It wasn’t the best year in the EPL for defenders. Maybe that’s because Erling Haaland scored 36 goals and Harry Kane 30, so clean sheets were down and goals-against were up?
No defender broke the 200 point threshold this season. In 2021-22, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo both produced over 200, with TAA earning third-most points overall. Robertson and VvD each finished in the 180s. Only Kieran Trippier, the top scoring defender, made over 160 this last season.
With TAA (and much of Liverpool’s defense) having an “off” season, plus Reece James being oft injured, and Joao Cancelo leaving the Premier League in the January transfer window, it was a bit of a down year for defender production.
Let’s take a look at the defenders who did stand out.
Kieran Trippier. Newcastle. 198 points.
This year’s breakaway defensive FPL star was Kieran Trippier who managed a quality 198 points, putting him at 8th among all FPL players (his own-goal in the final game kept him from 200). He was a full 40+ points ahead of the second best defender. The English right-back started every game for Newcastle, whose defense allowed the fewest goals (tied with Man City). To the resulting 16 clean sheets, he contributed nine assists plus a goal. But it was his whopping 39 bonus points (behind only Haaland and Kane) that set him apart. He was deservedly on many FPL rosters from start to finish in 2022-23.
Ben White. Arsenal. 156
White has established himself as a consistent starter and key player in Arsenal’s success and future plans. He played in all 38 games, starting 36 of them. White low price plus consistent playing time made him a popular pick early. 15 shutouts, 2 goals and 5 assists propelled him into one the better defenders in the FPL.
Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool. 156.
You’d think third among defenders would be solid, but for TAA you have to say it was a rough season. Liverpool’s lack of defensive quality meant he gave up more goals and kept far fewer clean sheets than a year before. His 12 assists were top among defenders, but he didn’t have the consistent feel of a major threat each week like he did a year ago. As an expensive defender, he was frustrating to roster (or NOT) depending on the week. We’ve come to expect more of the dynamic right back. It will be interesting to see how he (and Liverpool) bounce back next season.
Gabriel. Arsenal. 146.
Gabriel benefited from Arsenal’s tough defense and clean sheets. He played every minute of Arsenal’s season. He was priced nicely too. He scored thrice and added 15 bonus points. In a season of low-return defenders, Gabriel was simply solid.
Ben Mee. Brentford. 143.
Mee’s price tag under $5 tempted many a manager to roster him. After a somewhat slow start to the season, Mee (and Brentford) found their footing. From a value standpoint, he was a top choice. While big names and big price tags were hit and miss, Mee stayed steady. Twelve clean sheets, three assists and two goals made him one of the only five defenders to produce more than 140 FPL points.
A few other notes:
- A quick shout out to Newcastle defenders, four who were top 10 in points.
- Interestingly, no Man City defenders made triple digits, despite having tied for the best defensive record. John Stones led the pack with 93 despite being injured part of the season. Injuries and Pep roulette scattered the points, and 59th minute substitutions didn’t help any either.
- With 4.3 points per game, William Saliba had the third highest points per game of defender (behind Trippier and Yerry Mina, who started only seven games). If only he had been healthy for the entire season... Only 22 and expected to sign a new contract at Arsenal, maybe he’ll let us see next year.
What defenders made your list? Were you surprised by the lower point totals? Chime in below!