We’re back with the second part of our Defender analysis… These are the middle of the road clubs (in regards to their defence!) where you can start to look for that value pick up or follow waves of good defensive form. We all remember Stoke last season!
Liverpool (43 conceded, 16 clean sheets)… Trend = Decrease in goals
Liverpool actually had a pretty stingy defence last campaign, it’s just when they did concede goals they tended to let in a few. There’s some definite possibilities in the wide areas with Johnson and Jose Enrique (both 6.0m), who both get involved in the final third of the pitch with goals and assists. The middle of defence will probably be Agger (6.0m) and Toure (5.0m) who are capable of scoring goals when needed also. New signing Toure will compete for a spot and looks to have the CB position nailed down ahead of Skrtel (5.5) at this stage. Keep an eye out for more news as regards to his job security, at that price he should be a steal.
Stoke (45 conceded, 12 clean sheets)… Trend = Slight increase in goals
Last season saw any decent fantasy team having at least one Stoke player in their line-up. This is where following trends can pay off. Stoke had 9 of their clean sheets prior to Xmas, with only 3 afterwards. A word of advice, if you see a trend occurring trust your judgement and go for it. A lot of us had club captain and centre back Shawcross (5.5m), while some of us had his defensive partner Huth (5.5m). Neither will find the scoresheet often but they loaded up on clean sheets. Pieters (5.0m) will get first crack at left back with Cameron (5.0m) on the right. The rest will be dependant on injuries. On Stoke in general… I honestly think new gaffer Mark Hughes will do alright and won’t change too much defensively. Many of us know about his disasters at QPR and Man City, but he did well enough at Blackburn before that to get the Man City job… I’ll be having a go at one of these guys, probably Cameron to start off with.
Tottenham (46 conceded, 9 clean sheets)… Trend = Slight decrease in goals
The Spurs defence wasn’t the best last season, they relied on scoring more goals than their opponent to get their wins which doesn’t really help us too much. I don’t see that changing a great deal but they will tighten up at the back slightly, basically because they have to! They’ve lost 2 good defenders in Caulker (Cardiff) and Gallas (freebie) but what they have left is very good. Vertonghen (7.0m) and Dawson (5.0m) will start in the middle with Walker (6.0m) on the right. Vertonghen and Walker are those prices because they can score a goal or two. Rose will take the left at the start I reckon after a very good season on loan at Sunderland, but is unfortunately listed as a midfielder (not sure why). I wouldn’t worry about the rest, and would probably give all these guys a wide berth until we see if AVB has done anything with this defence.
Swansea (51 conceded, 10 clean sheets)… Trend = Decrease in goals
Swansea’s defensive woes last season can be directly attributed to three things; the loss of their starting left back Taylor (4.5m) for the season – not that Davies (5.0m) was a dud but it does provide a massive disruption. The loss of their goalie for half the season and not playing with a recognised striker. All those three issues are fixed now so I see them being a little more miserly. Taylor is going to have to dislodge Davies from his spot on the left, but on the other side Rangel (5.5m) should be set for the season. He showed glimpse of his attacking ability at times so I’d keep an eye on him. In the centre Williams (5.0m) is a certainly with probably Chico (5.0m) next to him. Amat (5.0m) will give them both a run for their money however. Not much apart from those.
West Ham (53 conceded, 10 clean sheets)… Trend = No idea… Slight decrease I guess?
Sam Allardyce’s teams have always had good defences and their record last season was pretty good for a newly promoted team. You would think that it would get better with top flight experience. The recently signed Rat (5.0m) will take the left, with Demel (5.0m) on the right and it seems like Collins (4.5m) and Tomkins (5.0m) will take the centre based on their preseason games… Reid (5.0m) will push very hard to keep his spot in the centre and O’Brien (5.5m) on the right. Of those, Rat seems to be a popular choice amongst the addicts and he does come with a good pedigree. Whether his defensive colleague’s help him enough with a few clean sheets to boost his score we’ll have to see. Also, Demel likes to get himself forward and get involved in the attack so you could do worse.
That’s it for today, I’ll be back in a few days to cover the best of the rest!