FPL bosses have spent the build-up to gameweek seven battling an injury crisis in defence.
Three of the game’s most popular defenders are either ruled out through injury or doubtful ahead of their team’s next league fixture.
But who are they, and who have they been replaced by?
Luke Shaw is the most owned defender in the game, even after his ownership dropped by around 650,000 ahead of GW7.
The England left-back is given a 75 per cent chance of appearing for Manchester United against Everton in GW7, but reports suggest he will miss the match as he sat out his team’s Champions League game in midweek.
Shaw is the number two ranked defender for Creativity so far this season – still owned by around 32 per cent of managers however, it seems plenty are willing to wait for his return to the starting XI.
The game’s most expensive defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold, has seen an ownership drop of more than 350,000 ahead of GW7 with the news that a groin injury will rule him out of Liverpool’s game against Manchester City.
At £7.6m plenty of bosses felt unable to be patient with the England right-back, despite his status as the number one ranked defender for Creativity.
His two assists and three clean sheets so far this term have not yet been enough to convince managers that he is back to his best – injury problems will not have strengthened his cause.
Meanwhile, in our ‘cheap’ bracket Leeds defender Luke Ayling – who faces a spell out with a knee problem – has seen a drop in ownership of more than 115,000.
At £4.5m Ayling has enjoyed ownership of around a million for most of the season, while four upcoming games rated just two out of five for difficulty by the FPL held the potential for clean sheet points.
Leading the replacements in defence is Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, who looks to have been swapped in directly for Alexander-Arnold in the squads of thousands.
Alonso’s ownership has jumped by around 400,000 managers ahead of the Blues’ game against Southampton, a fixture which kicks off a run of favourable opponents such as Brentford, Norwich and Newcastle.
At £5.9m the Spaniard represents better value than Trent this season, with a goal, an assist and four clean sheets in an improving Chelsea side who have beaten Tottenham and Arsenal, as well as holding Liverpool at Anfield.
Alonso’s underlying stats make for good reading too, ranked second for Threat and fourth for Creativity among defenders this term.
In the mid-price bracket, Aston Villa’s Matthew Cash has seen an ownership increase of more than 80,000 after a goal and two clean sheets in GW5 and GW6.
Cash notched 15 points against Everton in a 3-0 win, before adding points in Villa’s shock 1-0 victory at Manchester United – at £5m and 3.2 per cent ownership, he could make a fine differential.
And last but not least, everybody’s favourite bargain defender Tino Livramento continues to grow in popularity.
The Southampton defender has seen an ownership increase of around 60,000 ahead of GW7 – having played in every league game so far, he has earned clean sheets in two of them.
At £4.2m (having started the season at £4m) he is doing more than enough to justify his place as a fifth-choice defender in thousands of squads around the world.
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