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

    Rash or Martial?

    1. JVALDEZ
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      rash

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Rash

    3. ChelseaGuy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Ford

    4. Sir France's Bacon
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Rashford

    5. Mr Ozil
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Rashford

  2. Konstaapeli
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Either worth a hit? Both James and DCL are out for a while so I'm tempted.

    James > Stones or Dias

    DCL > Wilson, Antonio or Cavani

  3. JabbaWookiee
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Serious dilemmas, guys. Without Free Hitting I would get 6 players out having taken one hit:
    - Stones / Lowton / Son / Bruno / KdB / Kane

    If I activated FH it would give me the following extra players:
    - Leno / Cancelo / Tierney / Rashford / Smith-Rowe / Wilson (Clark, Mitchell, Brewster)
    I would, however revert back to having Salah and no KdB next week and would lose 0.3 which would be annoying.

    Should I play Free Hit or save it for a future blank gameweek?

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Salah has two home games if covid doesn't mess things up. So that's not total disaster.

  4. jorgenoj
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Which option on FH:

    A) DDG + Tierny + Saka + Wilson
    B) Leno + Dier + Smith Rowe + Laca

    1. dylano21
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      A

  5. ChelseaGuy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    RP, on FH

    Best defender upto 4.8M ?

    1. zotter
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      probably Holding or, if willing to take a risk, Shaw

      1. ChelseaGuy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Same concern with Shaw

      2. FCSB
        • 5 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Reckon he starts?

    2. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Shaw

  6. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Here’s a boring one... would you rather have Anguissa or Killman second sub?

    1. DK_13
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Kilman. He plays 90 or doesn't play at all. Cs chance if he plays 90(no DCL)

    2. Neo-Viper
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Wolves man

  7. I Member
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Deadline day and no idea what my FH team will end up being. All depends on the City presser. If Sterling is fit he's in.

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      If he's out I'm still not sure. Have a draft with double City defence, one with Gundogan, and one with Jesus.

    2. Super Saints
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Who will you drop for Sterling?

      1. I Member
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Rashford and Lacazette

        1. Super Saints
          • 5 Years
          8 months, 9 days ago

          Definitely not worth it especially with Gundo and Dias offering great value

  8. DK_13
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Will the Aston villa vs Everton match go ahead next week?

    Will do grealish to rashford for a hit if there is a chance even that will get cancelled

  9. l@sp0
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Mitchell (ars) & Rashford (bur) vs Dias (BHA) & Tierney (CRY)

    A) 3-5-2
    Lloris
    Cancelo Mitchell Wan-Bissaka
    KDB Bruno Son Rashford ESR
    Kane Laca

    or B) 4-4-2
    Lloris
    Cancelo Dias Tierney Wan-Bissaka
    KDB Bruno Son ESR
    Kane Laca

    Please choose

    1. swobe
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      A. Would have Kilman in over Mitchell.

    2. dylano21
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      B

  10. Hits from the Bong
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    If Sterling is fit, is this as good as it gets?

    Darlowe
    Cancello Tierney Saiss
    KDB Sterling Bruno Son Saka
    Kane Wilson

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Very good. My Sterling draft is similar but I've gone for a 4-5-1 with Maguire over Wilson.

    2. HD7
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Who will you Captain?

      1. Hits from the Bong
        • 2 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        KDB

  11. FCSB
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Which one:

    1. Dias Shaw
    2. Stones AWB

    Thanks

    1. zotter
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      2 purely as more nailed

    2. RECKLESS
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      2 as shaw isnt nailed due to injury doubt..Can advice me below?

    3. dylano21
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      2

  12. RECKLESS
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Just 2 queries on my FH team
    1) Trust Regulion vs Fulhma or Wan Bissaka vs burnley?
    2) Cancelo + Wilson or Holding + Lacazette?
    Currently on Regulion and Cancelo + Wilson

    1. zotter
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      1. Reguilon much more upside however small chance he doesnt start... (I am putting Reguilon in with DDG)
      2. Cancelo plus Wilson IMO

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      WB, C+W

    3. FCSB
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      AWB more nailed

      Cancelo and Wilson (Cancelo being the difference and Arsenal not the most reliable)

      1. RECKLESS
        • 8 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Great, my thinking too as Fulham.look pretty attacking recently

  13. Obi Wan Elokobi
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Thoughts on this wildcard team and plan?

    DDG (Meslier)
    Dias, Stones, Shaw, Holding (Coufal)
    Saka, KDB (c), Bruno, Son, (Soucek)
    Kane, Wilson (Bamford)

    2 itb

    Plan is to stupidly I know take a -8 for DGW 19 and get Salah, Antonio and Watkins/Adams in for Saka, Kane and Wilson

    Will give me 14 DGWers if Leeds goes ahead.

    1. RECKLESS
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Just do Wilson to Antonio next gw and play 9dgw + kane + Son. No need of bb especially since leeds will have sgw. Cam advice above?

    2. Pompel
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Looks good, but maybe get Fabianski over Meslier as Leefs might not have a dgw

      1. Obi Wan Elokobi
        • 10 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Can't do it because plan is too get Antonio and too many West Ham

    3. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Martinez aereola
      Dias* - Cancelo* - WanB* - Dier*- Coufal
      Bruno* - KDB* - Son* - soucek - Smith Rowe*
      Kane* - Bamford - Wilson*

      * GW 18 players

      Kane + Son to martial + Salah and Bench Boost.

      1. Pompel
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Will Martinez/AVL still have DGW?

        1. Lindelol
          • 3 Years
          8 months, 9 days ago

          What? Why not??

      2. Lindelol
        • 3 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Also want to get meslier but Leeds might not have double so going for areola

  14. Lindelol
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Any update/hint we have regarding Leeds double in 19 so far?

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

    On FH:

    a) Cancelo, Dias & Saiss
    b) Cancelo, Stones & Maguire (or AWB)
    c) Dias, Stones & Maguire (or AWB)

  16. pundit of punts
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Foden would be an amazing pick if sterling is rules out

    1. internal error
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      If Sterling is ruled out, would that def mean Foden starts?

  17. kime67
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    alright think im locked. is this good?
    lloris
    cancelo dias tierney
    bruno kdb son neto
    wilson kane laca

  18. Hryszko
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    On a FH, do I look G2G? Including captain choice..

    Lloris
    Cancelo - Stones - Tierney
    Bruno - Rash - KDB (c) - Son - ESR
    Kane - Wilson

    Subs: Forster - Brewster - Kilman - Mitchell

  19. FFSbet.com
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    G2G? Kane or KDB (C)

    Regulion - Dias - Maguire - Holding
    KDB - Son
    Kane - Wilson - Brewster

  20. b91jh
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Chance of Cutrone starting for Wolves?

  21. Bavarian
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    FH Team? how to improve?

    DDG
    Cancelo-Reguilon-Holding
    Fernandes-KDB (vc)-Son-Rashford-Saka
    Kane (c)- Wilson

  22. Ohh1454
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Is this enough ? Any need for hits or free hit ?
    Dias Dier
    Bruno Kdb Son
    Wilson Kane

  23. akhilrajau
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Amy update on sterling ? Is better to remove in fh

  24. FPL Kaka
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Thoughts on this FH team? Neto my main differential really:

    Leno
    AWB - Dias - Stones
    Bruno - KDB - Son - Neto
    Laca - Kane - Wilson

    Playing bench: Mitchell and Kilman

    1. Gonzola
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Looks good. I'd have Tierney over AWB though. More likely for attacking returns.

  25. Gonzola
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Going on a bit of a mad one on Wildcard with the view of playing BB in GW19. Thoughts appreciated.

    Martinez - Meslier

    Cancelo - Tierney - Robertson - Stones - Coufal

    ESR - Saka - KDB - Fernandes - Son

    Kane - Bamford - Antonio

    Leaves me without a keeper this week but have had Martinez from 4.5 so don't want to lose value.

    1. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Same going with Martinez but instead of meslier I have gone for ful gk. Saka or soucek?? What's your plan to get salah for 19??

      1. Gonzola
        • 10 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        Think I’m going to go without Salah you know. Would mean shifting my whole team and Liverpool are not in form at the moment. Might bring in soucek for next week for Saka, though I prefer Saka long term.

  26. Nespinha
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    RMFH Team

    Lloris,
    Stones, Cancelo, Maguire, Tierney
    Saka, KDB, Son, Fernandes
    Kane, Lacazette

    subs: 4.0, neves, brewster, ampadu,

    1. Hryszko
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      Salah? He's not playing..

      1. Nespinha
        • 5 Years
        8 months, 9 days ago

        SAKA

  27. arndff_
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Which pair would you go for?

    a) Stones Rash
    b) Dias Laca

    1. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 9 days ago

      In that scenario I’d go with A

  28. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Stones or Maguire? Own Cancelo also.

  29. Invincibles
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    Best DCL replacement (-4)
    A) Laca
    B) Martial
    C) Cavani

  30. ZAMUNDA
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 9 days ago

    FH18 thoughts

    DDG
    Tierney-Cancelo-Saiss
    Bruno-KDB-Son-Neto-Saka
    Kane-Laca

    Steer-Mcgoldrick-Fernàndez-Mitchell

    Gtg or bring in Rashford?