England haven’t even kicked a ball this international break and yet it’s already been an eventful one for FPL managers. The injury list continues to increase, with the notable names including Doherty, Wan-Bisakka, Trippier, Maguire and Martial. However, the one player that has sent the FPL community into dismay is Benjamin Mendy, after reporting he has successfully undergone minor knee surgery.
Prior to his injury, Mendy was owned by over 1.1 million managers and is currently the 6th highest points scoring FPL defender. Due to his high ownership, plenty of managers have been seeking the best alternatives for the City star, so in this article we have discussed the best options available.
Straight Swap Options
Mendy is currently valued at £6.4m, therefore many managers have money invested that can fund their transfers. His high price tag provides opportunities to transfer in almost any defender, so if you have owned him since GW1 you will have £6.2m to play with.
The first choice that managers have to make is if they want to stick with the Man City defence or venture off into other teams. To put it into context, City are joint best defensively in the league with Liverpool this season. Both have conceded 5 goals and kept an impressive 7 clean sheets, significantly better than any other of the title contenders.
As we all know, FPL defenders don’t necessarily have to regularly keep clean sheets to be great options, but it does help. That’s why sticking with the City defence may prove to be a wise option, with 2 alternatives firmly on the radar.
Laporte (£5.9m) is the only City defender to have played every league minute so far this season. He has proven to be a firm favourite with Pep, and with no other left footed centre back at the club it seems his position is cemented for the season.
He has returned 1 more point than Mendy, and although he hasn’t been as much of an attacking threat, he has proved he can get on the scoresheet with a goal back in GW3. We think that Laporte is the best direct replacement for Mendy in order to own a City defender, however there is a cheaper alternative.
The other City option is John Stones, who is a cheaper option at £5.3m. Stones has formed a formidable partnership with Laporte, the pair starting the last 5 league matches together. Unlike Laporte, Stones hasn’t registered any attacking returns but at his budget price, in comparison, is a great way to get into the City defence.
The worry that we have over Stones is the possible rotation that may happen over the busy Christmas period. With both Kompany and Otamendi waiting in the wings, we would be surprised if they weren’t to be rotated at some point with Stones.
Outside of Man City, as mentioned Liverpool have an identity defensive record. If you do not currently own a Liverpool defender, then this would be a great opportunity to get one. Robertson (£6.4m) is unsurprisingly leading both the FPL points scoring and assists for Liverpool defenders. Although £0.2m more than some managers can afford, if you have money in the bank then he should be one of the top priorities.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Lovren are all the budget options in the Liverpool defence, however are all rotation risks. Although tempting at their budget value in comparison to Robertson, it isn’t clear who is Klopp’s first choice centre back pairing, which affects TAA with competition from Gomez. We think that if you choose either of the three players mentioned, your bench must be strong enough to support the times when they are potentially rested. It can sometimes put a strain on the squad when managers transfer out a regular starter, such as Mendy, for a rotation risk.
At £6.0m, we think that there is value in owning Van Dijk even without his natural attacking appeal. He has played almost every minute in the league excluding a forced substitution through injury in GW6. As mentioned, attacking appeal isn’t everything when owning a FPL defender but it can be essential when teams don’t keep a clean sheet. If you are looking for a cheaper, guaranteed alternative to Robertson, then we think Van Dijk could be the man for the job.
There are plenty of other options available but these are our top picks if you’re looking for a ‘straight swap’. We can’t discuss FPL defenders without mentioning the leading FPL points scorer, Marcus Alonso. If you do not own the Chelsea man, then you may have to reconsider.
At £7.1m, he is a Mendy alternative although being significantly more expensive than any other player, he requires funding from other transfers. If you have money in the bank and can afford with the sale of Mendy, then Alonso is a must-own as of right now.
Currently owned by over 47% of managers, he is not only the highest points scorer on the game but also a rank killer every time he does haul. 25 points in his last 3 games, including 2 assists, has averaged his returns at over 7 points a match. Although very expensive, it seems that Alonso is justifying every penny of his value so far this season.
The obvious candidates have been mentioned, and will be some of the most popular transfers over the international break. A popular name discussed and one that we agree has value is Lucas Digne. At £4.9m, he has impressively replaced Baines at full back and played 90 minutes in his last 8 league matches.
He fits the popular attacking FPL full back criteria, already registering an assist this season. He is averaging 1.24 shots per 90 and 2.25 key passes per 90, stats that are bettering top points scorer Alonso. Everton look much stronger defensively over the recent weeks and have some great fixtures over the next month. These games include Cardiff, Watford and Newcastle all at home, a great opportunity for Digne to add to his current assists tally.
The injury list has been growing over the break and popular pick Doherty has been one of those. Reports of the injury suggest that he should be available for GW13, and therefore a potential budget alternative for Mendy. Doherty has been one of the value picks of the season, registering 3 double digit returns so far. This has been reflected in his price increase, starting the season at £4.5m and now valued at £4.9m with a 16% ownership.
He has struggled for points over recent weeks, only getting 4 points in his last 4 matches. These don’t reflect his performances however, as he has been unlucky to not get any attacking returns. Most notably was the wrongly called offside assist against Tottenham.
Over these 4 matches he has taken 7 shots and created 8 key passes, showing he is continuing to be a goal threat for Wolves. The last two matches have also been up against title contenders Tottenham and Arsenal.
The fixtures are now beginning to come good for Wolves, with their next two matches against relegation favourites Huddersfield and Cardiff. We think that Doherty could get his overdue attacking returns against either of these teams and could be the clean sheet Wolves have been looking for since GW8.
A differential budget pick that we could see returning some points is Newcastle’s Yedlin. Newcastle have kept 2 clean sheets in their last 3 and have only conceded 15 goals in 12 matches, far superior than most relegation teams. They face a great run of fixtures, with 5 of the next 6 teams being in the bottom half of the table. At £4.5, he could provide the funds needed to strengthen the rest of the squad and prove a great outside picks for those chasing mini-leagues.
The other low ownership defender that we have our eyes on is Ben Chilwell (£5.1m). Currently owned by 2.5% of FPL managers, he has been in conversation in recent weeks after returning 18 points over the last 2 matches. In the former of the matches he recorded his 2nd assist of the season to highlight his attacking potential in a good Leicester side.
Currently the 5th most crosses by a defender this season (63), he has demonstrated his importance in the team down the left flank. Leicester face Brighton and Fulham away while playing Watford at home in the next 3 matches. Although Leicester may not keep clean sheets in each match, the attacking threat of Chilwell can reward owners in the coming weeks.
Its worth acknowledging Leicester have kept 4 clean sheets in 12 matches this season, 3 of these coming against similar lower ranked teams. Although he isn’t a must-own compared to some of the other alternatives, he has the fixtures and stats to get some great points.
We hope that this has helped in your decision to replace Mendy and given some fresh ideas to the conversation!
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