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. Champions League Varane
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    If Martinez was COVID + he’d miss the DGW right? Is it worth getting rid?

    1. Pukkipartyy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      How would u know if he is...

      1. Champions League Varane
        • 2 Years
        8 months, 15 days ago

        Rumour that he was yesterday

  2. Ohh1454
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Thoughts on martial

    1. Champions League Varane
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Best player in the world

  3. Tomsk
    8 months, 15 days ago

    If Pep says Sterling fit whats everyone doing?
    Think I'll try and squeeze him in.

    1. The Hunt
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      If Pep says "Sterling plays" he's essential. He scores for fun against Brighton.

  4. Finding Timo
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Any help Welcome please on FH Bench so far 1, dier (5.1) 2, Burke (4.3)& 3, mitchell (3.9) but any other options? wanted Good 1st sub in case Wilson doesn’t play ?

  5. marcos11
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Captain?
    a) Bruno
    b) KDB
    c) Son

  6. RECKLESS
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Regulion is nailed for fulham match? Or should I trust Wan Bisska more?

  7. Little Red Lacazette
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Captain 1
    A. Kane
    B. KDB
    C. Son
    D. Bruno

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      It's a headache. Whatever I'll choose will be the wrong choice.

      1. Little Red Lacazette
        • 4 Years
        8 months, 15 days ago

        OK, pick one so that I can scratch it off the list.

        1. Silecro
          • 3 Years
          8 months, 15 days ago

          Bruno

          1. Little Red Lacazette
            • 4 Years
            8 months, 15 days ago

            Thanks.

            1. Gudjohnsen
              • 4 Years
              8 months, 15 days ago

              Probably between Kane and KDB for me.

  8. FCSB
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Bests option:

    1. Shaw Dias ESR
    2. Holding Dias ESR
    3. Holding Saiss Gundogan

    Thanks

  9. Tmel
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    AWB or Maguire a better option on FH?

    1. Pukkipartyy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      On FH Maguire.

    2. FCSB
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Don’t have enough funds, reckon Shaw will start?

  10. OBAMA
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    1. Kane or Son captain?

    2. ESR or Saka?

    1. Fuddled FC
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Got to be Saka for 1 week if you are playing him

  11. abaalan
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Are there any 4.2 or less defenders likely to play in 18?

    On FH:
    A) DDG + Dier + Yedlin (1st sub)
    B) LLoris + AWB + 4.2 (1st sub)

    1. Fuddled FC
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      B) is better if you can get a playing 4.2

    2. Von Lipwig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Hopefully Mitchell @3.9. I don't think there's really any difference between A+B though, so Yedlin prob better

  12. b91jh
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Ait Nouri looks a fun pick. Attacking threat plus weak EVE attack.

  13. Fuddled FC
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Which one?

    a) Lloris, Saiss & ESR
    b) Leno, Dier & Saka

  14. Sterling Malory
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    How's this 451 looking? FH active.

    Worth upgrading Rashford for Sterling? Would have to downgrade Cancelo/Dias.

    Darlow
    Tierney Saiss Cancelo Dias
    KDB(C) Bruno Son Rashford Saka
    Kane

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      I like it

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      https://twitter.com/NUFC/status/1348623948800409608

      Dúbravka may surprise you.

  15. Siva Mohan
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    FH Team

    Leno
    Cancelo | Stones | Dier
    KDB(c) | Bruno(v) | Son | Saka
    Laca | Martial | Kane

    Good to go?

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Hmm nice - reckon Martial starts over Cavani?

      1. Siva Mohan
        • 9 Years
        8 months, 15 days ago

        Yes

  16. waltzingmatildas
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Hey guys,
    What do you reckon to this FH team?
    Lloris
    Cancelo Dias Tierney Saiss
    KDB Bruno Rashford Zaha Saka
    Kane
    (Areola Mitchell Brewster Thompson)

  17. Q
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

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

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Can chop and change until 16:30 GMT today.

    2. sunzip14
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      you can

    3. Fuddled FC
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      you can amend away

    4. That Fantasy Guy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      You can amend until deadline if your free hit is active

    5. Q
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Great stuff thanks

  18. Tinfoil Deathstar
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Final pieces of FH puzzle. Help would be very welcome. Currently set on option A. Liking my front 8 but defence is v boring with three centre-backs (inc Dier!).

    Leno
    X - Stones - X
    KDB, Bruno, Son, Rash, X
    Kane - Laca

    Bench: Veripps, Mitchell, Bernado, Davis 0.0 ITB

    Option A:
    Dias, Dier, and Saka

    Option B:
    Reguillon, Cancelo, Smith-Rowe

    1. Sir France's Bacon
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      A, just.

  19. Jindaljain
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Rashford or lacazette?

    1. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Prefer Rash but can't fit him in my wilcard team. Going with Laca

    2. zotter
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      if price wasnt a factor Rashford... but i can do alot with the extra £1.3m (e.g. Saka > ESR, Reguilon > Dier)

  20. S.Kuqi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Bit worried that Coufal played 90mins last night. Is Dawson safer option now that Balbuena is probably dropped and isolating?

    1. Obi Wan Elokobi
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Dawson played a full 90 as well. Coufal is fine for the double

    2. Salarrivederci
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      They don't play before next week. 6 days rest 🙂

    3. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Cheers. Will keep him then

  21. Mcgugan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Right, best FH draft:

    Pickford
    Stone, Cancelo, Davies

    Saka, Rashford, Fernandes, Son, KDB

    Kane, Wilson.

    Bench is cheap but plays.
    I think the main players I want are:
    - Shaw
    - Gundogan
    - Lacazette

    Thoughts, and any way to get any of the above in?

  22. OptimusBlack
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Sorry For Reposted
    Plz Which is better for FH ??
    A- Leno - AWB - Stones - Laca
    B- DDG - Tierney - Cancelo - Wilson

  23. BOOM XHAKALACA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Anyone else playing 8-9 rather than using FH?

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Thinking about it. Might jus t take -4 tho.

    2. Champions League Varane
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Yh

    3. Milkman Bruno
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Might just play 7

    4. Mr. O'Connell
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Yeah 6 + brewster and Mitchell. I've got all the key highly owned assets. Feel like everyone else is a complete punt. I'd like to play the FH, but I don't feel strongly enough about the players I would get in on my FH (basically and extra City def, a United Def, Rashford and Saka)

    5. Chopmahoney
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Yep 8 plus Burke and Lewis. Don’t think the points gained from the free hit justify using it this week.

    6. Groot the Leveller
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      I was planning on playing 10, but no villa/dcl out so I'm down to 7.
      hit FH last night

  24. FPLMarc88
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    It's hard to pick only 2 from Rashford, Lacazette and Wilson.

    Thoughts?

    1. Groot the Leveller
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      I went Laca and Rashford.
      I used the Wilson-> brewster money to give me saka and a more nailed on starter than Darlow

  25. Gudjohnsen
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Boring question but captain Son, Kane, Bruno or KDB?

    1. Invincibles
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Kane.

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      KDB

    3. Tomsk
      8 months, 15 days ago

      KDB

    4. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      It is either Kane or KDB.

  26. Invincibles
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Play this team for a -8, or FH?

    Transfers: Chilwell, DCL > Tierney, Laca

    Tierney, Stones
    KDB, Gundogan, Son, Fernandes
    Laca, Kane
    Bench: McCarthy, KWP, Justin, Bamford

  27. Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    What time is the City presser?

  28. Nightcrawler
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    GUYS PLEASE HELP. have flight in 2 hours so wont br able to make changes after that

    Would u use FH chip on this? On -4 already

    Areola

    Stones Maguire Mitchell Lewis(?)

    Son KDB Bruno

    Kane Brewster

    1. Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      FH

    2. ChelseaGuy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      I might save that, got almost all the big hitters covered

    3. Nightcrawler
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 15 days ago

      Thanks

  29. ChelseaGuy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    On FH, best defender upto 4.8M?

  30. Salarrivederci
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 15 days ago

    Areola not even on bench in the FA-cup
    Are we sure he is fit and good to go against Spurs?