Player Analysis – Defenders (Part 1)

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Hi all addicts! Over the next few weeks we’ll be compiling a much more comprehensive review of players and provide some thoughts from our point of view of their fantasy relevance. First up are going to be the Defenders…

Your defence can often be the hardest area of your team to pick players and some of us can be accused of not spending enough time on it! It can however be a very good and consistent source of points. With 6+ points given for clean sheets its not always the individual but the collective that needs to be considered. Can’t afford the premium defender in the best defence? Maybe be go for the cheapest defender? Sometimes the difference can be millions…

With all the top teams changing managers (except Arsenal) it can be tricky to gauge how they’ll go when comparing to previous seasons. They may tweak tactics, bring in new players or play some players more than before. I’ll try and take a guess on how they’ll trend this season too.

Manchester City (conceded 34 goals, 17 clean sheets)… Trend = Slight increase in goals.

Man City have a very good defence and I don’t see much changing this season. One of the problems we have however is they don’t score many goals themselves which, although not vital, would be handy. It’s led by the reliable Kompany (6.5m) who should play most of the season but at 6.5m probably doesn’t represent value. Partnering him will be either Lescott or Nastasic (both 5.5m). If Lescott gets the nod, and then recreates the goal scoring form he showed at Everton, he could be a very good choice at 5.5m. Running up and down the left wing will be Clichy (6m) backed up by Kolarov (5.5m). If Kolarov got more games I would be looking at him due to his free kick ability, but unfortunately Clichy is first choice and I think 6.0m is a little rich. Right back will be either Zabaleta (6.0m) or Richards (5.5m). Zabaleta likes getting booked (7 times last season) which means he likes losing you points… Richards will be given an opportunity to make the spot his own at some stage and does like to get forward, I’m keeping an eye on him.

Arsenal (37 conceded, 14 clean sheets)… Trend = Same same

What I like about Arsenal’s defenders is that they don’t get booked very often which means all their hard work keeping clean sheets isn’t ruined by yellow cards. The centre backs will be two of Vermaelen, Koscielny or Mertesacker (all 5.5m) with the best value in my opinion being Mertesacker due to his goals. Koscielny does like to score as well his job security isn’t as solid. Gibbs or Monreal will play left back (both 5.5m) but both will rely on clean sheets for points with the odd assist, as with the right back area of Sagna (5.5m) or Jenkinson (4.5m). If you’re looking for low risk, steady point scorers you could do a lot worse then having a look at Arsenal’s defence.

Chelsea (39 conceded, 14 clean sheets)… Trend = Slight decrease in goals.

Goals! Not only do Chelsea hate conceding them, they don’t mind scoring them either. Unfortunately you’ll have to pay a little extra because of this, but with the DGW first up you need to consider some of these guys… Ivanovic (6.5m) scored 5 times last season and is currently in my team but has some strong competition from the young and talented Azpiliciueta (6.0m). With Jose back, the centre of defence may not be as cut and dried. Terry (6.0m) didn’t get many games last season, due to a combination of injury and Benitez, but Jose likes him. 6.0m represents good value if he can win his spot back. The other options for the middle are Luiz (6.5m – 8 yellow cards!) and Cahill (6.0m). Luiz may not be the solid type of defender Jose likes however, and there have been rumours of him being shopped around. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Terry and Cahill start the season. Cole (6.5m) will play left back. Bertrand will fill in occasionally. I don’t personally rate Bertrand at all but some do.

Everton (40 conceded, 11 clean sheets)… Trend = Slight increase in goals.

This is tough for me to write, being both an Evertonian and ex-defender, but one of Moyes’ endearing qualities to me is that we didn’t concede many goals. I have no idea what Roberto is going to implement with our defence and what he will turn it into! In our latest friendly we started with 4 at the back but changed to 3 after the break. When we did change Coleman and Oviedo became basically wingers. If we start with four it will be Baines (7.5m), Distin (5.0m), Jagielka (5.5m) and Coleman (5.0m), left to right. Baines is the most expensive defender for a reason but I would be more inclined to go for Coleman who is very good value as I think he’ll increase his assists this season by a fair bit. I wouldn’t bother with the two centre backs until we see a bit more of Martinez’s plans. If he does goes for three centre backs though, Heitinga (5.0m) or Alcaraz (4.5m) will go into the middle. This will then make both wing backs must haves in my opinion. The other defenders will have limited games so stay clear. *P.S. Wigan had a poor defence last season due to injuries, not bad management!

Manchester United (43 conceded, 13 clean sheets)… Trend = Decrease in goals.

David Moyes. Defender of goals… Man Utd conceded far too many goals the first half of last season, more due to injury and lack of continuity than anything. Carrick played centre back first game and we all know how that went! Moyesy won’t let that happen again. Who will play in his defence though is going to be tough to figure out this early. Left back; Its no secret that they on the market. They currently have Evra (6.5m) and Buttner (5.0m) but both are risky until we know who they buy, if anyone. Right back; Rafael (6.0m) is pretty good going forward, not overly solid going back. Varela (4.5m) has been brought in but is still a bit green. Centre back; Many options. Vidic (6.0m), Ferdinand (5.5m), Evans (5.5m), Smalling (5.5m) and… Jones (6.0m). Too many options. Some of those will step out to right back or step up to midfield but its all too hard for me to figure out. There’s better options for the start of the season in my opinion so hold fire.

That’s all for now! See you soon… Cheers.

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