Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were considered to be the best full-back pairing in the Premier League last season. The English duo contributed immensely as Tottenham scored a league high 86 goals in the Premier League last season while conceding the least (26 goals).
The modern fullback has to be a very versatile player. With so many teams experimenting with 3 man defences, full-backs need to be excellent athletes. They are required to do a lot of running up and down the pitch while having a good awareness of when to join the attack and support their wingers and when to drop back and help the team defend. In short, they need to be good all round footballers.
Pep Guardiola has broken the record transfer fee for a full back (Luke Shaw to Manchester United, €37.5 million) twice this summer, bringing in Walker (€48.5million) from Spurs and Benjamin Mendy (€54.6 million) from Monaco. Both of them add a dimension to the team that was not possible last season and they also make for very interesting FPL prospects as Manchester City have one of the best attacks in the league and with a front line of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, it will be easy for the pair to rack up assists and get points. With the possibility of a fit Vincent Kompany and newly bought Ederson doing well in preseason, there are points to be earned for clean sheets as well.
Let’s see how they compare against some of the top defenders in the Fantasy league last season.
Alonso played almost exclusively as a left wing back and is expected to do the same this season as well, leading to his high price (£7.0) although the number of games he plays in the league might reduce as Chelsea look to balance a return to the Champions League in their schedule. He scored 6 goals last season and was helped by Chelsea’s excellent defence in accumulating clean sheet points. His chances created per game (0.74) are a bit low compared to his competitors though. It remains to be seen who Antonio Conte buys as a back up for him this season but he remains a reliable, albeit expensive option.
Rose is recovering from an injury that kept him out towards the end of last season and which let him play only 18 of 38 games as Ben Davies stood in for him. However, he is an excellent player and is a good bet to get points when he plays. Even in the 18 games that he did play in, the English full-back was able to score 2 goals and assist another 2. His all round game is excellent as well with 1.44 chances created and 1.94 successful tackles per game the highest in this company. If he can keep himself fit, £6.5 seems like a good amount to spend on him.
Kyle Walker played the most regularly (33 games) and was dropped only towards the end of the season after falling out with his manager Mauricio Pochettino. He garnered 5 assists and his pace allows him a good chance of getting behind the opposition defence on the overlap. His final ball is criticized by some, but that can be expected to improve as Pep Guardiola takes him under his wing. He has been bright in the two preseason games as well and his link with Sterling and De Bruyne in front of him has been very good. At £6.5 he can also be considered a safe bet as he will play many games and City can always be expected to score so he has the opportunity to rack up assist points.
Benjamin Mendy is a bit of a wild card since he is yet to play in the Premier League and is also injured and not expected to play in the season opener against Brighton and Hove Albion. He is a very explosive player and has an excellent assist record in a team which was breathtaking going forward last season in the French League. He had 0.2 assists and made 1.68 interceptions per game. At £6.5 he is expensive for now and it would be advisable to wait for him to return to full fitness before spending the money.