GW21 TOP PICKS
Chris Smalling (MUN) – v Liverpool (h) – £6.3m
With Eric Bailly on international duty and Rojo fighting to be fit, Chris Smalling is not only the cheapest route into a solid United defence this week he’s also the most likely attacking threat from set pieces (which Liverpool are notoriously bad at defending). United go into the game as rightful favourites but we still expect this to be a feisty affair and any central defender coming up against a lively Liverpool side tends to score well on FanDuel these days. Just look at Otamendi, Shawcross and Djilobodji in the last three weeks who all scored brilliantly when up against the dynamic Liverpool front line. Expect more of the same from United’s defence this week.
Alfie Mawson (SWA) – v Arsenal (a) – £6.9m
Having started the last 5 games for Swansea, and fresh from scoring his first goal in the last gameweek, Mawson should keep his place under new boss Clement who is known for his coaching of young players and defensive solidity. Mawson has been the most consistent defender for Swansea in recent weeks (doesn’t say much) and we expect him to be busy again up against an in-form Sanchez, Giroud and returning Ozil. At £0.6m cheaper, he just gets the nod over his teammate Fernandez – although he’s also another good potential pick this week with his propensity for blocks and clearances.
Ashley Williams (EVE) – v Man City (h) – £7.4m
Williams almost always guarantee’s at least 20 points a week having achieved at least that score in each of his last 8 gameweeks. This makes him great value at just £7.4m. While Everton have had a topsy turvy season so far, their home form has been fairly consistent and Williams has been at the heart of that, with an average score of 26.5points across his last 3 home games. City arrive at Goodison looking to build on their win against Burnley last week and should offer Williams plenty of opportunity to add to his clearance total which currently sees him sitting 5th across all defenders in the league. He also offers the greatest goal threat from set pieces with more shots on goal (10) from inside the area than any other Everton defender.
Danny Rose (TOT) – v West Brom (h) – £8.6m
Highly expensive, (which goes against our normal advice for defenders) but for those looking for certain points this week look no further than Spur’s wingbacks. We’ve gone for Rose over Walker thanks to the fact he has more shots on goal than any other defender in the league and currently sits 4th for key passes in the final third too so we think he has the better chance of scoring well. West Brom are likely to sit back and soak up pressure so expect Rose to see a lot of the ball this week and rack up FanDuel points as a result. If you can find a way to afford him, he won’t disappoint.
Jonas Olsson (WBA) – v Arsenal (a) – £5.9m
Those looking for West Brom coverage this week (and why wouldn’t you be up against Tottenham’s in-form midfield & frontline?) might consider both Craig Dawson (£6.9m) and Martin Olsson (£5.9m). With Jonny Evans out and Nyom struggling to play due to a suspension after pulling out of AFCON both should be set to feature and are much cheaper than teammate McAuley. Although Olsson’s pitch time has been limited, when he has played his underlying defensive stats have been impressive and with 45 CBI’s in just 6 appearances he well outperforms any other West Brom defender with an average of 7.5 CBIs per game this season. At £1m cheaper than Dawson we think he’s the best value in the WBA backline this week – providing he definitely starts!
Martin Kelly (CRY) – v West Ham (a) – £6.3m
Palace’s defence haven’t had a great season but after 3 games in charge there are signs that Allerdyce’s work is starting to pay off. Going somewhat under the radar in recent weeks, Kelly has performed very well in each of the 3 games he’s featured since Allerdyce’s appointment with 12 tackles, 15 clearances and 1 assist in that period providing great FanDuel returns. West Ham are likely to be without Antonio through illness as well as obviously the currently “injured” Payet. So Carroll could start and that means lots of potential crosses to block for the full back this week as well as the potential to get forward himself and make more chances. A risk, but a calculated one.