Best EPL Defences

The Best EPL Defenses

When it comes time for FPL managers to select their defenders for their Fantasy Football teams, there are a few factors to consider: Who plays, who scores, who takes set pieces, who’s playing at home, but most important of all is who is going to keep clean sheets. Having a solid defensive line who consistently pick up cleans sheets is essential for every EPL Fantasy team. Whether you’re playing 3, 4 or 5 at the back, picking up 2 points for appearances can really hurt your teams points score. There were 2 defenders in the top 10 FPL points scorers last season, so this is an area of the field you can’t afford to overlook and fill with fodder.
Clean sheets are an easy points maker for and Fantasy Premier League team, but also picking defenders from teams who concede a lot of goals can actually lose you points. But which clubs have the best defensive recording over the past 5 EPL seasons you ask? Knowing who to pick, from which teams, can be a nightmare for event the best FPL manager. In this article we’ll have a look at who has had the best rock solid defense in recent years and are great candidates for you teams.

The Best Teams for Defenders

Which team has the best defense?

Which team has the best defense?
If you want maximise points for cleans sheets for your EPL Fantasy team, then it goes without saying that you need to pick players from teams that concede the fewest number of goals. The fewer the goals they let it, the more points they’ll get. Simple right? Based on the last 5 Premier League seasons, here are look at which teams have conceded the fewest goals.

Team 2014-15 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 Ave Goals Against / Season
Manchester City 38 37 34 29 33 34.2
Chelsea 32 27 39 46 33 35.4
Manchester United 37 43 43 33 37 38.6
Arsenal 36 41 37 49 43 41.2
Everton 50 39 40 40 45 42.8
Liverpool 48 50 43 40 44 45
Southampton 33 46 60 - - 46.3
Tottenham Hotspur 53 51 46 41 46 47.4
Stoke City 45 52 45 53 48 48.6
Crystal Palace 51 48 - - - 49.5
Swansea City 49 54 51 51 - 51.3
Hull City 51 53 - - - 52
Burnley 53 - - - - 53
Sunderland 53 60 54 46 56 53.8
Leicester City 55 - - - - 55
West Ham United 47 51 53 - 70 55.3
West Bromwich Albion 51 59 57 52 71 58
Birmingham City - - - - 58 58
Newcastle United 63 59 68 51 57 59.6
Aston Villa 57 61 69 53 59 59.8
Fulham - 85 60 51 43 59.8
Norwich City - 62 58 66 - 62
Wigan Athletic - - 73 62 61 65.3
Queens Park Rangers 73 - 60 66 - 66.3
Bolton Wanderers - - - 77 56 66.5
Blackburn Rovers - - - 78 59 68.5
Reading - - 73 - - 73
Cardiff City - 74 - - - 74
Wolverhampton Wndrs - - - 82 66 74
Blackpool - - - - 78 78

As you might have predicted the ‘big four’ Champions League clubs find themselves at the top of this table. Coming in first is Manchester City, who have averaged conceding just 34.2 goals per season, over the last 5 seasons from their 38 league matches. Last season was their worst defensive record in 5 seasons, but it might be a surprise to some to see them averaging fewer goals than Chelsea. Chelsea do sit in second place, averaging conceding 35.4 goals per season. This number would have been much lower had they not had a blow out of 46 goals in season 2011/12. Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea for the past two season’s has certainly make a big change to their play and defensive record. Over the past two Mourinho season’s, Chelsea are averaging conceding just 29.5 goals per season. A trend that will see them pip Manchester City come next season. Outside the top 4, Everton sit in 5th place just fairing worse than Arsenal. Everton’s had a unusually poor defensive performance last season, but their two attaching fullbacks Baines, Coleman offer both solid defense as well as an attacking threat. At the other end of the table, Aston Villa are averaging conceding a whopping 59.8 goals per season. Villa’s new manager Tim Sherwood likes to play an attacking game, so perhaps a team to avoid at the back this season.

Which teams get the most clean sheets?

While looking at overall goals conceded is a good proxy for a strong defensive team, converting that defensive record into clean sheets is the most critical factor for EPL Fantasy teams. Lets have a look at which clubs are keeping the most clean sheets over the past 5 EPL seasons:

Team 2014-15 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 Ave Clean Sheets / Season
Manchester City 14 16 18 17 18 16.6
Chelsea 17 18 14 10 15 14.8
Manchester United 11 13 13 20 15 14.4
Arsenal 13 17 14 13 13 14.0
Liverpool 14 10 16 12 14 13.2
Southampton 15 15 7 - - 12.3
Sunderland 13 11 11 12 13 12.0
Everton 10 15 11 12 9 11.4
Swansea City 13 8 10 14 - 11.3
Tottenham Hotspur 9 14 9 14 8 10.8
Burnley 10 - - - - 10.0
Hull City 10 10 - - - 10.0
Leicester City 10 - - - - 10.0
West Ham United 9 14 11 - 5 9.8
Newcastle United 8 10 6 15 9 9.6
Stoke City 9 9 12 9 9 9.6
Crystal Palace 7 12 - - - 9.5
Fulham - 5 8 11 14 9.5
Birmingham City - - - - 9 9.0
West Bromwich Albion 16 7 8 10 2 8.6
Norwich City - 12 10 3 - 8.3
Aston Villa 10 9 5 9 7 8.0
Cardiff City - 7 - - - 7.0
Queens Park Rangers 6 - 7 7 - 6.7
Wigan Athletic - - 5 8 7 6.7
Blackpool - - - - 6 6.0
Blackburn Rovers - - - 3 8 5.5
Reading - - 5 - - 5.0
Wolverhampton Wndrs - - - 4 5 4.5
Bolton Wanderers - - - 3 5 4.0

Again it is big spending Manchester City who are top this list, averaging keeping 16.6 clean sheets per season, for the past 5 seasons. Again though, Chelsea under Mourinho for the past two season’s are averaging 17.5 clean sheets per season. But there are a few surprises of teams who record a good number of clean sheets despite letting in a high number of overall goals. Sunderland are one of these, averaging 12 clean sheets per season over the past 5 seasons (7th best) despite averaging conceding 53.8 goals per season. For FPL managers using players from a team like Sunderland, it’s a matter of picking the right fixtures to include them in your starting 11. Swansea City look like good value, sitting around the Everton mark and just ahead of Spurs, who’ll both fetch a higher price.

Summary of Best Defenses

If you’re looking for defenders who concede few goals and get many clean sheets, then Manchester City and Chelsea are the best prospects coming into the new season. Arsenal and Liverpool defenders are also fairly solid, but might not give you just as much return for the value. Looking for value for money, Everton, Sunderland and Southampton average a healthy number of clean sheets per season, so players from those teams will help FPL managers looking for a cheaper option.

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