Premium defenders have taken over FPL. Managers are stacking teams with Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool wingbacks. It’s easy to see why: Last season, several defenders finished inside the top 10 for overall points.
With two or three defensive slots filled with premium assets, the standard play is to balance this out with a couple of £4.5m budget defenders and a £4.0m non-starter to stay within budget.
However, there is an alternative way. The perfect mid-priced defender can provide tremendous value across the season — with assists and goals adding to those all-important clean sheet points.
But the critical question is — how many of these rare specimens exist? Here are a few worth considering.
MID-PRICED DEFENDERS TO BUY IN FPL 2022/23
Matty Cash (Aston Villa, £5.0m)
If you’re splashing all of your budget on the midfield and attack and still need to shoehorn in an attacking full-back with stable output, look no further than Matty Cash. He guarantees a reasonable return for a small outlay with 4 goals and 3 assists in 38 appearances last season. Clean sheets may well be in better supply, with Steven Gerrard shoring up the defensive areas of his squad. He’s also a nailed-on starter as well, starting and playing over an hour in every single match. Reliability is a given here.
Conor Coady (Wolves, £5.0m)
Just want a player who’s virtually guaranteed to start, securing a few points every week? Coady’s your man, only missing one PL game since the 18/19 season. Couple that with 11 clean sheets and 4 goals last season, and you’re looking at a remarkably consistent defender. Coady is a relatively clean defender, too, only receiving 4 yellow cards last season, and with Wolves only conceding more than 2 goals on four separate occasions (two of those being to Manchester City and Liverpool when the season was basically wrapped up), he’s not at risk of many points deductions either. A good choice for players looking to minimise their risks.
Gabriel (Arsenal, £5.0m)
Another high-scoring defender, 5 goals in 35 appearances, is a pretty good return for the new Arsenal centre-back. After giving a good account of himself in his maiden season, he will likely forge stronger partnerships as he kicks on for the current season. He has impressive stats to build on- 13 clean sheets and only conceding over 2 goals on four occasions throughout the season, Gabriel is likely to be an ideal addition for an Arsenal squad looking to kick on and not surrender CL football this time around. One caveat — it may be worth keeping an eye on Arsenal’s EL schedule, as rotation may set in as they delve further into the competition.
Kieran Trippier (Newcastle, £5.0m)
A player set to benefit from some pre-season training and new faces around him, Trippier can only improve on last season’s stats. Scoring twice from only six appearances after joining in January, a broken bone in the foot curbed most of the full-backs season. But this season, he’s widely tipped to take the captain’s armband- which will guarantee him minutes- and perhaps first pick of the set-piece situations? A full pre-season under Howe, who galvanised the Newcastle backline into 7 clean sheets and only 2 games conceding more than 2 goals (against Spurs and Manchester City,) could suggest an even more stubborn backline this season — especially with the addition of Ligue 1 winner Sven Botman into their ranks.
Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur, £5.0m)
As Conte took charge of Spurs, it was clear that things needed to change, and several players along with it. Everyone knows Conte plays with a back 3 with wingbacks. To do that, he needs a specific kind of defender. Romero fits very well into the no-nonsense centre-back role, breaking up play and stopping attacks before they can even begin. This is an excellent indicator for clean sheets, and while Romero had a disrupted season- missing 14 games with injury- next season should be a different kettle of fish. With Conte’s chosen transfers in and tactics embedded into the squad, Romero looks set to shine.
Andy Coates is an avid Newcastle United fan, even before they became the richest club in the world, and has regularly written opinion pieces on the club for several seasons now. To keep up with their recent articles and updates, or to view retweets of left-wing politics follow their Twitter.