Fantasy Premier League: Which Manchester midfielder is best?


I hope you had some Manchester City players on your Premier League fantasy team last week, given that they played an extra game.

Sergio Aguero was quiet in the 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday, but bounced back in a big way on Sunday, with his third hat trick of the season (and second in the past three games) in the 6-0 demolition of Chelsea. Aguero finished the matchweek with a league-best 42.0 fantasy points.

Aymeric Laporte delivered at Tier 1 defender, as well. He scored his second goal of the season against Everton (and had another good chance to score, as well), and followed that up with another double-figure points haul against Chelsea, thanks in large part to 90 passes completed. Laporte finished with 32.9 points for the week, has now overtaken Jorginho as the league leader in passes completed on the season, and is second behind only Virgil van Dijk in fantasy points among defenders.

I deemed it a little too risky to choose Ederson at goalkeeper, given that Chelsea had beaten Man City 2-0 earlier this season, and Everton are no slouches either (although they're in very poor form of late). But Ederson came through for those of you that selected him. He only made five saves combined in the two games, but posted back-to-back clean sheets and finished with 38.0 points.

One Man City player who certainly didn't come through is Leroy Sane, who appears to be back in Pep Guardiola's doghouse. Sane did start against Everton, but didn't look sharp, and was taken off after just 59 minutes. And then Guardiola benched Sane for the entire game against Chelsea, meaning he finished with just 4.3 points for the week. Ouch!

I certainly wouldn't pick Sane for my fantasy team again anytime soon. He only started five of Man City's first 11 league games this season, and it appears Guardiola has soured on him again. Sane's now been an unused substitute in two of the past three games.

There are two other, and better, Man City options at Tier 1 midfielder right now, but they both carry some risk as well. Raheem Sterling scored two goals against Chelsea, finishing that game with 29.6 points. But he didn't start against Everton, and didn't do much when he came on as a substitute, finishing with only 4.6 points. That worked out just fine in a double matchweek, but it would have taken some serious guts to pick Sterling, given that he didn't start the first game.

David Silva put up a relatively modest 13.2 points against Everton, and then only played 15 minutes off the bench against Chelsea, accumulating 2.9 points. Silva has six league goals on the season, but only one in his past 12 appearances.

Sterling is clearly the best Man City option at Tier 1 midfielder right now. He's having an excellent season, now up to 12 goals and nine assists in 24 league appearances, and fourth overall in fantasy points.

But Sterling's still a pretty big gamble, and here's why. Yes, he scored two goals against Chelsea, but they came on his only two shots of the game. Sterling's only taken 46 shots on the season, less than two per appearance. And he's way ahead of both his xG (expected goals) and xA (expected assists) totals of 9.36 and 7.05, respectively.

I'm not saying Sterling isn't worth the risk sometimes. In fact, I'm picking him for my Champions League fantasy team this week, given that Man City are the biggest favorites in this round, playing Bundesliga strugglers Schalke. But you're banking on goals and assists with Sterling, because he won't typically pick up many points via shots, passes completed, and other peripheral categories.

Two of the three players ahead of Sterling in points on the season are also Tier 1 midfielders. Eden Hazard is the overall leader, although he's coming off a poor game against Man City. Hazard took two shots and had three chances created, but finished with just 7.7 points, his third-lowest total of the season. And how Chelsea reacts to such an embarrassing defeat is anybody's guess.

Paul Pogba, on the other hand, has risen to third in the league in points, and has nearly overtaken Hazard for the league lead in terms of points per game. That's because Pogba continues to thrive under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He scored two goals in Manchester United's 3-0 victory at Fulham, which takes him up to eight goals and five assists in nine league games under Solskjaer.

Pogba has taken 79 shots this season, 33 more than Sterling despite playing 31 fewer minutes. He's one behind Sterling in goals with 11, but is actually below his xG total of 12.02. And Pogba nearly bettered Sterling despite playing only one game this week, finishing with 31.6 points.

So, here's proof that it's not always a bad decision to pick a player who only plays once in a double matchweek -- particularly when it's a player as hot as Pogba, against a team as poor as Fulham. Don't automatically choose as many players as you can from a team with two games, even if it's Manchester City.

Fellow Tier 1 players Mohamed Salah, Christian Eriksen and Anthony Martial were also all in the top 10 in points for the week despite having only one game, finishing with 24.8, 25.7 and 23.9 points, respectively.

There are no Premier League games this coming weekend due to the FA Cup, but the following round of games will throw up an interesting dilemma. Both Manchester City and Chelsea do not have a game, since they're playing each other in the Carabao Cup final. That means no Hazard or Sterling, which would make Pogba a near-automatic choice at Tier 1 midfielder ... except Manchester United are playing Liverpool.

Do you still go with Pogba? Perhaps, but we've got some time before having to make that decision.