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. unitednations
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    1) Do we know which villa players got tested positive?
    2) Do we reckon villa will have a dgw in 19?
    3) Currently have 7 gw18 players but planning to get rid one of Dallas, Taylor, Watkins for a hit. Cant decide who though? Dallas has a dgw which might not happen, watkins has a dgw but might be positive and faces city in one of those games, Taylor has a game in 18 (mun) and dgw19 (whm, liv) but tough games so cant see a cs and he might not even play in 18

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Do we reckon you'll ever help anyone else?

      1. The Train Driver
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Just looked at his history, only questions, no answers and often spamming the same question even when getting replies.

  2. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    KDB or Kane captain. ?

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Both excellenr options. Kdb.

    3. Demba Demba
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Coin toss, both stand out options

    4. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB, but it is very close

    5. Lindelol
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Kdb

      1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
        • 11 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        cheers lads . Kane it is 😉

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

    Is it safe to press the FH button? Haha

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      wait on press conferences 🙂

    2. The Road to Turfdom
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      I've risked it but I'm not relaxed

  4. Silecro
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Good to go on FH?

    Lloris
    Cancelo,Stones, Tierney
    KDB, Bruno(c), Son, Rashford, ESR
    Kane, Wilson

    4.0, Yedlin, Douglas, Davis

    1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Rarely I see ESR playing for someone, but I love it

      1. Silecro
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        I like the AMC position he's playing and seems to be fairly advanced and in middle of everything, so punted on him, pretty good as 5th mid. I can of course do Tierney>Holding, ESR>Saka but this current one has more upside i think

  5. Nightcrawler
    • 1 Year
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    A) Gundogan and Stones

    B) ESR and Dias

    1. chelseabrad
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      A

  6. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Why is Knockaert on loan at Nottingham this season?

    1. Gabbiadini
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Not prem quality.

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Neither is anyone else from that team?

  7. Il Papera
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Any thoughts on Craig Dawson for the DGW? Two CS (and a cup goal) since he started starting? Balbuena back in or does he keep his place v BUR WBA?

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      I think he's 53

      1. Il Papera
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        30 years old - couldn’t believe it!

  8. chelseabrad
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    A) Saka and Cavani
    B) Foden and Wilson

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      B

  9. S.Kuqi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Which one would you get? Both not an option.

    Rashford (bur,liv,ful,SHU)

    Son (FUL,shu,LIV)

    1. chelseabrad
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Son

    2. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Rashford

    3. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Anyone else?

    4. Hits from the Bong
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Son

    5. Demba Demba
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Rash

    6. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Son

  10. Inazuma X1
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Andy is wildcarding lmfao

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      It's not a bad shout.

    2. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      It's the right decision for his team tbh.

    3. Lindelol
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Same here

  11. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Repost

    Best City triple up on FH?

    KDB, Cancelo, Stones?

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      That or Gundogan/Foden over Stones

    2. Gobigorgohome
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      kdb dias cancelo

    3. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB, Sterling and a defender if Raz is fit.

    4. jomikijiq
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB, Cancelo, Jesus

      1. I Member
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        I like the Jesus punt.

    5. aleksaa2
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB, Sterling (if fit), Cancelo

  12. IRBOX ⚽
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Any changes needed?

    Lloris
    Cancelo Stones Tierney
    KDB Bruno Son Rashford Saka
    Kane Wilson

    Forster Brewster Mitchell 3.9

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Prefer United defence to Arsenal personally, but it's pretty bang on the template

    2. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Very nice mate. Same team I would have but can’t afford Saka. So may either need to go Smith Rowe or Laca over Rash. Your TV must be high

    3. Ode
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Verrips instead of Forster

  13. Monya Meow Meow
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Last spot on my FH team...

    A) Gundog
    B) Saka

    Thanks!

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      A

      1. Monya Meow Meow
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Thank you!

    2. thom830g
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      B

  14. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    So what to do with Leeds assets on WC. Aaarrrgghhh

    1. Salarrivederci
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Selling them all (Bamford) 😀

    2. Gobigorgohome
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      sell 😉

  15. Salarrivederci
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Any comments? Would love to see a WC18 BB19 draft since I'm doing WC18 no BB19 drafts at the moment.
    Think this team sets me up nicely for GW18 and GW19

    So this is my WC18 - no BB19 team:
    0.6 ITB
    Areola (Martínez)
    Cancelo - AWB - Stones - Holding (Coufal)
    KDB - Bruno - Son - Rashford - Smith Rowe
    Kane (Brewster , Antonio)

    For GW19 I plan to do one if these for -4 (depends on LEE-SOU ofc)
    Kane + Rash -> Ings + Salah
    Kane + Rash -> Werner + Mané

    1. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      What chip are you then planning on using in gw19? If you WC you'd really want to BB soon imo. Otherwise it can be so wasteful

      1. Salarrivederci
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Would probably go without a chip tbh. And try to convert my team into a BB26 team with the FH to get me out in BGW29.

        1. Salarrivederci
          • 5 Years
          4 months, 9 hours ago

          Risky though for sure.
          But the WC18 BB19 teams will probably be without Liverpool and have to sacrifice either Kane/Son or Rashford just to be able to play Soucek, Wood, Areola and a Arsenal defender

    2. Gabbiadini
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      How to you plan to revert to some sort of normality after these gameweeks?

      P.s. see my response on previous thread.

      1. Salarrivederci
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        What would I need to revert if I bring in Salah or Mané next GW?
        That's the good thing about a WC18 non BB19 team.

        My bench would be like:
        Areola/Martínez - Smith Rowe - Holding - Brewster

        1. Gabbiadini
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 9 hours ago

          Would not need a 4.5 gk with Martinez, I also think you could go a Mitchell for 5th defender, you’re potentially looking at 5 trades.

          1. Salarrivederci
            • 5 Years
            4 months, 9 hours ago

            Martínez does not play this GW though

            1. Gabbiadini
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 9 hours ago

              No but after gw19

    3. Gonzola
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Here's my WC18 BB19 draft.

      Martinez - Meslier

      Cancelo - Tierney - Robertson - Stones - Coufal

      ESR - Saka - KDB - Fernandes - Son

      Kane - Bamford - Antonio

      No Salah and only 8 DGW players, but I think Arsenal and Spurs fixtures over the next two justify it. Leaves me with not having to make many changes for GW20 either. Might witch Saka to Soucek next week. Don't fancy utd defence.

      1. Gonzola
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Also think i'd rather keep Kane and Rashford for gw19 over those two options

  16. The Mighty Whites
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Captain KDB, Fernandes, Son or Kane?

    Tough one!

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      KDB - easy decision in the end

    2. More Cowbell
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      captain pole says KDB by a considerable margin

  17. Gabbiadini
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    -12 or WC

    *note WC would only 5 trades*
    (Do not want to decimate my team for solely 2 GWs).

  18. Karan14
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    What do you think is more likely to happen this week?

    A) United keeping a CS
    B) Wilson attacking return

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

      I think it’s close but the ceiling for A is 6 probably. B could be 20?

      1. Gobigorgohome
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        maguire is due 15 pointers 😉

    2. Ode
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Utd hasn't kept a single away cs this season

    3. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      A

    4. Fuddled FC
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      good question

      I'm hoping for B

  19. More Cowbell
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    hi all - are any of the gw18 fixtures in jeapordy or are all likely to happen?

  20. GoonerSteve
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    No idea what to do this week and the more I look at it the more confused I become!

    Any suggestions please?

    2ft, 0.1 itb

    Current team:

    Mitchel, Holding
    Son, KDB, Fenrnades

    Bench:

    Justin, TAA, Douglas
    Salah, Grealish
    Bamford, Che Adams, Davis

    Any ideas on what my priority moves should be?

  21. b91jh
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Thoughts on this FH draft?

    Lloris
    Cancelo Tierney AitNouri
    KDB(c) Bruno Gundogan Son
    Kane Laca Wilson

    Verrips ESR Yedlin Mitchell

    0.2itb

  22. AJ24
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    G2G on my free hit team?

    Darlow
    Cancelo, Stones, Holding
    KDB (C), Bruno, Son (VC), Smith-Rowe
    Kane, Laca, Martial

    Button, Stephens, Mitchell, Bernardo .... (Non existent bench)

    Thanks!

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

      G2G

  23. The Frenchie
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Dallas or Coufal?

    1. aleksaa2
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      For this GW both! Coufal for GW19, Leeds might not have DGW.

  24. fcsaltyballs
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Pick one:

    1. AWB
    2. Saiss

    Thanks

    1. jomikijiq
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      1

      1. Fuddled FC
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        2

  25. Gudjohnsen
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    WC draft

    Martinez, DDG
    Tierney, Coufal, Cancelo, Stones, Mitchell
    Son, Bruno, KDB, Saka, Soucek
    Lacazette, Kane, Bamford

    Thoughts?

    1. Gobigorgohome
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      7 dgwers??

      nah

  26. United20
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    FH team thoughts

    Lloris
    Cancelo AWB Saiss
    Fernandes Son KDB Saka
    Kane Wilson Lacazette

    Subs: Steer Holding Burke Mitchell

  27. HD7
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    Laca Tierney or Rashford Holding

    Which duo makes more pts this GW?

    Laca looks on form:)

  28. Bruce Lee
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 9 hours ago

    wtf why doesn't Grealish have a game?

    1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Things happened

  29. Parsnips
      4 months, 9 hours ago

      Best wildcard team?

      1. Gobigorgohome
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        3 city
        3 united
        3 westham
        2 liverpool
        4 randoms 😉

      2. Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Andy's stream.

        1. Parsnips
            4 months, 9 hours ago

            When does it start?

            1. Camzy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              4 months, 9 hours ago

              Usually an hour before deadline. He also has a WC draft video up.

      3. chelseabrad
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 9 hours ago

        Will Foden start? And is he a good pick over Saka?