The Problem with Chelsea and City defenders
Manchester City and Chelsea have been in uncertain form defensively of late. Ederson (GK, MCI, £5.7m) and Aymeric Laporte (DEF, MCI, £6.1m) were staples of many FPL teams but both players were among the most transferred out in the last week. City defenders haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 13, back in November. The same can be said of Chelsea. Chelsea have failed to keep clean sheets against Wolves, Brighton, Leicester and Watford over the last five gameweeks – which makes Marcos Alonso (DEF, CHE, £6.9m) look uncomfortably expensive.
There’s a case to be made in favour of remaining patient. Manchester City play Southampton, Wolves, Huddersfield and Newcastle over the next month, and Huddersfield and Newcastle are the two lowest-scoring Premier League sides. Chelsea play a number of goal-shy sides too, visiting Crystal Palace in GW20 before home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle. There is, however, a number of viable options available to those looking to ship out Chelsea or City defenders following their poor FPL returns.
Other Premium Options
The most obvious transfer to make in this situation is to trade in a Chelsea or City goalkeeper/defender for one of Alisson (GK, LIV, £5.9m), Andrew Robertson (DEF, LIV, £6.6m) or Virgil van Dijk (DEF, LIV, £6.3m). Despite Liverpool’s incredible defensive form, having more than two Liverpool defenders is probably a bad idea. It involves a lot of risk and prevents you from owning a Liverpool midfielder or forward.
Kieran Trippier (DEF, TOT, £6.1m) is the only Spurs defender with more than 5% ownership, and this feels like a missed opportunity. Spurs defenders generally come at a cheaper price compared to their counterparts at City and Chelsea, and Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four games. Between now and GW26 Spurs have five home fixtures, and only play one of last year’s top six. Trippier occasionally produces goals and assists, but is prone to being rotated with Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters. Toby Alderweireld (DEF, TOT, £6.0m) has started all but two games this season, and has been on the pitch for each of Spurs’ eight clean sheets. Hugo Lloris (GK, TOT, £5.4m) also offers a cheaper alternative to Alisson that unhappy Ederson owners can take advantage of.
Cheaper Alternatives: Everton
Selling the likes of Ederson, Alonso and Laporte has the potential to free up a lot of cash to invest elsewhere in your team. This could be incredibly worthwhile if you 1) pick the right budget defender and 2) re-invest the money wisely. Everton don’t play a side that finished in last season’s top six until GW27 – and this run includes games against Brighton, Southampton and Huddersfield. Lucas Digne (DEF, EVE, £5.0m) has been involved in five goals already this season, and his attacking returns could help to mitigate the effect on Digne’s FPL output of Everton’s occasionally leaky defence. Yerry Mina (DEF, EVE, £5.4m) is a rogue pick given that Digne is £0.4m cheaper, but Everton look far stronger defensively when Mina is in the side and he is a huge threat from set pieces.
Only Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have conceded fewer goals than Wolves this season. Matt Doherty (DEF, WOL, £5.2m) is already in close to 25% of FPL teams, but managers who don’t own Doherty can pick up one of his teammates at a bargain price. Both Willy Boly (DEF, WOL, £4.6m) and Conor Coady (DEF, WOL, £4.5m) have played every minute of Wolves’ campaign so far, while Rui Patricio (GK, WOL, £4.6m) ranks seventh among Premier League goalkeepers in saves made. Jonny (DEF, WOL, £4.3m) represents the best value, as he’s a cheap option who gets forward on the left flank. Ryan Bennett (DEF, WOL, £4.2m) is also worth mentioning as a result of just how inexpensive he is. Bennett has only missed one game this season, but doesn’t have much attacking potential.
Finally, Leicester perform well defensively and have good fixtures over the next four gameweeks. They have a tough stretch of games from Gameweeks 24-26, but another strong run until April after that. The likes of Ricardo Pereira (DEF, LEI, £5.1m) and Ben Chilwell (DEF, LEI, £5.1m) are cheap enough to justify benching them over that tough stretch and offer occasional threat going forward. Pereira also played a number of games in a more advanced position earlier this season, which could make him more valuable.