After their GW09 defeat to Spurs, FPL managers faces a potential headache with regards to their Manchester City FPL Assets.
Clearly, City are struggling in the Premier League, especially in front of goal. Their current haul of 10 league goals after 8 games is their lowest since the 2006/07, when he scored 6 goals at this stage under Stuart Pearce.
Under Pep, City have averaged 24 goals after 8 games in each of the past four seasons – this season is definitely an outlier.
From an FPL perspective, City players’ return have been disappointing. Currently none of the City players are in the top 20 of the FPL scoring charts. The highest current scorer is Raheem Sterling with 34. FPL player of the season Kevin de Bruyne has only accumulated 29 points to date from 1 goal and 2 assists.
The question is whether City can turn the tide and if so, when?
(this is the full article, an excerpt is on this FF Scout article)
It would be difficult to decide what to do with the City FPL assets without looking at their road ahead.
From a fixture perspective, the case to forgo City assets is very weak. In their next 3 home games, they play Burnley, Fulham and WBA.
City have beaten Burnley in 7 of 8 Premier League meetings under Pep Guardiola, scoring 19 goals in those encounters. In Burnley’s previous two visits, they lost 5-0.
Fulham and WBA have both conceded 18 goals to date, the worst defences in the Premier League to date.
It would be surprising if City do not pick up 9pts from those 3 games and we should expect City to score more than once in those games.
Case of Tripling up on City Assets
The question then turns to if there is value in tripling up on City assets. From a budget perspective, it would not be easy to fit 3 City players in any team.
Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are all above 10.0 and none of their nailed defenders are below 5.0.
Unless you do without one other top asset in the likes of Mo Salah and/or Bruno Fernandes, it would be difficult to triple up on City assets.
Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, it would also make sense to focus on just two City assets and work towards have a team of 15 players who are all likely starters.
In defence, City have been doing OK. They have conceded 11 goals to date, just 2 more than Spurs who have the best record in the league after 9 games.
They have also kept two clean sheets along the way.
Defence used to be an area which Pep loves to tinker but he had actually started the same back four for the last 4 league games. the Ruben Dias (5.5)-Aymeric Laporte (6.0) pairing at center-back offers stability and with Nathan Ake (5.5) out injured, we can expect this pairing to continue into the foreseeable future. Kyle Walker (6.1) appears to be unchallenged at right-back and Joao Cancelo (5.5) is playing well enough recently to cement his spot as the left-back.
Ederson (6.0) is probably the most nailed player in the entire City team but in this unpredictable season, it is hard to justify splurging 6.0 on a goalkeeper. There are plenty of other choices are better prices.
So the question is narrowed to which City defender to pick.
In terms of goal contributions, it has not been the best for City defenders. Walker has scored once and Cancelo has assisted once to date; Dias and Laporte have not returned any attacking returns.
However, when we look back at each of their careers, Dias has the best goal ratio, finding the net every 17.8 games. Walker has the worst, he averages a goal every 46.7 games and has never scored for England over his 50 caps. Dias has also scored twice for Portugal against Croatia in the recently concluded international break.
Cancelo averages a goal every 24.7 games but as a full-back is always likely to contribute assists from running down the flanks.
All things considered, there is very little to separate Cancelo and Dias and they currently both priced at 5.5.
For us, Dias slightly tips the scale as he is more likely to take advantage of set-pieces. Also, Dias is always going to be more nailed on than Cancelo, who is after all, a natural right-back playing on his unorthodox side.
Kevin de Bruyne
(Illustration courtesy of Stadium of Sport – Follow for more wonderful drawings like this one)
Kevin de Bruyne (11.6) is the most obvious City asset to have as an attacking threat. His stats need no introduction; he was involved in 46 goals (13G | 23A) in FPL last season. So far he has only amassed 1 goal and 3 assists but from an expected goal perspective, he stands at 2.76, 8th among all FPL midfielders.
Needless to say, he is behind most of City’s set-pieces including penalties. He may have missed his kick against Liverpool but we expect him to continue to own the duty.
In terms of being nailed on, de Bruyne has only missed 4 Premier League games under the Guardiola regime in which he was not injured. This season, he has played every game when he is fit. He is also the acting club captain and a natural leader on the pitch – making him near undroppable.
Raheem Sterling (11.5) is naturally considered in the same bracket as de Bruyne, given they are in the same price bracket. Other than the fact that Sterling is always more likely to be rested, the fact that de Bruyne takes all the set-pieces makes the choice clear in this aspect.
There was a case for Phil Foden (6.5) earlier in the season, when he started City’s first 4 Premier League games. He also played 45 mins of GW05, accumulating 2 goals and 1 assist to date.
Since then, Foden has struggled for Premier League minutes.
The dilemma for Guardiola here appears to be the best position for Foden in his team. Over Foden’s first 4 starts, he has been played in a variety of roles across the midfield.
The dilemma for FPL managers is whether to spend 6.5 on a player who is never going to be nailed on in the next few games but yet always likely to come into the game and get minutes.
Among those around Foden’s price range are several starters who have potential to be more explosive. Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (6.5) is one of them whose form and likelihood to play (because of Mo Salah’s absence) beat Foden.
The last consideration for FPL managers is whether to pick Sergio Aguero (10.3) given that he has returned to fitness, making it to the bench on GW09 against Spurs.
The Argentine forward has only made 119 minutes of Premier League football to date and has not made any goal contribution.
Aguero’s injury record has not been good – he has missed at least 30 Premier League games over the past 4 seasons due to various injuries and with age catching up, things are not likely to improve.
Guardiola knows that in Aguero, City have one of the best forwards in Premier League history but is likely to manage his involvement very carefully this season. Gabriel Jesus (9.3) has a good goals record whenever he plays and City almost never play two upfront.
The most likely way forward for Aguero in the next few games is for Guardiola to utilise him sparingly, not rushing him into action. There is almost no chance for Aguero to play significant minutes over the next two Premier League games – perhaps a return to a Premier League start is more likely against Manchester United away on GW12.
At his price point, it makes next to no sense to hold Aguero – a though echoed by most of FPL given that his TSB% is a mere 1.3%.
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