Every season FPL managers are trying to find cheap defenders to help fund those premium assets elsewhere. Saving some money in your defence may allow you to add another premium asset further forward. The cheap price bracket is always tricky to get right and hopefully these guys will prevail as bargains this season.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace, £4.0m)
The 20 year old Englishman stood out last season for Crystal Palace after getting a run of games as he broke into the squad under Roy Hodgson. He played a total of 7 games during the back end of the season as he managed to take gametime of Fosu-Mensah and Ward. This season it’s between this man and Joel Ward for the Palace right back spot and it could be his place to lose. He’s started the majority of pre-season fixtures, so things are looking bright.
Crystal Palace didn’t manage a single clean sheet in the first 13 games of last season. After this blip, Palace managed 9 clean sheets for the season and picked up 4 in their final 8 games. With a full strength defence minus Scott Dann, I can see them improving this season and certainly getting more than they did at the start of last season.
The Eagles’ start the season favourably before a tough period through gameweek 10-13. Wan Bissaka is a very shrewd pick if he becomes nailed and saves you a whopping £1.5m on his teammate Van Aanholt and would be the cheapest defender in the XI. He’s a player that’s likely to be your 5th defender so you won’t be starting him week in, week out. Therefore if he does get dropped at one point you won’t be wasting any value from your XI.
Cedric Soares (Southampton, £4.5m)
The Southampton right back has been given a £0.5m price decrease from last season making him the joint cheapest nailed on Southampton defender. The German born Portuguese defender played 3 games in the World Cup but will be fit to start the season after his side reached the last 16. He’s the second highest owned defender at this price point and I can definitely see why that’s the case.
Before the sacking of Pellegrino, Cedric didn’t register a single goal or assist during the 30 gameweeks he was in charge for. Once Mark Hughes became the boss, he was one of the most attacking full backs in the league registering 3 assists in 8 gameweeks. Deployed at right wing back, Cedric created the joint top most chances created out of any other defender with 4 under Mark Hughes.
Southampton only managed 8 shutouts last season which was only better than Stoke and Bournemouth. With a full pre-season and some new signings I expect Mark Hughes to improve on this total. Their opening run isn’t the hardest start to a season with 3 home games in their first 5. Although the teams they face are relatively evenly matched they could be quite tight affairs.
Lewis Dunk (Brighton, £4.5m)
The Brighton defender was infamous for scoring goals last season, the only problem was, it was in the wrong end. He recorded a total of 4 own goals in a single season, the next highest being 1. At least he’s got a bit of practice in when it comes to the right end for this year! The defender just fell shy of the 100 point mark last season after starting all but one game and I expect him to break this barrier next year.
Brighton tallied a total of 10 clean sheets, this total was only beaten by the top 6 and Burnley. The promoted team conceded 54 goals which was once again only beaten by Burnley, Newcastle and the top 6 which shows their defence was impressive. However, they conceded the 5th most shots on target with 172 during the campaign and also conceded the most attempts from set plays, showing us their keeper, Matthew Ryan, isn’t half bad.
Dunk scored a goal and picked up an assist last season, but his attacking underlying stats were very impressive. He had a total of 25 shots inside the box, 5th best in the league. His teammate who is similarly priced, Duffy, came second with 28 shots inside the box, so he’s one to keep your eye on too. Lewis had 4 big chances last season and also had 43 touches inside the box (he doesn’t only defend). Dunk picked up 7 bonus points last season but should’ve had much more if it wasn’t for his disciplinary record as the Englishman received 8 yellow cards. Brighton’s opening fixtures aren’t the easiest as they face Man Utd and Liverpool in their first 3 games. Dunk might not be the one to start with, unless you decide to fit him into a rotation, which could work rather well. If you decide to hold off, their fixtures pick up massively from gameweek 8 onwards.
Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool, £5.0m)
The 19 year old right back burst onto the Anfield scene last season when Klopp awarded him 18 starts. He didn’t only impress Klopp last season, he managed to impress Gareth Southgate who brought the teenager to Russia. While he only appeared once it would’ve been a great experience. Trent has been given a 2 week break after returning back but there’s a high chance he’ll be ready for gameweek 1.
His main competition comes from Nathaniel Clyne, who has just returned from a long-term injury and Joe Gomez who are both priced at £5.0m. Klopp has said “Clyney is here, so Joe can now get minutes at centre-half. But it’s absolutely possible he’ll play the next game for example at full-back.” With Lovren returning late and Matip struggling with injury it looks like Gomez may be given a chance at centre back for the opening few games, this means it should be TAA’s spot to lose.
Liverpool kept 17 clean sheets last year which was only 2 less than Manchester United at top spot. Liverpool faced the 2nd least amount of shot on target last year which showed this wasn’t any fluke. Alexander-Arnold registered a goal and 2 assists last season and racked up the bonus picking up 10, the joint second highest behind Robertson in his limited amount of games. Liverpool start the season with 4 kind fixtures where you’d expect a couple of shutouts. It toughens up when they play away to Chelsea and Spurs along with Manchester City at Anfield in the following 4 games.
Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m, Manchester City)
The French centre back signed for the Manchester club in January of last season for a then record fee of £57m. Laporte only started 9 games after his late arrival last season but this is likely to improve depending on Guardiola’s preferred system. Laporte was the only City centre back not to travel to the World Cup and that should bode well for FPL managers. He might have something to prove after watching his national team go all the way and win the World Cup without him.
The league champions kept a total of 18 clean sheets last season only bettered by their neighbours. Their possession style football meant their defence was rarely tested and this showed as they faced the least amount of attempts on goal with 236, to put that into perspective Manchester United faced 200 more shots. The team topped the charts in numerous stats and shows the chances of clean sheets are very high.
Laporte is the joint cheapest defender in the team’s back line and looks likely to get a string of starts while the likes of Kompany, Stones and Otamendi all return back late. If Pep decides to deploy 3 at the back, Laporte should fit perfectly into the left hand side of the 3 as he’s the only left footed centre back in the squad. City’s opening game away to Arsenal could see goals either end but during gameweeks 2-7 they face the easiest run out of any team. The run includes all 3 promoted teams from this season and all 3 promoted teams from the previous season?!
Written by FPL Junior (@FPL_Junior)