We are now a quarter way through the season, some strange point gaps around. I am currently 74 points behind number 1, yet the person sat at 500k is only 74 points behind, which is insane when you think I am ranked 1235. Seems like everyone is starting to bunch-up and you’re only a couple of good scores away from making huge jumps. Most people in the community are advocating safety first and being patient, but not I. It may not surprise you that I am advocating action. Seen a lot of premium talk this week, I am currently in phase 2 of my FPL plan which is just to have 1 premium and spread some value round.
Will Mendy’s Return Release Sterling?
Seen this opinion doing the rounds on twitter especially with Zinchenko being ruled out. Is there any truth in it, its a difficult one to say as we only have limited data. You also have to factor in that City were playing without recognised centre backs in some of these matches. But all we can do is take a look at the data in front of us.
This is Mendy’s heatmap from the Atalanta game, this is not a usual Mendy heatmap. Usually you would expect him to be camped in the opponents half causing havoc.
The heatmap above is from the Dinamo match, this is much more what you expect from the Frenchman. I think the difference here is that City was not playing with a recognised centre half against Atalanta. Pep has most definitely instructed Mendy to play a little more subdued. As a Mendy owner I am hoping that this changes and quickly but for the minute I will be happy if he just gets another clean sheet return. But how did this affect Sterling?
This is Sterling’s heatmap against Atalanta, still playing pretty wide and deep but he is getting in the box. Crucially he got in the box and stuck 3 chances away. So even though this heatmap isn’t like some of Sterling’s previous ones it is all about the quality of his work in the box not just the quantity.
The above shows all of Sterling’s actions on the pitch against Atalanta, he had one of his best games in a while. He scored a hat trick and went for an assist. 6 touches in the box, 13 dribbles 9 of which where successful, 4 shots 3 on target, going for 1.08 xG. Everything went right for the England starlet.
Villa will provide stern opposition, they have started the season well. Unbeaten in there last 4 matches 3 of which they have won. They have restricted their opponents on average to 1.31 xG per match, conceding 13 goals in the process. They’re a team that know how to defend and Tyrone Mings has been a powerhouse for them. They will need to be at absolute top form if they are to take anything away from the match at the Etihad. I do think that given Man City’s current defensive struggles Wesley could well give them nightmares with his size and physical presence. Villa may well be dangerous on the counter but they will need Wesley to be at his best and find support from McGinn and Grealish. Do not be surprised if Villa score.
Manchester City Attacking Movements
I think Man City will look to keep the ball and look to pull Villa out of position looking for overloads. Sterling is going to be absolutely key to this as will David Silva. That low whipped cross from Kevin De Bruyne will be a massive weapon.
This could well be the last match that Bernardo Silva plays for a little while as he faces the prospect of a ban. I suspect he will take up his regular position on the right. Manchester City look to Bernardo to push the defensive line back when he has the ball.
As you can see Bernardo tends to receive the ball pushes forward on the right then looks for De Bruyne. He will push the defensive line back as they drop in line with the ball to limit space. When Bernardo pulls that ball back to KDB the defensive line begin to push out, Manchester City’s attacking line anticipate so do not get caught offside then once KDB plays that ball in they attack the space. City have utilised this to maximum effect all season. In my opinion due to how well organised Villa will be, city will find it difficult to play through them. It will be these types of attacks that will make the difference and if thats the case Sterling is potentially a must own this week. However it does make Agüero and David Silva viable options too.
I do not own Sterling and have no plans to bring him in, he is the one player I wished that I owned this week. I think if you have him you stick the armband on him. I do feel it also makes Agüero an option too this week and potentially even David Silva, for the record I will be putting the armband on Kevin De BRuyn.