Nothing causes more headaches, dithering and general angst than fantasy football transfers. Should you take a four point hit and sort the defence out? Should you flog Sergio Aguero in the knowledge that Pep never seems to play him in the games he'd score a hat-trick? Should you bring in Gareth Bale or Son Heung-min?
With so much data to analyse when mulling over fantasy transfers, sometimes it can be easier just to look at what the game’s best managers are doing.
Therefore, we have broken down the squads of the 1,000 top bosses in the game - those who have demonstrated their acumen via multiple top-10,000 finishes in previous seasons - to see whose players are currently in favour in each position.
Playing “Pep roulette”
Unsurprisingly the top managers can’t get enough of runaway leaders Manchester City at the moment, but the extent of their favour is eyebrow-raising given the Catalan manager's tinkering habits.
Collectively, the elite bosses in our sample could own a maximum of 3,000 City players. The actual number isn’t far short of that, at 2,921.
Despite his frustrating fondness for squad rotation, six of Pep Guardiola’s players – three defenders and three midfielders – are owned by more than 100 of our 1,000 elite bosses.
Two in particular are turning heads: Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo are in more than half of those 1,000 squads, while John Stones and Ruben Dias fall narrowly short of this level.
Stick with the stars
The next most popular side among elite bosses aren't even in the top half of the league table. Leeds United are the only other club with an average of over two players in top managers’ squads, spread fairly evenly among the three outfield positions.
However this does not work like a buffet where you take a little bit of everything: one player in each position is dominating the rest. Stuart Dallas in defence, Raphinha in midfield and Patrick Bamford up front were each in more than half of our top managers’ squads for Gameweek 27 - last weekend's run of fixtures.
Leeds are not the only side whose popularity is being driven by a few star names. Tottenham Hotspur, in a similar trend, are the fourth most-owned team among elite bosses, with over 90% of their selection slots occupied by either Harry Kane or Son Heung-min.
Likewise Emiliano Martinez and Ollie Watkins account for almost three quarters of Aston Villa’s ownership among the 1,000 top managers, suggesting that identifying the right players is just as important as picking from the right teams.
Cool on Chelsea
Despite Thomas Tuchel remaining unbeaten in his first nine Premier League matches, with his Chelsea side conceding just twice in that run, our 1,000 top managers have yet to jump on the Blues’ bandwagon.
Only six other clubs have a lower combined ownership, with bargain defender Antonio Rudiger their only player who can be described as popular. The German has 128 owners out of our 1,000: almost four times as many as his next most-owned teammate, Mason Mount, with 33.
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