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!

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a FREE trial are all now available.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

avfc82 https://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/818/history”

1,530 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Millie7
    • 7 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Yedlin - Dias - Holding - Mitchell
    Reidewald - KDB - Bruno - Son

    Robertson + Grealish > Yedlin + KDB for -4 gives me this??

    will be WC next week

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Yes

  2. Kasper the ghost keeper
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Mari the best 4.4 and below defender?

    1. Pep Roulette
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Yedlin

      1. Kasper the ghost keeper
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Less rotation risk or better pick assuming both start?

        1. Pep Roulette
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          For this week Yedlin

    2. jayzico
      • 10 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Yedlin for me too

  3. Atimis
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 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. RealSocialDads
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      C

  4. United20
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Bottomed.

    FH team thoughts appreciated

    Lloris
    Cancelo AWB Saiss
    Fernandes Son KDB Saka
    Kane Wilson Lacazette

    Subs: Steer Holding Burke Mitchell

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Good

    2. Cruyff's Eleven
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      ManU clean sheets on the road are kinda non-existent though....

  5. Nightcrawler
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    For -8

    Soucek Dallas Zouma OUT

    ESR Stones Cancelo IN

    1. RealSocialDads
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Soucek and Dallas out before double, why?

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Soucek out is not a good move.

    3. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Yeah don't sell the 5.0 goal machine that is Tomas Soucek

  6. CONNERS
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Hi all

    Feeling fairly settled on this team. Covers most bases with a reasonable bench. Any final changes required?

    Lloris
    Cancelo - Stones - Tierney
    KDB - Bruno - Son - Neto
    Kane - Lacazette - Wilson

    4.0 / Smith-Rowe - Fernandez - Mitchell

    1. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Very solid team with a good bench

    2. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Fine. Like Neto pick.

    3. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Thank you

    4. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      hard to fault
      why Neto? i'm tempted but they don't create many goals
      debating Son vs Rashford

    5. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I picked Neto purely to get some coverage in each game and he is involved in most Wolves attacking play.

      Good value too.

  7. FPL Doctor
    • 6 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Currently ranked in top 1k.
    Need advice if anyone is willing.

    FH or to not FH?

    My free transfers will leave me with this?

    Cancelo Dias
    KDB(c) Rash Son Bruno
    Wood

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Fh.

    2. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      FH to solidify your rank

    3. RealSocialDads
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Maybe take a - 4 to bolster your team a bit

      Im playing with this on a - 4:

      Dias Cancelo
      KDB Bruno Son
      Wood Kane

    4. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I think that will get you by.

      I'd be tempted to try and get an extra player in if poss but I don't think it's essential.

  8. Sean
    • 11 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    one does not simply sell Soucek

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Sean is my favourite poster of all time!

  9. GE
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Dillemmas on FH - what do you do?

    1) Laca (3-4-3) or Rashford (3-5-2)
    2) Saka or Gundogan (means only one City def beside KDB)
    3) Lloris or DDG

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Rashdoganis.

  10. TNB
    • 1 Year
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Which option sounds better on FH

    1. Lloris + AWB
    2. DDG + Reguillon

  11. b91jh
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    AWB or Tierney?

    1. Ode
      • 4 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Tierney

  12. YuvalFPL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Going with the following for a -4 currently.

    Should I take another two hits to bring in Saka and Holding? If just one, which one should I go for?

    (Martinez Nyland)
    Cancelo Dias Mitchell (Robertson Ayling)
    KDB Bruno Rash Martinelli (Soucek)
    Kane (Adams Bamford)

    1. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I wouldn't bother with either tbh. I don't think losing Soucek before the DGW is wise.

  13. I Member
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    A) Rashford + Stones
    B) Jesus + Maguire

    Have KDB, Bruno, Diaz and Shaw so will be triple City and triple United either way.

    1. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      A

  14. Zlatan F.C
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Anywhere i could strengthen this team?

      De Gea
      Stones Reguilon Tienery
      KDB Fernandes Neto Son
      Laca Kane Wilson

      Steele Smith Rowe Mitchell Kilman

      1. CONNERS
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        I think you're all set. Similar team to mine above.

        1. Zlatan F.C
            6 months, 21 days ago

            i've changed Reguilon to Cancelo

        2. CONNERS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Nice upgrade.

      2. pundit of punts
        • 8 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Leeds vs Soton off in DGW?

        1. RealSocialDads
          • 5 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Not confirmed yet, apparently Leeds open to the idea

      3. Hits from the Bong
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        On FH. Price not an option..
        A. Sterling
        B. Lacazette

        1. I Member
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          A if fit, for sure.

        2. Atletico Junior
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          B... Looks OK to start, in form, and facing a terrible CPalace defense. Sterling could be gold, but not sure he will start

      4. RAFA THE GAFFA
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Saiss, Stones or Maguire?

      5. tabby98
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        FH TEAM

        Lloris, £4.0m
        Cancelo, Stones, Shaw, (Mitchell, £3.8m)
        KDB, Bruno, Son, Saka (£4.3m)
        Kane, Lacazette, Wilson

        £0.2 ITB

        Would you make any changes to this or GTG?

        1. CONNERS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Bench is risky, looking good otherwise.

          I would upgrade your 4.3 mid to Smith-Rowe.

      6. Michelle Davin
        • 4 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Fantasy League still didnt add Percy Tau.

        Expecting a hatrick from him tomorrow

        1. aleksaa2
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          They did, he is 5.5. Feel free to buy him!

          1. Michelle Davin
            • 4 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            haha too expensive.

            1. aleksaa2
              • 4 Years
              6 months, 21 days ago

              Not for a hatty though haha

      7. rozzo
        • 8 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        If I just use my transfers for next 2 weeks I will have 8 players for this week and 10 for the doubles.

        Is there any advantage to using the free hit now? Only advantage I can see is to load up on City and maybe United players?

        What with covid and likely postponed games later on surely its better to save the free hit for later on?

        1. RealSocialDads
          • 5 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          You would want city players and to a lesser extent utd players for both the BGW and DGW so may as well bring then in with transfers, I'm saving free hit

        2. Boris Bodega
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Save it for one of the many future double gameweeks.

      8. b91jh
        • 4 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Pick 2 from:

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

        1. sthelenslad92
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          A & C

        2. RealSocialDads
          • 5 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          B and C, really like Nero

      9. Bullet Eder
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Which pair on Free Hit?

        A. Leno + Cancelo

        B. Lloris + Stones

        1. Atletico Junior
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          b

        2. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          A by a mile. Cancelo not optional. This could be the week he gets like 18 points.

        3. Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          B

        4. aleksaa2
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          A

      10. Tonyawesome69
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Fellow non-FH managers with less than 9-10 players, what does your team look like and how many hits have you taken?

        My team with -4
        Stones Cancelo Holding
        Bruno KDB(C) Bruno
        Kane

        1. aleksaa2
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          -4
          DDG
          Cancelo Stones Holding Mitchell
          KDB (C) Bruno Rashford
          Kane

        2. Mr. O'Connell
          • 9 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          I don't think 2 bruno's is fair. This is me. No hits.

          Cancelo, Holding, Mitchell
          KDB (c), Bruno, Son
          Kane, Brewster

        3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Two Brunos?

        4. Keeptrying
          • 7 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Though I did not fall under the criteria, I think you are g2g.
          I took a -4 to have the exact 7 player you have, plus three (at best) who would normally be bench fodder: Mitchell, Brewster, ESR.
          What I am trying to say is your players are absolutely fine 🙂

          1. Tonyawesome69
            • 2 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            Thanks, just wanted to compare with other managers in a similar position as me. I have the core players covered. Just have to hope the red arrow is small for this GW

            1. Keeptrying
              • 7 Years
              6 months, 21 days ago

              yeah, hopefully we will come away with minimal damage.
              All the best 🙂

              1. Tonyawesome69
                • 2 Years
                6 months, 21 days ago

                Cheers, GL to you too

        5. cigan
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Can get this with -4

          Cancelo Dias Dier Lowton Holding
          Bruno Son Saka KDB
          Kane

        6. Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          haha apologies, 2nd Bruno should be Son

          Stones Cancelo Holding
          Bruno KDB(C) Son
          Kane

          1. Keeptrying
            • 7 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            Thats's how I read it for some reason hahaha

            1. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 21 days ago

              haha me too, that's how I missed it!

        7. LSK
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          -4
          Shaw, Dias, Stones
          Rashford, Fernandes, KDB, Son
          Kane, Brewster

      11. balint84
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Start one:
        A) Fernandez
        B) Saiss
        C) Stones (have Ederson)
        D) Dier

        1. sthelenslad92
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Stones

      12. cigan
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Hi!

        Got 7 players for this week at the moment, looking to navigate through the next 2 weeks with a couple of hits - but there's so many options. Should I really be selling Salah/Robbo seeing it will be very tough to get any of them back?

        Dias Dier Lowton Holding
        Bruno Son Saka
        (+ Martinez, Johnstone, Robbo, Salah, Soucek, Vardy, Adams, Bamford)

        A) Vardy, Robbo > Kane, Cancelo
        B) Vardy, Robbo, Adams > Kane, Cancelo, Wilson (-4)
        C) Vardy, Soucek > Lacazette, Gundogan
        D) Vardy, Robbo, Soucek > Kane, Cancelo, Gundogan (-4)
        E) Salah, Adams > KDB, Wilson
        F) Salah, Vardy, Robbo > KDB, Kane, Cancelo (-4)

        1. Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          2FT - Salah and Robbo to KDB and Cancelo

          2 moves I done was Salah and Robbo to KDB and Stones. I can do Son to Salah in 19 if I want Salah back. Already have Cancelo

          1. cigan
            • 3 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            How much cash did you have tied up into Salah/Robbo?
            I bought for 12.2 / 7.0

            1. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 21 days ago

              12.2 and 7.2

              1. cigan
                • 3 Years
                6 months, 21 days ago

                Thanks - I think I might keep Robbo as it could be hard to get both back next week. But selling Salah looks like the easiest way to improve the team right now so I think he has to go

      13. Differentiator
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Odds on Foden starting?

        1. Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          75%

        2. rjcv177
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Really tempted...but realized he had 3x90 in the last 3 games. On pep's termos its dangerous

      14. Nightcrawler
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Dier or Holding in my normal team?

        Would be on the bench next GW

      15. Atletico Junior
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Final FT draft, template as it could be...

        Lloris

        Cancelo - Tierney - Stones

        Rashford - KDB - Son - Bruno - ESR

        Laca - Kane

        4M - Tuanzebe - Mitchell - 3.8M

        Any final suggestions?

        1. Pep Roulette
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          What if Sterling is fit?

          1. Atletico Junior
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            Hope Rash matches what he does

      16. balint84
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Start who?

        A) Saka
        B) Neto

        1. ChelseaGuy
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          A

      17. Pep Roulette
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        On FH

        XX
        Stones Dier XX

        A. Mitchell & DDG

        B. Yedlin & Leno