Predicting Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City teamsheet each week is turning into a game within a game for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers.
It has been particularly tough this season, with former favourites João Cancelo (£7.2m) and Phil Foden (£8.2m) seemingly out-of-favour and dropped for many key matches.
This is where members of the FPL community such as Alex Michel are proving vital to Fantasy managers, as they can add further, important clarity to the decision-making of the ex-Barcelona boss.
Alex has slowly amassed thousands of followers on Twitter with his weekly predictions, starting odds and analysis of Man City. This includes being a key part of former Meet the Manager guest Emma‘s team of weekly prediction experts.
Given Alex is a recent graduate in his early 20s from Maryland, USA, it is especially impressive how much knowledge he has built up on Pep’s tactics, in comparison to more mainstream media pundits on this side of the Atlantic.
During his chat with Joe, Alex explains how analysing Pep’s body language during press conferences is paying off and helping him to predict the most likely players to take to the turf for each Premier League match.
Their discussion takes in issues such as how different players play distinct and varying roles for Pep both in and out of possession. For example, City’s teenage defender Rico Lewis (£3.9m) is one of the very few players Guardiola trusts to bolster the defensive midfield areas when Rodri (£5.6m) needs help.
Also on the agenda are the reasons behind Cancelo’s fall from grace and why a shift in tactics could be the cause. Elsewhere, Riyad Mahrez (£7.5m)’s rise to prominence is also taken into account.
Can the Algerian winger be trusted to bring in FPL returns and will managers ever again be able to rely on Foden starting?
Alex’s insight into Guardiola’s plans is especially important this week, as managers prepare for a Double Gameweek that features ties against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Alex reveals his transfer and captaincy plans ahead of City’s two matches. Which triple-up is he going for and will he use the Triple Captain chip on 21-goal hero Erling Haaland (£12.2m) this time around?
Many years ago, when the ‘Meet the Manager’ series started, I was keen to interview the small band of consistent FPL managers, who each year manage to achieve a high rank. As the FPL community grew and progressed, I realised this group was too small.
Instead, I began to also look at who the key, emerging commenters are in the community who are spending their free time thinking of teamsheets and analysing information to help their fellow managers.
Alex firmly fits that bill, having become one of the key voices, alongside our very own Pep predictor Luke, to help us decipher the likely Man City line-ups each week.