Ahead of the Footstock free roll I thought i'd share with you six defenders who have impressed me based on their statistics last season.
This article will focus specifically on defenders that are three stars or under. If you're looking for defenders in a higher category, you really shouldn't be looking any further than the Liverpool full backs. There statistics are quite frankly phenomenal.
6) César Azpilicueta (3 stars)
The statistics that impressed me for César Azpilicueta last season are that he created nine big chances, had 634 passes in the final third and 1373 passes in the opposition half. The only two defenders that had better statistics in these areas over the course of the season were Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
His two goals and six assists should not be overlooked either. However it's recommended that people air on the side of caution when it comes to César Azpilicueta due to the likelihood of Reece James playing more games next season.
5) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3 stars)
The boy from New Addington made everybody in Croydon proud again last season.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka made the most tackles of all players in the Premier League last season with 129 tackles and he went on to win 81 of those tackles. To put that in perspective, Serge Aurier had the second most 'tackles won' by winning 69 of these tackles. The gap shows just what a master 'The Spider' is when it comes to tackling at his very young age.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka went on to become the 4th highest scoring defender of all defenders in Footstock last season. This means he was the highest scoring defender outside of Liverpool.
He does however present a problem in the sense that he plays for a team that have four very interesting attacking options and could be adding Jadon Sancho to their squad by the end of the transfer window. It may be too much of an ask to spend one of your Manchester United spots on a defender.
4) Enda Stevens (2 stars)
Enda Stevens as a two star defender that is definitely worthy of consideration. As previously touched upon in my "Two Star Goalkeepers" article, Sheffield United as a team kept 13 clean sheets last season. Of their regular back five defenders, Enda Stevens stands out the most of all largely because of his performances in the opposition half.
Enda Stevens created nine big chances last season and went on to have over 600 passes in the final third. He was the only defender that does not play for a top four club that had over 600 passes in the final third. This contributed to Enda Stevens gathering 591 points overall last season. This made him the 6th highest scoromg defender.
3) Lewis Dunk (2 stars)
It's only a short mention for the Brighton and Hove Albion Captain here. Lewis Dunk had as many shots on goal as Virgil Van Dial last season and had five big chances last season. This was only beaten by Doherty and Saiss.
If Lewis Dunk could improve his conversion rate, he could be an astute acquisition at 2 stars.
2) Virgil Van Dijk (2 Stars)
An inclusion that surprises nobody. Virgil Van Dijk finds himself in the two star category despite having a plethora of impressive stats.
He is known for completing more passes than any other player in the Premier League last season. However it is his potential to get a big return in contrast to other defenders which is most impressive.
Virgil Van Dijk had 15 shots on target and had an xG of 3.94 last season. In comparison to other defenders, he was only superseded by Matt Doherty in these departments (16 shots on target and an xG of 6.84).
Virgil also has the bonus and the curse of playing for Liverpool. Liverpool with Alison in goal have an absolutely fantastic record of keeping clean sheets. However, if you wish to include Virgil Van Dijk you will have to ignore one of Liverpool's other massive hitters. With 696 points, Virgil Van Dijk was one of three defenders to score over 600 points last season. As impressive as that is, the other two defenders with massive overall point scores were the two Liverpool full backs who both went on to score more than him. With that in mind, it may be worth considering other Liverpool players who can score bigger hauls.
1) Lucas Digne (3 stars)
Due to the other options available for both Manchester United and Liverpool, the defender that interests me the most ahead of the 100k freeroll outside the Liverpool full backs is a three star defender from their neighbours.
The reason Lucas Digne interests me the most is due to his high assist potential. His 270 crosses were the third highest in the division behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin De Bruyne. He did however have a slightly better cross completed percentage rate with 27% (KDB 25% and TAA 21%). His 313 passes in to the penalty area was also the second best in the league.
His xA score of 6.02 was only beaten by the Liverpool full backs. However he did beat Andrew Robertson in three separate areas. These are crosses (270/210), succesful crosses (72/60) and key passes (72/60). He also equalled Matt Doherty with eight assists last season.
Lucas Digne also has the added advantage of taking set pieces for his team. The only other defender that shares this in the Premier League is Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The concern for Lucas Diane is that despite all his potential for a return he registered no goals last season. However the four goals he scored the season before should give people faith that he will improve next season.
To me, Lucas Digne is somebody that shouldn't be ignored as people begin to assemble their 100k freeroll teams.
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