Today we turn our fantasy football thoughts to the men between the sticks, the last line of defence, who are so often the difference-makers, whose saves win points alone in a Premier League that will be more competitive than ever before. Who better to begin with than two of the leagues very best? De Gea vs. Cech. Arsenal vs. Manchester United. Both are undoubtedly two of the best in their position and provide great contrast in terms of experience and style. We take a look at the FPL Dilemma and which one you may want keeping them out for your FPL side.
David De Gea (5.5m)
At 5.5m you know what you’re getting from a goalkeeper, someone who will play every week without fail and will most likely be towards the top of the point-scoring charts come May. De Gea’s Manchester United side begin with ties away at Bournemouth and home to Southampton, which could definitely yield points for a goalkeeper that scored 142 points in Fantasy Premier League last season. One consideration regarding De Gea may be the fact that those in front of him may not be so reliable. While United enjoyed fairly low-scoring games throughout last season, De Gea rescued his side on several occasions to help preserve vital points.
United have one of the easier starts to the season, with matches against Bournemouth (A), Southampton (H), Hull (A), Man City (H) and Watford (A) making up their opening 5 fixtures. Few keepers will have this much clean sheet potential and under José Mourinho, United’s backline will likely be a much tougher obstacle this coming season. De Gea is at the top of the price structure for goalkeepers, however it may be a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, as well as with his opponent today, Petr Cech.
Petr Cech (5.5m)
Another goalkeeper priced at 5.5m, Petr Cech and Arsenal will be looking to finish in the upper reaches of the table yet again. One reason they were able to do this last season was the form of experienced Cech. In his debut season with the gunners, Cech managed 16 clean sheets and 159 points in the process, making him the top scoring FPL keeper last season. This bodes well for managers debating whether or not to spend big on a keeper next season.
Cech does, however, begin with tough matches against Liverpool (H) and last season’s champions Leicester (A), with Watford (A), Southampton (H) and Hull (A) rounding off their first five. These first two fixtures may well put managers off, but it’s always worth considering slightly longer term, as Arsenal then go on to face four consecutive sides adjudged to be of 1 FDR (Fixture Difficulty Rating). In the end Cech could prove lucrative for those forward-thinking FPL managers, and with a relatively low ownership of 17.6% may prove somewhat of a differential compared to the other, more selected elite goalkeepers in this year’s game.
Who to Pick?
As ever, with FPL dilemma’s both players have their pros and cons, which makes them appealing to different FPL managers. Petr Cech would prove much more of a differential than De Gea, with Cech’s 17.6% ownership being miniscule compared to De Gea’s whopping 41.0%. Basing a selection on fixture difficulty may favour De Gea in the short term with Cech having a supposedly ‘easy’ run between gameweeks 7 and 10. However, as we find out every year, basing selections on fixture difficulty can be a risky game before the season has kicked off. I need only point you to Leicester. How many would have marked Leicester away as a 5 out of 5 difficulty fixture?
When considering the men behind them, they seem fairly even, with both sides sometimes exposed for defensive frailties, however with José Mourinho’s return to management at Old Trafford, one would be surprised if this didn’t improve drastically this coming season. United will likely have Chris Smalling plaing alongside one of Daley Blind or new signing Eric Bailly, while Arsenal will look to line-up with Laurent Koscielny playing alongside Gabriel Paulista.
Overall, both represent strong options and I would say that spending 5.5m on a keeper is justified considering there don’t seem to be any strong options under 4.5m. However, in the end the FPL dilemma comes down to your prioritisation of the position. The main source of points for a goalkeeper will be clean sheets and considering that these two were only one apart last season it’s difficult to say. I would most likely opt for David De Gea with some Arsenal coverage in defence, however Cech’s significantly lower ownership is a major factor to be considered.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RyanNevin7)