Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 11 is just around the corner – so we’re back with more Toolbox-powered tips.
The millions of FPL managers who chose not to captain Erling Haaland – or even went without him – will be especially keen to put last week behind them and redeem themselves in this round of fixtures.
There are a plethora of strong picks in midfield and attack – but the landscape in defence is less appealing, with few outstanding value options.
Crystal Palace may offer a solution to that problem. Their kind run of fixtures – starting with Burnley at Turf Moor this weekend – and surprisingly solid underlying statistics make their defensive assets worth considering.
It’s fair to say that Palace have flown somewhat under the radar this season.
They sit 13th after 10 games with a record of three wins, three draws, four defeats, eight goals scored and 13 conceded. Not bad, not great.
However, it may come as a surprise to learn that the Eagles profile as one of the Premier League’s best defensive sides this term.
Only Arsenal (five) have kept more clean sheets than their four, while their 10 non-penalty goals conceded and non-penalty xG of 10.72 both rank in the division’s top five.
Even more encouraging is the fact that Palace have faced just 33 non-penalty shots on target, amounting to a non-penalty post-shot xG conceded of 7.82 – the second-best tally in the league.
Furthermore, from an FPL perspective, the Eagles are also active defenders, recording 1,056 successful defensive actions and winning 473 defensive duels – making their defenders more likely to earn bonus points.
Joachim Andersen (£5m)
Analysis of Premier League teams using the Toolbox has identified Palace as a solid side – but there still remains the question of which defender to choose.
Joachim Andersen is the only outfield player at the club who has played every minute of every league game so far – but he offers more than just security of starts.
In the Premier League, the centre-back has, bizarrely, completed more key passes (seven) than any other Eagles player. He also ranks second amongst team-mates in the competition for shots assisted (seven) and crosses completed (six), notching an assist in the process.
This is no fluke, though – the Dane is entrusted with plenty of responsibility on the ball, evidenced by the fact that he also ranks top at the club for final third passes completed (77) and forward passes completed (153).
Additionally, Andersen offers an aerial threat from set pieces, as evidenced by his two goals and three headed shots – taking his total goal contribution to three, behind only Odsonne Edouard among Palace players.
That is largely an indictment of the Eagles’ bluntness in attack, but it does boost the appeal of the 27-year-old as Palace’s best defensive asset.
Marc Guehi (£4.6m)
For FPL managers needing to pinch as many pennies as possible in pursuit of more premium picks, perhaps Marc Guehi is the option for you.
Not only is he £0.4m cheaper than Andersen, but he is also a differential, found in less than 4% of teams at the time of writing, compared to the over 19% that have selected his Danish team-mate.
However, those settling for the Englishman should be aware of the drop-off in attacking output they are sacrificing.
Guehi is yet to register a goal or an assist and his underlying numbers reveal a much lower threat in both categories, recording an expected goal contribution of just 0.27, compared to Andersen’s 0.76.
The 23-year-old has started nine of Palace’s 10 games, though, making him a reliable route to their clean sheets, while his 35 defensive duels won, 15 loose ball duels won and 17 ball recoveries in the opposition half help him stake a claim for bonus points.
Any FPL players looking for a reliable, medium-term defender could do much worse than either half of Palace’s centre-back pairing.
All visualisations in this article were produced with the Twenty3 Toolbox. For more information, please get in touch below.