Fantasy Watch

FPL 20/21: Top low-budget defenders

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With the 2020/21 Premier League season just around the corner, it is time for FPL managers to get their teams ready for the upcoming season. With most of the marquee players costing exorbitantly high, we take a look at cheaper options in the defense so you can invest well in your midfield or attack.

1. Nathan Ferguson (Crystal Palace, £4.0m)

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The new Crystal Palace signing is an attempt to find an answer to their injury woes concerning their defense. He could start ahead of Martin Kelly or be an understudy of him. The 19-year-old is also versatile enough to play as a center-back. The fact that he costs only £4.0m could be a huge boost to your funds. Crystal Palace face Southampton(H), Manchester United(A) and Everton(H) in their first three fixtures. He could a good option as a starter for the first gameweek and continue on the bench for the rest of the two gameweeks.

2. William Saliba (Arsenal, £4.5m)

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With Mikel Arteta bringing Arsenal back to their glory days, the only thing they are missing is a proper and stable defense. The signing of Gabriel Magalhaes and the return of William Saliba after a good loan spell at Saint-Etienne will help them ensure a good all-around team with less errors and more discipline. Saliba has not been booked once in his 11 starts for Saint-Etienne in what can be considered a satisfactory loan spell in the Ligue 1. The £4.5m cost is a bargain considering Arsenal can be back to competing for Top 4 with a comparably reliable pairing at the back. With Mustafi being injured, Rob Holding presumably heading out on loan and Sokratis rumored to be heading off to Napoli permanently, there is a high chance that Saliba starts as the center-back for the Gunners. Arsenal’s first three fixtures involve games against Fulham(A), West Ham(H) and Liverpool(A). The team go in high confidence into these games after winning the Community Shield against Liverpool and can be trusted to keep clean sheets after ensuring stability at the back.

3. James Justin (Leicester City, £4.5m)

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With Ben Chilwell departing for Chelsea and Ricardo Pereira out until at least October, James Justin has been relied upon by Brendan Rodgers 13 times last season. The youngster can play as a right-back, a center-back or a left-back. He can be expected to start in a back four or as a center-back in a back three. The 21-year-old only commits 0.6 fouls per game and has only been booked once in his 11 starts for the Foxes. He can be expected to start for the initial run of at least 4-5 games. Leicester City face West Brom(A), Burnley(H) and Manchester City(A) in their first three fixtures and can be expected to keep clean sheets in at least two of the three games. Justin doesn’t offer much going forward given Rodgers’ use of him but the return of essential players from injuries and suspensions can see him pursue his role as a proper full-back this season.

4. Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion,£4.5m)

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Ben White had a splendid 19/20 season on loan with Leeds United. He won the Championship along with them keeping 22 clean sheets out of the 46 games he started. He was booked only 6 times out of those 46 games. The central defender recently signed a four year deal with the club and is set to obtain a place in the starting lineup as Shane Duffy is rumored to go out on loan to Celtic. Brighton face Chelsea(H), Newcastle(A) and Manchester United(H) in their first three fixtures.

5. Luke Ayling/Stuart Dallas (Leeds United,£4.5m)

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This extremely versatile duo was pivotal in Leeds’ Championship success last season. While Ayling can play as a right back or a center back, Dallas can play as a right back, left back, right wing and left wing. This duo altogether has contributed to 16 goals for Leeds last season and can be added to your team for a small figure of £4.5m. They are certified starters and face Liverpool(A), Fulham(H) and Sheffield United(A) in their first fixtures. While clean sheets are a small possibility against Liverpool and Sheffield, a scoring or assisting contribution can be expected from them.

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