Benjamin Mendy

This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.

On 24th July, the transfer of Monaco full back Benjamin Mendy to Man City was announced.

Mendy’s move completes a protracted deal, with City reported world record fee for a defender £52m. He’s part of City’s continuing replenishment of the full back positions (along with Danilo and Kyle Walker) as the likes of Aleksander Kolarov, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna departed the club.

As with previous articles we will be using Whoscored data to analyse his impact for Monaco in order to assess how good he will be in the Premiership.

Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)

Appearances: 25 appearances (23x played over 60 minutes, 2x subbed on/off) = 48 (46×2 +2)

Goals: 0 goals = 0 points

Assists: 5 assists (3 x 5) = 15 points 

Not conceding: 10 clean sheets (4 x 10) = 40 points 

Bonus: Let’s analyse the games he contributed in. This (of course) covers goals, assists and clean sheets for defenders.

(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)

For assists: Mendy assisted the 4th goal in the 6-0 victory over Nancy on 5th November, and would’ve probably gotten nothing from that, despite the clean sheet. In contrast, in the 3-0 victory over Nice on 4th February he registered two assists, assisting the first goal, the winner according to the bonus system, and also the second – including the clean sheet there, that would definitely be 3bps. Just three days later on 7th Feb, he assisted the winner in the 2-1 victory over Montpelier, which, given WhoScored deem him man of the match, may have elicited 1bp (despite picking up a yellow card). Against Metz, he assisted the 5th goal in Monaco’s resounding 5-0 victory – despite the clean sheet again, probably 0 bonus as all others were scoring. 4bps from assists.

For clean sheets: As well as the 3 clean sheets mentioned above, Mendy was on the field over 60 minutes for another 7 clean sheets. This included the 1-0 victory over Nantes on 20th August; 3-0 v Lorient (18th November); two 4-0 results v Bordeaux (10th December) and v Nantes (5th March); 3-0 v Caen on 19th March, 1-0 v Angers on 8th April and finally 2-0 v St Etienne on 17th May. For the 1-0s he might have been in the mix for 1-2 bonus, but for the others the chances are more remote: let’s say he would’ve nabbed 3bps across those 7 games to cover all eventualities – as a defender getting forward, ball retention and successful crossing may have seen him looked upon kindly by the bonus system.

Total guesstimated bonus: bps

Disciplinary: 7 yellow cards = -6 points / 1 red card = -3 points

Conceding 2 goals or more: 4 times = – 4 points

Scores on the doors

97 points. He did only play 25 times however, so at 3.88 ppg, if we say he played 38 games, that would be approximately 147 points (38×3.88) scored in total. That’s in the top 30 overall, 1 point above Fernando Llorente, and in the top 4 defenders, 6 points ahead of Kyle Walker but some way off Cesar Azpilicueta’s 170. Promising.

Evaluation and conclusion

Can he Mendy the city defensive disrepair?

So, we have a little to think about here. The key for Mendy is crossing: he averaged out at 1.6 crosses per game – 0.6 more than the key left back in the Premier League Marcos Alonso. For a young lad, Mendy’s quite consistent, at least where crossing is concerned, as he also recorded the same stat for Marseille in 2015/16.

Mendy does not appear to be going for goal himself, though, with his 0.6 shots per game more than doubled by Alonso, who we’ll compare him to first, at 1.5. To be in our thoughts, at 6.0 / helped majorly by a nice little 5.5, he has to be really able to justify saving 1.0 on the Spaniard. It may well be that Alonso sees a decline as his attention gets taken up by the Champions League, especially if Chelsea have not seemed to look cover or competition by the time the transfer window, but the 6 goals and 5 assists – including a brace against Leicester that will be fondly remembered for the 21 point haul for owners and one to forget for non-owners – and 177 points might be a tall order to repeat. I certainly don’t know if Mendy will be able to get there, with him matching Alonso’s assists output, however the shot-shy Frenchman – he’s only scored 2 goals in 4 seasons of professional football when he’s been appearing regularly – might require a boost from other avenues, such as clean sheets, to get there. Chelsea recorded 17 clean sheets to City’s 11, which may make this appear a bit unlikely, but as we said on a (pre-launch) article about new Citizens keeper Ederson, it may be the new make-up of the defence – with “Calamity Claudio” reduced to an understudy role despite a previously unfathomable hat trick of penalty saves (direct shots on target… saved by Bravo. Unbelievable, Jeff!) – could cause them to tighten up. However, Ederson’s debut in preseason in a Manchester derby “friendly” was not encouraging at all, with one outlet labelling him “Bravo 2.0”! One to wait and watch.

Considering that he’s joining City and is a French wing back, it’s only fitting we look at those he has replaced: two fellow Frenchmen signed from City feeder club Arsenal, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna (who have both now left the club on free agents) to see how well they would do.

(I’ve gotten their data by looking at the excellent tables preserved by someone who glories in the name of ‘Turd1461’ for Sagna in 2014/15 and FPL Overlord data tables for Clichy in 2015/16 with 6 points added for his final day clean sheet that wasn’t included in the data) and merged them with WhoScored history records for both Clichy and Sagna.)

First, Clichy is a rather sad tale as injury rather disrupted his time at City since his defection from the Gunners. Last season’s total of 93 points, accrued over 24 games which saw him score one goal, record no assists and record a paltry 0.1spg, a score outside the top 40 for defenders (just ahead of Burnley’s Stephen Ward). Mendy’s 0.6 betters that, Ramping that up to a PPG score over 38, that gives us 3.88ppg, or 147 overall – interestingly, exactly what we said Mendy would have gotten. You have to hope that Mendy – whose 1.5 crosses per game made a mockery of Clichy’s 0.1 – will be allowed to move forward, particularly with Bernardo Silva mostly playing on the right but as a creative player rather than a winger. Either way, the suspicion is that Mendy will exploit the space left by Silva’s movement far better than Clichy, who appears to have been merely seeing out the days of his contract through quiet defensive duties rather than being part of the attacking unit for City.

Second, Sagna’s time at City has also been afflicted by injury. His best season in 2014/15 saw him register 116 points for the Citizens in 27 starts and once off the bench, with three assists over the course of the season. That works out as 4.14ppg, or 157 points in 38 games, which this season would’ve put him in the top 5 for defenders (his actual score would get him into the top 20) Sagna was taking a similar amount of shots (0.7) to Mendy’s, but still putting in less crosses, averaging out at 1.2 crosses per game compared to Mendy’s 1.6. Man City’s 14 clean sheets that season would have also helped Sagna. Again, I can’t help but feel, given that only Kolarov – who Pep seems to fancy more as a centre back these days – is in contention for the left back role, that the more creative Mendy might do a bit better than the actual score, with 157 to be regarded as an excellent season for the lad.

It’s also worth mentioning how Mendy will play. Situated on the left, he will more often than not be working in tandem with young tyro Leroy Sane (8.5), and possibly be found on the overlap. This is important because of the situation on the right, with, as mentioned new man Bernardo Silva’s (8.0) role for Monaco being right midfield. Presumably he will supplant the erratic Raheem Sterling (also 8.0) there and take up that role; if that is true, new man Kyle Walker (6.5) will be the man who drives forward there, but will it be the left, through Mendy and Sane, where the width will be mainly provided? If that’s the case, and Pep does exploit the left flank in his tactics (for some games at least) we could see a good level of involvement for Mendy, with assists (at least) potentially on the horizon.

The 6.5 price tag he has been allocated feels 0.5 too high to me, and certainly dents his appeal until he can prove his worth as an asset. A 6.0 or 5.5 (as Danilo got) might’ve made me consider him, but 6.5 is too much and I’d prefer the more established Walker anyway if I were to be splashing that much on a defensive asset at City (which I won’t be).

City’s opening fixtures include three nice looking away games, but home games where a goal isn’t guaranteed in bha EVE bou LIV wat. From the outset, it’ll take a brave manager to take on Mendy with much of the focus for a City slot – a single City player seems the most popular response to their offering this year – around Jesus, Kun, KdB and maybe Sane. Otherwise, aside a few rare Kompany sightings, I wonder if Mendy – a bit like new team mate Kyle Walker – are watch and wait players who may yet play some part. I’m certainly eyeing their run between Gameweeks 19-27, which contains BOU new cpl WAT liv NEW WBA bur LEI. Only Liverpool from last year’s top 5. Just a shame it’s over Christmas.

Anyway, with Mendy, unless he suddenly becomes a bandwagon, will have to wait until his performances serve him up as an option into the City defence. This might come if he realises his creative potential by nabbing some more assists – 5 last year might be a minimum we’d expect, with perhaps slightly more assists in order to cover for his goal shyness. It might be that we have to hope Ederson can run a tighter ship than Claudio Bravo (surely pretty easy) and, if we have Mendy in our teams, be relying on a solid defensive unit for primarily clean sheet points, plus eliciting some assists from the Frenchman. Not bad, but nothing really that makes me want him in right away.

Overall rating: 3 / 5 – An above average prospect for FPL

*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent

Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.