Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Bertrand Sees Red In Moment Of Madness

In the 89' against Swansea City, Southampton's weekend went from bad to worse. Ryan Bertrand, having engaged in a series of progressively ill-tempered challenge, went over the top of everything in a horrific tackle of substitute Modou Barrow earning a red card in the process. Bertrand will be banned for the next three fixtures and leaves Ronald Koeman and FPL mangers across the globe with a massive hole to fill.
Bertrand has been sublime this season and worth every pence of the reported 10-million pounds the Saints paid for his permanent transfer on Deadline Day. Amoung all defenders, Bertrand is level-seventh in chances created (23) with Newcastle's Daryl Janmaat and has created eight more than teammate Nathaniel Clyne (15). Surprisingly, the 23 chances created have only been converted into two assists. That is a shockingly low number of assists (Janmaat has four assists for the Magpies) and Bertrand's owners can feel a bit hard done that he doesn't top all defenders in total points.

That, of course, was before his tackle. The left-back now misses a trip to QPR, and visits from West Ham and Liverpool. While he will return on 28 February and have a pair of nice matchups, FPL owners will need to transfer him out to ensure short-term gains.

The best options to replace him were likely discussed on the Weekly Fantasy Football Show - where I appeared with @FPLHints and @ZONERISM. The dynamic duo of Patrick van Aanholt and Alberto Moreno fit the Bertrand mold perfectly, perhaps better than the man himself. Both PvAa and Moreno play out of position as midfielders, responsible for pressing the attack as much as defending and both are adept at creating chances. Moreno (1436', £5.1m, 4.4% selected) and van Aanholt (1116', £4.2m, 2.5%) are both inexpensive, under-owned and boast exceptional underlying statistics. From Fantasy Premier League draft site Togga we can see that the Liverpool man has created 21 chances, 10 successful crosses and nine successful TakeOns, while the Sunderland 'defender' boasts 17, five and 13. Of course, on a per/90' rate basis those numbers draw closer together and both players are amoung the Top 10 in overall points/90' at their position for the Togga format.

For other managers searching for a pound shop defender - hat tip Chief - £4.7m-rated Joel Ward of Crystal Palace has played 2070' and has Leicester and Newcastle in the next two. If you only require a one-week stand-in, Burnley's Kieran Trippier is an outstanding choice for GW24 as the Clarets host West Brom in what is sure to be a dour affair. Tripper posses a massive amount of attacking prowess and could be the one to unlock Tony Pulis' staunch defense.