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. Piksau
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Currently:
    Darlow
    AWB Stones Dier Holding
    Saka Son Bruno KDB
    Wilson Kane
    Bench: Sanchez McGoldrick Neto Keane

    Should I:
    A) Downgrade my bench (and AWB -> Shaw) to free up funds for Saka -> Rashford?
    B) Stay and keep my bench relatively strong (In case of further postponements)

    1. OBAMA
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      b

    2. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A in isolation but I would aim to get an Arsenal mid or attack in somewhere

  2. JAYPEE
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Dier or Saiss?

    1. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Dier

    2. OBAMA
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Dier

    3. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Dier

  3. OBAMA
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    start saka or fernandez??

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Saka

    2. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Saka

    3. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Saka

  4. The Road to Turfdom
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    A) Rashford, Tierney

    OR

    B) Saka/Zaha, Lacazette

    Thanks!

    1. OBAMA
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B w/ Saka

    2. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A for Rashy

    3. Mondeo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Struggling with the same - not sure I'm comfortable with triples Arsenal for some reason

      1. The Road to Turfdom
        • 5 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        I'm an Arsenal fan and am distinctly struggling to trust them with a triple

  5. FPL Doctor
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    to FH or not? This team would be with a -4

    DDG
    Cancelo Dias
    KDB(c) Bruno Rash Son
    Wood

    1. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Depends on your League Rank....if you are up ahead with a gap then can keep...otherwise FH and get some players in

      1. FPL Doctor
        • 7 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        Currently 430 OR in world. I want to keep my rank. Thoughts now?

  6. HD7
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Two places left, mates:

    Lloris
    Cancelo Stones
    KDB Bruno Son Saka
    Kane Wilson

    A) Tierney Laca (3-4-3)
    B) Holding Rashford (3-5-2)

    1. Boly Would
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B

    2. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B

  7. southernrocker1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Saka or Rashford?

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Rash

      1. Piksau
        • 7 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        Rash

  8. frenchfries
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    A or B?

    A)
    Leno, Cancelo, Smith Rowe

    B)
    DDG, Clark, Saka

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

    2. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

    3. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      a

  9. Nightcrawler
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Just playing around with what i can do with my 2 transfers..

    Would u save FH with this team? Would be on -4

    Stones Dier Maguire Mitchell Lewis(?)

    KDB Son Bruno

    Kane Brewster

    1. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Save....dont use FH

  10. G Banger
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Pretty much template FH, but wanted to check i hadn't missed any news: 🙂

    Darlow
    AWB Dias Cancelo
    Saka Son Bruno KDB
    Wilson Kane Laca

    Bench: 4.0 Mitchel Kilman 4.3

  11. drughi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    BB 19 in tatters

    1. turd ferguson
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      yep

    2. Rains of Castamere
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Not for WCers this week.

    3. tbos83
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Yup

    4. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Yeah pretty much. I'm not gonna do it I think unless somehow Villa miraculously recover in time and if LEE-SOU stays in GW19. This would all have to be confirmed prior to deadline on Saturday... I don't see it.

      1. internal error
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        Villa wouldnt need a miracle to recover in time for Everton

  12. ZEZIMA
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Sterling (c) locked in. I will get 100 points this week as I had a dream about it

  13. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Which combo do you prefer on WC?

    A. Stones, AWB, Lacazette

    B. Dias, Mcguire, Wilson

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

    2. turd ferguson
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

    3. aleksaa2
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

    4. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B

    5. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      a

  14. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Lowton is nailed isn't he ?

  15. Rains of Castamere
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Leeds vs Southampton postponement actually looks VERY likely, doesn't it?

    From The Athletic:

    *How would a postponement work?*

    Discussions are still at an early stage but The Athletic has been told that Leeds are open to the idea of postponing next week’s game.

    Contact was made with the club by the Premier League and the fact that Leeds seem willing to reschedule the fixture suggests that a new date is likely to be agreed.

    The FA would prefer to see the FA Cup tie between Southampton and Shrewsbury go ahead so a rearrangement could work for all parties.

    *How much would this impact Leeds’ schedule?*

    It would leave a 10-day gap between Saturday’s match against Brighton and their next fixture away at Newcastle. Leeds’ early exit from the FA Cup means they already have a free weekend ahead of them next week.

    Obviously, the Southampton game would have to slot in somewhere else in the schedule but as it stands, Leeds aren’t looking at an overload in the second half of the term.

    There should be plenty of midweek dates which would work for them.

    1. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      I hope it gets postponed

    2. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      But whwt about shrew. Covid outbreak??

  16. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

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

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

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B probably

    2. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      No imo.

  17. Atimis
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Which one sounds best ?

    A) Dias Laca in 433
    B) Gundo/Saka Laca in 343
    C) Rashford Saka in 352
    D) Stones Rash in 442

    Core team is:

    Lloris
    Cancelo/Tierney/AWB
    KDB/Bruno/Son
    Kane/Wilson

    1. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      D

  18. Warbling Wendy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Thrown together this FH team last minute

    Leno 4m
    Dias, Cancelo, Yedlin (Mitchell, 3.8)
    Kdb, Fernandes, Son, Saka (Anguissa)
    Kane, Lacazette, Martial

    Any stand out mistakes?

  19. Nightcrawler
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Gundogan or Soucek for DGW?

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Soucek

  20. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Stevens, Baldock and jags all potentially missing for SHU could their defence be in tatters for tonight?

    1. Mondeo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      good intel

    2. aleksaa2
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      If they play against Carroll and Joelinton not so much lol

  21. Mondeo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Which scores more in GW18?

    A) Tierney, Saka, Lacazette & Wilson
    B) Tierney, Rowe-Smith, Wilson & Rashford
    C) Yedlin, Rowe-Smith, Lacazette & Rashford

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

      1. Mondeo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        Cheers mate! Just nerves about over reliance on arsenal I think

  22. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Not an FH question. Long term, would you rather pick Stones over Cancelo and use that 0.8 elsewhere or do you think Cancelo is worth that additional outlay?

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Yeah he is worth it. Has been really unlucky not to get more assists.

    2. Inazuma X1
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      yes Stones over Cancelo

    3. tbos83
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Stones

    4. Pukki Party
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Cancelo

    5. Sean
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Long term I think Stones

  23. The 12th Man
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    How am I looking?
    Lloris
    Tierney,Cancelo,Dias
    KDB,Fernandes, Son,Neto,Saka
    Kane,Lacazette

    Areola,Fernandez,Mitchell,Brewster

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      it's good. Really hard to make a bad FH team this gw.

    2. Cruyff's Eleven
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Neto over Wilson?

      1. The 12th Man
        • 8 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        It really is a roll of the dice from those two.

        1. Cruyff's Eleven
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          8 months, 17 days ago

          Post above says Stevens, Baldock and jags all potentially missing for SHU could their defence be in tatters for tonight?

    3. diesel001
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Dias and Neto to AWB and Wilson and you are template. And being template is a good thing IMO.

  24. maksud
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 17 days ago

    On Fh which option is better:

    a) Wan bissaka/Saiss and Gundogan

    b) Stone and Saka ( this option means 3 arsenal, double city defence and no united defender)

    1) United defender
    2) Saiss

    Thanks in advance !!

  25. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Best City triple up on FH?

    KDB, Cancelo, Stones?

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      yup

    2. thom830g
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      yes imo

    3. Pep Roulette
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Cheers both

    4. Garth Marenghi
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Kdb gundo defender

  26. thom830g
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    Which FH team, A or B?

    A)
    DDG*
    Tierney* - Stones - Dias* - Dier
    Saka - KDB - Fernandes - Rash - Son
    Kane

    B)
    Leno*
    AWB* - Stones - Cancelo* - Dier
    Saka - KDB - Fernandes - Rash - Son
    Kane

    1. Von Lipwig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Basically the same right? I prefer Cancelo over Dias just in case he finally gets the big haul he's been due a while

      1. thom830g
        • 4 Years
        8 months, 17 days ago

        yeah, could have written it down to DDG, Dias, Tierney or Leno, AWB, Cancelo.

        The question is really who is going to have more attacking returns of Cancelo or Tierney.

  27. b91jh
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    A) Laca+Neto
    B) Saka+Martial

    Which is better?

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      A

  28. Von Lipwig
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

    If Pep says that Sterling is not playing

    A) Saiss + Foden
    B) Cancelo + Neto

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B in all cases

    2. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      B

    3. Von Lipwig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Cheers lads

  29. OptimusBlack
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 17 days ago

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

  30. Heisenberg W. W.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 17 days ago

    current FH defence

    DDG
    Cancelo-Tierny- Reguillon

    Dias for Reguillon - YES OR NO

    1. Rains of Castamere
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 17 days ago

      Yes for me. Davies could play. Jose still upset with Reguilon over the covid breach.

      1. Heisenberg W. W.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        8 months, 17 days ago

        My initial choice was based on Ben Davies having played 75min against Marine midweek replaced by Reguillon who played the last 25 min.

        1. Rains of Castamere
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          8 months, 17 days ago

          Reguilon likely to play but not nailed, which is enough to put me off