In this edition of Breaking the FPL Template, @Hibbo_FPL examines Manchester City’s FPL options ahead of their much-discussed Gameweek 8 fixture swing.

This article will provide FPL tips to help managers break the template and achieve that desired top 10k finish.

The Data – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 8

Liverpool’s coronation as 2019-20 Premier League champions fast-tracked Pep Guardiola’s transition of his ageing Manchester City side into a defensive powerhouse with Ruben Dias a key acquisition.

Since the beginning of last season, Man City rank first for clean sheets (24) and goals conceded (35).

The expected data confirms that City’s defensive dominance has been no fluke. They rank first for expected clean sheets (22.6) and expected goals conceded (37).

Furthermore, the Citizens rank top for attempts conceded in the box (198). The same goes for big chances conceded (42).

FPL Breaking The Template Gameweek 8

In terms of attacking production, a striker-less Man City attack rank first for goals (97). However, they are second behind Liverpool when it comes to expected goals (92.2).

Furthermore, the Citizens rank second behind Liverpool for shots in the box (479) and big chances (128).

An incredible goal difference (62) confirms Manchester City’s golden standard at both ends of the field.

Man City rank first for cumulate FPL points scored (2523) which make them a team of great interest ahead of this positive fixture uptick.

FPL Breaking The Template Gameweek 8

The Fixtures – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 8

In terms of fixtures, Man City rank best on Hub’s ticker. This is with both attack and defence from now until the midway point of the season.

City’s defence have proven to be fixture-proof. Guardiola’s side have accrued five clean sheets despite a reasonably challenging opening fixture run.

The immediate match against Burnley holds considerable historical appeal. Defensively the Clarets have recorded a paltry one clean sheet this term.

Since the beginning of last season, Burnley rank worst for goals scored (28).

An away trip to in-form Brighton will provide a sterner test before an appealing home fixture against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 10.

In defence, the Eagles rank joint fifth for goals conceded this term (11). This is despite ranking fifth-best for non-penalty expected goals conceded (2.4).

FPL Breaking The Template Gameweek 8

The Rotation – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 8

Pep Guardiola has faced the regular ire of many a Fantasy manager for dropping high-profile leading players. This is due to the wealth of options at his disposal.

With this in mind, an analysis of minutes is an essential starting point before investing in City assets.

The table below contains the details of 17 players that have accumulated the most Premier League minutes since the beginning of last season.

Unsurprisingly, Ederson (£6.0m) is the definition of nailed, ranking first for minutes (3,860).

Steady defensive linchpin Ruben Dias (£6.1m) ranks second for minutes (3,475). What’s even more important is that he has never come on as a substitute.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo (£5.5m) is of no Fantasy interest. Yet Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) most certainly is, ranking fourth for minutes (2932). Similar to his Portuguese counterpart, he has appeared as a substitute just once.

An important consideration is that Cancelo missed the first four Gameweeks of last season. He made his first league start against Arsenal in Gameweek 5.

The view of Cancelo as a player subject to a high level of rotation is out of kilter with the evidence in this sample.

As we can see options in the attack are subject to game time limitations. There is plenty of evidence of frequent cameo appearances.

It is a concern that current community favourite Phil Foden (£7.9m) ranked 13th for minutes (1808). In this sample, Foden was subject to inward and outward substitutions 20 times in 31 appearances.

Given the strength of the Man City defence, their assurance of minutes, and value from a price point of view, the focus from a Fantasy perspective should be defence first.

Below, I will examine Fantasy production for both Man City midfielders and attackers.

The Defence – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 8

Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) plays the key role as Man City’s defensive playmaker. The Portuguese ranks first amongst his colleagues for attempted final third passes (846) and completed final third passes (658).

Furthermore, he ranks second amongst his City colleagues for attempted through balls (12) and accurate through balls (5).

Cancelo screams multiple avenues to points, ranking first for expected points (181.4) when measured against all defenders despite his reduced minutes.

Sometimes criticised for being steady rather than brilliant, Ruben Dias (£6.1m) has also bettered Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) for expected points (175.7) over this period.

The ownership of Manchester City defensive assets presents an opportunity for shrewd FPL managers to get ahead of the curve.

At the beginning of Gameweek 7, cumulative ownership of City defence totalled 35%. While that will inevitably increase, my recommended play is an early double up on both assets.

The Midfield Conundrum – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 8

Over the sample timeframe, Raheem Sterling (£10.7m) ranks best amongst City midfielders for expected points (193.2).

However, a prohibitive price point hugely dents his appeal. The sublime Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) ranks first for assists (12) despite his limited minutes.

Yet the Belgian’s lack of durability ultimately rules him out of the premium equation.

Riyad Mahrez (£8.7m) and Phil Foden (£7.9m) are high risk and high reward options who can deliver, and disappoint, in equal measure.

When viewed under a 90-minute lens, these midfield options are very capable. Despite this, limited minutes over the long run hugely dampen their appeal too.

Nevertheless, analysing per 90 minute production is a useful exercise in identifying players that will become more desirable. This is, however, under the assumption that their game time prospects are boosted perhaps through a squad injury.

Notably, over the sample period, Phil Foden ranks top amongst City midfielders for FPL points per 90 mins (7.27).

It’s worth noting that Ferran Torres (£6.9m) has suffered a bone fissure during the international break.

As a consequence, the Spaniard will reportedly be on the sidelines for a month. This could pave the way for Foden acquiring more minutes which increases his FPL appeal.


Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) is an automatic selection, capable of regular clean sheets with a huge ceiling given his creative appeal.

Despite being tagged by some as a low-ceiling regular six-point player, Ruben Dias (£6.1m) is remarkably consistent and gets my vote as the second selection in a City defensive double.

Deciding whether to back a Manchester City midfielder is a tougher proposition. It seems sacrilegious not to have “cover” from the best attack in the league.

Despite boasting impressive goal involvement numbers, missing out on starts and minutes costs basic bread and butter appearance points.

However, late news of an injury to Ferran Torres (£6.9m) represents an opportunity for a gamble on Phil Foden (£7.9m) despite the risk of both rotation and cameo appearances.

One less competitor for an attacking spot should lead to a boost in expected minutes over the short-term, and hopefully, FPL production.

For those that have read, thank you. Keep an eye out for more articles through-out the season and drop me a follow on Twitter @Hibbo_FPL.


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