With only three days to go until the first deadline of the fantasy premier league season our attention has turned to defenders for the coming gameweek. Gameweek one is a strange proposition and one that somewhat distorts the trends with a double gameweek thrown into the mix (as if gameweek one wasn’t difficult enough to predict) with both Reading and City playing twice.
Each week we publish our thoughts early in the week on each position and this season is no different. So here are our early defender tips for gameweek.
Vincent Kompany (Man City) £7.5 million. Fixture: Southampton (Home)
It will come as little surprise that Kompany is the most popular defender amongst fantasy football managers again this season. With a current ownership rate of 25.8%, the City skipper has attracted much attention following his outstanding performances last season. The Belgian finished as the second highest defender with a grand total of 145 points. Kompany offers a threat at set pieces as seen with his 3 goals last season. But more importantly he offers fantasy football managers the opportunity of clean sheets and plenty of them. Kompany was part of a rock solid City defence that kept 15 clean sheets during the last campaign. Kompany’s style of play also has the capability of earning managers bonus points (12 last season). Kompany does come at a hefty price tag but if you are going to have one expensive defender in your side, then this is surely your man. Gameweek one sees City open their title defence against new boys, Southampton. A daunting trip to the Etihad awaits as does a hungry Vincent Kompany. A clean sheet looks imminent.
Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) £5.0 million. Fixture: West Ham (Away)
Villa and new boss Paul Lambert have been rather quiet in the transfer window thus far but one decent acquisition that they have made is Dutch international Ron Vlaar. Vlaar looks set to fill the void at centre half left by the now departed James Collins. With Richard Dunne currently sidelined with a thigh injury, Vlaar looks set to slot straight into the starting 11. At just £5 million, the Dutch man is a cheap alternative for gameweek one. Villa travel to Upton Park to face West Ham, which offers a decent chance of a clean sheet. Lambert’s Norwich were fairly sound at the back last season and fantasy football managers will be hoping that he can produce more of the same this campaign for Villa.
Brede Hangeland (Fulham) £5.0 million. Fixture: Norwich (Home)
Another firm favourite amongst fantasy football managers, Hangeland is always one of the most selected defenders in the game. It will come as a pleasant surprise to managers that the tall Norwegian remains very reasonably priced at just £5 million. Fulham showed signs of consistency last season under new boss Martin Jol with Hangeland central to their improvement. Hangeland is another big centre half that offers a threat at set pieces. Although fantasy football mangers will find that he failed to find the back of the net last season, bear in mind that he did score 6 in the season before. Hangeland managed 11 clean sheets last season along with 6 bonus points. At such a low price, he is certainly one of the bargains in the defensive area. Gameweek one sees his Fulham side host Norwich City who many are unsure what to expect under new boss Chris Hughton. If it proves (like many believe) that the Canaries take a few games to settle under the new manager, fantasy football managers can expect Fulham to bag all three points and that all important clean sheet.
Alex Pearce (Reading) £4.5 million. Fixture: Stoke (Home) & Chelsea (Away)
The young Reading centre half is certainly one for fantasy football managers to consider for gameweek one, as he is another who can profit from his side playing twice in the same gameweek. Pearce scored 5 league goals on his side’s way to clinching the Championship last season. He also went on to claim Reading’s player of the season award, which in itself proves how valuable an asset he is. He is very strong in the air both defensively and in the opposition’s box. At just £4.5 million he is one of the cheapest defenders in the league. The fact that Pearce will be guaranteed his place in the starting 11, week in-week out should have fantasy football mangers keeping a firm eye on him. First up for Reading is Stoke City who are another side who tend to be slow out of the blocks. With a full house guaranteed at the Madejski stadium, Reading will be confident on their first game back in the top flight. A clean sheet is very possible here and with Pearce’s powerful aerial ability, maybe even more. Reading’s second game in gameweek one sees them face Chelsea. With nothing expected of Pearce’s side, anything he can pick up here will come as a bonus to fantasy football managers.