Why big at the back is back

This FPL season was meant to be all about the midfielders, and in the first few weeks it looked like it would be.

The previously deadly Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was reclassified as a midfielder in an improving Arsenal team, Mo Salah kicked off his FPL campaign with a 20 point haul and assets from Manchester hadn’t even started.

But things have changed. After a promising first game, Aubameyang has only delivered two more returns, one from the penalty spot.

Previous big hitter Raheem Sterling has delivered the same disappointing amount of returns, as has Marcus Rashford.

After 10 weeks, the team of the season contains only two midfielders costing more than £10.

And while midfielders have been faltering, defenders are quietly racking up some impressive returns again.

Candidates

Since returning from injury, Chelsea and England left-back has delivered returns in all-but-one gameweek so far, including games against Man United and Spurs.

Reece James and Kurt Zouma have also delivered impressive hauls in the Chelsea defence.

While City attacking assets have faltered, Kyle Walker has brought in two big scores in his last four games, and appears to be one of the very few players in team immune to Pep’s rotation.

Those including myself who sold Andy Robertson were left regretting their decision after the Scottish captain picked up maximum bonus points from a clean sheet and an assist against Leicester.

Even defenders from teams lower down the table such as Lamptey and Van Aanholt are showing signs they’re capable of delivering big points returns.

These big point hauls are also being backed up by stats showing full-backs in particular are much more of an attacking threat than in previous seasons.

Bombing forward

Ben Chilwell

Chelsea’s stats show just how high Ben Chilwell is getting up the pitch for his new team, taking five shots inside the box in his last five games, which is bettered only by their strikers.

Chilwell, Zouma and James have scored the most FPL bonus points in their last four games out of the entire team and are predicted to score the highest amount of points in the next few games.

Tariq Lamptey

Tariq Lamptey has exploded onto the scene this year with his attacking displays, and this is backed up in the stats.

The right back is behind only striker Neal Maupay for expected goals in the Brighton team.

Brighton stats

With the Brighton defence improving in the past few weeks and Lamptey’s ownership down, now could well be the time to jump on the bandwagon.

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker may not offer the same amount of threat going forward but he has just as much influence, scoring the most bonus points out of the whole team.

With some favourable fixtures coming up for City’s defence, it’s hard to overlook what appears to be their only defender guaranteed of starts.

PVA

One player offering an attacking threat yet again this season is Patrick Van Aanholt after returning from injury and usurping budget option Tyrick Mitchell.

The left back has wasted no time in getting up the pitch, having the most combined shots and shots in the box out of all Palace players.

Crystal Palace stats

He also has the highest predicted assists out of the squad and is only owned by 1% of players in the league. Once their talisman Wilf Zaha returns, back PVA to be scoring goals and making assists.

Andy Robertson

Liverpool’s attack is on fire this season, but Andy Robertson is still offering value with his marauding runs from left back.

Liverpool stats

On the creative side, Robertson is joint top for key passes and big chances created, while also offering potential for clean sheets.

Back in favour

It could now be time for FPL players to go big at the back, with a mixture of exciting attacking options and solid defences coming into prominence. Grealish and Jota are close to being essential if they continue their current form, leaving players with a bigger budget than before, and you could do a lot worse than ploughing that money into your defence.

 

All stats brought to you by Fantasy Football Hub

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