With the international break comes the opportunity for managers to give their Fantasy Premier League teams an overhaul with wildcards also coming into play.
With seven-game weeks played, most bosses’ will have a good idea of where they need to strengthen heading into the next period of matches. Whether you are playing catch-up in the league or trying to consolidate your lead, now is the time to take stock and make those crucial calls.
"West Ham Vs Birkrikara" (CC BY 2.0) by joshjdss
For those seeking to bolster a failing defence, there are a couple of players that you might want to consider. First up, is Aaron Cresswell who some are tipping to make the England squad for next year’s World Cup, though his current side, West Ham, make for a far riskier wager on match days, and might make better use of William Hill's £30 free bet instead.
Having said that, West Ham seem to have finally put their early season woes behind them having lost just one of their last four in the league to ease the pressure on boss Slaven Bilic. What’s more, they have kept four clean sheets from their last five games in all competitions and three in their last four in the league. Hardly the form of champions but certainly a shift in the right direction for the Londoners.
With the defence improving, a run of fixtures that includes home games against Swansea City and Brighton and away trips to Burnley and Crystal Palace should provide more opportunities for Slaven Bilic’s men to tighten their rear guard.
As well as occupying the full-back role and providing crosses from the wide areas, Cresswell is also on set-piece duty and could rack up some points during this spell. Certainly, one to consider in the list of top five defenders for the next phase.
"Harry Maguire" (CC BY 2.0) by domfell
Our second pick is Harry Maguire, who has already impressed (and picked up points) in his short time at Leicester City. The Foxes have hardly set the world on fire but they have a favourable run of games leading up to Christmas in which they will face just three of the current top eight in the next 11 games.
Maguire has an attacking dimension to his game and should only improve as he settles in at his new club. He is good with the ball at his feet and can chip in key passes, assists and the odd goal here and there.
With lots of money being splashed by bosses keen to squeeze the likes of Romelu Lukaku into their squads, it’s always good to keep a list of budget-friendly defenders to hand.
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