The Premier League takes a break this weekend for international play just as things are heating up. With 10-11 matches left to play in the final leg of the season, Arsenal and Manchester City continue to joust for the title, European tournament qualification is still up in the air, and nearly half the table remains mathematically at risk for relegation.
The break provides fantasy managers with a chance to assess their squads strengths and weaknesses, plan their transfers, and mull over chip strategies.
For those who decide they need to tighten up at the back, we present a few defenders that we believe have the potential to deliver top points in the month of April.
Nathan Aké (£5.0m, Manchester City)
Nobody would have thought that out of all the Manchester City defenders, it would be Nathan Ake that would have the most minutes in the league so far. But he’s been Pep’s most consistent performer, gaining his gaffer’s trust by helping to secure seven clean sheets. In the past three GWs, he has collected 17 points despite his team not being at its best.
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes (£5.2m, Arsenal)
Best known as Gabriel, the Brazilian has been phenomenal alongside partner William Saliba in the center of defense. Gabriel has the second-most points among FPL defenders, is nailed-on, and has collected 12 clean sheets. He’s a threat from set-pieces too, with three goals to his name so far.
Arsenal is currently eight points clear of Manchester City, although the Citizens have a game in hand. Confidence at the Emirates is high, with Mikel Arteta commenting that all that separates the Gunners from the Premier League trophy is 10 more “finals.” With Europa League rotation no longer a risk, Gabriel is sure to play a massive part in seeing out the EPL season for the Gunners.
Luke Shaw (£5.2m, Manchester United)
Lately Manchester United’s performances have dipped, but they are still managing to grind out victories — except for the disastrous 0-7 defeat to Liverpool. Among the Red Devil’s standout players has been Luke Shaw. He’s getting the job done at both ends of the pitch, keeping nine clean sheets while racking up five goal contributions. Ten Hag has even deployed the England international as a center back this term.
Ben Chilwell (£5.8 m, Chelsea)
Chelsea seem to be back on track and the return of Ben Chilwell is a big reason why. His performance in the previous three games has been top-notch, returning 19 points including a goal and an assist. He’s cemented a regular spot in the S-XI again, and although Chelsea’s April fixtures aren’t the best his dual-threat potential means he can return even without clean sheets.
Chelsea’ April fixtures: Aston Villa (H), Liverpool (H), Wolves (A), Brighton (H), Manchester United (A), Brentford (H), Arsenal (A).
Kieran Trippier (£6.1m, Newcastle)
The top defender in FPL, Kieran Trippier does it all. The former Atletico Madrid man has 14 clean sheets and seven goal contributions (1 G, 6 A) to his name and has been a critical component of Newcastle’s remarkable success in this campaign. Although the Magpies suffered a dip in-form a few weeks ago, they bounced back nicely, and their shot at Champions League qualification now depends on how they fare in the month of April.
April’s fixtures are a mixed bag for Newcastle, who will face the following opponents: Manchester United (H), West Ham (A), Brentford (A), Aston Villa (A), Spurs (H), Everton (A) and Southampton (H).
Interestingly, Newcastle’s first match after the international break will be against the Red Devils in a rematch of February’s Carabao Cup final. United dashed Newcastle’s hopes of ending a 60-year title drought by defeating the Magpies 2-0. Newcastle and captain Trippier will be looking for payback this time around.
What do you make of our selections? Which defenders are on your transfer list? Any differentials you’re eyeing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.