Are Leroy Sané’s blossoming game minutes too good to ignore?
It was another frustrating weekend for many Fantasy Premier League managers as Pep Guardiola’s rotational tendencies reared their ugly head yet again. His Manchester City side did go on to collect maximum points at the Hawthorns but Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling were both benched for the encounter.
However, with a quarter of the Premier League campaign already completed, there now appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel, thanks partly to the emergence of Fabian Delph as an auxiliary left-back.
Guardiola spent big in the summer, strengthening his full-back positions but an unfortunate injury to Benjamin Mendy has opened the door for Delph.
The England international has seized his chance. He missed the EFL Cup clash with Wolves but has completed the 90 minutes in each of the other 7 games the Citizens have played since coming on for Mendy in the Premier League game against Crystal Palace at the Etihad.
However, it is the impact on Leroy Sané’s game minutes that is perhaps more telling. The German youngster has started as the left forward in every match during this sequence of Delph starts and he has completed 90 minutes on all but one occasion.
Sané has 6 goals and 5 assists from his 10 Premier League appearances and his underlying stats are impressive. In fact, only 2 players that have registered a minimum of 270 game minutes, have a better combined xG90+xA90 figure (expected goals and expected assists per 90 minutes), his City team-mates’ Agüero and Sterling.
However, it is the new-found stability of City’s left flank that makes Sané an intriguing captaincy differential, with the 21 year old featuring among the top 10 contenders in the GW11 Armband Rankings.
A fit again Harry Kane will be buzzing following Spurs’ stunning victory over Real Madrid. He heads the pack again and looks assured of being the most popular captaincy pick in GW11, assuming that there is no adverse reaction to his earlier injury of course. Spurs certainly have the pick of the weekend fixtures but City are expected to score heavily again.
So, while Agüero and Sterling could be battling it out with Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva for two of City’s vacant attacking berths on a weekly basis, Sané’s understanding with Delph might mean that he is now exempt from such matters – at least until Mendy returns from his long-term injury.
Be warned though – second guessing Pep is a precarious occupation – he’s more than capable of moving a piece, just when you thought you were getting closer to solving the puzzle!