FPL and the value of a clean sheet

1:30pm Dec 1 2021

Whether you are a Premier League boss in the real world or a fantasy one, there are certain qualities that will forever be sought in those chosen to grace any starting XI. Goals win games and finding the back of the net remains the most difficult of arts to master.

Find yourself a prolific striker and you will not go far wrong, with points making prizes in all forms of football. There is, however, an old saying that rings as true today as it has ever done: “Offence sells tickets but defence wins championships”.

Picking opponents apart in the final third is all well and good, but you need to be able to keep them out at the other end of the field in order to prevail and turn ultimate dreams into reality. For many a manager, a destructive centre-back can be as important as a devastating centre-forward. A safe pair of hands between the sticks is also a must, with reliable goalkeepers worth their weight in gold.

Naturally, the teams with the best defensive records are often challenging for titles and this is no different in the Premier League. Within title-chasing markets at Space Casino betting, it is the likes of defending champions Manchester City priced at 71/100 and hopefuls Chelsea valued at 43/20 that have blended a resilient defence with a free-flowing attack.

There is plenty of attacking talent to be found at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge, as well as at Anfield and Old Trafford. However, it is an ability to keep clean sheets that tends to separate the best from the rest.

Keeping faith

In the FPL realm, it is easy to nail colours to the masts of those battling it out towards the top of the table. When looking for a last line of defence, why would you look much further than Ederson, Alisson or Edouard Mendy?

They can be expected to figure prominently in another keenly-fought battle for Golden Glove supremacy, but they do not come cheap in any kind of transfer market. Value can, however, be found elsewhere. For those looking to load their sides with creativity and goals – and there are plenty of points to be picked up there – then a bargain goalkeeper can be a blessing.

Diamonds in the rough can be tricky to find during pre-season and it is difficult to know what to expect from sides welcoming fresh faces into their ranks both on and off the pitch. A few weeks in, though, and the picture starts to become a little clearer. As Christmas looms into view, you start to realise that Southampton have picked up a useful habit of shutting opponents out, making Alex McCarthy of obvious appeal. At the same time, Patrick Vieira has proved the doubters wrong so far in his stint at Crystal Palace,  as covered in-depth by Football London. He has utilised Vicente Guaita as his No.1 so far

Steven Gerrard can be expected to plug a few leaks at Aston Villa with his focus on defensive organisation and winning mentality as he discussed with Sky Sports. Emi Martinez is a useful option at his disposal, while Aaron Ramsdale has edged out Bernd Leno at Arsenal and shown that he has the reflexes and footwork to be a welcome addition to any side.

These are selections that will not break the bank, disrupt best-laid plans or deliver unwelcome headaches. The first piece of the puzzle can often be the hardest to get right, but with a pinch of patience and good fortune, it can be found.