Over the last few years, the emergence of the wingbacks has given more importance to the premium defenders slot. Back in the day, the premium defenders were the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand who were solid centre-backs with high chances of a clean sheet and bonus points whilst the attacking defenders like Leighton Baines had penalties in his locker and assist threat. However more recently right-backs like Trent Alexander Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Marcos Alonso, and Benjamin Mendy to name a few they have taken attacking threat to new heights and pretty much play as wingers. In this article, we will answer who the best premium defenders are in FPL for 2020-21.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) - Liverpool

You won't be surprised to hear that I am starting with Trent Alexander-Arnold – one of the best fantasy football defenders ever. Four goals and 15 assists (in 2019-20) are the type of numbers you see attacking midfielders score, not full-backs. Nevertheless, that is what Alexander-Arnold scored last season along with 14 clean sheets for good measure, amassing an impressive 210 points which saw him finish as the fourth-highest scoring player in the game, behind only Kevin De Bruyne, and teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. I was expecting him to come in at £8.0m so was pleasantly surprised when I saw his price tag. He would have still been nailed in my team at £8.0m for what it’s worth, that’s how highly I rate him.

Looking at mid-priced midfielders and forwards I don’t see anybody sticking out that will match his output this season. He is currently the most owned player in the game and I don’t see that changing closer to the deadline. Given that both Manchester clubs and Burnley all blank in Gameweek 1 it makes him even more of a no brainer pick. The bread and butter of picking your defenders should be the likelihood of clean sheets. With Trent, you have that plus his attacking prowess. He is truly a fantasy football gem.

Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) - Liverpool

His counterpart Andrew Robertson is another excellent fantasy option who had a great season picking up 13 clean sheets, two goals, and 12 assists totalling 181 points. A lot may ask themselves whether Trent is worth the extra £0.5m over the Scotland international. To answer this question we will have to look at both players attacking threat as the chance of a clean sheet is the same. Looking at the creativity filter on Fantasy Football Hub’s OPTA Stats Trent Alexander-Arnold created 19 Big Chances (1st) to Robertson’s 14 (3rd). You can see the young Liverpudlians stats are superior in crosses and final third passes also.

Trent vs Robertson – Creativity:

Also looking at goal threat Alexander-Arnold again comes out on top by quite a margin. He has twice as many shots - 44 to 22, and more than twice the amount of Shots on Target 13 to 6. In fact, if you look at the table below you will see Trent’s ahead on every metric apart from Big Chances. The stats are quite telling and further emphasis on why he is such an elite fantasy football player. Yes, he is worth the extra money over Robertson if you are picking between the two but doubling up might not be a bad idea also.

Trent vs Robertson – Goal Threat:
Virgil Van Dijk (£6.5m) – Liverpool

It’s no surprise three Liverpool defenders make the list for the best premium defenders in FPL. Virgil Van Dijk finished the season as the third-highest scoring defender (178 points) behind his teammates Trent and Robertson. With 15 clean sheets, five goals, and two assists, he only finished three points behind Robertson mostly due to the fact he played 90 minutes in every single league game last season (3420 minutes). He is as nailed, as nailed can be and despite his inferior assist threat I think he is a viable alternative to the Scotsman as he comes in at £0.5m cheaper. It all depends on how you spend the spare £0.5m of course but his security of starts and goal threat makes him a more than good option. Looking at our new Prediction Tool the three Liverpool defenders mentioned are predicted to score the most points in Gameweek 1 and all feature in the top four for Gameweeks 1 to 4. Trent has to be a lock in your team and I reckon and a double up with Van Dijk can be as good as or even better than Robertson with the extra £0.5m.

Gameweek 1 expected points for defenders:

best premium fpl defenders

Points Prediction Tool

Matt Doherty (£6.0m) – Spurs

Matt Doherty’s rather surprising move to Spurs seems to have caused a divide within the fantasy football community regarding his fantasy value. With four goals, eight assists, and 12 clean sheets last season in a solid Wolves team he was a very popular pick but his stock seems to have cooled down since his move. The main reasons being are Wolves kept 13 clean sheets (3rd) last season and conceded only 40 goals (5th best). On the other hand, Spurs kept only seven clean sheets (18th) and conceded 47 goals (7th best). Wolves also conceded 10 less Big Chances (49) than Jose Mourinho's men so it seems he is going to a less defensively sound team. However we have to take into consideration Tottenham had a terrible start with Mauricio Pochettino, and Mourinho only took over mid-way through the season so I would expect them to keep a fair amount more clean sheets in the 2020-21 season. What we don’t know is how much of an advanced role Doherty will play under Jose and whether he will get the same amount of attacking returns or even game time. A lot of uncertainties which lead to him being a wait and see for now for me, but if you are willing to take the risk on him then with Tottenham's early appealing fixtures he could be fantasy gold.

Spurs Fixtures:

best fpl premium defenders

Spurs' Fixtures

César Azpilicueta (£6.0m) – Chelsea

The Chelsea veteran had a poor season last year by his standards. With two goals, six assists, and eight clean sheets he finished with a total of 130 points. This was his poorest score since 2016-17. In the three seasons prior he kept 16, 15, and 16 clean sheets so it wasn’t a typical Chelsea season defensively. This was most likely down to a number of factors, such as the N’Golo Kante injury who is an anchor in that team, Antonio Rudiger being injured almost half of the season, and also being quite poor when he did come back, and Kepa Arrizabalaga having a really poor season too. Chelsea’s expected goals conceded (xGC) was 42.95 and they actually conceded 54 goals (+11) which shows how poor Kepa was with individual mistakes.

Saying that though Chelsea have totally bolstered their squad in both defence and attack. The additions of Ben Chilwell (£5.5m) and in particular Thiago Silva (£5.5m) should see them shore the defence up and revert back to the mean. I can see Azpilicueta having another solid season. As well as clean sheets he is always good for a few goals and assists throughout the season too. In his last five seasons at Chelsea he has scored eight goals and 28 assists, which equates to an average of 1.6 goals, and 5.6 assists a season. He starts off with some tasty fixtures too with Brighton (a), West Brom (a), Crystal Palace (H), and Southampton (H) in their first five games.

Chelsea Fixtures:

Chelsea's Fixtures

Lucas Digne (£6.0m) – Everton

Lucas Digne ranked second for most chances created for defenders last season. He finished on eight assists, nine clean sheets, and 120 points. Everton also start with some decent fixtures playing West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (a), and Brighton (H) in Gameweeks 2 to 4. With his attacking threat, if Carlo Ancelotti manages to shore up Everton’s defence he could be a very good pick. He is nailed to start and ranks third in our price prediction tool for most expected points in Gameweeks 1 to 4, with 15.7 points.

best premium fpl defenders

Expected points for defenders Gameweek 1 to 4

 

The £5.5m defenders

I thought I would do a little section on this price bracket as there seem to a lot of options at this price point and not really one clear cut best choice. I liked the look of Kieran Tierney at the end of last season. After his debut season was hampered by two unfortunate injuries he started seven of the last 10 games and showed his attacking strengths in the final game of the season with a goal and assist. With eight goals and 37 assists in 170 games for Celtic, he clearly has both goals and assists in his locker and if he can nail down a starting berth he is a great option. Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva both stick out as good options also. The Chelsea new boys are bound to shore up Franks Lampard’s defence and the former has goals and assist in his locker whereas the latter is sure to be a nailed starter. I can see both being good value at £5.5m.

It’s not clear whether Chilwell will recover from his foot injury in time for Gameweek 1 so that’s one to keep an eye on. Enda Stevens and George Baldock scored 142 points each (6th highest scoring defenders) last season and both picked up two goals and four assists each. If they can replicate the defensive form of last season they will be good value but with a new goalkeeper in Aaron Ramsdale, I think they may be overpriced this season. Çaglar Söyüncü has a great set of opening fixtures with West Brom (a), Burnley (H), West Ham United (H), and Aston Villa (H) in the first games and was solid last season for Leicester City. With the departure of Ben Chilwell, and Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira out through suspension and injury, it may be wise to opt for their attack instead.

Hub Power Rankings

In conclusion, I rank these budget FPL Midfielders in order from best to worst for Hub members.

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