The term ‘cover’ is very widely used in the community and I often hear, ‘I need to cover Man City/Arsenal/Liverpool’, or ‘I need Man United coverage’, but do we really and is there actually any sense in it as a strategy? Can it prevent us from making the right transfer?
What is generally meant by the term ‘cover’, for those who aren’t already aware, most FPL managers will attempt to have players from all of the best Premier League teams, perhaps sometimes at the expense of a better option who doesn’t play for one of the ‘bigger’ teams.
For example, a fair majority of FPL managers will try and fit a Spurs, Man United, Chelsea, City, Liverpool and Arsenal player in our FPL squads, as these are the best teams.
The term has largely reared it’s head again in the community recently due, in part, to Manchester City and the rotation policy Guardiola has applied to his team.
The general FPL populous are starting to realise that it might not be a good idea to hold Agüero/Jesus due to them being liable to rotation, but for some, that’s leaving them with ‘no City cover’.
But if you bring in say, Morata for Agüero or Jesus, and he outscores them, does not having any City ‘cover’ actually matter? As your gaining more points in this context.
We should be focusing solely on what the player can offer us in terms of FPL points, not whether or not we’ve ‘covered’ a certain team.
It sounds so simple when you put it like this but, bring in the players that you think are going to score you the most points irregardless of ‘cover’, as following the ‘cover’ strategy can see you miss out on better options.
So, moving onto the second section and over to my good and wise friend Guidance (Hit the link and follow him on Twitter for other great information and insights related to FPL), the question now is; can we afford to keep Man City players in our teams heading into the hectic Christmas period and which players should we pick?
The Defensive Options
Man City’s back line appears to be fairly settled. With John Stones (6 weeks) and Benjamin Mendy (long-term) both out injured, it is likely a back line of Ederson (in goal), Walker, Otamendi, Kompany and Delph will be preferred in the majority of fixtures – Fabian Delph’s listing as a midfielder means he will be included in the attacking options section.
Man City’s domination of games means a lack of action in goal for Ederson, which means despite him being part of 6 clean sheets this season, he sits below the likes of Courtois, Pope and De Gea for points per match this season.
The main take away from this is that there are better options in goal.
Regarding the defence, Nicolas Otamendi at £5.8m appears the most nailed-on, starting every game that he has been available for this season. His record of 4 goals in his last 19 appearances for the club and involvement in 6 clean sheets in 11 Premier League games this term show his capability to get both attacking and defensive returns, ideal for a premium defender.
Vincent Kompany comes in at the same price but his injury proneness means it is plausible he will be rested for some matches during the Christmas period and so he looks like one to avoid.
Kyle Walker is the most expensive Man City defensive asset at £6.6m, but only just edges Otamendi for points per match at 5.2 to 5.1. This is largely down to a lack of goalscoring potential, which Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso (who has scored 3 times this season) can provide at just £0.3m more. Therefore if you are thinking of investing in Man City’s defence, Otamendi appears to be the man, based on price, likelihood to start and goal threat.
The Attacking Options
In order to discover the best Man City attacking assets to own, we must look at how nailed-on the players are as well as their recent point returns.
Having played a 4-3-3 system for the last 7 gameweeks, it is clear that a fairly settled pattern of starts is beginning to emerge.
I will analyse those Man City assets to have played at least 50% of their team’s minutes over Gameweeks 6-12 that they have been available for (e.g. Aguero’s absence through injury in Gameweeks 7 and 8 are omitted). As a result, the players included below as potential options are Delph, De Bruyne, Silva, Fernandinho, Sterling, Aguero, Jesus and Sané.
From this table, a number of conclusions can be drawn:
- Fabian Delph’s 24 points in 7 gameweeks, high % of minutes played and points per match of 3.4, makes him viable as a 5th midfielder for the bench.
- The Aguero and Jesus rotation for the sole striking spot in the 4-3-3 formation is clear with both averaging below 60% of their team’s minutes that they have been available for. However neither one is massively outperforming their minutes played with only a increase of 1 in rank between the two indicators. The high price and lack of reliability of starts and points which you need in order to trust a player with the captaincy rules these two out of contention.
- Fernandinho has a surprising high number of points in the last 7 gameweeks. However, key to this was him scoring 2 long range screamers and therefore these returns are unlikely to be sustained, especially with his lack of goals and assists in the past. Avoid.
- There is an obvious over-performer and under-performer in the £8-8.5m bracket. David Silva is clearly underperforming, having the second most % minutes played but is fourth for overall points during this period.
- Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling is sixth for minutes played but third for points gained. If you are tight for cash and are looking to either buy or keep hold of City player then it has to be Sterling.
- Sané’s position in first place for both % minutes played and points makes him the wisest attacking investment and very close to being an FPL essential.
- De Bruyne is outperforming his minutes played but at £10.1, you want a viable captain option and I would not have that trust in a player that has a tendency to drop deep into midfield.
Two key options have emerged: defensively Otamendi and offensively Sané.
These two are nailed-on to start almost every game and are also affordable enough to fit a number of other high-priced assets into your team. However Sterling’s affordable price of £8.1m and having outperformed his minutes, he would be the go-to option if funds are tight or you are set on a City triple-up.