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FPL tips: The 5 defenders elite managers couldn’t live without in GW32

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

As most FPL managers will know by now, defenders are back in fashion this season, with the best players offering potential for points at both ends of the pitch.

But which PL defenders are the toast of the FPL elite?

By analysing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can see how the best bosses prepared for gameweek 32.

These were the best owned defenders among them going into the weekend.

A graphic showing the top-owned defenders among elite FPL managers in gameweek 32

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Manchester City’s Jack Grealish (left) and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday April 10, 2022

(Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool’s right-back is the third-highest scoring FPL player this term with 191 points, behind only his teammate Mohamed Salah and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min.

Alexander-Arnold was backed by more than 70 per cent of our sample in GW32 despite his team’s title clash with Manchester City.

The £8.4m Englishman ranks first for Creativity among defenders and second for Threat, and did register an assist and four FPL points during the Reds’ 2-2 draw with City.

Alexander-Arnold now has two goals, 12 FPL assists and 16 clean sheets this term, while none of Liverpool’s remaining league fixtures are ranked higher than three out of five by the FPL’s Fixture Difficulty Rating system.

Matt Doherty

Tottenham Hotspur’s Matt Doherty warming up prior to kick-off before the Emirates FA Cup fifth round match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Picture date: Tuesday March 1, 2022

(Mike Egerton/PA)

Battling it out for a Champions League spot rather than the title, Doherty’s popularity with the elite hit 66.8 per cent ahead of Tottenham’s trip to Aston Villa.

The £4.9m full-back registered two goals, four assists and three clean sheets in the six games leading up to GW32, returning 55 FPL points in that time.

He only managed 20 minutes of his team’s 4-0 win against Villa however, scoring one point and missing out on a potential big score.

With Spurs’ next three games rated two out of five by the Fixture Difficulty Rating system, Doherty might not feature due to a knock.

Joao Cancelo

Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday February 19, 2022

(MIke Egerton/PA)

Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City boast their own in-demand full-back, with Cancelo backed by more than 44 per cent of our top manager sample in GW32.

The Portuguese returned five points against Liverpool thanks to an assist, taking his season total to one goal, nine assists and 16 clean sheets.

Ranked first for Threat among defenders and third for Creativity, Cancelo also has the most minutes of any outfield player in Pep Guardiola’s squad, having missed just two league games this season.

City’s remaining fixtures meanwhile are rated no higher than three out of five on the FPL’s Fixture Difficulty Rating system – will the £7m defender have a say in where the title goes?

Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Tuesday February 22, 2022

(John Walton/PA)

Third-place Chelsea boasted the fourth-most popular defender among our elite managers in GW32, with Rudiger backed by more than a third of them.

Like Cancelo, Rudiger has missed just two league games this season, while he is the second-highest FPL points scorer at Stamford Bridge with 131 points.

Ranked fourth for Threat among defenders, the 29-year-old has three goals and three assists this term, and he added six more points thanks to his 13th clean sheet of the season against Southampton in GW32.

Chelsea can look forward to consecutive double gameweeks in GW36 and GW37 meanwhile, and their form is strong having scored 15 goals in their last five, with four wins in that period.

Andy Robertson

Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday March 16, 2022

(John Walton/PA)

In at number five among our top managerial sample is Scotland’s captain Robertson, whose elite ownership clocked in at 33.6 per cent in GW32.

Robertson makes for a more cost effective option than Alexander-Arnold, coming in at £7.3m, while he ranks second for Creativity among defenders behind his club colleague.

The left-back’s form meanwhile is something to marvel at, with six assists, eight clean sheets and 79 FPL points in his nine appearances ahead of GW32.

A yellow card and two goals conceded against City however meant Robertson returned zero points at the weekend.

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