This is a brief synoposis of an article By Cooper, available for FREE at EPL Index. If you haven’t visited their site, please do and consider registering. Inexpensive and loads of Opta Stats presented in easy to navigate pages.
The phenomenal Leighton Baines has inspired a post dedicated to the most creative defenders to ply their trade in the Barclays Premier League this term. Looking at each players passing, dribbles attempted, chances created and goals to compile a list of five of the top creative defenders going forward. FantasyGaffer makes a point to statting – do not chance defender goals! Goals can not be predicted. Robert Huth and John Terry are prime examples. Prior to Terry’s six-goal haul in the 2011-12 season, the Chelsea skipper had scored only six goals over his previous three Premier League campaigns combined.
5. Branislav Ivanovic
The Chelsea player leads all defenders at this early stage of the 2012-13 season with two goals scored and has converted 100% of his clear-cut chances this year (2). Where Ivanovic has made his mark in Chelsea’s attack is with his passing. He has competed 15 of his 22 long balls, completing at least one in Chelsea’s opening six Premier League fixtures, and he has made 34 final third entries. Final third entries are passes made into the attacking third of the pitch. Ivanovic has made at least four such passes in each of the Blue’s six league fixtures this term. The Serbian defender has completed 199/243 total passes (82%) and three of his 21 crosses to date.
4. Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson
Arsene Wenger’s two wing-backs are hard to separate this season and both have been given a bit of license to press the attack down their respective flanks. The left-back is level with Mikel Arteta on chances created and has created only one more than Jenkinson (6). While Gibbs has embarked on nine dribbles, Jenkinson has attempted 10 – completing an impressive 50% of those. Between the two defenders, they have created better than two chances, and completed more than one dribble, per Premier League fixture this term.
Gibbs has not been derelict in his defensive duties. By way of WhoScored we receive this interesting stat:
Kieran Gibbs: Has made more interceptions than any other player in the Premier League this season, with 23 – 7 more than any other defender
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 4, 2012
There is a solid EPL fantasy case to be made for adding any of the below defenders. With the possible addition of the Chelsea defenders, who each command a price of £6.5m or more and, as noted in the fact that Ashley Cole had not scored in more than two years prior to his gameweek five tally, simply do not get forward in the attack like other options. EPL fantasy is about maximizing chances for cost and Roberto Di Matteo’s side does not accomplish that – unless you count Ryan Bertrand who is currently sixth choice at the back and perhaps somewhere further down the pecking order in the attack at the moment.
To read the full article, complete with OPTA stats for Rafael, Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Glen Johnson, Kyle Walker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Leighton Baines, click here.
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