With the 2014-15 season now complete, it’s time for us to look back over the data for the season and take away some learnings for next season. In our first of 4 pieces, we’ll look at the 5 highest points scoring defenders in the Fantasy Premier League this season just gone.
Top 5 Premier League Defenders
1. Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea – 179 points
It was Chelsea’s right back Branislav Ivanovic who scored the most points by an defender in season 2015/15 of the FPL. That was a 20 point improvement on his personal tally of 159 points from the previous season (which was bettered only by himself & John Terry this season), so Ivanovic is clearly a consistent performer. Those extra 20 points came mainly in the form of extra assists that he has added to his game, which gives you some indication of Chelsea’s tactics, to use the fullbacks for overlapping play down the flanks. But Ivanovic’s 4 goals and 6 assists made up only 23% of his points, it was his clean sheet haul that made up the largest portion of his points. Ivanovic racked up a league best of 17 clean sheets last season, which brought a return of 68 points. Chelsea’s solid defense and Ivanovic’s attacking play make him an essential player for Fantasy Premier League teams for next season.
2. John Terry – Chelsea – 177 points
Chelsea’s captain and enforcer at center back John Terry was the second highest points scorer in the Fantasy Premier League. Before the season many critics had written Terry off as too old and incapably of playing week in week out at the standard of the Premier League. But Jose Mourinho put a lot of faith in his old friend, who led the team to the Premier League title during Mourinho’s first spell at the club. Terry is a monster in the air, which makes him a great threat from set pieces such as corners & wide free-kicks. But again the bulk of his points came from consistent appearances & clean sheets. Terry played in all 38 league games for Chelsea, showing that age is not getting the better of him. Oh the top ten points scoring defenders last season, there were 4 Chelsea defenders. It’s Mourinho’s style to play with a solid back line with Matic shielding just in front. Chelsea set themselves up just to stop the opposition from scoring, and then hit them on the counter attack. This has worked a treat for both Mourinho and Chelsea over the past few years, bringing then both much success. So Chelsea defenders are going to be essential for the 2015-16 season.
3. Phil Jagielka – Everton – 142 points
Coming in with the equal third most FPL points last season was another English center back, Everton’s Phil Jagielka. At first look, it seems a little strange that an Everton defender would be one of the top points scorers of the season, given how bad Everton’s season was defensively. They managed 10 clean sheets for the season, the same number that both relegated Burnley & Hull City managed. But Everton got there season back on track through the spring months, where their competitors fell. Jagielka played in all but 1 league match, and his 4 goals and 21 bonus points was enough to push him up to the third placed defender for the season. Everton have historically had a solid defense, so it would be hard to imagine them having such a bad season at the back again next season. Jagielka offered good value for money last season, so keep an eye on Everton defenders for next season…you might find a real bargain.
4. Nathaniel Clyne – Southampton – 142 points (Note: Now at Liverpool)
Number 4 on the list of top points scoring defenders was Southampton’s young English fullback Nathaniel Clyne. Clyne’s stellar season helped Southampton have the second best defense in the Premier League, having only conceded 33 goals all season (just one more than champions Chelsea). Southampton’s solid defense was a a real talking point for the first half of the season. Southampton ended up with 15 clean sheets for the season, and Clyne picked up points for 13 clean sheets. Similar to Ivanovic, Clyne’s attacking play down the right wing allowed him to pick up 2 goals and 2 assists, which supplemented his points score. Both Liverpool & Manchester United have been linked to the Englishman over the summer, so keep an eye out where Clyne ends up.
5.Ryan Bertrand – Southampton – 140 points
Squeezing into the top 5 points scoring defenders is Southampton’s other English fullback, Ryan Bertrand. Bertrand completed his transfer from Chelsea to Southampton last summer to strengthen their defense at left back. Opportunities to play regular first team football with Chelsea had been limited, so the move was a good one for Bertrand to get some regular playing time. His transfer came at a time when there was a mass exodus of Southampton stars such as Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Callum Chambers. But Southampton really hit the ground running, thanks to their solid defense. Bertrand made that left back spot his, and with 2 goals and 3 assists, he racking up essential points for many Fantasy Premier League managers. Southampton ran out of steam during the second half of the season though, so keep an eye on their pre-season form.
For pointers on how to pick the best defence, check out our guide How To Pick Defenders For Clean Sheets.