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. Steager
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Any decent WC Teams? All i see is FH Teams.

    1. dshv
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Because wc16 still working hahaha

  2. Karan14
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Best option out of these on FH?

    A) Saka, Tierney & Maguire/AWB
    B) Saka, Holding & Wilson
    C) Rowe, Tierney & Wilson

    A is 4 at the back while B & C are 3.

    1. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      I’d go with B or C personally. Worth the punt on FH

    2. Sir France's Bacon
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      C

    3. RECKLESS
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      C more upside? Can advice me belownwhich can give more points?

  3. RECKLESS
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Is it better to have
    1)De gea + Dier
    2) Leno + Reguilion/Wanbisskaa
    Basically which of 2 from Ars Manutd Spurs should we trust for cleanies?

    1. swobe
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      United and Spurs.

    2. RECKLESS
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Although Utd and Spurs more cleansheet chance leno does more saves than de gea and dier doesnt seem as attacking

  4. Jönny
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    How many minutes do you think Cavani gets over GW18 and DGW19?

    Am at the point where I feel like just doing something daft... I reckon if he gets 180+ mins over the three fixtures (80 vs Burnley + 30 vs Liverpool + 70 vs Fulham??) he could well pick up a decent tally....

    1. Invincibles
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      SHU after that, thinking Cavani/Martial over Laca for a hit this week, but which..

  5. Sir France's Bacon
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 11 days ago

    Think I'm almost set, which one of these two options?

    A - Rashford, Wilson, (McGoldrick)
    B - Neto, Kane, (Brewster)

    Rest of team:

    De Gea - Areola
    Dias - Cancello - Tierney - (Ampadu) - (Kilman)
    KDB - Saka - Bruno - Son - XX
    Lacazette - XX - XX

    Cheers.

  6. BurnMyBread
      5 months, 11 days ago

      A) Holding and Saka
      B) Tierney and Smith Rowe

      1. Make United Great Again
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Flip a coin

      2. Silecro
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        There is more between Tierney and Holding than it is between ESR and Saka so...make of that what you wish

      3. Sir France's Bacon
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        I'd probably go B, but not a lot in it

    • Make United Great Again
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      DCL > Wilson worth a -8?

      1. Make United Great Again
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Will I guess it’s -4 in isolation

    • rozzo
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      If I have 2 transfers this week and use the free hit do I revert back to 2 transfers next gw?

      1. No end product
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        No you go back to one

      2. swobe
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Just 1.

    • Oggle22
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Martinez
      Mari Holding Kilman Mitchell
      Son Saka Bruno
      Kane

      Steele Soucek Salah Firmino

      -4 Salah and Firmino out save FH or free hit?

      Cheers

    • FPL_WILDCARD
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Think I’ve settled on this FH team

      DDG
      Tierney, Cancelo, Dier
      KDB(c), Son(vc), Bruno, Gundogan
      Kane, Lacazette, Wilson

      Subs: Smith-Rowe, Kilman, Mitchell

      1. diesel001
        • 4 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        DDG, Dier, Gundo to Lloris, AWB, Saka

        1. FPL_WILDCARD
          • 3 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Can’t do as 3 Arsenal already. Personally prefer the triple City starting against the triple Arsenal

      2. langov
        • 2 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        I have exactly the same team. I could not afford Tierney so I go with Holding. Rest is exactly as your team. GG!

    • sentz05
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      GTG?

      Lloris
      Cancelo Tierney AWB
      KDB Bruno Son Gundogan Saka
      Kane Laca

      Forster Yedlin Brewster Mitchell

      I'm pretty gutted I can't fit in Auba instead of Laca.

      1. diesel001
        • 4 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Gundo to Wilson. Then beautiful.

    • fcsaltyballs
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Funny one, bench order:

      1. Mitchell (ars)
      2. Burke (NEW)
      3. Kilman (EVE)

      Thanks

      1. FPL_WILDCARD
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        231

    • Hryszko
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      On a FH, would you say this is G2G?

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

      Subs: Forster - Brewster - Kilman - Mitchell

      1. thom830g
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Yes - go!

    • Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      How about this lame 4-5-1, can't afford a better team:/

      Leno
      Holding,Cancelo,Shaw,Dias
      Kdb,Bruno,Rashford,Son,Saka
      Kane

      1. Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
        • 7 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Shaw is Dier sorry

    • b91jh
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Pick 2 from:

      A) Saka
      B) Gundogan
      C) Neto
      D) Foden

      1. thom830g
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        A and D for me

    • Fring
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      5 months, 11 days ago

      Gents.

      Is Leeds' double gameweek in 19 still on? Or is the game vs Southampton confirmed/likely postponed?

      Thanks in advance.

      1. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        Sounds like it could be off if Shrewsbury can get enough players together for a game next week

      2. tbos83
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Prob postponed but not certain yet

      3. OBAMA
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 11 days ago

        start saka or fernandez?

      4. Diro
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Need Help 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 !

          1. Daniel Jebbison
            • 12 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Southampton too.

            I demand the lad on the first page to apologise to me

            1. Daniel Jebbison
              • 12 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              😉

          2. Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Oh dear thanks for update

          3. Miguel Sanchez
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Gonna switch Bamford to Antonio on WC

          4. Inazuma X1
            • 3 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Old news mate, you're a day late

          5. The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Probably switching Raphinia to KDB

          6. RECKLESS
            • 8 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            It looks like best to save BB then. I have dcl too who needs to become Antonio/Addams. Cam.advice me above mate?

            1. Daniel Jebbison
              • 12 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              No BB for me looks like too

        • Help Me!
          • 5 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Is Fabianski gonna play?

        • Gudjohnsen
          • 4 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Double West Ham defence for gw19 worth it?

          Have Coufal already but can't afford Cresswell

        • Sanchit
          • 5 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Captain KdB or Bruno?

          1. Gudjohnsen
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            KDB for me. Much better fixture.

        • Invincibles
          • 7 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Best DCL replacement? (-4)

          Laca
          Cavani
          Martial

          Thinking Laca due to being in FH teams.

          1. Boz
            • 9 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Laca for the next 2 weeks

          2. Piksau
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Laca is a GW18 punt
            Martial would be a better option as Cavani maybe will not get many starts

        • dando89
          • 4 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Rate my FH team please?

          Leno
          Stones Cabell Saiss
          Rash Son SmithRowe Bruno(VC) KDB
          Laca Kane(C)

          1. dando89
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            That should be Cancelo in defense!

        • akhilrajau
          • 2 Years
          5 months, 11 days ago

          Whixh combination ia good
          A. Neto, Lacazette ( 343)
          B. Rashford, Brewster (352). Fifth mid is smith rowe

          1. Piksau
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            B

        • shiraz
            5 months, 11 days ago

            How does this fh team look?

            Lioris (Peacock)
            Dias Cancelo Saiss (Ampadu Yedlin)
            KDB Bruno McTominay Son Saka
            Laca Kane (Brewster)

          • RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Are any of these downgrades worth it to get Rashford over Lacazette?

            A. Tierney >> Holding
            B. Saka >> Smith Rowe

            1. Piksau
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              Any downgrade is worth Rashy over Laca

          • Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
            • 7 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            Kdb better option than Kane/Son?

            1. Piksau
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              KDB with either Kane/Son

              1. Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
                • 7 Years
                5 months, 11 days ago

                I meant captain sry

          • Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            People on WC which keepers combo are you going for ?

            Thanks

          • the vanisher
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 11 days ago

            If i made 3 transfers (-4) last night and I decide TODAY to use the FH what will my team revert to on gw19?

            1. Piksau
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              your -4 will get cancelled
              3 transfers will get included in your FH
              team will get reverted to your team at deadline of last GW

            2. swobe
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 11 days ago

              Your team pre-transfers.