Sunday, 9 July 2017

Goalscoring defenders in the Premier League

Every fantasy manager aspires to maximise their points in every position in the team. One of these positions is the defence. Defenders provide many attributes which could rewards managers with points for their teams. Most importantly of all those is the goal scoring capabilities of a defender as it adds to the appeal for a player when there’s more than just the standard clean sheet and occasional bonus. Therefore, it is imperative to analyse the goal scoring defenders of recent years and evaluate their potential in the upcoming season.

1)    Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso joined Chelsea last season after moving from ACF Fiorentina. He came in at a “hefty” 6m and this seemed ludicrous as a result of a rocky start to the season in which he failed to start for Chelsea in the first few games of the season. However, once he broke into the team away against Hull City, it was off to the races. Many of us were lucky to get him into our sides for a mere 5.9m as he went on to earn clean sheet after clean sheet in Chelsea’s impressive unbeaten run. Alonso was a unique FPL player as he combined attacking returns along with his clean sheet points, this being highlighted in his 21-point haul where he got 2 goals and kept the clean sheet against Leicester City. He ended the season with 6 goals to his name and earned a place as one of the highest scoring defenders in the game. He was also hailed as an FPL Legend for his performances and consistent points returns for our teams.

However, that was last season. It’s time to find out his prospects for the upcoming season.

The upcoming season will see a return to the UCL for Chelsea, so it is only logical to expect that fatigue will be a large factor in Alonso’s playing time as there is a large amount of games to play compared to last season. Further, rotation will also be a factor. This will mainly be through the recruitments during the transfer window. Although Chelsea haven’t made any new signings in the transfer window just of yet, they seem to be making serious movements and will be sure to announce some signings in the coming days. There are 2 players that will directly affect Alonso’s role in the squad. Reports suggest that Chelsea have agreed a deal for Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma which might prompt Conte to move Azpilicueta to a wing back role affecting Alonso’s game time throughout the season. Another player is Alex Sandro. It was reported that Chelsea agreed terms with the Juventus left back and that a 61m deal had been agreed between the two clubs. Alex Sandro would slot into the LWB role which Alonso owns at the moment and this may mean a rotation between the two is possible. The main idea from this is that more rotation and fatigue will hinder his playing time, which in turn will reduce his number of goals in general.

2)    Patrick van Aanholt
Van Aanholt has enjoyed spells at Sunderland and currently Crystal Palace in the PL. He’s also enjoyed a fair share of goals in recent years as he scored 5 goals in the 15/16 and 16/17 seasons. There’s no sign of him slowing down with the amount of goals he scores and that is great for fantasy managers. With Palace having a decent run of fixtures, no European disturbances unlike other teams and not a great deal of squad depth, van Aanholt will likely keep his starting most of the games this season barring injury. Furthermore, the rise to fame of the wingback formation also gives van Aanholt an increase amount of opportunities to score goals throughout the season as he is made for that position with his pace and positioning. 

3)    Gareth McAuley
McAuley had an amazing season in the 16/17 season as he scored 6 goals from the CB position and was revered by all fantasy managers for his great and unexpected performances throughout the season. However, when analysing what we could expect from McAuley next season in terms of goal scoring output, it doesn’t look good when taking into consideration his track record in recent year as he’s scored one goal in each of the 14/15 and 15/16 seasons. In fact, he scored almost half of his career goals last season.  Therefore, we shouldn’t be expecting McAuley to hit the heights he did last season but he shouldn’t be disregarded as he is always an option for clean sheets and the certain bonus point.

4)    Scott Dann
The Crystal Palace defender has had considerable experience in the PL over the years and has developed into a defensive machine with Crystal Palace. As his defensive capabilities have grown and developed so to have his goal scoring abilities. Dann has netted 10 times for the Red and Blue in the last 3 seasons (2 goals in 14/15, 5 goals in 15/16 and 3 goals in 16/17). With Palace yielding a myriad amount of talent capable of providing Dann with the goal scoring opportunities, the number of goals should remain the same making him a great option in defence. Also, for a defender with the goal scoring abilities as him, he will come in at a lower price than most other with the same abilities such as Alonso, Alderweireld, etc. And something to take into consideration is that most of his goals have come against teams with poor set piece defending such as Bournemouth, Liverpool and Swansea. His run of fixtures is good as he comes up against two of those (Liv. and Swa.) in his first 5 games of the season, so it is logical to expect Dann to continue his consistent goal scoring form in the Premier League next season considering he doesn’t sustain any major injury in the course of the season.

5)    Charlie Daniels
The Bournemouth left back has only had 2 seasons in the Premier League but he has made the most of that time. Daniels has been a constant threat on the left and has been primarily on penalty duty for the Cherries, which makes him a great fantasy asset. His record in the PL has also been exceptional for a defender as he scored 3 goals in the 15/16 season and 4 goals in the 16/17 season. These numbers are great but it also important to realise that his penalty duties have been taken away last season and given to Josh King, and with Jermain Defoe joining next season, it seems he will be off penalties for another season, potentially limiting the amount of goals he can score in the upcoming season. However, he still managed 4 goals without penalty duties last season. This means he shouldn’t be overlooked as an option purely based on penalty duties as he still provides points with his tendency to go forward and provide goals and slot them away himself.

Therefore, these are my analysis on the goal scoring defenders of the recent years and their potential for goals in the upcoming season.

Written By: Mark Dinkha (@MD_F4NT4SY)