FPL 2022/23: Can Dias or Laporte cover Cancelo?

Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) has been handed a significant price rise in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) ahead of 2022/23 and is now the joint second-most-expensive FPL defender.

The price hike was inevitable after his fine 2021/22 in which he banked 12 attacking returns, 19 clean sheets and 201 points.

However, while the Portuguese now costs £7.0m, team-mates Ruben Dias (£6.0m) and Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) are available for a million less.

There’ll be many Fantasy managers, then, who will seriously consider the cheaper centre-halves as Man City defensive coverage from Gameweek 1 onwards.

With that in mind, we will run a comparison of the three City defenders in this Premium Members article.


Player Points Points per match Appearances Goals Assists Clean sheets Bonus points
Cancelo 201 5.6 36 1 11 19 27
Dias 141 4.9 29 (2) 2 5 14 12
Laporte 160 4.8 33 4 2 18 8

Cancelo finished second among FPL defenders for points after cracking the 200-point mark in 2021/22.

His total of 11 assists was identical to Andrew Robertson’s (£7.0m) and only one short of what Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) managed, while the Reds’ right-back was the only defender to better Cancelo’s total of 27 bonus points.

Reliability of starts was another plus point in a side otherwise riddled by rotation: he made Pep Guardiola’s line-up in 36 of the 37 matchday squads he was available for.

Laporte was pretty much as ‘nailed’ as Cancelo, suffering only two benchings in the whole of 2021/22 – and the first of those was because he had spent time in self-isolation and missed training.

The Spaniard chipped in with four goals and two assists to supplement his 18 clean sheets.

Dias, meanwhile, had his involvement curtailed towards the end of the season after an unfortunate hamstring injury.

However, he still managed two goals, an eye-catching five assists and 14 clean sheets, averaging 4.9 points per match.


Player Mins per penalty box touch Mins per shot Mins per shot in the box Mins per big chance Mins per shot on target
Cancelo 29.9 39.8 104.1 806.8 140.3
Dias 70.9 133.8 160.6 602.3 803
Laporte 64.4 80.9 88.5 404.6 404.6

Cancelo attempted a remarkable 81 shots last season, more than any other Man City player including Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m), but only scored once.

One of those efforts hit the woodwork, but his expected goals (xG) map (see below) pinpoints exactly why he struggled to find the net more often, with only 38% of his goal attempts arriving inside the opponent’s penalty box.

In fact, despite taking 81 efforts, the Portuguese averaged just 0.06 xG per shot, so his odds of scoring any individual attempt is six per cent.

Despite taking 46 fewer shots overall, Laporte actually racked up one more attempt in the box (32, see below) than Cancelo, whilst also registering three additional big chances.

It’s also worth noting that the majority of the Spaniard’s goal threat stemmed from set-pieces. In fact, among all FPL defenders, only Liverpool duo Joel Matip (£6.0m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) registered more attempts from dead-ball situations than Laporte in 2021/22, something which should be factored in given De Bruyne’s ability from corners and free-kicks.

Dias, meanwhile, was behind in all of the above metrics, but getting on the end of a set-piece can sometimes be a bit of a lottery and in 2020/21, he actually trumped Laporte for goal threat.