With some of the ‘top’ sides facing each other this weekend, we look elsewhere for the best possible chance of a points return in Defence. After a slow start to the season, we saw a whole host of clean sheets last weekend with 7 teams in total managing to keep clean sheets. Many of the so called smaller sides reminded managers last weekend that they too are more than capable of chipping in with that all important clean sheet over the course of the season.
Winston Reid (West Ham) £3.2 million. Fixture: Sunderland (Home)
Reid was a key figure in the Hammers’ promotion last season. He has already benefited greatly from the arrival of veteran James Collins and together they have formed a decent relationship and understanding. The presence of an experienced Premiership ‘keeper like Jussi Jaaskelainen playing behind Reid has also furthered the confidence of the central defender. Sam Allardyce managed teams are notoriously difficult to break down and the way in which West Ham have begun this campaign suggests they will be no different to their predecessors. The Hammers have only conceded 3 league goals, none of which have come at Upton Park. Reid has started and finished each of their league games thus far and has made the position his own. Last season he scored 3 league goals and has opened his Premiership goal account already. At just £3.2 million, he could become a permanent fixture in plenty of Fantasy Football teams. West Ham take on a Sunderland side who are in still in search of their first league win. Reid and his teammates will be hoping to further their immaculate defensive record at Upton Park come Saturday afternoon.
William Gallas (Tottenham Hotspur) £4.0 million. Fixture: QPR (Home)
Spurs were very unlucky not to collect their first clean sheet of the season with a goal conceded in the dying embers of the game away to Reading last Sunday. However there was certainly a marked improvement both defensively and in the final third. AVB finally looked like he was getting his points across to his new team. Gallas is virtually guaranteed his place at the heart of Spurs defense and with this marked improvement in mind, their first clean sheet cannot be too far away. Spurs welcome London neighbours QPR to White Hart Lane on Sunday when AVB and his Spurs side will be hoping to kick on having collected their first three pointer last time out. QPR have struggled majorly for goals, having only managed 2 in 4 games so far. They are also yet to register a win with Mark Hughes still trying to embed a whole host of new faces into a new look team. All signs point to a home win with a very good chance of that all important clean sheet. At £4.0 million, Gallas offers the best value for Spurs defensive coverage for managers in week 5.
Liam Ridgewell (West Brom) £3.5 million. Fixture: Reading (Home)
West Brom will be hurting after their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham last time out. Their cause wasn’t helped by the ludicrous sending off of Peter Odemwingie and were always facing an uphill battle after that. They will be eager to get their season back on track with a home game against Reading coming up this weekend. Ridgewell is not only an accomplished defender but is also very useful going further. He is dangerous in the air from set pieces and his attacking runs down the left flank also allows him to create goal scoring opportunities for those around him. He has already picked up an assist and his goal scoring record is decent for a defender which is something that should definitely be considered for prospective managers. The Baggies are another side who are yet to concede a home goal this season and will be confident of keeping this record up against a Royals side who are just one place off the bottom of the league.
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea) £4.4 million. Fixture: Stoke City (Home)
The Chelsea youngster has made a big impression at Stamford Bridge since his brilliant display in last season’s Champions League final. He has started all but one of Chelsea’s league games this season under Roberto Di Matteo. It is not only the price tag that makes Bertrand attractive for managers but he is also currently playing as a midfielder when he is in fact listed as a defender. Chelsea have kept 3 clean sheets in 4 games and coincidentally enough, the one game in which they conceded 2 goals, Bertrand missed it. Chelsea face Stoke who collected a credible point last weekend. Chelsea are yet to concede a goal to Stoke at home since the Potters return to the top flight in the 2009/10 season. They will be fully confident of doing so again this weekend. Bertrand should continue in his advanced role and at such a cheap price looks like he should collect a decent points return this weekend.
So there you have some early defender options for you to consider as we weigh up your options ahead of fixture week 5 of The Irish Times Fantasy Premier League.
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