Cost increases for defenders at Liverpool and Manchester City have boosted the potential for goalkeepers at the Premier League’s top clubs.
Alisson and Ederson will both begin the 2019/20 campaign as the most expensive shot-stoppers in the game (£6.0m) but do offer something to Fantasy managers.
The Liverpool man undercuts both Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) by £1.0m and could offer a saving of £0.5m compared to centre-back Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m).
While Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are all at £5.5m, it is unclear at this point which of them will hold down a regular place in the side.
In fact, it is possible that neither of them will, considering how often the trio came in and out of the back-line last season.
That’s why Alisson offers a healthy middle ground, undercutting the very expensive Liverpool defensive options while proving more likely to start than the cheaper ones.
The Brazilian may have increased in price for the 2019/20 but examining points per million spent (PPM) using his 2018/19 score in combination with the new price, his has changed the least compared to his colleagues.
| ||Points per match||Points per million spent (18/19)||Points per million spent (19/20)|
As you can see from the table above, both Robertson and Alexander-Arnold’s PPM of last season’s points have dropped on account of huge price rises to £7.0m.
Van Dijk’s actually increased considering he finished 2018/19 at £6.7m but begins the new season £0.2m cheaper.
Alisson, meanwhile, sees his PPM remain relatively stable, dropping only 0.5.
Obviously, there are limitations to using PPM in isolation, especially as Alexander-Arnold missed a portion of the 2018/19 campaign with injury, but in the case of Alisson, it shows that the price hikes of the summer have increased his value against that of his colleagues to some extent.
As one of only a few regular starters in the Manchester City defence, Ederson continues to offer something.
Like Alisson, his completely nailed-on status means that he continues to best his defensive colleagues on PPM even when we apply 2019/20’s prices to 2018/19’s scores.
| ||Points per match||Points per million spent (18/19)||Points per million spent (19/20)|
However, we must point out that in both the case of Alisson and Ederson, they offer little more than the clean sheet potential.
In both Liverpool and Manchester City’s squads, there are defensive options who are capable of delivering attacking returns with astonishing regularity compared to their goalkeepers – as we assessed HERE.
The £5.5m options
Those looking for slightly cheaper set-and-forget options can find them at Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton this year – although very few of them appeal.
After keeping just seven clean sheets last season, David de Gea (£5.5m) understandably drops out of the £6.0m bracket.
That poor defensive record, which hardly improved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, should see Fantasy managers avoid the Spaniard at the start of the season.
Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m) remains at the same price point after keeping 14 clean sheets in 2018/19.
Despite offering a cheaper option compared to the likes of Marcos Alonso (£6.5m) and Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m), the Spaniard is unlikely to be of use in the first six Gameweeks as Chelsea’s fixtures rank towards the lower end of the Season Ticker.
Furthermore, there’s a chance that Andreas Christensen (£5.0m) could start matches regularly in the place of the injured Antonio Rüdiger (£6.0m) during that period anyway.
Those looking at Everton’s defensive set-up for the start of 2019/20, especially with their favourable early fixtures, will certainly be a little bit disappointed to see Jordan Pickford join the £5.5m club when some hoped he might remain at £5.0m.
It will certainly cause Fantasy managers to ask themselves how much they want to commit to the Toffees’ backline at the start of the campaign.
Pickford might have the ability to compete at this level, though.
In 2018/19, the England international finished third overall for clean sheets, his total of 14 behind on Alisson and Ederson.
Eight of those came in the last 11 matches of the season as Everton finished the campaign in fantastic defensive form, even keeping Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool out at Goodison Park.
However, Pickford finished the season with just 97 saves, ranking him 11th among all goalkeepers.
It does seem unlikely that Pickford will have the chance to be an option who delivers these types of additionals on a regular basis, especially if Everton continue their defensive performances from the end of last season.
During the last 11 matches of the campaign, the Toffees ranked third best for shots conceded, efforts allowed in the box or shots on target conceded, thoroughly reducing Pickford’s chances of accumulating saves.
Where Pickford was able to make up for the lack of saves from open play to finish as the third highest-scoring goalkeeper was penalties.
Nobody stopped more than him in 2018/19 and with Video Assistant Referee coming to the Premier League this season, he might actually have more opportunities to follow that feat up in 2019/20.
Potentially the most likely to offer some appeal in this price bracket is Hugo Lloris (£5.5m).
Despite registering his lowest clean sheet tally since 2014/15 last season (12), the Spurs shot-stopper actually recorded his highest ever FPL points tally (145).
That came from 100 saves, the second highest of any option priced over £5.0m in 2018/19.
Only de Gea managed more than that (125) in the premium category but his clean sheet potential was considerably lower than Lloris’.
With Spurs offering an appealing run of home games between now and the end of the calendar year, maybe Lloris could be the best set-and-forget premium option.
Coupled with those favourable home fixtures are some tough initial clashes with Manchester City and Arsenal in the first four Gameweeks, which might put some off.
However, those taking a long-term view for their team might be interested in holding him from the outset with his save potential against those top-six sides quite high, and his chances of clean sheets around them also good.
There are a number of options who have risen from £4.5m to £5.0m, which significantly damages their appeal for 2019/20.
The £5.0m price bracket among goalkeepers is often considered to be something of a no man’s land, and those who have joined it this season seem to only confirm that theory.
Having finished inside the top three for saves in each of the last five seasons, Lukasz Fabianski has finally been taken away as a £4.5m option.
That’s despite the West Ham shot-stopper scoring 14 fewer points in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18 and registering two fewer clean sheets as well.
The Hammers are certainly the sort of side that can help Fabianski accumulate saves, given how often they conceded shots last season, but it’s their inability to keep clean sheets that is the problem.
Even at £4.5m, Fabianski caused his owners serious frustration in his first campaign at the London Stadium. West Ham kept just two clean sheets at home against sides outside the top six.
In the last 11 Gameweeks of the season, only Watford conceded more big chances than the Hammers and only Fulham allowed more efforts inside the box.
If that continues into 2019/20, with the inflated cost, then Fabianski’s days as a Fantasy asset are probably over until his price drops again.
The same goes for Ben Foster (£5.0m) who has also gone up from his previous £4.5m price point.
The Watford man finished third for saves in 2018/19 but kept just seven clean sheets. Looking at the defensive returns in insolation already puts us off spending £5.0m on him.
Add on Watford’s really poor underlying statistics and it’s clear their defensive assets should probably be avoided in 2019/20.
During the final 11 Gameweeks of last season, no team conceded more big chances than the Hornets.
Also keeping a poor number of clean sheets and still receiving a price hike is Wolves man Rui Patrício (£5.0m).
He and his defensive colleagues recorded just eight shutouts in 2018/19, but he didn’t really touch the upper echelons when it came to saves either.
The Portuguese international recorded just 97 stops, seven goalkeepers securing more than that last season.
Admittedly, Patrício’s save statistics came from the fact that Wolves did not concede too many chances last season – which could hint at an improvement to their clean sheet count this time around.
During the whole 2018/19 campaign, the only teams to concede fewer big chances than Wolves were Manchester City and Liverpool – although that didn’t help them match those teams for clean sheets.
There are also still plenty of unknowns about Nuno Espirito Santo’s men ahead of the new campaign.
Their competitive campaign has already begun in the Europa League and with a squad that is still relatively small by Premier League standards, it will be hard to predict how they cope with this additional commitment.
Therefore, if Patrício was an unreliable asset at £4.5m, very few managers will be interested in him at £5.0m.
Vicente Guaita (£5.0m) might stand a better chance of justifying his new price tag.
Crystal Palace kept 12 clean sheets in 2018/19, with the former Valencia and Getafe shot-stopper securing the FPL points for seven of those in his 20 starts.
With just 1,754 minutes under his belt, it should be no surprise that Guaita only amassed a total of 64 saves.
However, he ranked a little better when it came to minutes per save. Of those who made more than 20 starts, Guaita’s save every 27.4 minutes was the joint sixth-best in 2018/19.
Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) holds on to his £5.0m price tag from last season.
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