Projected XI’s – Manchester City

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Man City still have a title contending squad on their hands, and they look to be splashing the cash again. Here’s their current projected XI:

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Keepers

Hart is clearly City’s number one, and a great option if you feel their defence can once again find its form from 2 years ago. Caballero will only serve as back-up.

Defenders

Their is plenty of depth in City’s defence, and it’s not short of quality either. Pellegrini needs to solidify at the back if he is to challenge his rivals for the title, if they can do so there is some value to be found.

Kompany has been poor over the past 2 seasons, however he is still City’s first picked centre back. Mangala has showed signs of improvement and should be ahead of Demichellis in the pecking order.

Clichy and Kolarov will fight it out for the left back slot as always. Clichy should be the first picked, however Kolarov will be used often enough to make selecting either difficult. Zabaleta could miss the first couple of games due to the Copa America, but will be selected ahead of Sagna in the long run. He is good value at 6.0.

Midfielders

Fernandinho and Fernando will face off for the defensive midfield role, whilst Delph will join the battle for that spot once he recovers from his recent injury. Toure will play more of a box-to-box role, with more of a license to bomb forward. He is vital to City’s prospects…

The slot in behind the striker is an intriguing battle. Silva scored 5 goals in just 9 appearances when playing in behind the striker, compared to 7 in 23 out wide. Man City look to be in for Wolfsburg’s De Bruyne, and they usually get their man. Wolfsburg have stated that only a massive offer could tempt them to sell him, and that’s exactly what City will do. If he does sign it will have huge ramifications, but we can’t worry about hypotheticals just yet. I’m hoping Silva gets the free roaming role to start the season, he could be awesome value if he does. He is also capable of starting on the left and producing great returns.

Nasri struggled with injuries last season but he’s still a quality player, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return to the team and alternate with Silva during games. His job security is shaky however. New recruit Sterling is a certain starter, whether that be from the left, the right or the centre remains to be seen. I can see him starting out wide once City have Aguero back, until then he could be utilised as a centre forward. He will be vital to City’s plans, I can see these 3 forming a great attacking partnership. Forward lines these days need to be flexible, and as an attacking trio with Aguero they will complement each other well.

Navas should serve mostly as back-up, he may be preferred to Nasri depending on the fixture.

Forwards

Aguero is of course the main man, but I can’t see him starting GW1 due to his recent Copa America duties. Similar to Sanchez he should come off the bench around GW2 and be back in the first team by GW3. Dzeko could be on the way out, with Bony clearly Pellegrini’s second choice striker. He is a slight doubt though, which could see Sterling get his chance through the centre. Aguero is the only fantasy relevant City forward, until he gets injured of course!

50/50: Silva is great value based on his points per game figures last season, however there are a couple of issues. His performance last season is an outlier compared to the rest of his consistent career. He doubled his goal output, which gave his scoring a huge boost. He has got at least 12 assists for the past 4 years, so you know he will create goals. Whether he can maintain that goal output is another question. Injuries must also be a long-term concern, there is a reason he has averaged 2500 minutes every season. Overall I rate him as the best attacking mid in the world, he’s a great option to start with.

Lock: When fit, no one goes close to Aguero in the EPL. He managed 26 goals and 10 assists in just 2500 minutes last season, those are crazy returns. IF he can stay fit then he will make or break your season. I can see him delivering a similarly dominant season to Suarez in 2013/14, however he is not as durable. I will be shifting whatever I need to get him in once he returns. I wouldn’t start with him though, have a plan in place!

Avoid: Nasri is so tempting at his price, however job security is a major issue. You only need to look at his 2013/14 season under Pellegrini to understand why he has to be considered, however he won’t be consistent. There will be a period when owning him will fly you up the rankings, then he will leave you tearing your hair out. Have him on the watchlist, if he is starting consistently and in form then bring him in.

Breakout: Sterling was solid last season, but we need to consider the circumstances. Firstly, Liverpool relied totally on him last year after Sturridge went down. The scenes, a 19 year old being asked to carry a top 6 side! That pressure eventually weighed him down, and opponents gave him nothing. He still managed an impressive 7 goals and 10 assists, a great return all things considered. He is now more matured and looks set to take the next step. Hazard had his breakout season at Lille when he was 20, scoring 20 goals in Ligue 1. He then transferred to Chelsea the next season, returning 9 goals and 16 assists. I can imagine Sterling producing similar results. He is going from being the number 1 target by oppositions, to being at least third down the pecking order behind Silva and Aguero. The pressure is off him, the service he receives will only get better and he is playing for a team that will score more goals. I’d say a breakout season looms, and I think that £49m price tag mightn’t look so ridiculous come GW38…

Well… There’s one of my picks out on the table, although Raheem’s pre-season has meant that my ‘POD’ of sorts is slowly becoming a regular in teams. Oh well, if it goes wrong you can all sink with me! Man United are up later today, and boy have they made some changes.

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