The Premier League season has started and so has the Fantasy Premier League season which has left a lot of FPL managers tinkering around the probables as every week passes by. Gameweek 2 didn’t proved to be the best of ones from a FPL pov unless you were bagging on the likes of Gabriel Jesus, with Crystal Palace holding Liverpool for a draw where Salah wasn’t having best of outings, Manchester United being humbled 4-0 by Brentford and while City had a good game – Haaland didn’t give returns with only an assist against the newly promoted AFC Bournmouth.
The defence this season has been the talking point of the whole FPL community with managers investing heavily in the likes of Trent Alexander Arnold (53.9% Ownership), Joao Cancelo (46.7% Ownership) and Reece James (41.2% ownership) being the most popular choices.
Chelsea’s new signings Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly were both impressive on their home debuts against Tottenham Hotspur which saw the duo earn 4 and 7 points respectively. Let’s take a look at who is the better asset with both the players similarly priced in the sub-5m price range.
Marc Cucurella (5.0 M)
The Spaniard was a FPL hero last season and amongst the highest scoring defenders with 126 points playing at Brighton and Hove Albion. His stats for Graham Potter’s side last season are extremely impressive with 42 chances created(6th most in his position), 93 tackles won(4th most in the league) and most recoveries out of all the defenders in the league(247).
Cucurell will be playing as a LWB providing competition to Ben Chilwell or as a LCB in the back 3 occasionally. The game on the weekend against Tottenham Hotspur saw the Spaniard replace Ben Chilwell in the starting XI and complete the ninety which could be the case for future as well.
While, Chilwell has just returned from a major ACL injury and will require time to rediscover his form.
Chelsea are a side who have relied predominantly on their wing backs for creativity with more than 25% of their league goals being scored or assisted by defenders last season. Their wingbacks are instructed to bomb forward and help the attack create chances by putting crosses and creating numerical advantages in the final third.
The Blues also deploy their wingbacks on corner duties thereby increasing the chances of returns for Cucurella. At 5.0 Million and with only 9.2% managers owning the Spaniard, the 24-year-old is a great differential and is the defender you should get in if there are budget constraints and can’t afford a premium defender in Reece James, or maybe double up on them.
Kalidou Koulibaly (5.5M)
The Senegalese has added much needed solidity in the Chelsea defence and is settling well into his new club. A goal against bitter rivals Tottenham is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the Premier League. Koulibaly kept the attacking threat of Harry Kane quite throughout the game and man-marked the no.9 extremely well.
The 31-year-old is averaging 0.11 NpXG per 90 which is amongst the 91 percentile in the league highlighting the set piece threat he offers. The game against Spurs also saw the defender carry the ball into the final third and help the midfield create a numerical advantage which is a similar role that Rudiger played last season.
The former Napoli captain is playing in the LCB position as of now but could be shifted to his preferred RCB position once Chelsea sign centre-back. Irrespective of where he plays in the backline, Koulibaly is a guaranteed starter and will have plenty of minutes. At 5.5 million, Koulibaly is expected to be transferred in buy many managers as the Liverpool defence doesn’t look all that convincing having failed to give any return.
Both the players are great options to have in the squad with Koulibaly edging Cucurella in terms of playing time as the Spaniard faces a huge rotation risk from Ben Chilwell.
It all comes down to the playing style of the manager – over if s/he wants to gain instant rank or play the longer game.
For the managers who want to take a risk early on for higher reward, Cucurella is the better option as he is expected to have a higher chance of attacking return every time he starts. While, for the managers who want to play it safe and want a solid reliable defender who will remain in the backline for the rest of the season (unless there is an injury), Koulibaly is the right pick.
Chelsea Next 5 Fixtures: