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. Nightcrawler
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Looks like im set

    -4 and a crap team on top of that. Only thing that can save me is cap exploding and other cap options fialing

    Stones Maguire Dier Lewis Mitchell

    Son KDB Bruno

    Kane Brewster

    1. Villa Velour
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Who's your cap? I've been roped into playing FH so I'm captaining Kane.

      1. Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Yeah looks like kane for me too. Hood news for u is my caps have hauled almost every week this season

    2. Villa Velour
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 11 days ago

      Who's your cap this week mate? I'm going Mo.

  2. wulfranian
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Any news on Sterling?

  3. OneDennisBergkamp
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Darlow surely not getting dropped?

    1. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      What makes you say that?

      1. OneDennisBergkamp
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        be a bit ruthless, played all season and hes done well

        1. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Said the same about Martinez. I think he's gonna get dropped. Dubravka was their player of the season last year and one of the best non top 6 goalies.

        2. The Train Driver
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Oh I thought you said surely getting dropped. Don't think he'll get dropped either but is like one mistake away...

    2. Jam0sh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Well Dubravka is really good keeper so wouldn't be too surprised to see him in goal

    3. Gazza2000
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Can't see him getting dropped, his place to lose imo

  4. gellinmagellan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Gundogan or Foden on the FH?

    1. RyanMK
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Gun

    2. Saka_me_sideways
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Gundo imo. Cheaper, more nailed.

      • Reacher
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Foden

      • Alisson WondHaaland
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Gundo is just a much safer pick who could easily outscore Foden even if he plays. I'd just take Gundo's value tbh, Foden's too risky

        1. In a Rush
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Gündogan for me

      • Gazza2000
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Foden

    3. RyanMK
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Have playing this week.

      Mitchell - Dias
      KDB - Fernandes - Saka
      Laca Kane

      Worth doing Grealish to Son for another -4? Have already incurred -4.

      Keen to save my FH with all the COVID mayhem.

      1. Reacher
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Personally id be using the FH with that lot above, but in answer to your question yes another hit is needed

    4. Reacher
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Finally FH decision

      A, DDG & Dier

      or

      B, Lloris and Shaw

      What do you guys think? A safer?

      1. RyanMK
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        B has more upside imo.

    5. Amans94
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Who would you fancy more to keep a clean sheet, Arsenal or United?

        Tossing up Tierney v Maguire/AWB

        1. Sean
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Tierney better

        2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Anything is better than a fridge.

      • Lignja
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Last few spots on fh

        A. Wan Bissaka, Loris, Wilson
        B. Stones, Loris, Wilson
        C. Dire, Ddg, Wilson
        D. Dias, Wan Bissaka, Loris 442

        xxx
        xxx, xxx, Tierny, Cancelo
        Kdb, Son, Fernandes, Saka
        Kane, Laca, xxx

      • Sterling Malory
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Changed to a 442, thoughts?

        Lloris
        AWB Tierney Cancelo Dias
        Neto KDB Son Bruno
        Laca Kane

        1. Sean
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Think i'd rather Saka than Neto but yes its an option

          1. Sterling Malory
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            I only want 2 Arsenal.

            Saka over Tierney or Laca?

        2. Lignja
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Im also thinking to remove Wilson to get same defence

          1. Sterling Malory
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Yh, Sheff Utd aren't great, but not convinced with Newcastle.

      • Bobby
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        play saiss or holding?

        1. Nüno Vippan
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Holding

        2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Holding

        3. Sterling Malory
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Saiss more goal threat and don't see Everton scoring

      • Maarrrr17
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Lacazette or Cavani for 1 week?

        Have Saka and Bruno.

        1. RyanMK
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Laca

        2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Laca

      • Futureform
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Free hit basics help!!!

          Is there likely to be a better time later down the line or is this week the one?

          (If you only have 5 or 6 players this week).

          1. Nightcrawler
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 15 days ago

            I think 5 or 6 calls for a FH

          2. Sean
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            There will be at least 1 more blank but id say do the FH now

          3. Maarrrr17
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Only 5-6 playing may be worth this week.

            Down the line could be a similar situation, so its kind of hard to tell atm.

          4. Rupert The Horse
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Impossible to know but I would doubt it.

          5. Futureform
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Thanks all. Still thinking it through but probably will go for it.

          6. Milkman Bruno
              1 month, 15 days ago

              A lot of Arsenal defenders in FH teams. I guess Tierney has great attacking threat but I don’t think a cs is likely myself.

              1. Jersey Boy
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                This

              2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                As per me the only team with better clean sheet chances this GW is United. And Tierney loves to attack.

              3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                City*

              4. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Palace are toothless at times.

                Wouldn't be surprised if Arsenal produce a clean sheet.

            • Rbyrne95
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Is a city defensive return more likely than a Saiss attacking return this gameweek?

              1. Whazza
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Lol yes

              2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Yes

            • Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Can't seem to find... Has Wilson been declared fully fit?

              1. ZimZalabim
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                I believe so. was pictured in training.
                check scout tweets for Bruce comments I think he said he was rested in the cup

                1. Whazza
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 8 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Cheers. Couldn't find a tweet that's why I asked. I guess training pic will do!

            • ZimZalabim
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Been away for a few days so just been catching up with all the updates and changes to the fixtures, I've got a couple of spots left to fill in my FH team, what do you guys reckon ?

              Lloris (Forster)
              Tierney, Cancelo, X, (Mitchell, X)
              Kdb, Bruno, Son, X, X
              Kane, Wilson, X

              A. Laca, Foden, Saiss (Smith-Rowe, Kilman) 3-4-3 + better bench - risky Foden pick

              B. Rashford, Saka, Stones (Brewster, Douglas) 3-5-2 + weak bench - no risky pick as such

              1. clockwork
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                A - risky picks are the ideal time to go for on a FH, you won't get lumped with them for future weeks.

              2. Sterling Malory
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Can you do B with Saiss?

            • Catastrophe
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              FH:

              A) Foden, Maguire, Cancelo.......(McGoldrick, Saiss, Mitchell)
              B) Wilson, Cancelo, Dias.............(Saiss, Mitchell, Anguissa)
              C) Gundogan, Maguire, Dias.......(Wilson, Coady, Mitchell)

              Rest of Team:

              Lloris
              Tierney
              KDB, Fernandes, Son, Saka
              Kane, Lacazette

              Cheers!

              1. clockwork
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                B imo

                1. Catastrophe
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Cheers

            • The Son-dance Kid
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Why isn't there more noise in the double unfairness of how the free hit affects your transfers?
              If it wipes out 2FT, then you should be able to make a transfer before activating FH and that FT should stand.
              Currently it's a double whammy and actually makes contradictory sense. This is the 4th year of the FH yet no one seems to think this is a massive flaw in this chip?

              1. bench boost for every gamew…
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Huh?
                If it ropes out your 2ft then you are not doing it right

                1. bench boost for every gamew…
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Wipes..

                2. The Son-dance Kid
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  If I have 2FT and use my FH, next week I'll only have 1 FT right? I meant it wipes out your second FT

              2. DK_13
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                By that logic if you take hits before activating the chip, even they shouldn't be removed.
                It's just a preset rule that is pretty clear and straight forward. Don't carry forward a transfer, same for all.

                1. The Son-dance Kid
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Preset rule implies that you'll revert back to having 2FT. It's as if thr preset rule applies to your team, but not to your transfers. This is why I think it is a bit contradictory.
                  I agree that transfers made before activating shouldn't count - but then you shouldn't lose your second FT

            • Nüno Vippan
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Any news about Maddison? Are we expecting him to play dgw19?

              1. ZimZalabim
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                he and vardy were playing with injuries and were rested in the cup so they can recover I expect both to be fit for 19

                1. Pompel
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  But will they play both?

                  1. ZimZalabim
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Imo they will play both and I will have both in my team

                    maybe one or both go off early in one of them but im quite sure they start both.

            • WD27
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Any love for Jesus or a good reason why not on free hit?

              1. Sean
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                because we can't have 4 city players and he can't finish his dinner

            • clockwork
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Gents,

              Best 5th mid on a FH?

              a) Neto
              b) Gundogan (no KDB)

              1. cigan
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                B

              2. ZimZalabim
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                tbh on FH I would get Kdb in first and then look at the more punty options he is a must have vs brighton will be heavily captained as well.

            • Sz21
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Which of these groups do u fancy to score more points this week?
              1. Smith-Rowe + Rashford.
              2. Traore/Neto (6.2m or less but not Gund, Saka) + Lacazette.

            • cigan
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Alright I think I'm set on Salah/Soucek >> KDB/Gundogan for free. Would you also do Bamford (or Vardy) to Wilson for a -4?

            • Sho-kun
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Is it worth to take the FH? I have two FT left

              Cancelo, Coady, Mitchell
              Saka, Neto, KDB
              Kane

              Not playing:
              McCarthy/Ryan
              Justin, Coufal
              Salah, Bowen
              Bamford, DCL (injured)

              1. cigan
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Nah, just get some more Spurs/City or even Arsenal in with your transfers. Maybe take a hit

              2. Nüno Vippan
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Im also on 7players and i will save my ft for later stages. Unpredictable season

            • deshawn7
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Decided to WC as I used FH earlier in the season and only have 5 active players. Planning to max BGW18 (9players) and DGW19 (10 doubles then I'll BB).

              Areola* Martinez
              Stones* Saiss* Robbo Cresswell Dallas
              KDB(C)* Bruno(VC)* Son* ESR* Soucek
              Kane* Laca* Bamford

              Total value 105.7m

              Good to go for these two GW?

            • In a Rush
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Any thoughts on whether reguilon starts?

              1. Sean
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Wondering this myself, if he played the full 90 he is probably worth the extra over Dier..

                1. Sean
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Davies played the FA Cup so that makes me think he starts but I didn't like that he was taken off after 60 against Wolves

                  1. In a Rush
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Yes he’s in my team at the moment but getting cold feet

            • Gun gun
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Start lloris or darlow?

              1. sthelenslad92
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Lloris just because it's safer

            • DK_13
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 15 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?)

              1. Boz
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Laca if you have the money or Wood to free up cash

            • Bishopool
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Pretty sure that Liverpool and ManU players will be rested in DGW (in second game), because theres FACup game between each other coming up.

              What do you think?

              1. Keeptrying
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Don't think so, as league is priority

              2. Sean
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                They have 9 days off now, seems plenty to me.

                1. Bishopool
                  • 9 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Hmm.

                  There are only 2 days between Liverpool vs Burnley and Liverpool vs ManU.

                  Manu vs Fulham is 3 days before their clash.

              3. FPL.team
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Highly unlikely with them battling eachother for the league title.

              4. bench boost for every gamew…
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Both teams to field weak teams in that fa cup game

            • tabby98
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Which one?
              A) De gea + Dier
              B) Lloris + Shaw/Lindelof/Holding?