Here at FantasyBet we always seek to explore new ways to discuss the big talking points in FPL. Our latest venture is video narrated infographics. In this case, that means taking on the massively popular discussion of Trent Alexander-Arnold vs. Andy Robertson.
This is the perfect opportunity to showcase our new video, whilst also kicking off this article with a fairly conclusive verdict on who we think really is the best £7.0m defender in the premium bracket:
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Comparing The £6.5m Defenders in FPL 2019/20
The number of defenders in the £6.5m bracket has been reduced from five to three in preparation for the new season. Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte are new additions, having increased by £0.5m. Marcos Alonso, meanwhile, is the only remainer.
Base Statistics (Per 90 Minutes)
|P90 STAT||Van Dijk||Laporte||Alonso|
Alonso had another productive season, with the second-best points per 90 in this category. On the whole, however, FPL managers weren’t convinced by the Spaniard’s sputtering form.
There was great anticipation after he scored eight and assisted three last season, and he certainly delivered in the early stages with four consecutive attacking returns – bolstered by a couple of clean sheets – in the opening four gameweeks.
However, this early purple patch didn’t last. Alonso picked up more yellow cards (4) than attacking returns (1) during the next 26 Gameweeks. It was a very infuriating turn of events for those who kept the faith.
In comparison, Van Dijk and Laporte became renowned for being dependable long-term picks, relied upon predominantly for their clean sheets. They weren’t as dangerous in the attacking sense, but they were able to feed off their team’s impressive defensive output.
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Key Statistics (Per 90 Minutes)
|P90 STAT||Van Dijk||Laporte||Alonso|
|Touch In Box||1.88||0.91||2.43|
|Attempt In Box||0.69||0.53||0.82|
Alonso’s goal-scoring threat was evident, but Van Dijk (4) and Laporte (3), still managed to outscore him with their threat from set-piece situations. The Spaniard was also extremely wasteful. Across the season, he registered a 15.6% accuracy on his 45 goal attempts.
With 46 goal attempts, Matt Doherty had the most of any defender. His accuracy, however, came in at 37%. This was also a consequence of 40 of his shots coming from inside the box, compared to Alonso’s 25.
He was definitely unlucky on a few occasions and seems to have hit the woodwork about 57 times in the last two seasons, but even so, Alonso often resorted to long-range efforts which rarely troubled the keeper.
The bulk of attempts by Van Dijk (26 of 31) and Laporte (18 of 26) were from inside the box. Despite fewer shots than Alonso, the centre-backs equalled his shots on target too.
|Big Chances Conceded||40||36||55|
|Shots On Target Conceded||96||81||124|
As you can see, Chelsea trailed Man City and Liverpool in all defensive areas related to securing a clean sheet. As a result, Alonso had a 0.46 chance of a shutout per 90 minutes, while Van Dijk and Laporte both averaged 0.53.
This doesn’t sound significantly higher, but if you multiply that average by the number of games played in a season, it equates to an 11 point swing before you even take into account the likely bonus points.
There’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect a similar scenario heading into the new season. Just like the last campaign, Chelsea have appointed a new manager and this time one who is vastly less experienced at this level.
They have to adapt rapidly to a new system and formation. Meanwhile, Klopp and Pep have already established their principles and have the luxury of fortifying an already solid foundation.
Who are the best 6.5m Defenders in FPL 2019/20
#1 Aymeric Laporte
As outlined above, Van Dijk and Laporte are similar in all areas. They both have excellent clean sheet potential, are very strong in the bonus points system and are simply exceptional footballers.
The reason I have placed Laporte at the top of my list is frankly because of the aforementioned Alexander-Arnold and Robertson. Unlike Van Dijk, who has alternatives, Laporte is the only nailed on defender at Man City. Everyone should be looking for defensive coverage from the Champions, and unlike Ederson, he has the advantage of bonus points and the odd goal as a season-long hold.
#2 Virgil Van Dijk
The first name on the team sheet for Klopp. That’s enough for any Liverpool asset to create ripples in the FPL community. Van Dijk isn’t just anybody though. He’s a Rolls-Royce of centre-half: deceptively quick as he strolls around plucking the ball from opponents and redistributing play with an effortlessness that £80m Harry Maguire could only dream of.
But enough fantasising; let’s talk about his fantasy football appeal. Like Laporte, Van Dijk is the target man for all set-play crosses. He missed just 36 minutes of Premier League football with 22 bonus points and a solitary yellow card last season. He currently has the second-highest ownership (41.4%) in the game.
#3 Marcos Alonso
Alonso is obviously more attack-minded than the aforementioned pair. It wouldn’t surprise me if he bettered last season’s goal tally either.
But there are negatives. New management. A new system. Possibly an insecure place in the starting XI. Plus, as discussed before, the unreliability of when he’ll turn up. It’s plain risky to favour him over the other £6.5m options.
Lampard has never swayed from a back four in his short managerial career, so unless he switches up and Alonso becomes a nailed on wingback, or else he improves their defence significantly, I’d stay away for now.
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The Best £6.0m Defenders in FPL 2019/20
The number of defenders in the £6.0m bracket has also reduced. 12 in the 2018/19 season have been cut to eight for the new campaign. Most notable is the absence of the Spurs backline, as the majority of their ‘regulars’ dropped into the £5.5m bracket.
Azpilicueta and Walker join them with £0.5m reductions a piece. Mendy and Rudiger remain, while David Luiz (+0.5m), Digne (+1m), Pereira (+1m) and Doherty (+1.5m) all saw variable increases in value to complete the octet.
Base Statistics (Per 90 Minutes)
Key Statistics (Per 90 Minutes)
|P90 STAT||Chances||Chances Created||Touch In Box||Attempt In Box|
Who are the best 6.0m Defenders in FPL 2019/20
#1 Lucas Digne
Adapting to the Premier League is always a big concern for new signings, but, within months, Digne looked more comfortable at Everton than he ever did in La Liga. He boasts a 27.7% ownership at the time of writing. It’s a well-merited total; Digne has all the essentials and more to offer value in the premium bracket.
Ranking first (per 90 minutes) for the base output of points, goals and bonus, as well as obliterating his competition for chances created, Digne also alternates with Sigurdsson for corners and indirect free kicks. In fact, he also scored two directly from a free-kick last season.
There’s this misconception that Everton can’t defend and that Marco Silva is some sort of madman that always tries to outscore the opposition. In reality, they’re a very capable side. Everton ranked inside the top five for clean sheets, goals conceded, shots on target conceded and shots conceded from inside and outside the box last season.
Finally, Lucas Digne is safe to start in all fixtures. His efforts helped his side shutout Chelsea on two occasions, Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal last season.
#2 David Luiz
David Luiz is my second choice in the £6.0m bracket. He edges out Azpilicueta for two reasons: firstly because of an improvement in the bonus points system and secondly because he offers more of a goal-scoring threat than his teammate.
A statistic that stuck with me from last season was that David Luiz attempted more through balls (41) than any player. In all positions. It’s not to say he’ll be bagging assists every match, but clearly David Luiz has a unique skill here. The next defender comes in at 32nd on the list.
Nobody is sure if Lampard will try to implement a high line. If he does, David Luiz would definitely be the beneficiary. He has great scope when lobbing balls over the top and into the channels. Unfortunately, their first choice striker last season looked like he’d had too many kebabs and rarely latched on to them.
If David Luiz can hold onto the left centre-back berth, he’ll be a viable long-term option. I’m confident he will: the Brazilian had 36 starts there last season.
He scored as many as Willian last season and ranked in the top three for goals, chances and attempts in the box per 90 minutes.
#3 Cesar Azpilicueta
It doesn’t feel right having two price brackets above the Chelsea skipper, but a combination of managerial changes and unorthodox positions has lead to a predicted drop in value.
As touched upon in my article discussing the best mid-priced defenders, Azpilicueta arrived in 2013 and quickly established himself as a master of collecting bonus points. Fast forward six seasons and he’s amassed 96 in total, averaging one every 189 mins.
However, he struggled in the bonus department last season. Indeed, David Luiz averaged almost double that of his teammate per 90 minutes.
Like any club with a new manager, uncertainty lingers for a while. One thing does seem sure, however. Azpilicueta, who has averaged 3026 minutes over the last six seasons, will play a central role in their new era. Maybe ‘era’ is pushing it with Abramovic at the helm, but you get my gist.
If they’re looking particularly strong during the opening two gameweeks versus Man United (a) and Leicester (H), he could well be worth the investment with an excellent run of fixtures until Gameweek 15.
#4 Ricardo Pereira
Like Lucas Digne, Pereira is another who adapted to life in the Premier League with apparent ease. Pereira’s parting gift to Porto FC in Liga NOS was 5 assists and 2 goals, before exceeding this number of attacking returns in his debut season at Leicester City with 7 assists and 2 goals.
Pereira ranks second in the £6.0m defender bracket (per 90 minutes) for assists, bonus points and touches inside the box. He also makes the top five for every other P90 statistic in the table above. The only negative thing was the number of yellow cards (7) he accumulated in his 35 starts.
If you watch Leicester regularly or have followed him at Nice or Porto in the past, you’ll know that Pereira is an extremely direct player. He’ll drive into the opposition’s box at every opportunity and isn’t afraid to try his luck when a chance presents itself.
He had more successful take ons (68) than any player in the Premier League last season and a higher expected goal involvement than Kolasinac and Trippier. Arguably, his delivery isn’t as accurate as his £5.5m teammate Chilwell, which is why I’ve ranked him slightly lower in the list.
#5 Matt Doherty
Matt Doherty’s price release was a big deal which would determine if the crowd would flock to him once again to push his ownership or else search for greener fields elsewhere. In the end, Official FPL bottled it and slapped a safe £6.0m price-tag on the Irishman.
In my opinion, £5.5m was a more suitable resolve. Willy Boly, now priced at £5m, played almost identical minutes and trailed him by just 24 points last season. Whereas Jonny has just signed a new contract and offers an attacking output at a drop-down price.
Despite this, Doherty maintains the highest owned asset of his defensive colleagues. The question, as argued in my best mid-priced defenders article, is whether his returns are worth investing the extra £1.0m over his more affordable teammates.
The per 90-minute statistics reinforce that his numbers are in fact sustainable and his price tag is just. He’s top three in the £6.0m leaderboard for goals, assists, chances and chances created, as well as for touches and attempts inside the box.
But, for all of that, he only managed 144 points last season. If you want a Wolves defender, Boly should comfortably pass the 100 point mark and would be my first choice.
£6.0m Defenders To Avoid in FPL 2019/20
Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy & Antonio Rudiger
I would encourage readers to stay clear of this trio, or at least until the season is in full flow. There are far too many question marks on their minutes, current and historical injury records (Mendy and Rudiger), and most importantly, there’s a number of more logical alternatives from each club.
Ederson is 100% nailed on for Man City and available for the same price as Walker and Mendy, while Laporte is their only outfield defender who is secure in the starting XI. Mendy’s output, as highlighted in the P90 table, is fantastic, but City’s new number 11 Zinchenko and the re-called Angelino pose stern competition.
Antonio Rudiger’s avoidance is fairly obvious. He continues to recover from knee surgery and David Luiz and Azpilicueta offer more at the same club, for the same price.