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. Your Man With The Hair
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Is Neto (6m) as first sub a waste of funds? Should i go for a 5m mid and invest the extra cash into first XI?

    Leno
    Stones | Cancelo | Dier
    Bruno | KDB | Son | Saka
    Laca | Kane | Wilson

    (*Neto, Kilman, Fodder)

    1. Calculated Risks
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Yeh go cheaper if he a sub. Cant see any of your other forwards being a rotation risk

      1. Your Man With The Hair
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Thanks, that' what I was thinking, but you just never know!

        Think I'll use funds to do:
        Leno & Dier -> Lloris & Tierney

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

      Smith rowe 4.4 as a first sub frees up good money and he as good a option as neto in my option

      1. Your Man With The Hair
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        I looked at him, but I'm maxed out on Arsenal (Leno/Tierney, Saka, Laca)

        1. Congressman
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          How about Darlow instead of Leno, then?

  2. Invincibles
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Play this team for a -8, or FH?

    Tierney, Stones
    KDB, Gundogan, Son, Fernandes
    Laca, Kane

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

      Who are you selling. How does it set you up for 19?

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

        And who is coming in for those you sold on the -8

      2. Invincibles
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Bench: Mccarthy, Justin, KWP, Bamford

        Selling: Chilwell, DCL > Tierney, Laca

  3. fcsaltyballs
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Is Steffen an option at 4.4?

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

      Isnt Ederson back?

    2. Your Man With The Hair
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      No. Waste of a City spot and unlikely to play

  4. Sid1891
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Long term

    A Justin
    B Dallas

    Thanks

  5. AdamJ91
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Worth doing Watkins > Laca? (-4)

    Would mean I have 10 BGW players but is he really good enough to keep for the week after aswell?

    1. AdamJ91
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Team would look like this for this GW;

      Cancelo - Dias - Dier - Holding
      KDB - Son - Bruno - Anguissa
      Kane - Laca

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

      Yep, all day long do it

    3. BremerHB
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      I would. Game against Newcastle next GW isn’t bad either.

  6. Tmel
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    On FH:

    a) Cancelo, Dias & Saiss
    b) Cancelo, Stones & AWB
    c) Dias, Stones & AWB

    1. dshv
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      A

    2. southernrocker1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      b or c. Toss of a coin.

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

      Dias stones maguire an option?

      1. Tmel
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Yep

  7. southernrocker1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Rashford or Wilson?

    Can't have both.

    1. dshv
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Rashford

    2. kennethrhcp
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Rashford

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

        Wish I had the option

        1. southernrocker1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Cheers!

          My midfield and attack can be one of the following:

          A:
          Rash
          KDB
          Fernandes
          Son
          -------
          Lacazette
          Wilson
          Kane

          B:
          Saka
          Rash
          KDB
          Fernandes
          Son
          -------
          Laca
          Kane

          1. BremerHB
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 3 days ago

            B all day.

            1. southernrocker1
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 3 days ago

              Saka over Wilson?

  8. Ruinenlust
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    Cancelo or Gundogan?

  9. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 3 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. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      B probably

      1. Catastrophe
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Ta. I'm thinking A.

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

    Repost 🙂 (also when are the scout picks?) 🙂

    Rash or Laca?

    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

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      B

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

        Yeah just seen your team above so expected that reply 🙂

        1. Catastrophe
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          🙂 I like the 3 x Arsenal this week.

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

      B.

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

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

        Isn’t it better to go someone like Rashford and move away from the template then?

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

          I like the template tbh.

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

          This is the GW for template,FHers will have 3-4 more good players over average.

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

      B

  11. fcsaltyballs
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    % chance Luke Shaw starts ?

    1. PP6
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      59

      1. PP6
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        50*

  12. FPL Doctor
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 3 days ago

    I can get this team with my 2 FTs. Save FH?
    I can also get DDG for -4 to get 8 players and set up for the double GW with 14 DGW Players (if all scheduled GW 19 games go ahead)

    Cancelo Dias
    KDB(c) Son Bruno Rashford
    Wood

    1. BremerHB
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Do the -4 I reckon and it looks alright.

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

    On FH

    A) Lloris, Tierney, Laca

    B) Leno, Dier, Rash

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      A

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

      Looking at similar ideas to upgrade Laca >> Rash. Saka >> Smith Rowe perhaps. Be interested in other people’s input

  14. Diro
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Hi mate !

      I had 2 FT for GW18 and I use them to Salah > KdB and Anguissa > Soucek. If Aston Villa was playing, I would have 10 players playing without replacement possibility but now I only have 7 player playing because of Villa postponement. Here is my team :

      Martinez*, (McCarthy)
      Konsa*, Stones, Mitchell (Justin, KWP)
      Grealish*, Son, Fernandes, KdB (Soucek)
      Bamford*, Wilson, Kane

      0.4 itb

      7 player playing because Martinez, Konsa, Grealish and Bamford don't play GW18. I would like to FH but if I do that, I will lose KdB and Soucek I bought with my 2FT and now KdB is 0.2 expensive than when I bought him and Salah is 0.1 cheaper.

      Knowoing that I planed to take Dallas for GM19 but it won't maybe be possible if I lose the profit made with Kdb over Salah's lost, would you keep this team to hold FH or FH and buy De Bruyne and Soucek next week for -4 ?

      Cheers !

    • frenchfries
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Is this team to light in the back, or am I ok?

      Darlow
      Stones Wan-Bissaka Holding
      KDB Bruno Rashford Son Saka
      Kane Lacazette

      Considering downgrading either Saka to Smith Rowe or Lacazette to Wilson to upgrade the back 4

      1. Spoox777
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Darlow may not start?

        1. frenchfries
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Might have to go with leno and go Clark over Holding in that case. If not going Wilson over Lacazette

      2. southernrocker1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        I'm considering a very similar team. Although I have Maguire & Ramsdale rather than Darlow & WB.

        1. southernrocker1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          alternatively you could ditch Saka, have Wilson and have an even more ropey defence. That's what I'm also considering!!

      3. Stimps
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Dubravka is back, Darlow at risk

        1. frenchfries
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Thanks for the heads up, need a starting GK

    • Tmel
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Brewster or Burke first sub?

      1. Terry Tibbs: Top Pundit
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        I'm going Burke then Brewster but it's fingers crossed I don't need them.

    • zotter
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Hows this FHT looking

      specific questions

      a. Reguilon nailed enough? (Bavies played cup game at weekend)
      b. Worth eeking out £1.3m more to get Rashford instead of Laca (would probably involve going 4-4-2 - Saka to Rash, Laca to Brewster)

      thanks

      DDG
      Reguilon. Stones. Cancelo
      Kdb. Son. Bruno. Saka
      Wilson. Kane. Laca

      4.0. ESR. Yedlin. Mithcell

      1. southernrocker1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        If you insist on a Spurs defender I'd go Dier.

    • Drip Doctor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Going forward, who would you leave out?

      Kane - shu, LIV, bha, CHE, WBA, mcy

      Grealish - EVE/mcy, bur, sot, WHM, ARS, bha

      Rashford - bur, LIV/ful, SHU, ars, SOT, EVE, wba,

      1. Daniel-The FPL Fanatic 😉
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Grealish

    • Kiwivillan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Gundo or Foden?

      1. SHOOTER MCGINN
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Gdog

        1. southernrocker1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Gund

        2. Kiwivillan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Cheers! That's how I'm leaning

    • zotter
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      on FH

      a. Laca and Saka
      b. Rashford and ESR
      c. Rashford and Tierney

      1. SHOOTER MCGINN
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        C

      2. southernrocker1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        c

      3. zotter
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        sorry scratch C - requires surgery

    • SHOOTER MCGINN
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Leno + Dias or Ramsdale + Cancelo

      1. southernrocker1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        A

    • southernrocker1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      My midfield and attack can be one of the following:

      A:
      Rash
      KDB
      Fernandes
      Son
      -------
      Lacazette
      Wilson
      Kane

      B:
      Saka
      Rash
      KDB
      Fernandes
      Son
      -------
      Laca
      Kane

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

        A

      2. zotter
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        A is better

    • Ruinenlust
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Gundo or Cancelo??

      1. Q
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Cancelo safe
        Gundo fun risk

    • Jinswick
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Best move here?

      A) McCarthy & Salah -> DDG & Sterling
      B) McCarthy, Mitchell & Salah -> DDG, Dias & Rashford (-4)

      Both give a possible 11 in GW18 and B) gives a better starter in GW18 and an extra DGWer in GW19.

      Cancelo, Dier, Bellerin, Mitchell
      KDB, Bruno, Son, Martinelli
      Wilson

      McCarthy, Forster, Targett, Salah, Bamford, Watkins
      Bank 0.0m, 2FTs

      1. Daniel-The FPL Fanatic 😉
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        i don't like a because sterling might not start

        i don't like b because you are selling mitchell who will play for 3.9m

        1. Jinswick
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          Yeah would only get Sterling if confirmed fit today.

          Couple of other -4 options below...

      2. Jinswick
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Other -4 options instead of Mitchell -> Dias being:

        C) Martinelli -> 7.0 (Foden)
        D) Bamford -> Laca

        1. Daniel-The FPL Fanatic 😉
          • 11 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          if Martinelli is out injured I would sell him. Not sure on Foden. For me it is just Salah To Rashford and save the second

          1. Daniel-The FPL Fanatic 😉
            • 11 Years
            4 months, 3 days ago

            or for the second sell martinelii for gundo / saka / esr

    • OBAMA
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Kane or Son captain?

      And why?

    • b91jh
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 3 days ago

      Going way to far to punt on Tosun?

      1. b91jh
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Too*

        1. OBAMA
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          yes

    • Milkman Bruno
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Gtg here?

        Dias, Cancelo, Mitchell
        Sterling, Fernandes, Son
        Kane

      • Q
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Hi guys can you clarify whether you can amend your team on free hit until the deadline? Or is it locked in

      • OBAMA
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Saka or ESR?

        And why?

        1. Daniel-The FPL Fanatic 😉
          • 11 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          esr, better value. if on fh than saka

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

          Saka. Better numbers and more owned.

        3. Silecro
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          depends what would you do with 0.9

      • EgyptianKing
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 3 days ago

        Stones should start right? Thinking going Stones instead of Dias on FH in order to upgrade elsewhere

        1. OBAMA
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 3 days ago

          I'd be surprised if he doesn't but I've gone for Dias anyway