It’s only a matter of days until Fantasy Premier League kicks off and whilst the excitement has left me without clean sheets, I’ve returned to advise you on where you might be able to find some in Gameweek 1.
Before we start, I wanted to drop in a quick reminder to join Fantasy Divisions if you haven’t already. It’s our new season-long FPL game with promotion and relegation. The prize is £50,000 and it costs just a fiver to enter.
Premier League Clean Sheet Odds For Gameweek 1:
|Team||Clean Sheet Odds|
Liverpool vs. Norwich
There are few things more appealing than last season’s best home defence hosting a newly promoted side on the opening gameweek of the season. Last season they only conceded 10 at Anfield, with a minuscule xGA of 13.25.
If Norwich are to find the back of the net, it would represent 10% of the goals Liverpool conceded at home last season. Let that sink in for a moment.
Doubling up on Liverpool defenders is a viable strategy that lots have embraced for FPL, with wing-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0) & Andy Robertson (£7.0) both playing a vital role in their team’s attack. The pair served up 25 assists between them last season.
Joe Gomez (£5.5) looks like he could provide great value as he looks to reclaim his place from Joel Matip (£5.5). For those looking to free up £1.5 without losing Liverpool coverage in defence, he’s your man.
There’s also a case for tripling up on Liverpool defenders in our £5,000 Grand Opening contest, but that would, of course, require going without their attackers in what has been quite a high-scoring affair in recent years.
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa
Tottenham’s defence was the fifth-best in the league last year based on clean sheets, but unlike the surrounding teams of Chelsea, Everton and Crystal Palace, they didn’t particularly excel at home.
Instead, their numbers balanced out, with a clean sheet in 37% of their home games and 32% on the road. They were also the league’s most lucky home defence in terms of expected stats, conceding 16 times with an xGA of 26.26.
Whilst we’ve established that the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium isn’t necessarily a fortress, the bookies no doubt handed them a 58% of a clean sheet in Gameweek 1 due to their opposition.
Newly promoted Aston Villa have been splashing the cash in all areas in a bid to re-establish themselves as a Premier League side, but it’s yet to be seen how they’ll fair.
Gameweek 1 versus last season’s Champions League finalists should be a good barometer. Either it’ll unearth some value in the Spurs backline or in the Villains attack.
As the demand for former-fullback Kyle Walker peters out, some have begun to opt for Kyle Walker-Peters (£5.0), who could be handed a start following the exit of Kieran Trippier.
Otherwise, Hugo Lloris (£5.5) stands out as the most viable option, with the ageing Jan Vertoghen (£5.5) and Toby Alderweireld (£5.5) also available in the same price bracket.
West Ham vs. Man City
Man City are the only away side to feature in the top 5 of the bookies’ clean sheet odds for Gameweek 1 and there’s little surprise as to why.
Last season they were the best away defence in the league, conceding just 11 goals with an underlying xGA of 11.54. They also managed the highest number of clean sheets on the road, registering a shutout in 58% of their away games.
Ederson (£6.0) represents the safest option as he seemingly pulls the lever and watches along with Pep as his teammates spin around the wheel of rotation.
Elsewhere, Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5) has emerged as a fan favourite, largely due to his price tag and nailed on pre-season. It is important to note that Man City triggered the buy-back clause for left-back Angelino, following an impressive season for PSV which saw him tally 12 assists and narrowly miss out on the Eredivisie title.
For the less cash-strapped, Aymeric Laporte (£6.5) is a good option with potential for points at both ends of the pitch. Meanwhile, John Stones (£5.5) could turn out great value as the season progresses, or this weekend as part of a defensive stack in our Opening Weekend Freeroll.
Watford vs. Brighton
The bookies have somehow arrived at the conclusion that Watford have a 47% implied chance of keeping a clean sheet in Gameweek 1. In this case, it seems largely due to the opposition and the fact they’re at home.
Last season the Hornets managed a clean sheet in just 13% of their games, with only Huddersfield and Fulham managing less. They also had the second-worst home xGA in the league at 30.33, a figure which again, is only rivalled by relegated Huddersfield.
Brighton under Graham Potter are a completely different unit entirely. They will look to rebrand and play attacking football this season, which should bolster their number of goals significantly.
If you’re looking for a punt in daily fantasy, then a Watford stack could be just that. In this instance though, I’ll have to disagree with the bookies that they’re a good option for a clean sheet.