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. Peekay
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 29 days ago

    Play Rashford (v Burnley) or Lacazette(v Crystal palace)?

    1. RealSocialDads
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Why have you got this benching headache? Surely bench someone else

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        This

      2. Peekay
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Sorry. I meant who to transfer in on a FH

      3. My heart goes Salalalalah
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        It's probably not bench players. It's who to buy and formation

      4. Sterling Malory
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Bizarre that you even considered this a benching problem

    2. DannyDrinkVodka
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Upside is with Lacazette, I went through the same thought process

  2. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 29 days ago

    Another combination to evaluate lads...

    A. Dias Saiss Rashford
    B. Dias Wilson Lacazette
    C. Stones Wilson Lacazette

    Rest of the team unaffected bar bench fodder.
    Lloris
    Cancelo Tierney
    KDB (C) Bruno (v) Son Saka
    Kane

    1. SilentLemonMan
        2 months, 29 days ago

        B

      • Taegugk Warrior
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        C

      • Sparky6670
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        B

        Gives you the same outfield 10 as I have!

        Utd half an eye on Anfield at the weekend and Dias is better than Stones

    2. wattalowz
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Lindelof a safe pick on Free Hit?

      Can’t afford AWB.

      Thanks

      1. KINGS
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Yup

      2. Rains of Castamere
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Not 100% safe. Burnley are physical and play lots of crosses, Bailly more dominant in the air.

        1. Atletico Junior
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          Think Bailly is injured

    3. Rbyrne95
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Finally, nearly there, only one wee dilemma left.
      Darlow
      Stones, Dias, Tierney,
      Smith-Rowe, KDB, Son, Fernandes, Rashford,
      Kane Lacazette

      A) Keep
      B) Smith Rowe & Dias > Saka and Saiss or Shaw
      C) Darlow, Smith-Rowe & Dias > DDG, Saka and Fernandez

    4. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Best option on FH?

      A. Saiss
      B. Stones
      C. Maguire

      1. Rbyrne95
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Clean sheet potential probably Stones, Attacking returns probably Saiss, Maguire in the middle. It depends on the rest of your team.

      2. Sid07
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        B

      3. HMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        B. the most likely to score 6pts

      4. KINGS
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        C

    5. In a Rush
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Afternoon all do we think reguilon will play?
      Have him at the moment on Fh but a little worried.

    6. SomeoneKnows
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Which is the most nailed 4.3 Newcastle defender? Yedlin? Manquilo? Is there any reason to select Clark over them?

      1. Don Kloppeone
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Yedlin at that price point.
        Clark is marginally better but prob not worth downgrading elsewhere to raise the 0.2

        1. SomeoneKnows
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          Thanks! Then its settled, Yedlin & Brewster on bench for my FH team

      2. The Train Driver
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Lascelles 4.2 but so fragile...

    7. Don Kloppeone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Final decisions time on FH!

      A) AWB, Saka, Laca
      B) Shaw, Rashford, (Brewster)

      In A) either Wilson or Saka will have to be benched - If so who?!

      Lloris
      XXXX, Cancelo, Tierney
      KDB, Bruno, Son, Gundogan, XXXX
      Kane, Wilson, XXXX
      (Steer) ( , Yedlin, Mitchell)

      Cheers and GL all!

      1. Karan14
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        B

        1. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          You have faith in United doing the business vs BUR?

          I feel slightly uncomfortable with both options in different ways - going all in on Utd or ARS atm feels wrong!

          1. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 29 days ago

            You could do Gündogan over Saka in A?

      2. RAFA THE GAFFA
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        It’s too hard to call between Laca and Rash for me

    8. jayzico
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Latest Leeds update that most of you have probably seen anyway:

      https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/sport/leeds-united/leeds-united-southampton-brighton-latest-19606703

      I've got Meslier and Bamford. I'm keeping regardless of no Southampton. They've got Brighton too in the DGW

      1. HMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        got bamford dallas and sold adams to rodrigo in gw17 in prep for the dwg

    9. Railwayman
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Is it a big risk to play this week with 7 players? Most of them would be the big hitters and double City defense. I don't want to use my chips in this week, rather take a punch this week and recover afterwards. What are your plans ?

      1. Maarrrr17
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Im probably gonna take a -8 to put 10 out (including brewster) , then probably a -4 for 10 dgw next week.
        No FH or other chips played i dont think

      2. Atletico Junior
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        If you get captain right, you will be okay

    10. Villa Velour
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Gtg? FH.

      Lloris;
      Cancelo, Stones, AWB, Holding;
      Bruno, Rash, KdB, Son;
      Kane, Wilson.

      1. ChelseaGuy
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Looks neat

    11. Alli
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      This FH team GTG?

      Leno
      AWB - Stones - Holding - Clark
      KDB - Bruno - Son - Rashford
      Kane - Lacazette

      Forster - Brewster - Burke - Douglas

    12. ChelseaGuy
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      A) Darlow Dias Holding
      B) DDG Stones Dier

    13. Make Arrows Green Again
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Not quite convinced on the Manchester United love right now at either end of the pitch.

      Burnley don't concede many, especially at home and especially on current form. And I'm not sure United are organised enough at the back to be able to defend against the Burnley set piece threat.

      1. Rbyrne95
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        This but I can't afford Sterling, so going for double city defence and Rashford Bruno double up.

        1. Make Arrows Green Again
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          My thinking is I'm not going well (around the 1m mark) and I want to differentiate myself from the template as much as possible for one week only. It does rely on hoping Fernandes and Rashford fail though which is a big risk!

          I will have to suck up other highly-owned players with good fixtures like Son and Kane, but United in this one fixture - for me a bit of a risk.

          Looks like we're hoping for opposite things so good luck to you!

      2. Pompel
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Burnley won't score

        1. Make Arrows Green Again
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          Seems unlikely but that I can't stop thinking about that
          Istanbul Basaksehir Ba goal

        2. Rbyrne95
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          I think this on one hand whilst thinking Burnley ariel threat and United conceded 2 against SU & WB. Constant deliberation.

    14. Slim25
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Thoughts on this FH team?

      Darlow
      Tierney, Cancelo, AWB
      Bruno, KDB (C), Son, Foden, Saka
      Laca, Kane

      Cheers!

    15. GE
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Stones or Gundogan? (last City spot)

      1. Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Stones

      2. ChelseaGuy
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        City defender for me

      3. In a Rush
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        I’m on Gundogan at the moment one of the most in form players in the game

    16. Peekay
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Who to transfer in on a FH.
      a) Rashford (v Burnley)
      b) Lacazette(v Crystal palace)?

    17. Rupert The Horse
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Anyone ever done a wild card on a phone? Bloody laborious task.

      1. ChelseaGuy
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        I always do everything on my phone

        1. Rupert The Horse
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          Can’t imagine how you visualise things

      2. WALOR
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        It's murder - you can't get to a laptop?

        1. Rupert The Horse
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          I’ve never had a computer. So I always use my wife’s. But she’s working flat out at the moment so I’m not even allowed to enter her office let alone use the computer.

      3. Hybrid.power
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Yeah I hate it. I always break out the laptop for planning decisions.

        1. Rupert The Horse
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 29 days ago

          Don’t mind a simple transfer, but I need the ticker, notes, FPL stats etc all laid out for me.

    18. In a Rush
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Any thoughts on this draft please?

      De gea
      Tierney reguilon cancelo
      Kdb (c) Bruno Gündogan son
      Kane(v) Wilson Lacazette

      Button Esr Fernández Mitchell
      Cheers good luck

    19. Tmel
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      AWB or Maguire a better FH option?

    20. Pringle
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Good afternoon all. Anything to change here?

      Darlow 4.0
      Tierney Stones Cancelo Kilman Mitchell
      KDB Saka Bruno Son Burke
      Laca Wilson Kane

    21. Disturbed
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Pick one on fh

      A. Ddg cancelo esr
      B. Leno awb gundogan

      1. Deulofail
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        A

    22. Yozzer
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 29 days ago

      Which one fellas ?

      A Raphinha to Saka
      B 3.9 def to Holding

      I presume Leeds and Southampton is a non dgw19 now

      1. Saka_me_sideways
          2 months, 29 days ago

          A, but only because Saka is more exciting than holding.

          1. Yozzer
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 29 days ago

            Thank you

      2. OneDennisBergkamp
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 29 days ago

        Anyone on Foden? seems like he is buzzing right now

        1. Saka_me_sideways
            2 months, 29 days ago

            High risk, high reward.
            Can see the attraction for a one week FH punt

          • Dosh
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 29 days ago

            Yes and even better pick if Sterling is out

        2. Saka_me_sideways
            2 months, 29 days ago

            Please help guys, I’m having a melt down over who to play out of:

            A: Wilson
            B: Gundogan

            ???

            Wilson probably the “obvious” pick but Newcastle are average at best.

            1. Villa Velour
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 29 days ago

              Is this for a FH?

              1. Saka_me_sideways
                  2 months, 29 days ago

                  Yes

                  1. Villa Velour
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    2 months, 29 days ago

                    I'd avoid having value on bench then. I like both picks.

                    1. Saka_me_sideways
                        2 months, 29 days ago

                        Yeah I get what you mean, but I wouldn’t mind a semi decent first sub just in case.
                        Also really happy with the other 10 starters so nothing to spend it on.

                        1. Villa Velour
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          2 months, 29 days ago

                          Yeah up to you mate. It's just on a FH, imo, you should be getting the most value out of the 11 players you can and then play fodders on bench.

                          1. Saka_me_sideways
                              2 months, 29 days ago

                              Lloris
                              Maguire / Teirney / Cancelo
                              KDB / Son / Bruno / Saka
                              Kane / Laca

                              That’s the other 10, for context... feel like it would be spending money for the sake of it.
                              Really appreciate your thoughts tho.

                              1. Villa Velour
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 5 Years
                                2 months, 29 days ago

                                Yeah that's a strong team, I see what you mean. Only thing I'd consider is double City defence over Gundo.

                                1. Saka_me_sideways
                                    2 months, 29 days ago

                                    Thanks.
                                    Did think that in a 4-4-2... feels a bit odd on a FH though, attack is more fun to own.

                    2. Alisson WondHaaland
                      • 5 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Gundo imo

                      1. Saka_me_sideways
                          2 months, 29 days ago

                          Thanks

                    3. gellinmagellan
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Start ESR (have Tierney and Laca) or Wilson?

                    4. tabby98
                      • 5 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Best 4.9m defender?

                      Already have Stones and I'm unsure about whether Shaw will start. Someone help pls?

                    5. jamesjoseph2770
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Any WC template team for GW 18 that works for 19 as well?

                      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
                        • 6 Years
                        2 months, 29 days ago

                        Sure

                      2. Rains of Castamere
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 6 Years
                        2 months, 29 days ago

                        Give Let'sTalkFPL latest video a watch, Andy's content is good.

                    6. Ajax Hamsterdam
                      • 6 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Bowen or Barnes on WC ? Have soucek and vardy. Thanks

                    7. Marc Jobling
                      • 9 Years
                      2 months, 29 days ago

                      Torn between:

                      - Saka or Gundogan
                      - Lacazette or Wilson

                      1. sthelenslad92
                        • 5 Years
                        2 months, 29 days ago

                        Saka & Laca

                      2. Saka_me_sideways
                          2 months, 29 days ago

                          Tough one, but surely A gives you money to spend elsewhere?... therefore that one.

                          1. ChelseaGuy
                            • 4 Years
                            2 months, 29 days ago

                            A?

                            1. Saka_me_sideways
                                2 months, 29 days ago

                                Yes

                          2. ChelseaGuy
                            • 4 Years
                            2 months, 29 days ago

                            Saka Laca