Tuesday, 4 August 2015

6 Low-Cost Defensive Options in FPL

Guest post by @fplstag

Don't call me "low-cost"!

One thing became very clear to me as soon as I logged into my Fantasy Premier League account for the first time this season - defenders prices have suffered an unprecedented hike. Unfortunately, the days of having a few reliable super cheap defenders to choose from are well and truly gone.  Therefore, I'm writing this article to recommend a selection of viable yet not overly expensive defenders. Having them in your squad ahead of others could be the crucial difference this season.

Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle, 5.0)
I think we can all agree that Newcastle were absolutely terrible last season. It was pretty awful in the Pardew part of the season before John Carver brought them to even more horrendous lows.  In spite of all the difficulties, the Dutchman still racked up a goal and 6 assists in 37 appearances. I expect Janmaat to improve his attacking returns this season when he has better attackers to feed with his crosses such as the new signing Mitrovic from Anderlecht. It's worth noting that Newcastle's opening fixtures are not appealing. They play Southampton, Man United and Arsesnal in their first 5 games, so don't necessarily buy him from the onset.

James Chester (WBA, 5.0)
Every defender who plays under Tony Pulis is worth serious consideration for any FPL team. Pulis's effect on West Brom's fortunes last season when he came in was nothing short of unbelievable. He took their points per game up from 0.9 to 1.44 acquiring an impressive 10 clean sheets in his 18 games. £8 million is a big investment for a club like West Brom but it does guarantee that Chester will start when he's fit. Again, it's worth noting fixture difficulties. West Brom face Man City, Chelsea and Southampton in their first three games at the Hawthorns. However, Chester's fixtures will deliver more enticing potential from GW 6 onwards.

Cédric Soares (Southampton, 5.0)
The Saints' defence stunned all of us last season when they kept 15 clean sheets in 38 games. This total would surely have been higher had Fraser Forster not suffered his long term injury. Luckily for us, Koeman has brought in Maarten Stekelenburg to cover between the sticks in his absence. Cédric has been brought in to replace Clyne in the right back position. Going by his record for Sporting last season (P35 0G 3A) , we shouldn't expect many goals or assists from him but he represents the best way to get a foothold into a safe defensive unit.

Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland, 5.0)
Last season, in the gloomy Stadium of Light, "PvA" stood alone as an appealing FPL option. In spite of Sunderland's meager goal returns, PvA still got a creditable 5 assists. After Dick Advocaat's arrival, Sunderland began to play football again. We can expect Sunderland's usually fairly solid defence to maintain its strength while attacking returns improve. Unlike some of the other teams mentioned above, Sunderland have very attractive opening fixtures. Hence, PvA is a seriously tempting pick.

Joe Gomez (Liverpool, 4.5)
The young full back has suddenly come to the fore in pre-season since arriving at Merseyside from Charlton. He has seemingly displaced Alberto Moreno in the battle for the left back slot. He is skillful, quick and isn't afraid to get forward. At 6ft 2, Gomez offers The Reds an outlet they lacked last season when they consistently conceded from corners due to their inability to challenge in the air. Rodgers couldn't possibly have missed this! If you need any more convincing that Gomez will start versus Stoke on GW1, look no further than the recent quote from Rodgers. He said "I wouldn't have any issue (with Gomez playing)". James Pearce from the Liverpool Echo is also reporting that Gomez has jumped Moreno in the pecking order.

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa, 5.0)
The Dutchman has been playing on the right side of midfield in pre-season, which has boosted my interest in him due to his out of position (OOP) potential. He is one of Villa's main free kick takers  and delivers crosses by the bucket-load. Last season he averaged a cross every 15.3 minutes and got 5 assists despite limited game time. His crosses will become more dangerous for opposition defences after Villa snapped up Gestede from Blackburn to try and fill the void left by Benteke. Last season, he scored the most headers of any player in England's top 4 leagues. A large drawback to any Villa defender is the huge doubt over their ability to keep clean sheets. Tactical Tim prefers an attacking style of football which often leaves their defence wide open. Bacuna is the riskiest pick on this list but the rewards are more than tantalising!

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