After City narrowly emerged triumphant from fiercely contested Community Shield I thought I’d have a look at how they are shaping up position by position going into the new season.
Bravo (£5.0m) has impressed in pre-season, particularly in the Community Shield where he made numerous saves including one in the penalty shootout. However, unfortunately for him it probably isn’t enough to win his spot back from Ederson (£6.0m). Bravo played in the Community Shield last season but it was Ederson who started on the first day against Arsenal. Pep may spring a surprise but I expect to see Ederson between the sticks on Saturday.
Walker (£6.0m) has been touted as a value pick by many in pre-season. I tended to agree until a move for Juventus’ Joao Cancelo appeared to materialise this week with Danilo heading the other way. Instead of just being a backup like Danilo was, Cancelo should offer a genuine alternative to Walker because of his attacking prowess. I expect Walker to start the season but I would be wary as to how nailed he is in the long term.
Laporte (£6.5m) is the solid pick. He’s our best centre back and our only left footer so he has that left sided spot locked down. A word of warning though, he missed the Community Shield with a ‘knock’. I’d wait for Pep’s word before relying on him starting on Saturday.
That means it is between Stones (£5.5m) and Otamendi (£5.5m) for the other spot. I think that Stones is Pep’s preferred choice, as I believe he ultimately wants a Stones and Laporte partnership in the long term. Stones certainly looked more assured than Otamendi against Liverpool so I think it is the Englishman who will get the nod for the first few weeks at least.
Because of City’s failure (so far) to sign another centre-back, it looks like Fernandinho (£5.5m) will fill in as City’s 4th choice. Keep an eye out for Eric Garcia as well. He is from Barcelona’s youth academy and looks to be catching Pep’s eye.
If you read my world famous thread you’ll know I’m backing Zinchenko (£5.5m) as an FPL option. Mendy (£6.0m) is injured until at least September meaning the first 4 games are up for grabs. Angelino (£5.0m) had a shaky pre-season and although Zinchenko was caused trouble by Salah, the spot looks to be his due to his strong form towards the end of last season. He has won every Premier League game he has played for City so I would even back him for the spot after Mendy is back.
There’s nothing really to see here. New signing Rodri (£5.5m) and Gundogan (£5.5m) will rotate this spot but won’t really provide much in terms of going forward. Keep an eye out for Gundogan though who is a strong penalty taker and might play further forward if needed.
Kevin De Bruyne has shown strong form in pre-season and looks a very good price at £9.5m. If he can stay fit and reproduce his 2017/18 form he should be pushing 200 points again. De Bruyne’s return from injury means that David Silva (£7.5m) may start to see his minutes dropping. Although Silva will start the season and will likely pick up the captain’s armband, his time on the pitch will diminish as Pep looks to bring Phil Foden (£5.5m) into the fold. Bernardo (£8.0m) will also inevitably get minutes in midfield but has shown strong form on the wing both at the end of last season and in pre-season. However, as good as Bernardo is he has never shown much consistency in FPL, scoring 30 points less than Gylfi Sigurdsson last season.
Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) is City’s strongest FPL prospect and I don’t expect his form to decline. 5 goals and 3 assists in pre season shows he means business and with strong recent form against West Ham, Spurs and Bournemouth I’m backing him to get off to a flyer. Leroy Sane’s (£9.5m) City future is currently up in the air with a move to Bayern Munich being touted. Given his lack of minutes last season and what looked like a knee injury on Sunday, I think it’s best to steer clear for now. Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) would be good value if he got consistent starts but after a late return from the African Cup of Nations it’s probably a few weeks before he even gets back in the team.
Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) finally nailed City’s lone striker role at the end of last season but that was partly due to Gabriel Jesus’ (£9.5m) weak form in that same period. Jesus seems to have come back from pre-season rejuvenated after a successful Copa America. After Jesus played nearly the whole game on Sunday while Aguero didn’t even step foot on the pitch, I think anyone with the Argentine in their teams on Saturday will be disappointed. Although it is Aguero’s by default, I expect Jesus to fight more for the #9 shirt this season.