Fantasy Premier League

City switches show importance of bench strength

The Scout 14 Nov 2016
John Stones, Leroy Sane, Man City

Having starters as subs can insure your team from Guardiola's rotation ahead of busy period, says The Scout

Manchester City are an obvious source of Fantasy Premier League talent but, for managers, rotation threatens to undermine the potential on offer.

Pep Guardiola’s teamsheet for Manchester City’s Gameweek 11 home match with Middlesbrough continues to have repercussions for FPL managers.

The decision to rest Raheem Sterling (£8.1m), despite an early withdrawal in the UEFA Champions League win over Barcelona four days earlier, earned the midfielder the most transfers out for a player during the international break.

More than 107,000 FPL managers have parted company with Sterling since the previous deadline, with the winger dropping £0.5m in price since Gameweek 7. 

Without Sterling, Guardiola still has options aplenty. 

Opting to bench Nolito (£8.7m) and Leroy Sane (£7.6m), City used David Silva (£8.7m) and Jesus Navas (£6.2m) on the flanks in Guardiola's preferred 4-1-4-1 formation against Boro.

Nicolas Otamendi (£5.9m) was also rested, with John Stones (£5.0m) and Aleksandar Kolarov (£5.8m) in the centre of defence, with the fit-again Vincent Kompany (£5.9m) on the bench.

Sterling’s weekend omission meant one City player, Fernandinho (£5.4m), has started every Premier League match this season.

This is important bearing in mind that this Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace marks the first of 11 matches in 44 days across all competitions for City. 

This season Guardiola has introduced Sergio Aguero (£13.1m), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) and the 26.8%-owned Stones as substitutes, seeking to use the strength and depth of his squad to freshen up the first XI.

The most popular forward in FPL with 46.4% ownership, Aguero has looked back to his best in recent weeks, scoring three goals and providing an assist in the past two Gameweeks.

But Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations grants Guardiola the luxury of having Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.8m) on board for January. 

Kelechi Iheanacho, Sergio Aguero, Man City
With a busy schedule ahead, FPL managers must be wary of regular rotation

The 20-year-old has a goal and an assist in two of his three Premier League starts and is an able deputy should Guardiola seek to rest Aguero.

While key players such as Aguero and De Bruyne can be expected to start the vast majority of City’s fixtures, it is clear their head coach has no qualms over handing his regulars time off.

Guardiola’s Gameweek 11 tinkering offers a timely reminder that, as we edge towards the busy festive period, FPL managers are required to stock their benches with regular starters in order to cope with the upcoming schedule.

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