The days leading up to the previous game week saw defenders dropping like flies.
Popular options like Reece James were out injured, with the insecurity of Gabriel’s playing minutes and the news of John Stones being potentially injured as well till the international break meant managers had to all of a sudden scrap for options in the defense.
Alternative options mainly Gusto of Chelsea or Destiny Udogie of Spurs fail to inspire much confidence.
Neither Chelsea nor Spurs seems potentially to operate as solid defensive units. There is the added insecurity of minutes over both the players.
It was then the usual time of the season, had come for Fantasy managers.
Someone must be keeping a flowchart of the cycle of deciding from being nowhere near to Manchester City players due to threats of rotation to eventually scathing and watching Manchester City games for a better in faux hope of understanding Pep roulette.
Pep always surprises the everyday Fantasy player and the everyday Fantasy player chooses never to give up. It is a never-ending circle.
Why stepping on Manchester City’s rotation landmine does make sense?
Rotation aside, Manchester City as a team, has the best defense in the league.
Under Pep Guardiola, they have consistently come out on top in the defense charts over the seasons since the Spaniard took charge.
Ederson, even as an expensive goalkeeper in the Fantasy Premier League often seems to be on the cusp of being a great option mainly due to the security of starts and clean sheets.
Teams potentially rivaling Manchester City as a defense have all seemed to have lost their solid shape outside of maybe, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.
Arsenal’s fixtures though after game week three do not bode well for clean sheets.
Liverpool have consistently struggled in defense, Chelsea are a team in transition with their style of play, for now, often seemingly with the potential to leave space for the opposition to exploit.
United has difficult fixtures and anyway, they have their own sets of problems to deal with. It is perhaps wise not to invest in their defense.
Spurs under Ange are great from an attacking perspective. How good they will be in defense despite keeping a clean sheet against Ten Hag’s men is surely a wait-and-watch in the coming game weeks.
Manchester City will play against Sheffield United away followed by Fulham at home, and then West Ham away, Forest at home, and Wolves away over the next five.
Even if Guardiola’s men weren’t the champions of the league and as a defensive unit these fixtures still would look great for not conceding any goals.
The start of the season saw many starting with John Stones in their drafts. The news of the Englishman being out had feelings of the old pain getting repeated.
There are options and perhaps better options elsewhere where the feeling without the headache of worrying about starts. Game week three and already those other options have dwindled much.
The match against Newcastle United was a good eye test in understanding Pep’s favored eleven this season.
New signing Gvardiol started alongside Dias, in a formation that meant both of them operated as wide centre-backs.
Gvardiol was playing as the left center-back in the departed Laporte and current injured Ake role previously.
Gvardiol’s display in ninety minutes was evidence of the value of money Pep had spent to bring the Croatian in. I
n his full debut in the league, Gvardiol showcased his prowess and comfort with the ball in his feet. His passing abilities were a marker of the kind of defender suited to play for a Guardiola team.
Akanji played beside Rodri in what has become Stones’s position. It is perhaps likely to be expected the return of the latter from injury would mean a likely loss of the spot for Akanji, rather than Gvardiol at least in most of the games.
It would not be a stretch to assume Gvardiol is ahead of the pecking order than Ake in the team. He is the same price as Gabriel and half a million cheaper than James.
Even if he starts four out of the next five, he will likely outscore defenders in his price bracket. At under 10% ownership, he is a great differential playing for the best team in the league.