With a number of teams in midweek Champions League action fantasy managers will be looking on with some trepidation as they hope their fantasy stars can come through unscathed, for our coaches here in the managers office it gives them a chance to scout the possibilities and get a good look at their rear guard as they come up against some tough european opposition. With only 4 clean sheets in the whole of round 9 of the Irish Times Fantasy Premier League there is much to ponder as we look towards a difficult fixture week ahead and with very few teams showing any signs of consistency at the back it may be time for managers to reevaluate how they make those all important selections.
With that siad here are our coaches early defender tips for round 9.
Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal) £4.6 million. Fixture: QPR (Home)
After a poor performance against the canaries last time out the Gunners will be looking to make a mends and get back to winning way against an R’s side that have plenty of good individual talent but who seem to lack the real cohesion to play as a team. Arsenal have benefitted greatly from Vermaelen’s fitness this season-having missed just one league game this season. The Gunners have kept 3 clean sheets thus far and have been unlucky not to have added to this. With 6 goals last season and 7 goals in the 09/10 season he is certainly due a goal. The Belgian is one of the few defenders that offer Fantasy Football managers the chance of a points return at both ends of the pitch. And with a home game against a QPR side that are still rooted to the foot of the table, Arsenal should pick up all three points and a clean sheet to boot.
Vincent Kompany (Man City) £5.2 million Fixture: Swansea (Home)
Manchester City have been somewhat lack luster in their defensive performances so far this season with the Champions only managing one clean sheet so far this season. This however is a game we have historically seen City do very well in, with the Manchester side running out 4-0 winners last time the two met at the Ethiad Stadium. Roberto Mancini has become a fantasy managers nightmare over recent times as he continues to frustrate with his unexplainable squad rotation policys but it would seem that the captain is bullet proof in the gaffers eye and is probably the only one who we can bank on starting week in week out when fit. Swansea have stuttered since their early good form and have been off the pace somewhat over recent weeks despite picking up the win in round 8, as reports continue to filter out of the Swan’s dressing room of unrest, City will be hoping to keep Michu and co quiet for 90 minutes and who could back against them pulling it off at home this weekend.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) £4.1 million Fixture: Southampton (Away)
Tottenham have gotten off to a great start to the season under AVB and despite losing to Chelsea in a thrilling London derby they showed some real spirit and fight as they battled against the european champions. At the back however Spurs have only managed one clean sheet so far this season and have looked to be a sixes and sevens at times, Vertonghen does offer an attacking potential from the back as we saw during the recent international break when he popped up with a goal for Belgium and as we saw at the Lane last week he popped up with an assist that could have easily been a goal had Gallas not got his toe on it. Southampton have played some good attacking football since their promotion to the top tier of English football, but one can’t help but draw comparisons with Blackpool’s recent stint in the premier league and we all know how that ended up. Tottenham will undoubtedly be feeling confident going into this one and although a clean sheet may not look to likely Vertonghen offers more than just defensive points and is certainly one to consider for round 9.
Marc Wilson (Stoke City) £3.5 million. Fixture: Sunderland (Home)
Stoke’s defense has been it’s usual difficult self so far this season despite shipping four at Old Trafford last time out. Wilson has been an ever-present for Stoke this season and is in fact their highest points scoring defender. At £3.5 million, he offers Fantasy Football managers with a cheap alternative defender that is likely to have a decent points haul come the end of the season. As we all know at this stage, Stoke are one of the meanest defences in the league and many teams find them tough to break down, especially at home.This weekend they host a Sunderland side who have had a relatively quiet start to the season. Sunderland are yet to win away from home which sees Stoke being slight favourites. for Saturday’s encounter. Now that Wilson has become a regular under Tony Pulis. Stoke have conceded just one goal at the Britannia this season and although they sit on the same number of points as The Black Cats, Pulis’ men will be hoping to pick up all three points with the clean sheet a distinct possibility.
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