Former #FPL World Number 1 and Friend of the site @K3LVIN looks at potential replacements for Leighton Baines in the run up to GW13.
Many thanks to @K3LVIN for taking the time to put together his thoughts on defensive options that should be on your radar!
With Leighton Baines potentially out of action for up to 6 weeks, he’s likely to be out anytime up until Gameweek 21 (11th Jan). Granted, he could be back after 10 days in time for Gameweek 15 (7th Dec), but for a defender priced at £7.7m to be out for potentially so long you may be looking to replace him.
The question is with all that money, who? Well I’ve trawled through a range of statistics and combined that with what I believe are the key traits to look for in a defender over the Christmas period and compiled a list of three worthy replacements.
I’ve selected one defender from each price bracket, to give a range of options for those who might be looking to reinvest some of their money further up field. One other key point to note, as 94% of the FPL population already have cover from the Southampton defence, I’ve purposely not included them in my thinking.
The three most important things when shopping for a new defender in my opinion are:
1. Are they guaranteed starters?
2. Do they offer any goal or assist threat?
3. Can they keep some clean sheets?
High priced: £6m+
Having played every minute of every league game this season, Ivanovic and Terry look the best route into the Chelsea defence. With some great fixtures over the next few gameweeks, it should be expected that Chelsea defenders could yield points at both ends of the pitch.
Now priced the same as Terry, £6.4m, both with a minimal rotation threat and an equal chance of clean sheets, it’s Ivanovic’s additional attacking threat that has lead me to opt for him. The only defender to have attempted more shots than Ivanovic this season is Aleksandar Kolarov (18), and Ivanovic is leading the way as the defender with the most touches in the penalty area.
Not only does he offer plenty of clean sheet opportunities over the next few gameweeks, his goal threat is unrivalled by any other defender.
Just missed the cut: Terry, Vertonghen, Evra
Mid priced: £5m-£5.9m
This was an extremely tight decision between Johnson and Mertesacker. Both Arsenal and Liverpool are defensively similar (4 clean sheets, 10 vs 13 goals conceded) but I’ve opted for Johnson as I feel Liverpool’s fixtures over the coming weeks look the more likely to yield some clean sheet points. Of all the defenders available for Liverpool, Johnson looks the most assured of his place in the team, something that’s extremely important over the Christmas period.
From an attacking point of view, whilst not playing as many minutes as Mertesacker due to injury, he’s only had one less touch in the penalty area, and yet had more attempts on goal. 16 crosses and 7 chances created (Mertesacker 0 for both), Johnson also offers a far superior assist potential.
Just missed the cut: Huth, Mertesacker, McAuley
Low priced: Under £5m
There were slim pickings in the under £5m category, but I wanted to still try and find a defender that matched my criteria. Back from suspension this coming gameweek, Debuchy is the only recognised right back for Newcastle, which should guarantee him gametime over Christmas. Having played all but 5 minutes since the start of the season before suspension, he’s an option that might go under the radar for most players.
Having shown some defensive solidarity at home to Chelsea, then backing that up with a clean sheet away at Tottenham, Newcastle’s defensive options suddenly look a little more appealing. With home games against West Brom, Southampton and Stoke in the next 6, plus an away game at Crystal Palace, there’s plenty more chances for them to build on those clean sheets.
Debuchy also offers a reasonable attacking threat. Having already scored and assisted this season he’s 6th when it comes to goal attempts from defenders, only 1 less attempt than Baines.
Just missed the cut: Vlaar, Russell, Davies (HUL)