Southampton 0-1 Man City
- Goals: Raheem Sterling (£11.4m)
- Assists: Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m)
- Bonus points: Rúben Dias x3 (£5.6m), Kyle Walker x2 (£6.2m), John Stones x2 (£4.8m), João Cancelo x2 (£5.5m)
WHATEVER YOU CAN DO…
Manchester City’s goal-scoring problems persisted in their 1-0 win over Southampton in Gameweek 14.
Despite hurling 25 shots at the Saints, Pep Guardiola’s men found the net just once, a result made all the more frustrating for the Citizens by Liverpool’s 7-0 crushing of Crystal Palace.
You can be sure that Fantasy Premier League managers picked up on that disparity too, not least in the case of Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m).
The pair scored eight and five points respectively while Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) and Sadio Mané (£11.9m) bagged 16 and nine-point hauls.
It has been an ongoing problem for City of course, especially in comparison to Liverpool.
The latest results mean that, over their last four matches, the Reds have scored 14 goals to the Citizens’ four.
Accordingly, while Salah has averaged 10.8 points per game in that spell, De Bruyne has scored 6.5 points per game.
Furthermore, the Egyptian arguably has more appealing fixtures in the short-term too. After hosting Newcastle next time out, Manchester City travel to face Everton and Chelsea. But during that time Liverpool host West Bromwich Albion, travel to Newcastle and then Southampton.
TOOTHLESS IN ATTACK
Manchester City were certainly not helped in terms of their offensive capabilities at Southampton by the latest injury news.
Gabriel Jesus (£9.2m) missed the trip south due to a problem with his teeth, while Sergio Aguero (£10.3m) was still only ready enough for a place on the bench.
“He had a condition in his teeth in the last game and he’s not available.” – Pep Guardiola
Guardiola’s solution to his centre-forward problem was to recall winger Ferran Torres (£6.9m) for a first Premier League start since Gameweek 10.
Despite showing some decent form in October and November, especially in European games and for his country, the Spaniard could not find the space to add much to Manchester City’s attack on Saturday.
The same was true of Riyad Mahrez (£8.4m) who replaced Torres in the 71st minute.
The centre-forward role is one that has hindered Manchester City significantly this season and, against Southampton, it certainly caused problems for De Bruyne’s points potential.
Denied the space to run into and stretch opposing defences against West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United, the Belgian had plenty of it at St Mary’s.
He finished this game top for chances created (four) but only Sterling was able to convert.
The most agonising moment of the match for De Bruyne’s owners was in the 53rd minute when he put an excellent pass on a plate for Bernardo Silva (£7.4m), who scuffed the shot.
John Stones (£4.8m) continues to sneak under the Fantasy radar, returning to the starting XI against Southampton and recording his fourth clean sheet in four appearances. For the second outing in a row, the former Everton man secured two bonus points too.
The shut-out itself is made all the more impressive considering this was the first time Southampton have drawn a blank at home this season, scoring at least twice in every match at St. Mary’s thus far, although they did lose Danny Ings (£8.4m) to hamstring injury in the first half.
“It’s a hamstring problem. I’m not sure how much, but it’s clear we were taking a risk with another game for 90 minutes when he has played twice in the week after the long injury, so we hope it’s not too bad.” – Ralph Hasenhüttl
Either way, it should be to Stones’ credit that the Gameweek 13 draw with West Bromwich Albion, which he missed, was the only match since Gameweek 10 (his first start since Gameweek 2) that Manchester City conceded.
The reason behind that is that Stones is fast forming an excellent understanding with Rúben Dias (£5.6m), winning the ball back and allowing his centre-back partner to carry it forward.
Manchester City are yet to concede when the two have started a match together and, with what might be considered a rest in Gameweek 13, Stones has to be pushing to be involved across the whole of Christmas.
Until recently, Dias has been the only City defender worth considering for reliable starts, in light of Guardiola’s periodic rotation of João Cancelo (£5.5m), Kyle Walker (£6.2m) and Benjamin Mendy (£5.9m) across the left and right-back positions.
However, four starts in five, plus an admirable record in those outings, has warrant serious Fantasy consideration for Stones, especially with a Blank Gameweek 18 on the back of our minds.
Southampton XI (4-4-2): A McCarthy; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Djenepo (Redmond 59′), Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Walcott; Adams (Nlundulu 82′), Ings (Tella 41′).
Manchester City XI (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Walker; Rodri, Gündogan; Sterling, De Bruyne, B Silva; Torres (Mahrez 72′).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 14
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