The Premier League kicks off on Friday and we have already taken a look at those big picks in the goalkeeper position, so it is time to move onto those defenders.
Whether you opt for a back three, four or five this season, a cheap high-scoring defender can be the difference between winning your league and coming second. Often the ones to go under the radar, here are some of our best picks for your back line.
Premium defenders (£6m-£7.5m)
The Liverpool defenders, despite their struggles last season, lead the way when it comes to price. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) is the most expensive defender in the game but last season, only Andy Robertson (£7m) outscored him. With Virgil Van Dijk (£6.5m) returning to Jurgen Klopp’s side, expect more clean sheets for Liverpool and the same attacking output. I wouldn’t want to be without one of these three heading into this season and Robertson’s injury makes Trent the most favourable option, despite his price tag.
At £6.0m, we have Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias. Of those, Dias is absolutely nailed on to start for Manchester City and Cancelo was incredible last season, but if you can only pick one of the four, I’d go for Chilwell. Chelsea employ a back three under Thomas Tuchel and this season Chilwell should nail down that LWB spot. With Romelu Lukaku coming in, expect a bucketload of assists from the Englishman.
Mid-range gems (£5m-£5.5m)
Maximising your budget is absolutely key and if you’ve afforded yourself a couple of the expensive players just mentioned, we now need to pick out some reliable point scorers at the mid-range price bracket.
Depending on your faith in West Ham this season, set-piece take Aaron Cresswell (£5.5m) was the third highest points scorer last term with a huge 11 assists and should be a safe pick again this season. You can save a touch of money if you opt for Vladimir Coufal (£5m) instead and his nine assists make him a tasty option.
Everton’s Lucas Digne (£5.5m) is another set-piece taking gem that feels slightly underpriced but there are still question marks over Rafa Benitez’s side. John Stones (£5.5m) should pick up regular clean sheets but my attention turns to Manchester United. With Raphael Varane sure to improve their back line, Harry Maguire (£5.0m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) are intriguing options, but surely Luke Shaw (£5.5m) is the best pick.
He only scored once and bagged five assists last term but after his Euro 2020 performance, I’m expecting big things from him and his team this season. Matt Targett (£5.0m) looks to be a great pick up at that price point for an exciting Aston Villa, while Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney (£5.0m) could have another excellent season.
Bargain pickups (£4m-£4.5m)
The good news is that there are a load of great bargains available in this area. Arsenal’s new signing Ben White (£4.5m) is a guaranteed starter as is Conor Coady (£4.5m) for what could be a reinvigorated Wolves’ side under Bruno Lage, while Matt Lowton (£4.5m) should be a regular for a Burnley side who I’m expecting to improve defensively.
However, one man who could fly slightly under the radar at that price point is Luke Ayling (£4.5m). A word of warning, he didn’t register a single goal or assist last season but his underlying numbers do make for good reading and I’m expecting Leeds to have another positive season.
There are also a couple of rotation picks that could do well at the lowest price point. If Robertson is out, Kostas Tsimikas (£4.0m) looks a likely starter for a Liverpool side who have a good run of fixtures to kick things off. 19-year-old Andrew Omobamidele (£4.0) could well be a starter at centre-back early on for Norwich, while Ki-Jana Hoever (£4.0m) could be a gem if he starts the first game for a new-look Wolves.
Best defender picks at each price point:
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m)
Ben Chilwell (£6m)
Luke Shaw (£5.5m)
Matt Targett (5.0m)
Luke Ayling (£4.5m)
Kostas Tsimikas (£4.0m)