Analysing Manchester City
Despite winning the league last season, with the most potent attack and the 2nd best defence in the division it perhaps comes as somewhat of a surprise to see that their players have to date not proved more popular when it comes to selecting our initial FPL squads. Why is this the case? Unfortunately we don’t have the answer to this particular question, but obviously there are a number of mitigating factors, such as the late return of a number of their players following the World Cup, their difficult start to the season as well as a number of additions to the squad which will inevitably lead to more rotation. With all of this in mind, our resident City expert Tekno-Kun has taken an in depth look at the City squad.
0-2 Dundee Utd, 2-1 v Hearts, 4-1 v Sporting Kansas City, 5-1 v Milan, 2-2 v Liverpool, 2-2 v Olympiacos
City have not been overly impressive in pre-season, neither in attack nor defensively. Obviously, this has a lot to do with many players having extended vacations due to their involvement at the WC. Here are the players who have enjoyed an extended vacation and how much they’ve played in pre-season:
Hart: 45 min + 90 min
Zabaleta: 0 min*
Sagna: 0 min*
Kompany: 0 min*
Demichelis: 0 min*
Yaya: 20 min + 45 min
Fernandinho: 0 min*
Silva: 45 min
Milner: 45 min + 45 min
Dzeko: 45 min + 45 min
Aguero: 0 min*
Needless to say, this causes some concern regarding the match fitness of Zaba, Sagna, Kompany, Demi, Fernandinho, and Aguero. If neither Zaba nor Sagna are deemed fit, Clichy is most likely to play RB. Nastasic, Boyata and Rekik are the backup CB’s. Fernando can play instead of Fernandinho. Dzeko and Jovetic should start together if Aguero is not fit. Given City’s tough opening fixtures, I expect them to not be overly concerned with these players not being 100% match fit as City would struggle against Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea the way they’ve played in pre-season. The exception might be Aguero, who has proven that he will quickly get injured if his fitness is not taken care of.
Aguero* – Returned to training on Monday 4th August
Kolarov (6.0) vs Clichy (5.5)
Expect the same as last season: rotation. Kolarov is amazing for FPL purposes when he plays, but far too expensive at 6.0 given his rotation risk. Avoid both.
Sagna (5.5) vs Zabaleta (6.5)
Zabaleta is first choice, but Sagna hasn’t been brought in to rot on the bench. When the fixtures become tighter I expect Sagna to feature more often in order to keep Zaba well rested. For example, if City have a midweek CL match and a PL match on the weekend, Zaba could play the CL match while Sagna could play the PL match. This predicted rotation and the player’s prices make neither good fantasy prospects.
Caballero (5.5) vs Hart (6.0)
Caballero has been brought in to give Hart competition, not as backup. He has been impressive in pre-season and could take Hart’s spot if he plays well or Hart plays poorly. Both should be avoided due to their prices and rotation risk.
A giant in defence and a threat on set-pieces, but also injury prone. Very expensive, and City’s opening fixtures makes him a no-no.
City are expected to sign Mangala. He should be nailed on to play alongside Kompany, with Demichelis as backup. If he costs 5.5 he could be a good option, but he will most likely be more expensive.
Nasri was preferred over him last season, and it’s this concern over his game time that makes him so cheap. He’s excellent at dribbling past defenders and getting in good crossing and passing positions which would make him an assist machine if he played regularly, and he should also get the odd goal. If City were to suffer injuries that would lead to him being a starter he’d be a bargain.
Preferred over Navas most of the time last season. Has good scoring and assisting potential, however I feel that he’s too expensive given that he’s not certain to start, or even play 90 min when he does stars.
The most certain to start of these three and that’s because he’s the best player of the three. He has the vision and ball control that others can only dream off, and he also has a tendency to get into the box and get in goal scoring position. His finishing skills aren’t that good which means he’s just as likely to miss as to score. An FPL manager would often be frustrated over seeing him miss opportunities that others would score, but I still regard him as the best fantasy prospect of these three. The only major downside is that he’s very injury prone. Not taking Yaya into account, he’s the best option from City’s mid.
Fernando (5.0) & Fernandinho (7.0)
As a DM, Fernando has no fantasy potential, however it’s the potential effect he could have on the team that’s interesting. With Javi Garcia and Rodwell performing sub-par last season, Fernandinho was the only viable partner for Yaya. The addition of Fernando will allow Fernandinho rest, while he’s also good enough defensively to allow Yaya the attacking freedom that made him prosper last season. If Yaya were to get injured, I expect Fernandinho to fill Yaya’s position with Fernando in the DM role. Fernandinho is actually very good offensively, and at 7.0 he could be a real bargain if this were to happen. It’s also possible to employ Yaya in the no. 10 role with Fernandinho and Fernando behind him. Fernandinho could also be given greater freedom even if he plays alongside Yaya, so keep him on your watch list as he should then get the occasional goal and assist.
Honestly, I have no idea how Lampard will fit in City’s midfield. He’s on a 6-month loan, and it seems that he’ll be included in the CL squad. He could completely ruin the aforementioned possibility of Fernandinho taking Yaya’s role if Yaya gets injured. Wait and see on this one, but I’d be surprised to see him feature regularly. Worst case scenario (or best?) he’ll eat away on Yaya’s game time.
He has actually been good in pre-season. If he finds himself a new club where he’ll play regularly, he could be great at 5.5.
Dzeko (8.5, 157 PTS, 1986 MP, 16 GS, 7 A)
Poacher. He can waste 5 great chances in a match and then suddenly score two goals with his next two chances. Very frustrating at times, but 16 goals in under 2000 MP is great. With Negredo injured, he’s City’s only target forward, with Aguero the only other player who can play CF. Great value at 8.5.
Jovetic (8.0, 34 PTS, 368 MP, 3 GS, 2 A)
He’s been City’s standout player in pre-season, with 5 goals against Milan, Liverpool, and Olympiacos. While he naturally plays as a second striker or attacking midfielder – centrally or on either side – he has shown good positioning in the box as some of his pre-season goals have been simple tap-ins. While he has been impressive, it is worth noting that many of City’s creative players haven’t played much in pre-season, leaving the creative responsibility on him. With Silva, Yaya, Fernandinho, Nasri etc. playing, I’d expect him to be less visible and influential.
Dzeko vs Jovetic
A lot of fantasy managers are scratching their head as to who will start between these two players. Let’s first go back to pre-season last season, when many were asking the exact same question, except it was about Dzeko vs Negredo. “Dzeko was on fire in pre-season” many said, “he has to start!” And so he did, or at least for maybe 2 or 3 matches. Then Negredo started regularly and did so until his injury problems began.
In reality, Dzeko and Jovetic are very different players. Dzeko is a CF, someone who gets in the right positions and finishes, while Jovetic is a creative SS/AM, someone who is deeper and more involved in the play. Jovetic is a much more natural replacement for Aguero, Nasri, or Silva, while there really aren’t any other players in City’s squad comparable to Dzeko except Negredo. I expect Jovetic to ride the wave in the first few matches much like Dzeko last season, and then lose his place to Aguero when he’s fit and become more of a rotation option.
Yaya and Aguero
I regard these two as so exceptional that they deserve their own section.
Yaya Toure (11.0)
There are primarily two reasons why Yaya performed so well last season: set pieces and Fernandinho. He scored 6 pens and 4 of 7 direct free kicks. I would be surprised if he doesn’t continue taking direct free kicks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the number 1 penalty taker as well, although that remains to be seen. Due to City’s attacking style, they can be expected to get plenty of free kicks and penalties.
Under Pellegrini, Yaya has had a much freer role than previously under Mancini. With Fernandinho doing the defensive work Yaya has been allowed to bombard forward on his runs whenever he wants, which is essentially what made him get more attacking returns from open play last season. He does not get many chances, nor is he as involved in the attacking play as any City player in front of him, but his direct play style coupled with his excellent finishing skills makes him ridiculously effective. Last season he had 50 shots which resulted in 20 goals – 1 goal per 2.5 shots! Also, 74% of his shots on goal lead to a goal (these stats include set pieces). While such amazing numbers might seem like luck at first, when they are sustained throughout an entire season, it’s a matter of skill.
As long as Yaya keeps his set pieces duty and a freer attacking role, he will keep on scoring goals just like last season. There is no reason to believe that any of this will change this season, except the possibility that Aguero will be on pens (when fit).
Aguero (12.0, 156 PTS, 1528 MP, 17 GS, 11 A)
Like porcelain, he’s beautiful, elegant, graceful, and breaks if you touch him. 17 goals in 20 starts is amazing enough, but when you throw in 6 assists (11 in FPL), you know you’re dealing with a points machine. With his injury problems at the World Cup, and not featuring in pre-season, I expect him to be eased back into action despite City’s tough fixtures.
City will have learned a lot from last season and will probably handle him more carefully this season, which should help him stay fit. He could see some rotation with Jovetic to make sure he isn’t overplayed. Still, none of this will be an issue when fit as his stats prove that he doesn’t need to play much to score points. While I don’t expect him to be 100% fit by the start of the season, he’ll be a fantasy must have when fit, and if he can remain fit through the entire season, I fully expect him to be this season’s top scorer, both in FPL and real life.
Corners: Silva, Nasri, Navas, Milner, Kolarov
Free kicks: Yaya, Kolarov, Silva
Penalties: Yaya/Aguero, Kolarov, Silva
This is how I expect City to line up in GW 1:
Zaba – Kompany – Mangala – Clichy
Nasri – Yaya – Fernando – Silva
Dzeko – Jovetic
It’s hard to say anything for certain at this point, so the line-up in the Community Shield as well as team news will reveal more regarding who will start in GW 1.
This is what I expect City’s preferred line-up to be for the season, not taking fitness and form into consideration:
Zabaleta – Kompany – Mangala – Clichy
Nasri – Yaya – Fernandinho – Silva
Dzeko – Aguero
Negredo is a considerably better player than Dzeko, however with him being injured and his lack of form during the latter half of last season, he needs to prove himself in order to regain that starting spot.
City have created a lot of chances in pre-season, but have lacked the edge and efficiency that made them score over 100 goals last season. This is mostly due to players like Silva, Yaya, and Aguero not featuring much during pre-season, and thus I expect City to be just as free scoring this season as they were last season. Defensively, City have been poor, but mostly due to sub-par CBs playing. With Kompany and Mangala I expect them to tighten up at the back, but the added depth to City’s defence makes it less appealing in fantasy terms.
I think an attacking player from City is a must, but I can understand if you decide to pass on Yaya and Aguero and go for a cheaper option, preferably Silva. If you want one of Dzeko or Jovetic I suggest Dzeko, as he should both play more and score more, but keep your eyes on the Community Shield line-up and team news just to be safe. Still, it’s recommendable to have a plan to bring in Yaya and Aguero, as their price will rise quickly when they start scoring points. City’s fixtures are better after the match against Chelsea in GW 5, so around then would be a good time to bring them in. If you only want one of them due to their prices, I suggest Aguero, but only after he’s proven his fitness. I think there’s a lot more options in midfield than in attack, and Aguero should also outscore Yaya barring any injury he may suffer. I myself am set to start the season with only Silva, but I’d be surprised if Aguero isn’t in my team by GW 6.