Pro Pundit Teams

The value Man City options on offer for Blank Gameweek 18 and beyond

Planning anything in this crazy Fantasy Premier League season is proving rather difficult. Even as I’m writing this, the Blank Gameweek 18 schedule has changed once again. 

Aston Villa’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur has now been officially called off, and in its place, Spurs’ home game with Fulham has been added.

I keep telling myself to ‘embrace the chaos’, but it does make planning kind of hard! However, as Fantasy managers, we need to adapt quickly, so in this, my latest column, I’m going to talk Blank Gameweek 18, with a heavy focus on Manchester City and their opponents, Brighton and Hove Albion. 

I will also touch upon some of the other teams involved this week, and highlight a few standout statistics relating to them. 

BRIGHTON’S DEFENCE

City’s opponents in Blank Gameweek 18, Brighton, shipped another three goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out, which takes them to a total of 28 this season. Only West Bromwich Albion (39), Leeds United (33), Crystal Palace and Sheffield United (29) have conceded more.

However, the defensive statistics suggest they’ve been a bit unlucky. Based on expected goals (xG), they should have conceded just 18.66. They’ve also conceded the third fewest shots.

When analysing the goals they’ve let in, we can see six have been from penalties and seven from set-pieces. That suggests a lack of concentration, or discipline. Whatever you want to call it, it’s worrying, and to highlight it, you just need to watch Dan Burn’s (£4.2m) performance against Wolves in Gameweek 17. 

The fact they tend to switch-off could also stem from the keeper. Before he was dropped, Matt Ryan (£4.3m) was obviously struggling, and I have doubts that Robert Sánchez (£4.4m) is the long-term solution. To be fair to him, he has made some good saves, but he’s still young and will make mistakes.

So, knowing Brighton are susceptible to conceding from set-plays, finding a place in your squad for one of City’s biggest aerial threats, Rúben Dias (£5.8m) or John Stones (£5.0m), makes a lot of sense to me. Dias is due a goal too, having racked up an xG of 0.76 without scoring. It goes without saying that Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) is a good option too, but his set-pieces could be really important this week, which gives him the edge over team-mate Raheem Sterling (£11.4m).

MAN CITY’S DEFENCE, AND THE IMPACT OF DIAS AND STONES

Sky Fantasy Football: Sticks and Stones? Who to bring in before the Overhaul? 2

City have conceded 13 goals in 15 Premier League games this season, and just three in their last 12 in all competitions. Dias has played a huge part in that, and has probably been their best player this term, but Stones has offered real balance alongside him. As a partnership, they’ve given up just one goal in eight starts together!

Pep Guardiola’s side are clearly the best defensive play this week, and when you look at their schedule to follow (see below), a defensive double-up is really appealing.

CANCELO’S POSITIONING

João Cancelo (£5.8m) has looked really sharp this season, standing in at left-back most of the time.

However, with Kyle Walker (£6.1m) out of action, he’s moved to the right, and has often found himself pushing ahead of the holding midfielder when in possession, and occupying spaces on the edge of the oppositions box.

To highlight this, here’s his combined touch heatmap from the recent games against Newcastle United and Chelsea:

In Blank Gameweek 18, City will have a lot of possession in Brighton’s half, and will surely turn to the likes of Cancelo to unlock their defence. I know I say this a lot, but attacking returns look imminent here!

GUNDOGAN’S NEW ROLE

Another player whose role has changed in recent weeks is Ilkay Gündogan (£5.4m), who has been taking up a more advanced position. That’s coincided with goals against West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle and Chelsea.

Rather than playing as a second player in a double-pivot, he’s now more of a number eight and taking up some smart positions in the box, something he touched upon in a recent interview:

“… 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.” – Ilkay Gündogan

His seven shots in the box and four big chances in their last four matches are more than any team-mate, and his five shots on target are joint-top with De Bruyne. Here you can see where he’s been shooting from over that period, with his attempts on target in green:

If Gündogan continues in this role, I think he’s a viable option, and if you’re not comfortable with a defensive double-up, pairing the German international with De Bruyne could be a nice play.

So, moving away from City, here’s a few standout statistics and observations relating to some of the other teams involved this week:

  • Manchester United have scored 21 goals in their seven Premier League away matches this season, averaging three per game – not bad, is it? It’s also worth noting Marcus Rashford (£9.6m) is yet to blank on his travels, registering six goals and four assists in seven appearances. Yes, Burnley are a decent defensive team, but can be exposed by better sides, and a midfield double-up involving Rashford and Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) looks sound this week.
  • Since Boxing Day, Arsenal have scored eight goals. They’ve also taken more shots and had more attempts in the box than any other side during that time. This week, I see the wide players being key, so Bukayo Saka (£5.3m) is near the top of my Watchlist. Since moving to the right-flank, no midfielder has taken more shots in the box, and he’s also been on corner duties too. However, if you’re working with a smaller budget, Emile Smith Rowe (£4.4m) is another nice option.
  • Though there have been signs of improvement at Arsenal recently, Wilfried Zaha (£7.4m) can cause them problems. Let’s not forget, the Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet at home this season. I also think they look vulnerable against quick players who like to run at them, which should suit Zaha. If you can fit him in, he should do well.
  • Over the course of the season, only two teams have given up more big chances than Sheffield United. Bearing in mind Callum Wilson (£6.6m) has been directly involved in five of Newcastle’s eight away goals in the Premier League this season, plugging him into one of your forward positions makes a lot of sense this week. The Blades are also on a club record 20 league matches without a win, and are yet to keep a clean sheet.
  • In this climate, filling your Free Hit benches with Sheffield United and Newcastle players looks wise, seeing as they kick off shortly after deadline. The likes of Ethan Ampadu (£4.3m), Jayden Bogle (£4.3m), Rhian Brewster (£4.5m) and DeAndre Yedlin (£4.3m) are all cheap and should get some minutes, and at least contribute a few points from the bench in case of any disruption to Wednesday or Thursday night’s fixtures.

So, best of luck in Blank Gameweek 18 everyone, and thanks for reading!

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1,530 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 27 days ago

    PUP

  2. Flynny
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Morning. Who is better free hit option please?

    A....Wilson 343

    B...neto 352

    Thanks

    1. Runaway
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      A

    2. Colonel Shoe 肝池
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      A

    3. Dosh
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      B

  3. DK_13
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    DCL to whom for a hit? Max 8.9
    Already have Bamford and kane.
    A)laca
    B)martial
    C)save
    D)other(which one?)

  4. Mattymo23
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    % chances of Martial starting?

    1. Hot Toddy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      100

      1. Totalfootball
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Really ?

  5. Runaway
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    If LEE/SOU do not have a double (and we know that before the deadline):

    A) Raphinha > Saka/ESR for -4

    B) KWP > Stones for -4

    C) KWP + Raphinha > Stones + Saka/ESRfor -8

    D) Bamford + Raphinha > Lacazette + ESR for -8

    1. Voodoo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      I like A.

    2. abhirup780
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      I'd do only B

  6. Super Saints
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    This article has made me want Dias and Rashford over Laca and Wilson

  7. Colonel Shoe 肝池
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    No love for digne?

    1. Hot Toddy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      None.

  8. Yann12
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Free hit!
    A Tierney - Smith R
    B Holding - Saka

    tx!

    1. kennethrhcp
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Both in your starting 11? B looks safe option

      I like a tho

  9. Muscout
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 27 days ago

    For this week only on FH
    A) AWB
    B) Tierney - Already have Leno
    C) Someone else in same price range

    1. Yann12
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Not A!

      1. Muscout
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Any reason why not?

      2. Yann12
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        hey, just gut feeling about MU not keeping a CS

    2. Sarri-ball
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Stones?

      1. Muscout
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Should have mentioned have Stones and Cancelo already!

  10. Jdpz
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Rate this fh team:

    DDG 4.0
    Cancelo Aurier Tierney Fernandez (Mitchell)
    KDB Bruno Son Rashford (ESR)
    Kane Wilson (Davis)

    Any changes?

  11. as33
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Should i do Sterling>KDB for a hit?

    1. Sarri-ball
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Gota wait for pep press con

      Sterling out def worth hit
      Or if fit not worth hit

  12. Sarri-ball
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Better value going forwars

    Saka 5.2 or smith-rowe 4.4

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Smith Rowe for me. He could be a season keeper.

      The issue is other good mids like. Soucek and the big hitters. Gives a problem down the line, you will have to sell a big hitter

  13. wilson007
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Planning ahead for DGW19...

    A) Rashford Antonio
    B) Salah Brewster

    Both will play (as probably BBing).

  14. Pukkipartyy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    I think i found pretty nice draft. RMFHT 1/10

    Lloris
    Stones Tierney Cancelo
    Saka Bruno Son KDB
    Laca Kane Martial

    4.0 Anguissa Clark Mitchell

    1. WG010692
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Decent! All the same apart from Martial, I have Wilson... Good luck!!

  15. greggles
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Going to do -8 and keep my free hit.

    Grealish > Gundogan
    Salah > KDB
    Balbuena > Lindelof

    Leaves me with no goalkeeper and:

    Cancelo / Lindelof / Taylor*
    KDB(c) / Gundogan / Bruno / Son / Saka
    Brewster / Kane

    Thoughts?

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Just do Salah to KDB and Balbuena to Stones if you can.

      1. greggles
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        That was my original plan, so I have gone with it. Cheers!

  16. BBC_TF
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Is that FH team ready to go? Deciding against Rashford because Burnley rarely concedes a lot at home:

    Lloris
    Cancelo Stones Maguire (Shaw Mitchell)
    KDB Son Bruno Saka (ESR)
    Kane Laca Wilson

    1. iL PiStOlErO
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      This. Bravo. Gtg.

    2. diesel001
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Almost template (and that is a good thing IMO).

      Swap Stones and Maguire for Tierney and AWB and you are there on template.

      1. BBC_TF
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        already with 3 ARS

    3. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Who are you going to Captain?

      1. BBC_TF
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        kane i think

  17. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    News on Leeds Southampton?

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      70% postponed imo

      1. fr3d
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        This number came out of your ass mate

        1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 27 days ago

          oh, you are so eloquent, I bet your mom thought you

    2. Calculated Risks
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Still just rumours it may be put back so soton can play Shrewsbury in the cup

  18. g40steve
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Any tweaks needed?

    Leno,
    Stones, Cancelo, Dier
    Rashford, Bruno, Son, KDB
    Kane, Laca, Wilson

    1. iL PiStOlErO
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Gtg

      1. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Cheers

    2. WG010692
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Done very well to afford all that! Great team

  19. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    The team:

    Cancelo Mitchel Maquire

    KDB Bruno Son

    Kane

    Options I am considering:

    a) 12 pt hit: Justin, El Ghazi and DCL out for Stones, Rashford, McColdrick
    b) 4pt hit, just get Stones for Justin

    c) Another option is WC.

    What you think? reasons for your thinking if possible please.

    thanks,

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      anyone lads?

    2. diesel001
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      This is the template FH:

      Lloris
      Cancelo Tierney AWB
      KDB Bruno Son Saka
      Kane Laca Wilson

      You have 7 of them basically. Which of those do you not own that you are scared of over the longer term? Take the hit(s) for them.

    3. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      b

    4. El Fenomeno R9
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      I like A,dead wood out could pay off instant and WC saved

      1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        cheers lads

  20. Captain_Shirokov
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Reguilon is likely to start over Davies this week - yes or no?

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      70% Yes IMO

    2. iL PiStOlErO
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Davies is predicted here in line ups but I also think Regulion starts

    3. ChelseaGuy
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Stuck on the same thing

  21. FPL ElasticO
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Which combo the best for FH?

    A. Wilson / Stones / 3.8 defender
    B. McGoldrick / Dias / Dier

  22. Calculated Risks
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Any love for this fh team?
    Can see wolves everton being very low scoring and city demolishing Brighton. I know theres just 1 manu and no Kane.

    Darlow (Areola)
    Tierney, Saiss, Holgate (Lowton, Mitchell)
    KDB, Sterling, Gundogan, Bruno, Son
    Laca, Wilson (Brewster)

    1. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      it's different with no City D
      i think it's more likely one of the defenders gets 6+ points whereas Gundogan needs an attacking return to cover this - could work out though

  23. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Rash or Laca? Still torn.

    A. Rashford+Smith Rowe (3-5-2)
    B. Lacazette+Saka (3-4-3)

    Lloris
    Cancelo, Tierney, Stones
    KDB, Bruno, Son, XXX, XXX
    Kane, Wilson, XXX

  24. Mane Mane Mane
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Need help A or B

    A
    Lloris (4.0)
    Cancelo AWB Dier (Mitchell, Douglas)
    KDB Sterling Saka Fernandez Neto
    Kane Wilson (Brewster)

    Or B
    Lloris (4.0)
    Cancelo AWB Dier (Clark, Douglas)
    KDB Gundogan Neto Fernandez (Burke)
    Kane Wilson Lacazette

    Which one guys?

  25. Bobby_Baggio
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Tweak to FH team. Thoughts? Laca over Rash sound right?

    Lloris
    Tierney - Stones - Cancelo
    Son - Bruno - Saka - KDB(C)
    Kane - Wilson - Laca

    4m - Yedlin - Mitchell - Anguissa

    1. diesel001
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 27 days ago

      Pretty much template. Swap Stones for AWB then you are on template exactly.

      1. Bobby_Baggio
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 27 days ago

        Yea I know template and boring. Keeping double city as think they'll get CS where as utd will concede. Cheers.

  26. Ohh1454
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Is martial a good option this week and for the double ? Thinking Zouma and DCL to stones and martial for -4

  27. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Dier or Tierney?

  28. Salarrivederci
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    A thread to all GW18 WC'ers.
    Which players are you u bringing in on a non BB19 WC team or which players are you bringing in on a BB19 WC team?

    KDB, Cancelo, Stones/Dias, Bruno, Rashford, AWB & Son seems nailed on in my WC18 no BB19 team at the moment. Want to hear Parker tell us Areola is good to go, then he is nailed too.

  29. Tingate
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    -8 can get me this, save Free Hit? Also, if I hit Free Hit i'll need to take a -8 next week to get the City players in anyway.

    Guaita
    Cancelo - Mitchell - Dias
    KDB - Fernandes - Burke
    Lacazette

  30. Genji3lade
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 27 days ago

    Best option on FH:

    A.) Wilson, Saka, Stones
    B.) Laca, Smith-Rowe, Yedlin

    In short - prefer Laca over Wilson but is downgrading Saka and Stones worth it?