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Should FPL managers go for a four-man defence?

With defenders having a better season than forwards, should FPL managers aim for a four-man back line rather than three?


Season so far

When planning FPL squads for the season’s final Gameweeks, it seems much easier to name defensive targets than forwards. Looking at the points totals so far starts to explain why.

Mix the top ten scores amongst these two positions and nine of them are defenders. Beyond this, only six forwards appear in the top 25.

Combine this with the knowledge that a premium defender (£6.0m – £8.0m) costs the same as a cheap-to-mid level forward, the logic is obvious. Maybe FPL managers should opt for a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation during these final eight Gameweeks.

Poor forwards

You know it’s been a poor season for FPL forwards when third-placed Emmanuel Dennis and fourth-placed Michail Antonio have both scored just once in their last 11 games. Cristiano Ronaldo is ranked second, yet is deemed to have had a disappointing season. Meanwhile, Harry Kane‘s recent great form has him on top, despite blanking in 11 of his first 12 starts. Additionally, only once did he score over six points until Gameweek 22.

Seven goals and five assists from his last seven starts can’t be ignored, though. Most managers – whether Wildcarding or not – will be aiming to lock in Kane for the final weeks.

It’s just difficult to find two playing strikers to put alongside him. Dennis and Raul Jimenez repeatedly let managers down, Ivan Toney has recently found form but has tough fixtures, whilst Jamie Vardy is injured.

Also, Ollie Watkins blanks in Gameweek 33 and Alexandre Lacazette has one goal in his last nine. The cheap option of Southampton’s Armando Broja is what many have plumped for, allowing flexibility between playing a duo or trio up front.

Strong defenders

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Man City have both kept 17 clean sheets and will register more as the title race goes down to the wire. This makes at least of Trent Alexander-Arnold (11 assists), Andrew Robertson (11 assists) and Joao Cancelo (eight assists) almost essential.

No team’s defence has had more goal involvement’s than Chelsea’s 36, which sits well next to 13 clean sheets. Considering Reece James has only played 47% of their league minutes yet produced five goals and six assists, it’s easy to see why managers are flocking towards defenders. Antonio Rudiger is less-rotated and Chelsea’s top FPL scorer at the back.

Using Fantasy Football Scout’s Fixture Ticker, having four defenders from Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham will give benching headaches. So why not play all four?

For those with a different goalkeeper to Aaron Ramsdale, the Gunners provide clean sheets for an affordable price. Kieran Tierney and Ben White, for example. Across north London, there are the nicely-priced attacking Spurs wing-backs – Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon. The former recently netted 18 and 14 points back-to-back.

Conclusion

Looking at the points totals, it’s hard not to notice the incredible value of defenders in comparison to forwards. They’re not just having more points-per-million, they’re simply getting more points.

Defenders have higher tallies, are in better form (above) and are mostly cheaper than those up front. Therefore having four or five strong stoppers can offer squad depth, flexibility and a good base when activating the Bench boost chip. More points, too.

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