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FPL tips: Data says Manchester City are the masters of defence

Manchester City v Southampton – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

Fantasy Premier League data suggests Manchester City are in a class of their own in defence this season, despite having conceded more goals than Chelsea.

The defending champions rate very highly when it comes to Threat, a metric used by the FPL itself to determine the quality of chances a player or team enjoys in front of goal.

Around 100 Threat usually equates to a goal’s worth of chances, and tells us which players or teams are good value for the goals they are – or are not – scoring.

By measuring how much Threat a team concedes per game then, we can make conclusions about which club is the stingiest when it comes to allowing opposition teams scoring chances.

And when it comes to the average total Threat conceded per game, City are a class apart so far in 2021-22.

A graphic showing the lowest average Threat faced this season

Pep Guardiola’s side concede just 84.9 Threat per game (TpG) – their closest rivals in this regard are Brentford (127 TpG) Liverpool (141.2 TpG) and Chelsea (142.2 TpG).

While City have conceded six goals to Chelsea’s four so far after 11 gameweeks, both sides have seven clean sheets to their name, while City have achieved theirs against a higher calibre of team.

Chelsea have achieved just two of their clean sheets against traditional top teams (Arsenal and Tottenham) while City have claimed blanks against Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester United so far.

Furthermore, while Chelsea’s defensive performances have been inconsistent – conceding Threat totals of 305, 280 and 295 in various games this term – City have been remarkably controlled.

City’s worst game in terms of Threat conceded came in gameweek five during a 0-0 draw against Southampton – the Citizens conceded 143, a shade more than Chelsea’s average this season.

Indeed, City can lay claim to three of the top five defensive performances of the season so far, conceding Threat scores of 10, 14 and 36 against Norwich, Arsenal and United respectively.

A graphic showing the lowest Threat faced in a match this season

Chelsea meanwhile post two scores in the top 10 – 28 v Norwich and 57 v Crystal Palace.

So how can you convert this knowledge into FPL points? If his first 11 games are anything to go by, defender Joao Cancelo is a must-have.

The Portugal full-back is the second highest scoring FPL player this season behind Mohamed Salah, with 67 points so far thanks to seven clean sheets and four assists.

Cancelo can boast of being picked by Guardiola in every league game so far this season, and ranks first for Threat among defenders and sixth for Creativity.

A threat at both ends of the pitch for a team who look as capable of scoring goals as they do of preventing them, the £6.5m defender is proving difficult to ignore at around 30 per cent overall selection heading into GW12.