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Cancelo, Alexander-Arnold, Reece James… the best defenders in the Premier League this season

Defenders have revolutionized the modern game, with attacking full-backs having become cheat codes in FPL in recent seasons.

Now is the time to rethink the balance and formation of our fantasy squad, putting these defenders front and center with some important premium options.

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The best premium defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) is deservedly the most expensive defender in the game, with 14 goals involved last season. His price rose to finish at £8.4million last season, so it’s a surprise to see his price frozen for this campaign.

Alexander-Arnold created more chances (90) than any other Premier League player last season, regardless of position. He is an integral part of the Liverpool defense which kept 21 games unscathed last season alongside team-mate Andrew Robertson (£7.0m).

Robertson is slightly cheaper, but he matched Alexander-Arnold in attacking output last season (14). He is ranked fourth in points scored in 2022, with 117. Only Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne can do better.

Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) is also a good option: he played more minutes than any other outfield player for City last season. With one goal, 11 assists and 19 games without a goal, he broke the 200 point mark.

Sticking to Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) offers a route into defense at a cheaper price. Laporte scored four goals last season and provided two assists, benefiting from De Bruyne’s excellent assists.

Chelsea wingers Reece James (£6.0m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) displayed outstanding attacking performances last season. James has matched Liverpool full-backs in attacking output with significantly fewer minutes.

Chilwell was in fine form at the start of last season before suffering a knee injury. He finished as the top starter in points per game and could be a strong contender, although there are rumors that Tuchel will adopt a flat-four defense this season which could hamper their performance.

Ivan Perisic (£5.5million) has been heavily used during pre-season. He was bought by Antonio Conte to play as a left-back, a position he knows well having played with him at Inter.

He’s been absent from some pre-season training and games so fitness issues are a concern, but if he gets any minutes he’ll be a great FPL option. We’ve seen Spurs wingers rack up plenty of attacking returns since Conte took charge.

The best budget defenders

Looking at the defenders’ prices at £5.0million, some stand out: Kieran Trippier and Matty Cash. Trippier dominates set pieces for Newcastle United, who are looking to bolster their squad under new owners. They are among the best defensive performances since the arrival of Eddie Howe.

Cash scored four goals and provided three assists last season: impressive numbers for this price point. Aston Villa have a good run of openers, with significant clean sheet potential.

When it comes to prize money, Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.5m) is one of the favourites. It’s a good price to get into the Arsenal defense and the excellent results he’s had mean he’s viable as a starter every week, but don’t expect too many attacking returns.

Wolves are another team that features an attractive opening schedule. Jonny (4.5 million pounds) is versatile and plays as a full-back on either flank. Wolves are a team that don’t score many points and hold up well in defence.

Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) and James Justin (£4.5m) arrived at very attractive prices for Brighton and Leicester respectively. Both have mixed results, but you can use them as fourth and fifth defenders, playing each for their best results.

Dunk scored five goals penultimate season and Justin was one of the players of the season that campaign before his unfortunate injury. Neco Williams (£4.0million) could be the bargain for our fancy benches, having joined Nottingham Forest from Liverpool.

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