Our Watchlist rankings, offering recommendations on players to consider for the next four to five Gameweeks, have had their regular weekly refresh. Consult your sidebars for the current standings and read on for our justification of the current goalkeeper and defender standings. We’ll bring you insight into the midfielders and forwards in a follow-up article.
Despite conceding twice in Monday’s draw at the Liberty Stadium, Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet climbs to the top of the keeper rankings with a schedule that suggests further defensive returns are imminent. The fitness of Dan Agger will be key to his prospects on Monday night’s evidence but, with home clashes against Southampton, Palace and West Brom – three teams scatching around for goals – the Belgian looks an exceptionally strong one-stop option between the sticks.
Southampton’s Artur Boruc takes a tumble off top spot, then, despite earning a Sunday shut-out at home to shot-shy West Ham. The Pole has conceded just twice in four matches but this weekend’s trip to Anfield, plus the Gameweek 8 visit to Old Trafford will test the resolve of Mauricio Pochettino’s team. Having said that, St Mary’s meetings with Palace, Swansea and Fulham in the next five keep Boruc bubbling in our rankings – at 4.6 in the FPL, he remains the most viable budget stopper on show.
Below this pair, we find Swansea’s Michel Vorm: an intriguing mid-price asset. A shot-stopper supreme, the Dutchman’s schedule softens up considerably in the coming weeks, with a run of favourable opponents on the horizon offering the promise of clean sheet returns. With rotation perhaps on the cards in the Swans back four, Vorm looks an assured route for those looking to invest in the potential of Michael Laudrup’s side.
There are climbs for both Tottenham’s Hugo Llloris and United’s David De Gea. Both have undeniable pedigree and, crucially, the fixtures that promise strong returns over the next month. It’s worth noting that Lloris’ appeal is somewhat dented by the allure of Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker as defensive acquisitions. That’s not quite the case for De Gea who, in many ways, is the most secure option in the United rearguard for their forthcoming run of favourable Old Trafford clashes, with West Brom, Southampton and Stoke all visiting from Gameweeks 6-9.
Wojciech Szczęsny holds a mid-place ranking, his appeal damaged by the clamour for Arsenal attacking assets, using up our three allotted FPL slots. Below him, there are a string of offerings, with West Ham’s Jussi Jaaskaleinen and Stoke’s Asmir Begovic offering alternative routes for those shopping in the mid-price bracket – both Boruc and Vorm look stronger, however, particularly with defensive options available at both West Ham and Stoke.
Jan Vertonghen, seemingly established as a bonus point darling, holds firm at the top of the defender rankings. It’s important to stress that Kyle Walker is a clear alternative here for those looking to save that 1.0. The right-back’s pass completion is strong, as is his crossed ball attempts and key pass totals. In a nutshell, Walker has enjoyed a strong start to the season but there’s little doubt that Vertonghen has that extra goal threat which materialised on five occasions in the league last term – that’s enough for us to hail the Belgian as our weapon of choice at the back, despite his lofty price tag.
Nemanja Vidic also stands firm in second. United’s schedule promotes defensive investment and the Serbian appears to be the safest route with promise of strong bonus returns. We’re anticipating rest and rotation in David Moyes’ back four but have yet to see it materialise. Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have started every league encounter to this point and, as such, look decent options. Ferdinand is more friendly on the pocket, although, with Vidic installed as skipper, we’ve an inkling that he’ll offer that little extra security of start.
Liverpool’s defence is in flux right now but still worthy of investment given their schedule. With Dan Agger an injury doubt, Jose Enrique looks the most assured start, with new signing Mamadou Sakho looking far from settled on his debut at the Liberty and Kolo Toure potentially threatening Andre Wisdom’s start at right-back, Fantasy managers have to battle uncertaintly in order to obtain cover of Brendan Rodgers’ back four – another reason behind Mignolet’s appeal in goal.
Attacking potential keeps Seamus Coleman in our top five. Edging out team-mate Leighton Baines on price, the Irishman continues to enjoy a flourishing start to the campaign and, along with Branislav Ivanovic ranked fifth, offers the biggest attacking threat from the back to this point. Indeed, Ivanovic’s rank is governed by his menace at set-plays which have seen him stand out as Chelsea’s most likely source of goals – an indication of just how Jose Mourinho’s side have struggled in attacking areas.
Lower down the rankings, there’s a collection of strong price assets, headed up by Stoke’s Marc Wilson. Deployed in a central midfield holding role, the former Portsmouth man is available for just 4.5 in the FPL and, following the trip to the Emirates, has the fixtures to build on an impressive start to the campaign. Wilson has already brought in 4 bonus points and could accumulate more if he can retain his start and earn shut-outs in matches against Norwich, Fulham and West Brom to come. With other Stoke assets priced above Wilson, he stands out over the likes of Asmir Begovic in goal and Ryan Shawcross at centre-back, despite concerns that Mark Hughes may yet shuffle his midfield.
Wilson edges out Southampton’s Jose Fonte in the low-to-mid price bracket, although the Portuguese centre-back remains a major consideration. With Nathaniel Clyne available or 4.4 and Boruc a temptation in goal, the case for Fonte is hardly clear cut, however.
Swansea’s Angel Rangel is a tentative inclusion. While Michael Laudrup’s side have the fixtures to promise clean sheets, Rangel is not a obvious choice with the likes of Ashley Williams (4.9 in the FPL) and Vorm between the sticks, both making a strong case for consideration. Rangel’s attacking potential is a factor, however, even though there is a slight risk of rotation with Dwight Tiendalli during the Swans’ busy Europa League schedule.
For Gameweek 15
Next Six Ticker
|Up||De Gea||MUN||C, Vs|
|No Change||Szczesny||ARS||A, VsX|
|Up||Pantilimon||MCI||B, VsX, Rest, £|
|No Change||Mertesacker||ARS||A, VsX|
|Up||Evans||MUN||C, Vs, Rest, £|
|Up||Ward||CPL||A, Vs, £|
|No Change||Flanagan||LIV||C, Rest, £|
|Up||Turner||CAR||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Vlaar||AVL||A, £|
|Down||Clyne||SOT||C, VsX, £|
|Up||Demichelis||MCI||A, VsX, Rest|
|No Change||Ramsey||ARS||A, VsX|
|No Change||Ozil||ARS||B, VsX|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, VsX|
|No Change||Cabaye||NEW||B, Sus|
|Down||Sessegnon||WBA||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Walcott||ARS||C, VsX, Inj|
|Up||Redmond||NOR||C, Vs, Rest, £|
|Up||Bannan||CPL||B, Vs, £|
|Up||Whittingham||CAR||B, Vs, £|
|Up||De Guzmán||SWA||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Valencia||MUN||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Suárez||LIV||A, Vs|
|No Change||Aguero||MCI||A, VsX|
|Down||Rooney||MUN||A, Vs, Sus|
|No Change||Giroud||ARS||B, VsX|
|No Change||Long||WBA||B, Vs, Rest, £|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the Club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go.”Paul Lambert revels in convincing Christian Benteke to revoke his transfer request