Brittle Stones is far too fragile

Are ‘over-playing’ defenders worth the risk ?

Pep Guardiola is having a month to forget. A home draw with Everton, sandwiched between comprehensive defeats by Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona, was further compounded, when a costly John Stones error gifted Southampton the opening goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.

In his short career, Stones has generated his fair share of ‘column inches’ already. Is he worth the £50m that Chelsea reportedly offered for him? Should he be playing for England? Is he the next Gerard Piqué?

It’s pretty clear that he is far from the finished article, with the Oulala infographic below indicating that he has produced more defensive errors than any other player, since the start of the 2013/14 Premier League season.


Perhaps this isn’t surprising, though, since Guardiola and Stones’ previous manager at Everton, Roberto Martinez, are known to actively encourage their sides to play out from the back. Maybe such risk-taking is excessive at times – City have managed just one clean sheet in their opening 9 games, while Everton  conceded 55 goals last season, a figure that was only bettered by the 5 teams that propped up the table.

Kyle Walker also features on the list but the Spurs’ defender hasn’t put a foot wrong this season in a Tottenham side that has only conceded 4 league goals. Spurs boasted the best goal difference in the last campaign, with no team conceding fewer goals and their regular back 4 have mustered just the solitary defensive error between them so far this season, recording 5 shut-outs in the process. Maybe Mauricio Pochettino has got the balance just right!

It’s always nice to include a goal-scoring defender in any fantasy football line-up but you should always remember that clean sheets are the ‘bread and butter’ in most game formats, with those valuable fantasy points making the difference between where contests are won and lost.

There is a famous phrase that says ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ so have a think about that the next time you are putting together your fantasy team, especially if you are the type of manager that likes to stack defenders and goalkeepers from the same team in a block defence strategy!

Does the risk outweigh the reward when it comes to picking defenders that ‘like to play’? Let us know what you think.