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!

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

avfc82 https://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/894/history”

1,530 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Anyone else considering Foden (3-5-2) over Wilson (3-4-3)?

    1. iL PiStOlErO
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Considering Neto actually

    2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      On FH he is a great option. I would say even better than Wilson. But most wont agree.

      1. Canadian Football
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Wilson goal involvement is % is really high.

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Watch Sheffield fight for their lives this GW.

      2. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Cheers Loon, gonna punt on him instead of Wilson....

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Purely based on hunch!

  2. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Is Stones fairly nailed?

    1. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Yes

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Cheers....he’s not too far behind Dias and Cancelo in terms of decent options?

        1. Konstaapeli
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Think I'll go with him and save some money.

    2. Rupert The Horse
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Completely

    3. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      yep he's a rock

    4. Jafooli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Cheers all...

    5. Boz
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Yeah he’s flying atm

    6. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Picking him over the more popular Cancelo and using that extremely valuable 0.8

  3. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Will we get a Shaw update? Could be a nice punt with how attacking he can be

    1. Karan14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      He is back in full training.

  4. The Greenback Boogie
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Thinking about WC'ing now to get the best out of both GWs.

    De Gea*
    Stones* - Tierney* - Yedlin*
    Salah - Bruno* - Sterling* - Son* - Smith-Rowe*
    Kane* - Bamford

    Forster - Mitchell* - Coufal - Brewster*

    So I can get 10 players this week and have 7 for next week plus Kane and Son who have a good fixture. Thoughts?

  5. Taegugk Warrior
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Is Tierney, Saka, Lacazette too much for Arsenal cover...?
    Or Swap Lcazette with Rashford and change to 352...? (Bruno is only ManU cover)

  6. OneDennisBergkamp
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Lascelles playing this GW?

  7. RyanMK
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    How are people making the call on when to use their FHs?

    1. Leonard hatred
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Covid has made it a bit awkward. Personally I've got a 7 player stop-loss. If I can only field 7 effective players (considering bench risks and filler as non-players) I'll FH.

      Not hit that yet (well except for the week my dbl city dbl spurs didn't play) but thats my target.

  8. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Any update on Wilson since this?

    Jan 9
    Callum Wilson & Jonjo Shelvey withdrawn from NUFC squad as a “precaution”. They flew down to London with squad yesterday. Club hoping they will be back for Tuesday at Sheff Utd.

    1. Karan14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      No update by Bruce. But he was pictured in training yesterday.

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Cheers. Wouldn't be massively surprising if he is on the bench then?

  9. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Best 4.7m or less GK as back up for Lloris - on FH18?

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Rams

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Ah yeah, good call cheers....

  10. Nespinha
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    RMT FH

    Lloris,
    Maguire, Dias, Cancelo, Tierney
    Saka, KDB, Bruno, Son
    Kane, Lacazette

    Subs - 4.0, Basham, Brewster, Burke

    1. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Excellent

    2. Indio
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Very strong, and like the 4-4-2.

      1. Nespinha
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        thanks mate

  11. HMC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Wilson or Neto?
    tempted by neto punt, however Wilson return will hurt rank a lot more
    also anyone else not going Son Kane double? Feel Kane is better at home and looking at Rashford instead

    1. RealSocialDads
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Neto, fun punt on a free hit, passes the eye test

    2. ivantys
        3 months, 24 days ago

        It's only a 7% difference in ownership between those 2.

      • Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Wilson for me

        1. Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Potential number of Sheffield defenders missing through injury

      • Indio
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Prefer Neto, but more of a gut thing (sorry, probs wanted that backing up better!). Happy holding both Spuds in my FH team, but managed to squeeze in Rash too, so don's have same dilemma. Good luck!

    3. Indio
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Who's the best £4.6M defender for the bench to complete this FH squad? Thinking Clark or SHU def?

      Thanks.

      Darlow,
      Holding, Cancelo, Saiss
      Bruno, Son, KDB, Rashford, Saka
      Lacazette, Kane
      (Forster, Brewster, xxx, Mitchell)

      1. cigan
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Would look at Yedlin

    4. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      How many players do you have playing today?

    5. Tmel
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      AWB or Maguire a better option on free hit?

      1. Tingate
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        AWB for me, offers more attacking threat from assist potential

    6. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Best pick on FH?

      A. Stones+Saka
      B. Shaw+Gündogan

      Lloris
      Cancelo, Tierney, XXX
      KDB, Bruno, Son, XXX
      Kane, Wilson, Laca
      (4.0, Clark, Mitchell, Burke)

      1. Tingate
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Stones and Saka are the more likely starters and Man City defender > Man Utd defender

      2. Karan14
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        A

      3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        A

      4. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        A

    7. Tingate
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 24 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

      Thanks!

      1. Millie7
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        looks fine. doing similar myself

    8. LLoris
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Which option is better??
      A) FH

      B) Start 7 players plus a -4 hit (Pope Dias Anguissa KDB Bruno Son Kane)

    9. Redranger
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      1) Leno & AWB
      2) DDG & Holding?

      1. Tingate
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        1 for me, covering both defences and AWB offers more attacking threat

        1. Redranger
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Yeah, that was I was thinking. Got 1) on my FH already

    10. matiakez
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      This is what I'm thinking currently

      DDG
      Cancelo Tierney Reguilon
      Bruno son KDB Saka Gundo
      Kane Lacca

      Yedlin Mitchell Brewster

      No rashford is my biggest issue but can't quite find an easy route. Do have little in the bank.

    11. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Rashford at home this season 1G0A in 9 games

      Rashford away this season 6G4A in 7 games

      Why is no one talking about this?! 4 out of his next 5 are away...

      1. S.Kuqi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Leaning towards Rashford over Son atm in my wildcard team. Away form and one extra fixture

        Then easy swap back for Son in gw21

      2. ivantys
          3 months, 24 days ago

          United players are generally crap playing at home

        • Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Have to wonder how much of an impact home vs away actually has while games are being played behind closed doors.

      3. Eastman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Will Tosun start?

      4. vandebeek
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        So, what's happening with the Leeds-Saints DGW game? Is it happening or still big doubts about it?

      5. tabby98
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Would you rather have Rashford or Lacazette this gw?

      6. McClements
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Any ideas, I'm so lost predicting future GWs this season.

        Martinez (Forster)
        Dias, Mitchell, Coufal, Dallas, Bednarek
        Salah, Son, Bruno, Soucek, Raphina
        Kane, Bamford, Adams

        A. FH

        B. Forster, Salah and Raphina out (-8) for Ederson, De Bruyne and Smith Rowe. Makes 8 players for WK 18.. and potential setup for bench boost WK 19 (will just change mitchel most likely with my FT before 19)

      7. Woy_is_back
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Leave out Fernandes free hit? Sterling instead

        1. ivantys
            3 months, 24 days ago

            It doesn't matter much if you're not gonna cap either

            1. Woy_is_back
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Huh? Check ows

              1. ivantys
                  3 months, 24 days ago

                  ows? Probably only the captain points gonna matter since everyone's players are mostly template. If you're capping kane or kdb it doesn't matter whether you pick bruno or sterling.

            2. Do I Not Like Orange
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Rather have McGoldrick up front than go Bruno-less.

          • TeddiPonza
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Is it confirmed that Leeds Southampton will be moved out of gw 19?

          • Jafooli
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Saiss not in many teams?

          • 03farmboy
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Rate my freehit team please?

            Leno
            Tierney, Stones, Dier
            De Bruyne, Bruno, Son, Gundogan
            Kane, Wilson, Lacazette
            Bench:
            Forster, Mctominay, Mitchell, yedlin

            Any suggestion would be appreciated?

          • Whazza
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Asked why Wilson and Shelvey were not involved against Arsenal, Bruce said: “Purely precaution. Hopefully, we’ll leave it with the medical people, and (they will) be ready for Tuesday.”

            Anyone else rethinking the Wilson pick because of this slight uncertainty?

            1. Captain Vantastic™
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              He trained yesterday with the squad.

              1. Whazza
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 24 days ago

                I know, small chance of a benching if not 100%

          • Captain Vantastic™
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Rashford or Lacazette on FH. First to 5 wins. Go!

            1. OneDennisBergkamp
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Laca