Is Defence the Best Form of Attack?
Got all the attacking talent but not moving up in your mini-league? Let’s look at mixing things up at the back to gain that vital edge on your competitors…
After an exciting Game-week 3 which, let’s be honest didn’t throw up too many surprise results, we look at what an action packed fixture list in Game-week 4 will consist of according to the bookies. Now although many of you will already have some of last week’s top performers in your attacking roles; the likes of Salah (11 pts), Alli (9 pts) and Firmino (12 pts), what surprised the most was the points picked up by defensive options. Kyle Naughton of Swansea City accumulated a total of 12 points last week and Ciaran Clarke of Newcastle United was the weeks top points earner with a whopping 15 points but has only been picked by a meagre 1.4% of managers, so are there some of you missing a trick when it comes to picking a profitable defender? With 9 Premier League teams out of 20 picking up a clean sheet last weekend, let’s analyse match-by-match whether you may need to have a defensive shake-up, a tactical defensive transfer or straight up Wild-Card!
Manchester City v Liverpool:
The bookies reckon this is a home win. City are 4/5 odds on to take the 3 points. That means they fancy some goals from the likes of Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus (both 5/6 to score anytime) so if you have either or both guys in your team, you should be picking up some points here. Firmino is the most likely to score for Liverpool (13/8 anytime). Salah and Mané pose the most likely threats from midfield both being priced up at 15/8 to score anytime and in a match which promises goals, either of these players could make a wise choice for Captain. It’s fair to say the bookies do not fancy a clean sheet in this match with City 5/2 and Liverpool 11/2 respectively, so those defensive points I was talking about earlier… Yes, you won’t be picking those up at the Etihad in the early kick-off on Saturday.
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth:
Although both teams have been struggling for form since the start of the season, the bookies make Arsenal very strong favourites to win this match at odds of 4/11. This would insist that Bournemouth are in for a mauling. 14% of managers who have selected Alexandre Lacazette should be in for a decent afternoon (8/13 anytime), that is if he is picked to start… Those of you taking the gamble on Alexis Sánchez (8/11 anytime) should feel confident he can rack up some points here, if you can afford the £11.9m price tag! Defoe is the most likely to score for Bournemouth (11/5 anytime) but the bookies do like Arsenal for a clean sheet here so, for some easy points, include any Gunners defenders in your ranks. You may look toward Rob Holding (£4.9m) if he’s on your bench.
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Bromwich Albion:
The battle of the Albion’s on the south coast appears to have 0-0 written all over it. The bookies have them evenly matched to win with the draw the more likely result. Glenn Murray (2/1 anytime) is Brighton’s biggest threat and those odds reflect that as Brighton haven’t scored a goal in 3 Premier League games. Jay Rodriguez for the Baggies looks great FPL value at £5.9m and having scored last weekend, is the bookies favourite for West Brom to score anytime with odds of 12/5. Clean sheets may be on offer in this match too with the bookies suggesting 6/4 and 7/4 odds respectively, so if you have any defenders from these clubs, get them in for GW4. Shane Duffy (£4.5m) looks great value for that fifth spot in your back line so try and get him involved here. 27.3% of you have Hegazi of West Brom; he has 25 points in the competition already and poses a real goal threat. Just saying…
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur:
The promise of a great game at Goodison Park with the bookies believing nothing but a Spurs win here; they are priced at Evens. Of course, Harry Kane is the favourite to get on the score sheet (10/11 anytime) and as it’s now September, he’s bound to score. Kane for Captain, anyone? Rooney is the most likely to score for Everton (21/10 anytime). Let’s hope he’s not in the dog-house still… There are some decent midfield options on show in this match as well with Dele Alli the best price to score at 2/1 and after his international brace, Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.4m) might be a lethal transfer option (3/1 anytime) The bookies like a clean sheet here for Spurs at 7/4 and with Kieran Trippier likely to miss the game through injury, Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m) or Serge Aurier (£6m) could be a fantastic option in defence if you haven’t already made your transfers.
Leicester City v Chelsea:
The former champions versus the current champions. Those labels may seem like this will be a close one but the bookies reckon Chelsea will take this comfortably being 4/5 odds on. Morata is the talk of the town with 2 goals and 2 assists this season and at £10.1m, looks great value especially when the bookies have him down at 21/20 to score anytime. Eden Hazard (£10.5m) could be back for Chelsea after returning to action for Belgium (6/4 anytime) but the bookies also fancy Jamie Vardy (15/8 anytime) as Leicester’s main goal threat. If you’re looking for clean sheet points, Chelsea are priced at 13/8 to get one so it may be time to throw in Victor Moses (£6.5m) who also poses an attacking threat down the wing, and if you have Marcos Alonso in your team already, (£7.1m) well done you.
Southampton v Watford:
At odds of 3/5, the bookies have the Saints as firm favourites for this one with Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini the favourites to score at odds of 6/5 and 7/5 respectively. Dusan Tadic seems like the likely option from midfield (2/1 anytime) with Watford’s main threats coming in the form of Troy Deeney (13/5 anytime) and Andre Gray (3/1 anytime). With odds of 5/4 for a Saints clean sheet, players such as Forster in goal (£5m), Yoshida (£5m) and Bertrand (£5.5m) could add considerable points to your team’s total, especially when you consider these 3 players are Southampton’s top points scorers in FPL so far, this season.
Stoke City v Manchester United:
United are strong favourites to pick up the victory in the late kick-off at the Bet365 Stadium and convincingly too. Having picked up maximum points without conceding a goal, they occupy the top 8 players to score anytime in the odds chart with Romelu Lukaku the most likely (10/11 anytime). If you’re thinking of bringing Marcus Rashford (£7.5m) into the fold, he’s the second favourite (7/5 anytime) and with only being picked by 5.4% of managers, could give your team the edge. Peter Crouch is the Potters main hope for a goal (10/3 anytime) but attention will be directed more-so towards Jesé (4/1 anytime) who over 43,000 managers have already transferred in at a value price of £6m. A United clean sheet is priced at Evens so if you’re looking to replace your captain, you may want to make it a United defender.
Burnley v Crystal Palace:
The bookies believe Palace’s woes will continue in Sunday’s 1.30pm kick-off pricing Burnley as 5/4 favourites to take the win. The home side’s strike force of Chris Wood and Sam Vokes are being priced at 15/8 to score anytime, the same as Palace’s Christian Benteke and with the away team’s current struggles in front of goal, a clean sheet for Burnley looks solid at 6/4. Tom Heaton in goal (£5m) and Stephen Ward (£4.5m) could prove fruitful options in defence for this match unless Frank De Boer’s team can mount a serious challenge and actually score a goal!
Swansea City v Newcastle United:
The Swans are slight favourites at home to the Magpies with the bookies pricing the home win at 5/4. This makes those of you who have Tammy Abraham in your teams a likely points earner with his anytime goal-scorer odds at 7/4. Dwight Gayle is priced up at the same odds for the opposition but may miss the game through injury and if he does, Ayoze Pérez will be your best bet (11/4 anytime). For those looking to make some tasty transfers, in attack Wilfried Bony (£6m) has been a proven goal-scorer for Swansea in the past and for an alternative option in midfield, Renato Sanches (£5m) looks superb value for money. The bookies don’t like a clean sheet in this fixture so if you’ve still got the likes of Clarke (£4.5m) and Mbemba (£4m) who did so well last week, you may want to have a re-shuffle.
West Ham United v Huddersfield Town
The final fixture of the weekend commences on Monday night and pits bottom of the table Hammers against early-season surprise package, Huddersfield and although West Ham haven’t earned a point yet, the bookies still have them as favourites to win their first game at home at a price of 4/5. Chicharito remains the focus of attacking options in this fixture (11/10 anytime) with Steve Mounie the most likely to score for Huddersfield (2/1 anytime). The bookies think there’s a good chance of a home clean sheet here at a price of 11/8 so if you’re thinking of dropping some Hammers defenders or indeed, Joe Hart (£4.5m) you may want to have a little re-think.
Top 5 Anytime Goal-Scorers in GW 4
- Alexandre Lacazette (£10.4m) – 8/13
- Sergio Agüero (£11.5m) – 5/6
- Gabriel Jesus (£10.4m) – 5/6
- Harry Kane (£12.5m) – 10/11
- Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m) – 10/11
Top 5 Teams for a Clean Sheet in GW 4
- Manchester United – 1/1
- Southampton – 5/4
- Arsenal – 11/8
- West Ham United – 11/8
- Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley, Chelsea – 6/4