With final stats now in place, as the season came to an end a few weeks ago, it’s useful to take stock of the best performing players. This blog outlines the top 10 highest scoring defenders for the 2016/2017 season. Hopefully this information will be useful for team selection for the next campaign.
1. Azpilicueta – Chelsea
Games played: 47
Despite the lack of European football Azpilicueta tops the list of highest scoring defenders. He got a lot of game time at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea raced towards the title and reached the FA cup final. He featured in the most games of any defender over the season as Chelsea’s back line was relatively unchanged for the duration.
2. Cahill – Chelsea
Games played: 43
Cahill came in second on the list of highest scoring defenders. He also appears to have benefited from Chelsea’s run to the FA cup final and league form. He picked up a ton of 7+ ratings and chipped in with a few goals during the season. Could be one to watch for next season but his price tag is likely to be very high initially.
3. Otamendi – Man City
Games played: 43
I’m a little surprised to see Otamendi coming in as the third highest scoring defender. Man City were notoriously bad defensively for most of the campaign, however Otamendi appeared to pick up a number of 7+ ratings and seemed to be playing in most of the games City did manage to keep a clean sheet.
4. Alonso – Chelsea
Games played: 35
Alonso made an instant impression at Chelsea and had he been playing from the start of the season could well have been pushing for the top spot. He played a number of games less than Azpilicueta and Cahill but still managed a points total of 172. Should budget allow I’d like to include a Chelsea defender in my starting lineup for next season.
5. Vertonghen – Tottenham
Games played: 42
Spurs had a fantastic season and picked up the joint highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League (17). Vertonghen was a regular starter and clearly benefited in terms of points from this run of form. I would personally favour Alderweireld when it comes to team selection for next season but I’d imagine both will be very highly valued.
6. Blind – Man Utd
Games played: 38
I was a little surprised to see Blind make the top 10. Man Utd had a strong defensive system at times in the Premier League, securing 17 clean sheets along the way. However I hadn’t particularly noticed Blind as the first defender on the team sheet under Mourinho. He may well have benefited from injuries and additional, perhaps easier games in the EFL cup and Europa League.
7. Van Dijk – Southampton
Games played: 30
Van Dijk was having an outstanding season at Southampton before injury cut his campaign short. He also contributed a few goals before his long layoff. He could be one to watch for the upcoming season, depending on which club he ends up playing for.
8. Alderweireld – Tottenham
Games played: 39
Alderweireld was as solid as ever for Spurs. He was unfortunate to pick up a few injuries during the season and this limited his game time slightly. He would be my first choice defender for next season, however once again I think his price tag may put me off slightly as I save budget for expensive strikers.
9. Kolarov – Man City
Games played: 40
Kolarov had another strong season at Man City and despite being scrutinised defensively, they did manage to pick up 12 clean sheets in the Premier League. Kolarov always seems to pick up a 7+ rating resulting in his points racking up fairly quickly. He may be a good buy for next season as he’s never overly expensive.
10. Davies – Tottenham
Games played: 35
Davies is the only defender to make the top 10 who, in my opinion, was available at a reasonable price. He offered cover for the injured Danny Rose and acquired a large number of points during this run of games.
What’s interesting about the top 10 highest scorers above, is that they all reflect a high price tag from the start of the season. I generally look for defenders between the 3-4m mark and only Davies would have been affordable in this bracket. Unfortunately there’s not enough budget to simply buy the most expensive players in every position on the field. As a result I always tend to opt for budget or bargain defenders as they appear to score less overall points on average than more attacking players. What’s also interesting is the distribution of clubs the top 10 defenders play for:
Man City (2)
Man Utd (1)
Once again we see that teams who finish higher up in the league have more representation than teams lower down. This is as you would expect, however it’s not always true in some cases. The absence of any Liverpool defenders suggests it’s wise to choose carefully as a top four finish does not always mean high point scoring defenders. It’s an interesting exercise to look at the biggest point scorers, however I don’t think it will change my thought process when it comes to picking a team for next season. I still believe it’s worth spending big on strikers and cutting back in the defence, but getting the perfect balance has always proved difficult.
As always, share your thoughts/ideas in the comments below.
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