FPL

The best FPL defenders for a Gameweek 8 Wildcard

Having looked at the stand-out Fantasy Premier League (FPL) goalkeepers, midfielders and forwards for Gameweek 8 and beyond, we now switch focus to the pick of the defenders.

This is an update of the series we did for Gameweek 7 Wildcarders, with fresh data and a couple of new targets for those deploying their chip this week.

However, it will also be of interest for those using ‘free’ transfers ahead of Gameweek 8.

All stats and graphics included in this piece are taken from our Premium Members Area.

CHELSEA DEFENDERS

Fit-again Watkins can return to 2020/21 form in Villa's new-look 3-5-2 formation 3

If you’re playing a Wildcard right now, the chances are that you’re structuring your defence around at least one Chelsea asset.

The Blues have a very favourable fixture schedule ahead, with three of their next four opponents – plus Watford in Gameweek 14 – among the worst teams for goals scored in 2021/22.

And Thomas Tuchel’s troops are (usually) solid at the back, with their league record under their current boss excellent:

Played26
Goals conceded16
Clean sheets17

So which defender(s) to pick? That will probably boil down to what brand of Fantasy manager you are.

For the safety-first FPL bosses, there aren’t any Chelsea defenders who have escaped a benching under Tuchel to date and there will be more rotation further down the line for all of them. However, Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) has started a lot more league matches than not when available under Tuchel (circa 90% when available), with his versatility in playing at either wing-back or as a right-sided centre-half giving him two bites of the cherry at a first-team start.

Marcos Alonso’s (£6.0m) ownership now sits at 25.4%, but the previously peripheral Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) is getting more and more minutes as 2021/22 goes on, which does create uncertainty in the left wing-back role.

CHELSEA DEFENDERS UNDER TUCHEL

PlayerStartsSub AppsGoals AssistsClean SheetsBonusPoints per match
Rudiger220201395.09
Azpilicueta2311412134.92
Christensen1520011104.76
Silva12210694.07
Chilwell12022645.58
Alonso14232995.88
James15713693.50

Reece James (£5.5m) is also a major source of discussion. Up there with Alonso as Chelsea’s most attacking defender, James has created more chances (27) than any other member of the Blues’ backline under Tuchel. But he has also been thrown on as a substitute on seven occasions, as many times as the other six players in the above table combined. The raft of cameos reduces his points-per-match average to a fairly poor 3.50, along with his early exits in Gameweeks 4 and 6 of the current campaign.

If FPL managers are going for a Chelsea defender double-up, then Azpilicueta and a riskier punt on James or Chilwell would seem to be the way to go – but beware the one-pointers and have a strong bench in readiness for no-shows.

RUBEN DIAS/JOAO CANCELO

Gameweek 8 marks the start of a favourable, three-match fixture run for Manchester City and if you’re deploying your Wildcard this week, you’ll likely want a defender or two from Pep Guardiola’s rearguard.

Top for clean sheets in the previous two seasons and averaging 18.5 shut-outs per year in the last four campaigns, this is a proven backline.

Following his assist at Stamford Bridge in Gameweek 6, Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) is now top among FPL defenders for points this season. Ruben Dias (£6.2m), who like Cancelo is an ever-present starter in 2021/22 and who was the defender least at risk of rotation last year, is joint-second.

These two are probably the stand-out picks from the City defence.

Dias was benched in only one league match from his Gameweek 4 debut to Gameweek 30 (the point at which Guardiola started focusing on the Champions League and FA Cup, with the domestic title sewn up) last season, and even that was because he had just recovered from illness.

Over the same period, Cancelo tasted substitute duty on six occasions. He’s a less secure starter but does have the advantage of playing at both right and left-back, and he’s a darn sight more attacking that Dias.

Since the league debut of Dias, Cancelo narrowly outscores his fellow premium defender by 182-181 despite the extra no-shows.

A word on Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m): he has 10 shots in the box this season and is a real threat from set plays.

But while Laporte seems settled as Dias’ partner-in-crime for now, Guardiola has historically only built his defence around one centre-half mainstay. John Stones (£5.3m) ultimately represents a threat to Laporte’s place, so the same ‘have a substitute ready’ caveat applies to the Spaniard as it does to Cancelo.

TINO LIVRAMENTO

Jimenez ends goal drought as Arsenal claim convincing north London derby win 7

We’ve been treated to a whole host of starting £4.0m-ish defenders in 2021/22 so far but the cream of the crop is starting to rise, seven Gameweeks in.

The likes of Kostas Tsimikas (£4.0m) and Daniel Amartey (£4.0m) are no longer getting regular game-time, while Javier Manquillo (£4.0m) and Brandon Williams (£4.0m) are playing for two of the worst backlines in the division.

Shane Duffy (£4.4m), who has registered more shots in the box than any other defender this season, is deserving of a mention. His form has been generally superb since his return to the Brighton XI and it’s perhaps his shirt to lose now but the return from injury of Tariq Lamptey, Joel Veltman and, soon, Adam Webster (all £4.4m) will swell the defensive options available to Graham Potter.

Enter Valentino Livramento (£4.2m).

The teenage right-back is an ever-present starter this season and has been part of a Saints backline that has shut out Manchester City and West Ham United in the last four Gameweeks.

Encouragingly, Southampton rise to second in our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 8-18.

Livramento doesn’t just offer clean sheet potential but a bit of attacking threat, too: he’s sits second among £4.5m-and-under defenders for final-third touches this season (see below).

Ralph Hasenhuttl will be wary of overloading the 18-year-old and the odd benching may be a concern from Gameweek 13 onwards, when Saints face nine league matches in the space of five weeks.

For now, though, fixtures and form seem to be uniting at an opportune time.

KIERAN TIERNEY

Is this to be Kieran Tierney‘s (£4.9m) year? After delivering 45 attacking returns in 170 appearances for Celtic, many of us have been waiting (and waiting and waiting…) for the current Arsenal left-back to recapture that form in FPL.

A strong chance of a clean sheet is a good base to start for any defender, and Tierney has three in the last four Gameweeks as Arsenal’s backline begins to look solid with first-choice personnel available again after an August decimated by injury and illness.

No team has conceded fewer goals and big chances than the Gunners over the last four Gameweeks, and while the calibre of opposition has to be factored in, Mikel Arteta’s side face more of the same sorts of teams between now and the November international break.

And as Lateriser pointed out in his recent Arsenal analysis, the Gunners have been solid dating back to last season; this isn’t just a kneejerk reaction to the last four games.

Why Tierney over his peers? If you can afford it, simply because he’ll offer the best chance of delivering attacking returns.

Tierney has received the ball twice as often as opposite full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.6m) in the final third since the latter’s debut, with the Japan international more of a ‘stay at home’ brand of full-back – even if he has had the same number of shots as Tierney.

Tomiyasu and Ben White (£4.4m) are very decent cheaper alternatives to the Scot, who look like week-in, week-out starters especially as the Gunners don’t have the sideshow distraction of the Europa League.

For those who love their budget defender rotation, pairing White with Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) gives the following run of favourable fixtures right the way through to the end of the calendar year: CRY, sou, BRE, WAT, CRY, NEW, wol, new, SOU, WAT, lee, nor, WOL.

Burnley’s defence is some way short of being solid (just one clean sheet this season) but they have had a tricky start, fixture-wise, and Lowton is joint-third among his teammates for chances created in 2021/22.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Salah on target as Liverpool assets prosper at Leeds 1

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) is available for Gameweek 8, when the Reds face Watford.

The England right-back has averaged a whopping 7.33 points per match over his last 15 Premier League matches, delivering eight attacking returns, four double-digit hauls and only two blanks.

While Chelsea and City may boast better short-term fixtures, Alexander-Arnold produced a combined 21 points against two of Liverpool’s less-favourable upcoming opponents, Arsenal and Manchester United, in Gameweeks 30 and 35 of 2020/21.

Joint-top and second among defenders for both chances created and shots attempted, Alexander-Arnold has been one of the very best, if not the best, defensive options in the game for quite some time.

ALSO CONSIDER

If we knew for sure that Aston Villa will persist with a wing-back system, Matthew Cash (£5.1m) would be a name to consider.

Since Cash took up that role in Gameweek 4, only one FPL defender has registered more penalty box touches.

The formation switch has served to make the Villa defence more robust, too, with two clean sheets arriving in their last three fixtures.

Whether Smith sticks with a 3-5-2 in the easier fixtures ahead is another question – particularly with the likes of Emiliano Buendia (£6.4m) and especially Leon Bailey (£6.4m) to crowbar into the team. It goes without saying that Villa had looked more suspect at the back without a third centre-half and three across the midfield, so that has to be a consideration.

If you have the luxury of benching a budget defender until Gameweek 10 or so, then a Brentford asset is worthy of consideration.

One of the better-performing backlines until the six-goal thriller against Liverpool, the Bees sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 10-19.

Pontus Jansson (£4.6m) and Ethan Pinnock (£4.6m) will supplement their clean sheets with the additional goal or assist and indeed already have four attacking returns between them.

Marcal‘s (£4.6m) grip on a first-team spot looks to be weakening by the week, so Nelson Semedo (£4.9m) is our Wolves asset of choice for their ongoing favourable run. Only a few defenders have had more penalty box touches than the gung-ho wing-back, who continues to be presented with – and spurn – some excellent goalscoring chances.

avfc82 https://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/818/history”

1,021 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Mr_Barbs
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Thoughts on who to play?
    A) Marcal
    B) Traore

    1. jaywills
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Marcal

  2. andre_c
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Do I need to wildcard?

    Sanchez, Foster
    Rudiger, Chilwell, Cancelo, Livra, Tsimikas
    Salah, Torres, Benrahma, Raphinha, Doucoure
    Ronaldo, Antonio, Toney

    1FT, $1.5 in the bank

    1. TheBiffas
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Torres to mount or foden and you're set

      1. ZakyJ
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        I was thinking Rudiger out for someone but same, just the 1 transfer needed

      2. andre_c
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Chilwell, Raphinha could be benched, my bench is getting tight

    2. jaywills
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      No

    3. BooYaKasha
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      I would with that team

  3. KAPTAIN KANE
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    No flag on Son - is it definitely true he has COVID?

    1. TheBiffas
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Not definite

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Worth keeping just in case?

  4. jaywills
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Play 1, bench 2 and what order:
    Liveremento (home to leeds)
    Digne (home to West ham)
    Harrison (away at Shampton)
    Thanks!

    1. Timon
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Play Harrison
      Bench - Digne, Livra

  5. DickFranDyke
    • 12 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    James or Laporte?

    1. jaywills
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      James

    2. Joey Tribbiani
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Hames

  6. Arteta
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Cristiano/status/1448921837094666249

    This is how (C)ristiano punters will look like if he manages to outscore Mo.

    1. Inazuma X1
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Are you one of them?

      1. Arteta
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Still overthinking what to do.

  7. Scotty84
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Duffy or raphina?

    1. Timon
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Raphinha

    2. jaywills
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Raph

    3. Scotty84
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Ty

  8. Laalman
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Jota-> Foden/Grealish for a -4?

    1. ZakyJ
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Not for -4 no

    2. the dom 1
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Play Jota

  9. ZakyJ
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    1FT & 0.4m ITB

    Sanchez
    Alonso Semedo White Livra (Amartey)
    Salah Jota Raph* Benrhama (Brownhill)
    CR7 Lukaku (Toney)

    No City players.

    A) hold
    B) Jota>Foden?

  10. Bergkamps second touch
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Play Saiss or Livramento?

    1. Timon
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Saiss

    2. jaywills
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Liv

    3. the dom 1
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Livra

    4. Bergkamps second touch
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Livra wins! Also left-field option i could play both and rest Cristensen

  11. Esalman
    • 12 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    With Jesus out I'm short of city players. What to do?

    A. Jesus > Jimenez, forget about city
    B. Jesus > Jimenez, Semedo > Cancelo (-4)
    C. Semedo > Cancelo, Benrahma > Grealish (-4), keep Jesus for next weeks

  12. john25
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 17 days ago

    Repost.

    Considering to bring in Grealish over Foden, any reason not to?

    Cheers

    1. Weasel Boy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Could be the smart move.

      Might do this

  13. Erange
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Last minute decision:

      Should I get Saka or Foden or Mount for the next 4 weeks?

      1. Timon
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Mount

    • Bavarian
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Bench 1:
      1-White
      2-Raphinha
      3-Livramento

      1. the dom 1
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Raph as he is a major doubt right?

    • Klaren
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Why is everyone speaking with certainty that Son has Covid; has anyone legitimate confirmed this?

      All of the rumours trace back to someone called Paul O’Keefe whose name I’ve never heard of before or not sure what, if any, connections he has to the club?

      1. boc610
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        its more than rumours, two players definitely have Covid. it doesnt take much for someone close to the club to find out who those are .

        1. Bennerman
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 17 days ago

          How is it more than rumours though? At this stage it is rumours.

          Until confirmed.

          1. boc610
            • 9 Years
            1 month, 17 days ago

            Im saying its more than rumours because two players definitely out with covid. thats a fact. i dont see why Gil and sonnys name would then be doing the rounds on twitter, seems very specific when there are another 15 16 that could be in there to. thats my take on it anyway.

            1. Bennerman
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              The fact two have Covid appears a fact. The other bit, at this point, is rumour/conjecture/theorising or whatever. Despite BOC610's take on it

            2. Klaren
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Because loads of fake rumours circulate twitter all the time. Someone might pretend he knows who the two are just to get attention.

        2. Klaren
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 17 days ago

          Yes 2 players have Covid but how do we know the guy who started the rumour is close to the club? His profile suggests he isn’t. Maybe there is a more legitimate source but I couldn’t find any.

          1. AC/DC AFC
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 17 days ago

            He writes for the Daily Hotspur.

        1. Klaren
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 17 days ago

          Yes, that’s quoting the guy I mentioned. Do you know who he is?

          1. AC/DC AFC
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 17 days ago

            Not personally but I'm not a Spurs fan.

            90,000 Twitter users gives him some credence.

            Then again Katie what's her name had a million!

    • Cantonascollar7
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Bottomed!

      Morning all!

    • Releasebreaks
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Anybody know how long is Rudiger out ?

      Better switch for Azpilicueta now on FT ?

      1. the dom 1
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        I am thinking to take a hot now and get Azp too?

        some talk me out of the move or should i just go for it?

      2. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        One GW I suspect

      3. the dom 1
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        thinking the same lad

      4. Arteta
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Hopefully just one and he's back for Norwich.

    • Babit1967
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Play 1

      Jota
      Livramento
      Raphinha

      Unsure how many mins the mids are getting here

      1. jaywills
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Jota

      2. Will Kane
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Jota

      3. the dom 1
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Jota

      4. Babit1967
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Cheers lads

    • tiger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Raphinho owners are you benching him (and 3rd on bench?) or playing him?

      1. Joey Tribbiani
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 17 days ago

        1st bench

      2. Dynamic Duos
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        Hokey cokey with him or bench

      3. Will Kane
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 17 days ago

        1st bench

    • Cantonascollar7
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 17 days ago

      Bottomed

      Sanchez
      Alonso TAA Cancelo Livramento
      Salah Jota Greenwood Mbeumo
      Ronaldo Antonio

      Steele, Gilmour, Dennis, Williams

      Already on a - 4
      Should I do one of the following...

      A) Leave as is!
      B) Wildcard
      C) Any other suggestions?

      1. Dammit_182
          1 month, 17 days ago

          Do not wild card that team. Looks fine.

          1. Cantonascollar7
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 17 days ago

            Thanks Dammit

        • Dammit_182
            1 month, 17 days ago

            If you can make it to next international break I think you’ll be feeling pretty good about having it in your pocket. Greenwood/Alonso/Jota might be issues but they could all play this week and do alright out of it.

            Good luck

        • PartyTime
            1 month, 17 days ago

            I’m here for the usual Saturday morning rumours.

            Apart from Sonny, is there any other rumour flying around?

            1. Inazuma X1
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Tariq will start

            2. Joey Tribbiani
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Jota bench, Reece start

              1. Maeki2
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Where is james rumors

            3. HMC
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Rumour has it nobody knows what they’re talking about and it’s all pot luck and guess work. Sorry I don’t have a source

            4. PartyTime
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Thanks all

            5. Dynamic Duos
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Raphina to Mahrez hokey cokey or Gray to Foden ?

              1. Cantonascollar7
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Raph to Mahrez for a one week punt?

                1. Dynamic Duos
                  • 8 Years
                  1 month, 17 days ago

                  Yeah and (c) him

                  1. Cantonascollar7
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 17 days ago

                    Deffo, fortune favours the brave! All the best.

            6. OptimusBlack
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              For next 4 GWS who to get ? ?
              A- Grealish
              B- Foden

              1. corderz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                I'm going against the grain with A I think

            7. corderz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Can't decide between Grealish and Foden

              Do I just go Saka instead lol

              1. Thescaff
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Jota?

                1. corderz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 17 days ago

                  Already have him

            8. JollyGoodYellows
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Play Livra or Raph?

              1. Thescaff
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Well only 1 starts this gw so...

              2. Kay317
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                This is my exact problem too. Raph potential is huge but he surely will have limited minutes at best. 1 point cameo very possible. Livra is up against a shoddy left back and clean sheet potential is decent. If I could be sure Raph wouldnt be subbed on if he doesn't start I'd just go for him but I fear a one pointer.

            9. Clueless_91
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              A) Ramsdale
              TAA Cancelo James Duffy
              Liv
              Salah Foden Mbeumo Saka
              Raph
              Lukaku Antonio Hwang

              Or

              B) Hwang to 4.5
              and
              Saka to Mount

              Or

              C) Any other thoughts?

            10. Maeki2
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Rudiger -> james/chilwell/ other 5.7
              Or
              Rudiger + CR7 -> TAA + Vardy -4

              Hold and play manquillo

            11. andre_c
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Best man city mid for a punt

              1. Thescaff
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Mahrez, case closed

              2. Gudjohnsen
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Mahrez this gw but Foden longterm

            12. Gudjohnsen
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Start Raphinha or Livramento?

              1. Gabbiadini
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Make of it what you will but Dean Smith did say that Douglas Luiz would be in Villa's matchday squad.
                Played 20 minutes as a substitute for Brazil against Uruguay.

              2. andre_c
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                livra

            13. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 17 days ago

              Is it too risky to have Chilwell, Cancelo, Mahrez (1-week punt) and Hwang on WC?

              1. Kiwivillan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 17 days ago

                Nah go for it