Do you smell that? That’s the beautiful smell of a fresh week of Premier League fixtures, and the putrid stench of international football is gone for a while. This gameweek brings a North London derby, as well as a distinctly winnable home game for Manchester United. As many of you will know, part one of this article focuses on goalkeepers and defenders, and there are some great defensive matchups to take advantage of in the budget range this weekend.
Budget Option: Jonas Lossl (4.6m)
Huddersfield have been nothing short of sensational for fantasy owners of their defensive assets, and Lossl is the number two goalkeeper in FPL after 11 games. At just £4.6m that is incredibly, and the Dane has also grabbed an assist this season, which is the stuff of dreams. This week the Terriers take on a Bournemouth side that has scored just seven goals in this campaign, which is the second lowest tally in the league. Lossl is a safe pick this week, and will be hoping to add a sixth clean sheet to his record.
Budget Option: Nick Pope (4.5m)
Burnley love playing at home, and that happens to be exactly what they are doing this week when they take on Swansea. The visitors are tied with Bournemouth for the second least goals scored this season, and Pope has already kept four clean sheets since taking over from Tom Heaton. The 25-year old has also been quietly racking up some bonus points, and the Cherries take almost 10 shots per game on average so there is also a good chance of Pope earning some save points.
Premium Option: David De Gea (5.7m)
Manchester United are the stingiest defence in the Premier League, having conceded just five times in 11 games. With that in mind it is little surprise that De Gea tops the FPL goalkeeping charts, leading Lossl by nine fantasy points. United’s last league game was a 1-0 defeat away at Chelsea, but they have the perfect opportunity to bounce back this week. A home fixture against Newcastle, who have scored just 10 times this season, should bring an easy clean sheet for De Gea.
Premium Option to AVOID: Huge Lloris (5.5m)
Not only is Lloris an injury doubt for Saturday’s early kick off, but that game also happens to be a North London derby away at Arsenal. Derbies are notoriously hard to predict, but they often bring fireworks and goals, which isn’t good for FPL defensive players. To his credit the French international has picked up five clean sheets so far, despite missing last gameweek’s home win, but Lloris isn’t worth the risk this time around. Arsenal have scored 20 goals so far in this Premier League campaign and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add to that total this weekend.
Budget Option: Shane Duffy (4.5m)
The big defender will be feeling mixed emotions heading into Brighton’s home game against Stoke. Duffy scored the opening goal in Ireland’s eventual defeat to Denmark in the second leg of their World Cup qualifier playoff tie. The Boys in Green missed out on a place in Russia as a result, but the centre half will be looking to lift his spirits by keeping a clean sheet against the Potters. That particular task doesn’t seem too unrealistic, especially as the Seagulls have conceded just 11 goals in their 11 league games this season. Stoke haven’t exactly been free scoring either, and Duffy should be able to earn a clean sheet here.
Premium Option: Cesar Azpilicueta (6.8m)
Regular readers of this series will know that I have a love hate relationship with ‘Dave’, but this week he has a decent shot at racking up some points. Chelsea travel to the Midlands to face a West Brom side that has netted just nine times this season. The Blues are conceding less than a goal per game themselves, and Azpilicueta is leading the FPL in points for defenders. A lot of his points have come from his attacking potential – one goal and five assists – and he could well add to that this weekend against a beatable West Brom defence.
Premium Option to AVOID: Ryan Bertrand (5.4m)
One of the reasons many people decided to shell out the extra £0.5m for Bertrand over the other Southampton defenders was for his offensive threat. 11 games have now passed without the England international registering either a goal or an assist, and £5.4m is too much for a player who is relying on four clean sheets for all of his points. This week the Saints play Liverpool at Anfield, so the chance of adding to that clean sheet total seems slim. Bertrand is best avoided for this gameweek.
There have been a lot of injuries flaring up over the international break, so make sure you keep on top of the news regarding your key players. Tottenham in particular are a problem team this week.
Just because Crystal Palace and Everton are both awful doesn’t mean their game will be low scoring. Avoid defenders from both sides this week, and probably for every week to come.
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