In this weekly series, @connect_nate will compare enticing players and project how they will perform over the coming gameweeks in FPL. Here, ahead of Gameweek 7, he previews Alonso and Cancelo.
Alonso vs. Cancelo GWs7-10
In preparation for this article, I asked the Twitter FPL community to make requests about the decisions they’re struggling with most…
Ahead of Chelsea’s and City’s respective fixture swings, their defenders have become even hotter property. It seems now that many managers (myself included) made an error by not investing in these elite defences, which is easy to say in hindsight once difficult fixtures have been navigated and rotation risks have become less concerning.
However, it’s time though to rectify the mistake and profit from the expected point-cows that these premium defenders look to be. In that context, it’s no wonder that Alonso and Cancelo, two of the game’s most explosive options, have been prevalent in managers’ minds.
Comparison to rivals (GWs1-6)
While all the talk is of City and Chelsea defenders, even the most cursory glance at underlying numbers reminds us of Trent’s supremacy. No player approaches him for Big Chance creation (0.8 per 90) or xA 90 (0.51) and he rivals Cancelo and Alonso for goal threat with Trent hitting 0.11 xG 90 and the other two just ahead with 0.14 xG90.
Below Trent there is a lot of competition for the next most creative player. Shaw is definitely creating the best chances with 0.56 Big Chances per 90, but his xA 90 of 0.17 is comparable to Dias’ and Cancelo’s 0.15 and Alonso’s 0.14 xA 90. Dias’ inclusion is particularly surprising and reflects something of the noisiness of small sample sizes, but also Dias’ growing influence in the team.
Cancelo’s 0.17 Big Chances Created per 90 combined with 0.17 Big Chances received mean that he stands out as having the most Big Chance involvements of the selected City and Chelsea options. With the usual sample size caveat, Cancelo’s 0.29 xGI just marginally surpasses Alonso’s 0.28 xGI.
Although Shaw and Trent look incredibly exciting when it comes to attacking returns, they do fall behind significantly when it comes to defensive ones. United and Chelsea have better xGC 90 numbers than Liverpool but haven’t been rewarded as generously, which hints at the unsustainability of Liverpool’s defensive numbers.
Chelsea’s xGC 90 of 1.03 isn’t nearly as mean as their numbers last season, whereas City have made significant strides forward with their xGC 90, reducing it to a ridiculous 0.47. It’s too early to make conclusions about which team will be the better defence this season, but City certainly look to have the advantage.
Alonso and Cancelo xMins
Last season’s minutes are slightly worrying for Cancelo, but horrifying for Alonso, who has already played half as many minutes this season as the whole of last season. Alonso’s run in the team has made for superb viewing and it’s hard to imagine him being dropped unceremoniously after so many impressive displays.
That said, Chilwell is back in the squad and presumably regaining fitness. It seems a matter of time before Chilwell starts chipping away at Alonso’s minutes, and eventually Tuchel will have a big question in answering whether he prefers the slightly more defensively-sound Chilwell, or the tremendous threat of Alonso. For this reason, I’m assuming that Alonso’s hitherto untouchable minutes will take something of a hit.
Cancelo, on the other hand, is in a brilliant position to continue his improvement on last season’s minutes. He has less competition because of Mendy’s absence, and has returned to the form that saw him considered as one of the best in the world for a period in the middle of last season.
Fixtures – GWs7-10
Despite the official ratings, City’s run is equally as encouraging as Chelsea’s. Obviously an away game against Liverpool is a horrible fixture for a defender and it’s unlikely Cancelo will return in that game and will be more likely to concede multiple goals there than any other fixture.
However, City’s other 3 games are prime clean sheet territory comparable only to Chelsea’s Norwich game, meaning that Drafthound’s odds have City projected to rival Chelsea for clean sheets over the 4 GWs. For attacking returns, there is very little separating the pairs of four fixtures when taken as a whole.
In one respect, City’s fixtures are preferable: there is a single identifiable weak game that can easily be avoided. Delaying bringing in a City defender would be sensible because GWs8-10 are likely to see the average City defender outscore the average Chelsea one.
Projections for GWs7-10
Finally, we move to the crunch of the matter – using bookies odds and historic career numbers weighted with the most recent run of games, I have projected Alonso’s and Cancelo’s point totals over the next 4 GWs.
Despite the Liverpool game, his propensity for yellow cards and his historically indifferent finishing, Cancelo just comes out on top in what has been the closest comparison of this weekly series so far.
It’s worth bearing in mind the assumption that Alonso will lose minutes to Chilwell as you may want to back against this. But if you’re making a longer term move, I’d advise being even more cautious as Alonso’s minutes may drop further if Chilwell reclaims first spot.
Unlike Alonso, Cancelo’s xMins should continue to see him as one of City’s most nailed players, which makes him a solid long-term option as well.
For me, it is clear that Cancelo is the safer and more reliable pick. Alonso probably has more massive hauls in him and those GWs when he hits 15+ will be hard to swallow as a non-owner, but Cancelo should offer consistently excellent returns with the occasional explosive one.
It’s golden to see an attacking full back in a Pep side see the minutes Cancelo has recently, and while it continues, we need to simply relish bathing in the points.
Thank you for reading!
I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefited from this article. Let me know what you think or any questions you have by commenting on Twitter, and don’t forget to like and share!
If you like this week’s article, feel free to check out the rest of the series. The information and analysis remain relevant and you can decide for yourself how accurate my projections have been.
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