Who to replace Laporte and Dias with in FPL as injured pair miss West Ham game
A rapidly worsening injury crisis in defence hasn’t unduly impacted Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes but injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias have presented a problem to Fantasy Premier League managers.
Dias had to be taken off at half-time during Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle at the Etihad, with Pep Guardiola confirming afterwards that he, along with John Stones and Kyle Walker, would miss the club’s final three games of the campaign.
City’s defensive issues were highlighted when the teamsheet for Wednesday’s match against Wolves was released with 36-year-old midfielder Fernandinho named alongside Laporte at centre back.
Again, City won handsomely, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring four times in a 5-1 win at Molineux, but for the second game in succession, Guardiola lost a first-choice centre back to injury as Laporte was forced off on the hour mark due to a knock to his knee.
Fernandinho also failed to complete the game, meaning that Nathan Ake, who has also had fitness issues lately, and Rodri ended the match in central defence. That duo could be pressed into duty again this weekend when City face top-six chasing West Ham at the London Stadium.
“Apparently it doesn’t look good with Fernandinho,” Guardiola said. “I would say there are some muscular problems and it will be difficult for Sunday.
“[Aymeric] had a tough knock on his knee, and we have just four days so we will see how they recover for Sunday.”
Both Dias and Laporte are well-owned on FPL. At the time of writing, Dias is the sixth-most popular defender in the game, while Laporte is the 10th. That is likely to change ahead of Sunday’s transfer deadline, though, as managers look to source replacements for the final couple of games.
Here are five players to consider:
Matty Cash (Aston Villa)
Matty Cash is currently the most transferred in defender ahead of Gameweek 36, and with good reason: the Villa right-back has accumulated more FPL points (136) than any other defender to have two fixtures in Gameweek 37.
Cash has combined three goals with three assists this season and has proven to be an explosive FPL asset over the course of the campaign, registering four double-digit hauls in total.
Price: £5.3m Points: 136 Remaining fixtures: Crystal Palace (h), Burnley (h), Man City (a)
Ryan Sessegnon (Spurs)
With Sergio Reguilon looking set to miss Tottenham’s run-in, Ryan Sessegnon’s starting place at left wing-back seems assured ahead of a promising run-in.
Spurs host low-scoring Burnley on Sunday before rounding their campaign off against already relegated Norwich City at Carrow Road. Sessegnon offered a reminder of his attacking threat at Anfield last weekend by providing an assist for Son Heung-min.
Price: £4.3m Points: 36 Remaining fixtures: Burnley (h), Norwich (a)
Marc Cucurella (Brighton)
Recently crowned Brighton’s Player of the Year following a spectacular debut season in English football, Marc Cucurella has emerged on the FPL radar after a sensational showing against Manchester United.
Cucurella was in tears after slamming a shot into the roof of David De Gea’s net as Brighton thrashed their beleaguered opponents. Although that was his first goal in the Seagulls’ colours, Cucurella has been a key creative force all season, supplying 38 chances in total. That’s two more than Joao Cancelo has managed.
Price: £4.9m Points: 120 Remaining fixtures: Leeds (a), West Ham (h)
Lucas Digne (Aston Villa)
Another Villa defender to consider is Lucas Digne who is much less owned than the more popular Cash. The Frenchman recovered from a shoulder injury ahead of schedule last month and has started in each of his side’s previous three matches.
Over the past two gameweeks, Digne has created more chances (nine) than any other defender, with one of those leading to an assist for Emi Buendia against Burnley. As with Cash, beware that Villa face a daunting trip to the Etihad for their final game.
Price: £5.0m Points: 71 Remaining fixtures: Crystal Palace (h), Burnley (h), Man City (a)
Vitaliy Mykolenko (Everton)
Vitaliy Mykolenko was signed as Digne’s replacement at Goodison Park and after a slow start, the Ukrainian is beginning to find his feet in English football.
The 22-year-old opened his Everton account with a stunning volley against Leicester last weekend and finished Gameweek 36 with an extremely healthy 14 point score. Like Villa, Everton have back-to-back home games before a tricky away match on the final day.
Price: £4.9m Points: 40 Remaining fixtures: Brentford (h), Crystal Palace (h), Arsenal (a)