Fantasy Premier League

Who are the best defenders for Double Gameweek 37?

7 May 2024
FPL defenders composite

The Scout delves into the data as managers look to replace injured players and use Bench Boost chip

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Managers in Fantasy Premier League face a growing injury crisis in defence ahead of a pivotal moment in the season.

Double Gameweek 37 (DGW37) will be the second-biggest Double Gameweek of the campaign, with six teams playing twice.

As a result, FPL managers have been stocking up on players from Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

It will be a popular week for the Bench Boost chip, with the opportunity of getting points from 15 players who ALL play twice.

But injuries to the likes of Fabian Schar (£5.6m), Destiny Udogie (£5.0m), Harry Maguire (£4.3m) and Jan Paul van Hecke (£4.1m) are ruining those plans, leaving managers short of defenders and decimating their benches at the worst possible time.

See: Latest injury news at every club

The Scout is here to help, assessing the best options at the back for managers who have not yet maxed out their allocation of three players from each of the DGW37 clubs.

Who's in the best form?

Man City and Chelsea defenders boast the best form of the DGW37 sides over the last four Gameweeks.

It's easy to see why Josko Gvardiol (£5.1m) is the most-bought defender ahead of Saturday's 11:00 BST deadline, with 175,000+ managers transferring in the Croat. 

Indeed, Gvardiol is the top-scoring defender in Fantasy over the last four Gameweeks with 39 points, combining two goals and two assists with two clean sheets. 

His team-mate Kyle Walker (£5.4m) has supplied two assists and also collected two clean sheets to amass 24 points over the same period. 

Trevoh Chalobah (£4.3m) is Chelsea's top-scoring defender over the last four Gameweeks, with 30 points. He has profited from a raft of injuries to their regulars and has started four of their last five matches, scoring once and keeping three clean sheets.

Meanwhile, Marc Cucurella (£4.8m) has secured the Blues' left-back berth of late, supplying an assist as well as earning a trio of shutouts.

Top-scoring DGW37 defenders, last four Gameweeks
Player Pts G A CS Bonus
Gvardiol 39 2 2  5
Chalobah 30 1 0 3 4
Walker 24 0 2 2 4
Cucurella 21 0 1 3 3
Akanji 18 0 0 2 2
Thiago Silva 18 0 1 2 2
Who's most likely to keep clean sheets?

Analysing the opposition attacks over their respective last six matches can help give an indication of each DGW37 side’s potential for clean sheets.

In terms of Expected Goals (xG), the data suggests Chelsea and Newcastle have the greatest chances of earning at least one shutout in DGW37. Notably, both teams face a Brighton side who have recorded a lowly 6.61 xG across their last six matches, the fifth-worst record in the league.

Chelsea also visit a Nottingham Forest side who have an xG of 9.38 over their last six matches, which means the Blues' DGW37 opponents have had a combined xG of 15.99 across that spell.

Encouragingly, Mauricio Pochettino's side approach DGW37 on the back of successive clean sheets, the first time this season they have achieved that feat. 

For Newcastle, Nick Pope (£5.3m) and Kieran Trippier (£6.6m) are very close to returning to action, which is likely to affect the minutes of cut-price assets Martin Dubravka (£4.3m) and Tino Livramento (£4.0m).

Man City, meanwhile, have a lack of sub-£5.0m starters at the back in Fantasy, which means if you want to invest in their rearguard, you'll need to pay for premium assets. 

Opposition attacks, last six matches
Team Opponents' xG Opponents' combined xG 
Chelsea NFO (9.38), BHA (6.61) 15.99
 Newcastle  BHA (6.61), MUN (9.67) 16.28
Man City FUL (9.26), TOT (8.59) 17.85
Spurs BUR (8.79), MCI (15.66) 24.45
Brighton NEW (13.30), CHE (13.07) 26.37
Man Utd ARS (14.04), NEW (13.30) 27.34
Who’s most likely to score?

Man City’s Gvardiol also leads the way among the DGW37 defenders for goal threat over the last six matches. The Croat's nine shots, six shots in the box and four shots on target are all more than any of his rivals in the assessment. 

Pedro Porro (£5.8m) sits just one behind Gvardiol for all three of those statistics over the same period, while his Spurs team-mate Cristian Romero (£5.1m) has matched the Spaniard's five shots in the box and one goal over that spell.

Newcastle's Dan Burn (£4.6m) has been a major aerial threat, producing four headed shots. His four shots in the box are matched by Chelsea duo Thiago Silva (£5.0m) and Axel Disasi (£4.9m). 

Man Utd's Diogo Dalot (£5.2m) has had four shots across the last six Gameweeks, although only one of those has come from inside the box. 

Goal threat, last six matches
Player Shots Shots in box Headed shots Shots on target
Gvardiol 9 6  2 4
Porro 8 5 0 3
Romero 6 5 4 1
Burn 4 4 4 0
Thiago Silva 4 4 3 1
Disasi 4 4 3 0
Stones 4 2 1 2
Dalot 4 1 0 1
Livramento 3 3 0 2
Badiashile 3 3 2 0
Who's most likely to get an assist?

The creativity numbers show why so many managers will be hoping Malo Gusto (£4.3m) can reclaim his starting role after recovering from a knee complaint and appearing as a substitute against West Ham on Sunday.

Chelsea’s right-back has made 13 key passes in his last six appearances, more than double the total of all but one of the players in the table below.

Gusto’s six successful crosses are twice the total of any rival here, with the Frenchman supplying a scoring opportunity every 34 minutes - more than three times faster than the 108 minutes of his fellow full-back Cucurella.

Man Utd’s Dalot runs him closest, having produced nine key passes. His three big chances created are joint-top with Spurs' Porro in the assessment.

Man City pair Gvardiol and Manuel Akanji (£5.0m) have each supplied five key passes at an average of 99 minutes per chance created.

Creativity, last six matches
Player Key passes Big chances created Succ. crosses
Gusto 13 0 6
Dalot 9 3 3
Porro 5 3 3
Gvardiol 5 1 0
Cucurella 5 1 3
Livramento 5 0 2
Akanji 5 0 0
Wan-Bissaka 4 0 1
So, who should managers buy?

The form, underlying statistics and fixtures all show why Gvardiol is proving such a popular pick. Owned by only 11 per cent of managers, he's delivered hauls of 12 and 15 points over the last four Gameweeks to showcase his potential.

Chelsea and Newcastle defenders can also reward investors at both ends of the pitch, according to both the player and team data.

The Blues' improving displays in defence may persuade Pochettino to limit his rotation, which may well result in just one start for Gusto as he builds up his match fitness. Cucurella or goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic (£4.6m) appear to be more secure picks, although Chalobah's recent displays indicate he could be a budget gem. 

For Newcastle, Burn has the security of starts and boasts a strong threat from free-kicks and corners. 

Elsewhere, Spurs' Porro and Man Utd full-back Dalot have the goal threat and creativity to reward investors, but as the team data shows, their prospects of clean sheets seem very limited.

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