In this edition of Breaking the FPL Template Gameweek 13/14, @Hibbo_FPL examines replacements for Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell following his injury against Juventus on Tuesday evening.
This article will provide FPL tips to help managers break the template and achieve that desired top 10k finish. All data used is courtesy of the Hub’s OPTA Stats tool.
Ben Chilwell: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) suffered an injury during the second half of Chelsea’s four-goal victory over Juventus. His evening was brought to an abrupt end after jarring his knee.
Chelsea awaits the results of a scan to determine the severity of Chilwell’s injury.
He could potentially miss the rest of the season if the suspected cruciate ligament damage is confirmed. A return to play before the New Year is highly unlikely.
The timing of this injury is a nightmare scenario for FPL managers with his ownership particularly dense at the elite level.
As Gameweek 12 opened, Chilwell was owned by just under half of the top 10k managers.
Chilwell’s nine-point haul away to former club Leicester City intensified his elite-level ownership. The same can be said for the 67,000 early transfers in by managers eager to pre-empt price changes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
For those FPL managers missing a piece of the defensive holy trinity, their route out of Ben Chilwell could not be easier.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) has been in sensational form this term. He ranks joint top amongst defenders for FPL points (79).
The right-back has notched double-digit hauls in three of his last four matches.
Over the last four, he also ranks joint-second amongst all players for big chances created (4). Alexander-Arnold is also first for expected assists (2.07), providing four times for his colleagues.
Notably, Southampton rank third-worst in the division this term for crosses conceded from their left-flank (137).
Reece James – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
Since Gameweek 9, Reece James (£6.1m) has registered three double-digit hauls. The marauding wing-back ranks top amongst all players for FPL points (53).
James demonstrates multiple avenues to points. He ranks second-best amongst defenders for expected goals (1.06), expected assists (1.44), and expected goal involvement (2.5).
In terms of fixtures, Chelsea ranks eighth overall on Hub’s ticker. However, Thomas Tuchel’s team are fixture-proof, winning 32 out of 50 games across all competitions during his reign.
Their upcoming opponents have shown weakness from the left this season. Manchester United rank fourth-worst for chances conceded (51) while Watford are second-worst for crosses conceded (140).
Joao Cancelo – Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
Joao Cancelo (£6.6m) is currently the joint-second highest scoring player in FPL (79). He is redefining the role of the full-back in modern football.
Cancelo operates as an auxiliary playmaker, ranking top among all players for successful final third passes (282) and joint-second for through balls (9).
The Portuguese international ranks second among defenders for assists (3) and big chances created over the last four.
Furthermore, Cancelo is joint-fourth among all players for shots (14) over the same period with a preference to shoot from range.
In terms of fixtures, Manchester City have a favourable run. They are second overall on the Hub’s ticker over the next six matches.
West Ham United rank joint-fourth worst for chances conceded from the left-flank this term which bodes well for Cancelo.
Template Breaking Duo: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
Marcos Alonso (£5.6m) has appeared on the radar following Chilwell’s injury. His production during an early six-game consecutive streak bodes well for returns.
Notably, Alonso ranked first amongst defenders last season per start for expected goal involvement (0.4), bettering even Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Over the first six this term, Alonso was joint-first for shots (11), third for expected goals (1.06), and third for expected goal involvement (1.8) amongst defenders.
Furthermore, Alonso had a significant share of set pieces, ranking fifth among defenders for corners (18) and joint-first for direct free-kicks (3).
Unlike the template triumvirate above, Alonso is most definitely a differential. The Spaniard is owned by less than 1% of top 10k managers.
One negative for Alonso could be the recent return from injury and the lack of match sharpness. Yet his rotation risk shouldn’t be a huge concern if you have a good bench.
Sergio Reguilon (£5.1m) has already shown signs of promise in Antonio Conte’s wing-back system which is hugely appealing from a Fantasy perspective.
While the sample size is small, over the last two matches among Reguilon ranks joint-first for shots inside the box (4) among defenders. He is also third for expected goals (0.86), and scored the winner against Leeds.
However, the left-back has struggled to provide that killer pass, creating just two chances. Reguilon is 18th among defenders over this period for expected assists (0.25).
In terms of fixtures, Spurs have a favourable run in the short-term (Burnley, Brentford and Norwich). The North London club have conceded just one big chance and one league goal under Conte.
Conclusion: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 13/14
The rise of the premium defender has challenged experienced FPL managers to question entrenched ideas of rigid formations and become more fluid.
How we evaluate the value of defenders is perceptual and an important early part of the game has been adapting to life without heavyweight premiums bar Mohamed Salah (£13.0m).
My ultimate Chilwell replacement is whichever of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, or Reece James that you do not already own.
For FPL managers that own all three, my pick would be Marcos Alonso who is FPL gold and he should see a significant boost in minutes.
Despite playing a fraction of Reguilon’s minutes, Marcos Alonso dominates his compatriot on all attacking metrics.
Furthermore, Marcos Alonso will play in an elite-level defence that ranks joint first for clean sheets (8) so his ceiling is even higher.
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