging by the manager’s pre-match quotes, his midweek illness likely played a part in that benching though.
“He had the fever and didn’t feel good. Aymeric played so we went with him.” – Pep Guardiola
Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) enjoyed a largely uneventful evening alongside John Stones (£5.2m) and, considering he has now started three of the last four matches for City, it is clear the competition for centre-back places is continually on the rise.
As a result, João Cancelo (£6.1m) is now the most popular defender among Guardiola’s men, boasting 23.0% ownership worldwide.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko, Laporte, Stones, Cancelo; Gündogan, Rodri, B Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Foden.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; B Davies, Dier, D Sánchez, Tanganga; Højbjerg, Ndombèlé; Son, Moura, Lamela; Kane.
Elsewhere in Double Gameweek 24
James Maddison (£7.4m), Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) got the goals for Leicester as they executed an impressive second-half comeback to beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday lunch-time.
The latter looks set to emerge from the King Power Stadium with the most impressive tally as he recorded a goal and an assist, putting him in the running for two bonus points.
It was bad news for owners of Liverpool defenders as Ozan Kabak‘s (£5.0m) debut ended in disaster. Goalkeeper Alisson (£5.9m) collided with him in the 81st minute, allowing Vardy to convert into an open net.
With goals for Maddison (15.2%-owned) and Vardy (14.8%), the fact that Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) also found the net means the Fantasy masses are likely to be content with the way Double Gameweek 24 has begun.
The Egyptian is owned by 42.7% of managers worldwide, although was not considered a big part of the captaincy by the highest-performing managers.
Just 0.5% of the top 10k handed him the armband this week, a total of nine players receiving more attention in that department, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m)
Burnley got their Double Gameweek off to a relatively positive start, although it came at some cost.
As expected, they secured a clean sheet against a Crystal Palace attack still yet to score a Premier League goal without Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) in the team this season.
Nick Pope (£5.5m) secured an eight-point score thanks to three saves and a one bonus while Matt Lowton (£4.5m) score his first-ever goal for Burnley.
While it was a rare attacking return for the right-back, he capitalised on Crystal Palace’s well-documented problems defending their left flank of late, recently discussed in our Double Gameweek 24 preview article.
However, the second half produced two concerning injuries for Sean Dyche’s men.
Ben Mee (£5.0m) was taken off with a potentially serious head injury, receiving extensive treatment on the pitch and coming off wearing a brace.
And minutes later, Erik Pieters (£4.3m) felt a groin problem develop and was replaced by Phil Bardsley (£4.4m)
Fantasy managers invested in the Burnley defence will know the impact Mee has had this season and with Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) still sidelined, their left-back position could also be a problem against Fulham…