At this stage of the season the results start to go a bit crazy as teams fight for survival, European places and the pride of finishing above their rivals. That’s what makes this period so exciting, as if the Premier League wasn’t brilliant enough, and it means keeping on top of your FPL team is vital. Luckily the Best Picks article is back, with part one focusing on goalkeepers and defenders.
Budget Option: Nick Pope (5.0m)
At a price of £5.0m the Burnley shot stopper is bordering on becoming a premium option, but he remains cheaper than a lot of the top tier options. The Clarets are the fourth best defensive side in the league however and they are an excellent weekly option for clean sheets. This weekend Sean Dyche’s men face a Watford side that has netted just four goals in their last six Premier League games. This should be a tight game and that will favour the visitors, meaning that Pope should deliver on a relatively cheap investment.
Premium Option: Thibaut Courtois (5.4m)
As bad as Chelsea have been this season they actually provide a decent opportunity for a clean sheet this weekend as they take on West Ham. The Blues have managed 14 shutouts during this campaign and while their form has been shaky of late, the Hammers have been diabolically bad. Antonio Conte’s side haven’t lost all of the defensive solidity that won them the league last year and there isn’t anything like a London derby to fire they players up to deliver a result.
Premium Option to AVOID: David de Gea (5.9m)
Advising against playing the best FPL goalkeeper in the game is risky but this week is something special. Manchester United’s bitter City rivals can win the league at Old Trafford this weekend and that means that this should be one hell of a game. I don’t fancy any defensive players in this clash and not many teams can stand up to the firepower of Pep Guardiola’s side. It will be a cagey affair but a 0-0 stalemate is difficult to envision.
Budget Option: Lewis Dunk (4.5m)
Brighton have been one of the better defensive sides this season and that has allowed them to hover slightly above the relegation zone. Eight clean sheets is a good return so far from a newly promoted side and Dunk is a reliable starter, having played every minute. The Seagulls host Huddersfield for this gameweek and that should be a game that they are capable of wining, especially with so much on the line in the fight to avoid the drop. The Terriers have scored just 25 goals all season so Dunk looks like an attractive option here.
Premium Option: Nacho Monreal (5.6m)
Arsenal are a lot like Chelsea this season in that they aren’t particularly reliable when it comes to defending, but their form has been slightly improved in the last few weeks. A game against struggling Southampton, who are without a goal in their last three Premier League games, is exactly what Arsene Wenger’s men need to continue their hot streak. Monreal has also contributed four goals and two assists this season so he also offers a decent attacking threat.
Premium Option to AVOID: Nicolas Otamendi (6.4m)
While Manchester City have been almost unstoppable this season and have registered the best defensive record in the league, this isn’t a week in which you want to lean on their back line. A clash with eternal rivals Manchester United and a chance to win the league makes this a game in which anything could happen. A lot of Otamendi’s points have come from unlikely goals, something that is difficult to replicate regularly, so he is likely best avoided this week. Add to that City’s recent 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in midweek and there is reason to be concerned.
A Merseyside derby and a Manchester derby in one weekend? That’s what dreams are made of. Not in FPL terms though as these games are difficult to predict, but the players involved should not be ignored as some crazy results can come from these matches.
With the intensity of play increasing in the final weeks, injuries begin to pile up. Keep on top of team news and make sure you have backup options.
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