The January Wildcard is now officially here but I’d be surprised if anyone taking Fantasy Premier League seriously has actually activated it. In my opinion, if needs must, taking a 4 point hit for Gameweek 21 is worthwhile if it means preserving your Wildcard.
As stated last week, along with the introduction of the mid-season Wildcard comes the January transfer window. This obviously means clubs signing and selling players. Some of these players are going to be defenders and therefore, it’s worth waiting watching out for the comings and goings.
For instance, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal or even Chelsea sign a defender in this window. These clubs are the ones you want to be looking at for clean sheet prospects so just watch if any arrivals do appear on the Fantasy Premier League scene.
Now let’s look at the potential strategies that you can deploy. With your 5 man defence, one things clear; make sure EVERYBODY is a starter. No bench warmers please.
What I recommend is 2 big gun defenders with 3 rotation partners. The first 19 gameweek’s of the season in my personal team I’ve played Baines, Azpilicueta and then a cheaper 4-4.5m option, normally Wisdom, Dummett or Hutton. Frankly I don’t see any reason to change that strategy for the remainder of the season, it has worked tremendously well so far.
I still think this is the best method to carry forward into the second half of the season but perhaps Chelsea and Everton are no longer the route to go down. Mourinho is starting to play more attacking football and although this is improving their league position and overall results, the number of clean sheets is reducing. Everton, and for this example, Baines, are a similar story. They haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet since gameweek 10 and are on a huge slump in form.
Currently Baines certainly doesn’t warrant his 7.2m price-tag. However, I consider this an unorthodox time for Everton and I remain confident having Baines in my team. The Toffees’ dip cannot last forever and they have a good run of fixtures so for now I’d stick with him.
The differential options:
Tottenham – Spurs are a team to look at seriously. Remember the amount of clean sheets Pochettino’s Southampton kept last season; a lot. He’s managed to turn Spurs into a similar outfit and one of their defenders really stands out for me; Federico Fazio. Started the last 11 gameweeks and only a mere 5.2m whilst being owned by only 0.1% of 3.4m Fantasy Premier League managers. Now that’s what I call a truly wonderful differential.
The arrival of Pulis – Tony Pulis is the new manager of struggling side West Brom. We know what Pulis prides himself on, the ability he has to make his team keep clean sheets. Tony plays defensive football and this is why I recommend bringing in a West Brom defender into your Fantasy Premier League side. However, I’d stay away from the popular choice Wisdom as Pulis may prefer the able Gamboa over him.
The teams I recommend:
• The 2 big guns: Any 2 defenders from Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, United, City, Southampton or Spurs.
• The 3 rotation players: Any 3 from Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Sunderland or West Brom.