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The best FPL goalkeepers and defenders for a Gameweek 27 Free Hit

After the Triple Captain and Wildcard chips took center stage in Gameweek 26, the Free Hit is about to see widespread usage in Gameweek 27.

Almost 40% of the site readers polled in our sidebar vote said they are planning to activate their Free Hit chip this week, so it’s with this in mind that we have produced a position-by-position guide to pick out the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) options in each position.

You can read our rundown of the standout forwards here.

All stats taken from this article are from our Premium Members Area.

NICK POPE

The best FPL goalkeepers for a Double Gameweek 26 Free Hit 7

Nick Pope (£5.4m) looks to be the standout goalkeeper pick for those on a Free Hit and it’s not just because he’s the only shot-stopper with two fixtures in Gameweek 27.

It’s also the form of the Clarets’ backline: Pope has remarkably conceded just three goals in his last nine appearances, registering six clean sheets along the way. He hasn’t even been that overworked, ranking just joint-10th for saves made across his last half-dozen run-outs, which is a testament to the back four in front of him.

Bonus points have been flowing, too, with eight arriving in the last seven matches. With the Burnley defense not racking up passes or chances created to boost their own scores on the Bonus Points System (BPS), and the forwards hardly scoring freely, a goalkeeper in a no-frills side like Sean Dyche’s will often mop up the bonus points in low scoring games.

Matches against Crystal Palace and Leicester City aren’t easy, it has to be said: both clubs rank in the top eight for goals scored this season. But Champions League-chasing sides like West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs have all either been shut out completely or reduced to just one goal by the Clarets over the last 11 Gameweeks, so Burnley have been holding their own against the Premier League elite.

BEN MEE + OTHER BURNLEY DEFENDERS

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All of what we said about Burnley’s new-found solidity above applies to their defenders, too, of course.

And Palace and Leicester’s fallibility at dead-ball situations should also be to the interest of James Tarkowski (£4.9m) and ben mee (£4.8m).

Ranked joint-fourth and joint-eighth respectively among defenders for set-piece attempts in 2021/22, Mee and Tarkowski have six attacking returns between them already this season. Mee indeed found the back of the net in midweek, to underscore his aerial threat.

As for the cheaper alternatives at the back, the return from injury of CharlieTaylor (£4.4m) does slightly cast doubt over Eric Pieters‘ (£4.2m) minutes but it would still be a surprise to see Sean Dyche shake up a backline that has been in such good form of late.

Connor Roberts (£4.5m) is a name worth mentioning for bargain-hunters, after registering three chances created and as many bonus points in Gameweek 26. He seems to have seen off Matthew Lowton‘s (£4.4m) challenge at right-back for now, with the previous incumbent not losing his place through injury – as was the case with Taylor.

DAVID DE GEA/HARRY MAGUIRE

The best FPL goalkeepers for a Double Gameweek 22 Free Hit

With Watford struggling for goals of late (just three scored from their last eight matches) and now under the guidance of a safety-first manager, there’s a strong shout for a representative of the Manchester United backline in a Free Hit side this week.

The problem is that has been the case for the past few months with the Red Devils’ favorite fixture run and they’ve fluttered to deceive time and time again: just two shut-outs have arrived in their last 10 matches, with the likes of Newcastle, Brentford, Burnley and Southampton finding their way past David de Gea (£5.4m).

With the full-back positions tough to call, the United custodian probably remains the stand-out route into the United backline.

He’s compensated for the shut-out shortage with 11 save and five bonus points since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival, making more stops than any other goalkeeper since the change in manager and averaging 4.5 points per match under his interim head coach.

Harry Maguire (£5.4m) seems to be rotation-proof under Rangnick despite some iffy form and he’s a similarly safe route into the United backline. He finally delivered on his untapped set-piece potential in Gameweek 26, finding the net against Leeds.

KYLE WALKER-PETERS

Walker-Peters has fixtures but as yet unproven pedigree as a budget FPL defender

Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) is arguably now Southampton’s first-choice full-back on current form. Adept at playing on either flank, and consequently having two routes into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s starting XI, his manager has likened him to Philip Lahm recently for his versatility.

The former Spurs man has really improved the attacking side of his game of late, with one goal and two assists in his last seven outings. In that time he recorded 10 chances created, seven shots in the box and 19 penalty area touches, all very competitive totals among defenders.

The clean sheets haven’t flowed for Southampton, it must be said: last weekend’s shut-out against Everton was Saints’ first since Gameweek 11.

But the south-coast club will at least be coming up against a Norwich City side who have failed to score in 15 of their 25 league fixtures, finding the back of the net on fewer occasions than any other team.

Tino Livramento (£4.3m) is of course the cheaper, more popular alternative in FPL, and he showcased his own attacking skillset with an assist on his league comeback from injury last weekend. But with Romain Perraud (£4.8m) recovering from Covid-19 in time for the Norwich game, the Frenchman – who impressed during Livramento’s absence – does pose some rotation risk to the teenage full-back.

JOAO CANCELO

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There’s not much more we can say to you about João Cancelo (£7.1m), who averages more points per match (5.9) than any other midfielder or forward in FPL bar a certain Liverpool-based Egyptian.

With nine attacking returns and 13 clean sheets to his name in 24 appearances this season, Cancelo should go close to the 200-point mark by the time 2021/22 draws to a close.

He’s also, remarkably for a defender, 10th among all outfield players for goal attempts – only one of which has been converted, admittedly – in the current campaign, ahead of the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£11.7m) and Son Heung-min (£10.8m).

We’re not quite sure what to expect from Frank Lampard’s up-and-down Everton side but Cancelo enjoyed facing the Toffees earlier in the season, racking up 12 points in a 3-0 win.

With Everton third-bottom for attempts conceded from set plays, Aymeric Laporte (£5.8m) is also worth a shout out this week. Averaging 6.5 points per match over his last 10 run-outs, the Spain international is a menace at dead-ball situations, banking three goals and two assists already in 2021/22.

OTHER CANDIDATES

Digne's FPL potential evident in Aston Villa debut

The once-fancied assets from Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa have slightly gone off the boil of late, certainly from a defensive perspective: not one of those clubs has recorded more than two clean sheets over the last 13 Gameweeks.

Marc Guehi (£4.5m) is third among FPL defenders for baseline bonus points (BBPS) this season, however. He should rack up plenty of those against Burnley, from passes completed to clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBIs), and despite their recent upswing in form, the Clarets are still the division’s second-lowest scorers.

The ever unpredictable Lucas Digne (£5.1m) is third among FPL defenders for chances created since his Villa debut, meanwhile.

Newcastle and Eddie Howe don’t seem like a defensive match-up made in paradise but the Magpies have tightened up considerably of late, keeping two clean sheets and conceding only four goals in their last six matches. Dan Burn (£4.4m) has slotted in seamlessly at his boyhood club and not only carries a threat from set plays but, given his gargantuan frame, should also mop up a lot of recoveries and CBIs against a Brentford side who like to go direct. That should help boost his Gameweek 27 fortunes on the Bonus Points System.

It’s just one clean sheet in the last six for Wolves, who nevertheless still boasts the joint-third-best defensive record in the division this season. The fact that no-one has stopped West Ham from scoring on home soil this season is a black mark against Jose Sat (£5.2m) and co, however.

In the same fixture, Aaron Cresswell (£5.3m) is a bit of a differential punt. Ranked joint-fifth among defenders for bonus points and with five attacking returns to his name, he’ll be up against a Wolves side that have scored fewer goals than all bar two sides – albeit who have found the net on 10 occasions in their last six games.


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