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FPL 2021-22: Team Selection Strategies – Defenders

FPL 2021-22 - Defenders can make or break your FPL season

Top performers from last season. Best premium, mid-range, and budget midfielders for your team based on attacking potential and fixtures. We take a look at the must-have midfielders for the upcoming FPL season.

Gone are the days when a defender’s job was just to stay back and protect his goal. 3 at the back, 4 at the back, 5 at the back, the formations have evolved. High defensive lines and offside traps, the player needs to have the brain of a computer to analyze and adapt to his opponents. 

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But the biggest and most exciting defensive evolution are the full-backs. This role is no longer even considered as defensive by managers and coaches, but more of the source of attacking. Overlapping full-backs, wing-backs, and even more recently full-backs who part-time as midfielders.  

The right combination of defenders can make or break your FPL season. Analyzing the chemistry between players and their fixtures are important. 4 points for a clean sheet, the highest points for a goal or assist, bonuses for clearances of the line. The risks are high but the gains can be greater. 

Premium Option – Alexander Trent-Arnold  – 7.5m 

Trent is one of the top scoring defenders in league over the past 3 years

2020-21 stats :

  • Minutes – 3033
  • Assists – 8 
  • Yellow cards – 2
  • Points – 160 

First six fixtures: NOR, BUR, CHE, LEE, CRY, BRE 

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xA/90 (expected assists per 90 min) – 0.21
  • xGI/90 (expected goal involvement per 90 min) – 0.29
  • M/CC (minutes per chance created) – 39

Liverpool’s Defensive Stats: 

  • xGA (expected goals against) – 43.63 
  • M/xGA (minutes per expected goals against) – 83

The Liverpool right-back has been one of the highest-scoring defenders in FPL over the past 3 seasons. His combination on the right with Salah is sure to bring returns again this season. He takes most of the set-pieces for the team and that means assists can come anytime.

Although the teams stats shows that they will concede like they did last season. The return of team leaders Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson will only increase Liverpool’s stability in defense. Teammate Andy Robertson is also a tempting option at 7 million as he carries almost the same FPL potential. But Trent is a potential 200 point FPL asset. 

Mid-range Option – Luke Shaw – 5.5m

Shaw is the much required source of attacking for United on the left side

2020-21 stats:

  • Minutes – 2655
  • Assists – 5
  • Yellow cards – 8
  • Points –  124

First six fixtures: LEE, SOU, WOL, NEW, WHU, AVL

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xA/90 (expected assists per 90 min) – 0.19
  • xGI/90 (expected goal involvement per 90 min) – 0.21
  • M/CC (minutes per chance created) – 37

Manchester United’s Defensive Stats: 

  • xGA (expected goals against) – 41.96 
  • M/xGA (minutes per expected goals against) – 86.5 

Shaw has been a source of attacking for United on the left flank and his chemistry with Marcus Rashford is at its best. His crosses are dangerous, he is able to split opponents with blistering runs forward and even has goal in him. 

The team have improved considerably under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Shaw is one of the first picks in the starting XI. The addition of Raphael Varane increases the clean sheet potential for the team. Shaw is definitely a pick and forget type of player if he does not have an injury. 

Budget Option – Joël Veltman – 4.5m 

Brighton has the best opening fixtures in the league and Veltman is a sure starter

2020-21 stats :

  • Minutes – 2282
  • Assists – 1
  • Yellow cards – 3
  • Points –  96

First six fixtures: BUR, WAT, EVE, BRE, LEI, CRY  

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xA/90 (expected assists per 90 min) – 0.06
  • xGI/90 (expected goal involvement per 90 min) – 0.1
  • M/CC (minutes per chance created) – 104

Brighton’s Defensive Stats: 

  • xGA (expected goals against) – 35.86 
  • M/xGA (minutes per expected goals against) – 100.5

A budget player is very vital to complete your team. You need a player who is a sure starter and has a good run of fixtures. Veltman fits the profile in all areas. Brighton’s opening fixtures are the best in the league, so clean sheets points are available. 

Conclusion: 

Defenders in FPL are an area that carry a very high points return. You have the option to pick between 3, 4 or 5 defenders. But it is not a good idea to spend too much of your funds on expensive defenders. Also rotating your defenders during can be difficult if you need to focus on players in other positions. You ideally want atleast 2 players who are set and forget and will bring you points consistently.

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