Fantasy Football Insider – Gameweek 11: The case for the Southampton defence
Southampton’s excellent start to the season so far is based on very, very solid foundations.
Gameweek 10 review
It’s not every week this column gets the chance to be smug so forgive us a little bit of self-praise for recommending Alexis Sanchez for the captaincy last weekend. Selecting the Chilean while he’s in the middle of such a hot streak is hardly the work of a genius of course, but we were delighted to see the Arsenal man repay our faith in him with two goals against Burnley that earned him 16 points.
That wasn’t enough to make him top scorer in Gameweek 10, however, with that honour going to his Gunners teammate Calum Chambers with 18 points after a goal, an assist and a clean sheet in the same game.
Kieran Gibbs completed a triumvirate of Arsenal players with 10 points, the same total as West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster and Chelsea duo Oscar and Eden Hazard. West Ham also had two representatives in the Dream Team in the shape of in-form duo Stewart Downing (13) and Enner Valencia (11), with Gael Clichy (12), Victor Wanyama (11) and Steven Fletcher (13) also making the cut.
For the first time in quite some time, Terry O’Rourke’s Sporting Kilbeggan have been knocked off the top spot in the J-League, with Stephen Mullet’s Wecouldwinitsixtimes roaring to the top after 87 points this week.
Terry didn’t too bad himself with 77 points to keep him well in touch of the lead and four points clear of James Wong’s The Return in third. Kevin Cahill’s Howard Met Your Mata are three points further back in fourth place with Diarmuid McCarthy’s ABCDE F.C. propping up the top five after a very healthy 76 points.
J-League Top 5
- Wecouldwinitsixtimes – Stephen Mullett: 652 points
- Sporting Kilbeggan – Terry O’Rourke: 644 points
- The Return – James Wong: 640 points
- Howard Met Your Mata – Kevin Cahill: 637 points
- ABCDE F.C. – Diarmuid McCarthy: 627 points
The case for the Southampton defence
Ronald Koeman and Southampton have received plenty of deserved acclaim for the manner in which they have started this season and a lot of that acclaim has gone in the direction of the likes of Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, who have made such a contribution at the attacking end of the pitch.
Equally, if not even more impressive, have been the performances delivered by the Southampton defence. Along with leaders Chelsea, the Saints have the best goal difference record in the league with +16 and while 21 goals (eight of which, remember, came in one game) in 10 games is an impressive return, conceding only five goals in the same period is simply outstanding.
As a result, it’s no surprise that three of the top four highest-scoring defenders so far are Southampton defenders, with Leighton Baines the only player to have outscored them so far.
Nathaniel Clyne is the most prolific of that trio of Southampton defenders but there’s very little to choose between him and the other two, Ryan Bertrand and Jose Fonte. All three have played every minute of every game so far, with both Clyne and Bertrand claiming a goal and an assist apiece, which gives them a slight edge over Fonte, who has none of either so far.
Fonte, however, is adept at picking up bonus points (eight so far) and, like Bertrand, is slightly cheaper than Clyne at £5.5 million if you’re stuck for a couple of quid when making some transfers this weekend.
If the Saints can keep marching on the way they have been and can keep on being as mean in defence as they have been to date, then a move for any one of that impressive trio will prove to be a sound investment.
JOE’s Fantasy Football Picks:
Top Dollar: Angel di Maria (£10.1 million). The Argentinean has been pretty quiet by his high standards in recent games but we still feel he’ll have a big impact against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, where Manchester United need a win after just two points from the last three games.
Mid-Range: Nacer Chadli (£6.5 million). The Moroccan has quietly made his way up to close to the top of the list of the highest-scoring midfielders and after scoring again against Aston Villa last weekend, confidence will be high ahead of the visit of Stoke to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Bargain Basement: Jose Fonte (£5.5 million). We’ve outlined all the reasons for bringing in Southampton defenders above and Fonte has been solid as a rock all the season despite the departure of Dejan Lovren to Liverpool in the summer.
Irish Pick: Aiden McGeady (£5.5 million). We normally plump for Seamus Coleman when it comes to Everton’s Irish contingent, but we’ll take a chance on McGeady producing something special against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Captain’s Pick: Alexis Sanchez (£10.7 million). We see no reason to take the armband off the Arsenal man while he’s in such a rich vein of form, form that has brought him five goals and an assist in the last three league games.