In this guest article, FPLHolly discusses the hot topic of formations in Fantasy Premier League. Holly is one of the most respected accounts in the FPL Community on Twitter. She is a writer for FPLBet and has also recently launched her own site for FPL managers which is sure to be popular. Holly is an active Sportito user and you can pit your wits against her in the FPL GW8 contests on Sportito.

3-4-3 has been the mainstay of fantasy football formations and this season has been no different. In the early parts of a season, where clean sheets are hard to come by, it’s often best to load up on attacking players. However, the tide is turning and we may need to seriously consider our formation in the coming weeks.

Up until GW6, there had been 48 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, compared with 25 and 39 for the previous two seasons respectively. It has been a very good start to the season for the defensive counterparts of our sides, with 12 teams keeping 3 or more clean sheets to date. The teams sitting at the top of the tree are Manchester United with 6, followed by Manchester City with 5 and then Arsenal, Spurs and Huddersfield all on 4. 

Whilst the big name forwards have been particularly consistent in scoring goals, there aren’t many players elsewhere providing the same consistency as the defence. Looking at the upcoming fixtures; Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham, Southampton, Burnley and Newcastle have a particularly good run. Now obviously, with the form that Manchester City are showing, it would be wise to fill the maximum number of positions across your team. They are showing consistency in attack and defence, with Kyle Walker looking like the best option in the back line with his advanced position. However, looking at the other teams in that list, you may be wise to acquire their defensive assets, rather than attackers.

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Lacazette and Sanchez have shown some form for Arsenal, but the wingbacks Bellerin and Kolasinac are consistently bettering their scores, with 1 and 2 assists respectively this season. Despite not being in the wing back position, Monreal appears to be finding pockets of space in the attacking third at times and  even managed a goal last time out. Arsenal have 4 clean sheets on the bounce and face Watford, Everton and Swansea in their next 3.

Chelsea have scored 12 goals this season and Morata has been involved in 8 of them. With his absence due to injury, it’s not entirely obvious who is going to step up to replicate that output, so we must look to their defence for points in the next few weeks. With Palace, Watford and Bournemouth up next, clean sheets definitely look achievable, particularly next week, with the Eagles failing to score so far in the Premier League. Azpilicueta has been the pick so far, with 4 assists, although they were all converted by Morata. Alonso is your best bet for points given his advanced position in the wingback role and with 2 goals already,you can’t go far wrong bringing him in this week. If Conte sticks with the 3-5-2 formation that he used against City, Alonso will have even more space to utilise down the left side. 

After that dismal start to the season, with 10 goals conceded in their first 3 games, West Ham have managed to keep 3 clean sheets in their last 4! I was so surprised that I had to double check, this achievement has gone under the radar somewhat. Joe Hart is at the heart of everything, excuse the pun, with plenty of saves already. If you prefer a defender, Cresswell leads the way in the league with 69 crosses and could be a good option. His starting berth isn’t as secure as Fonte though, who also has 2 assists to his name. With their next 3 games against Burnley, Brighton and Palace; it’s wise to include one of them in your line up.

Southampton, Burnley and Newcastle aren’t exactly setting the Premier League alight with their performances at the minute, and certainly aren’t scoring many goals. However, they are keeping some clean sheets and have a good run of fixtures coming up. Lascelles is king of the goal scorers with 2, meanwhile Yoshida and Ward have both a goal and an assist. All three are worthwhile choices with their upcoming games, even though they play in the more traditional flat back four. 

Spurs have a real mixed bag of fixtures at the moment, but do face Bournemouth in GW8 and Palace in GW11. For those fixtures, I’d definitely have this seasons king of the defenders, Ben Davies, in your side. He has an incredible 2 goals, 3 assists & 3 clean sheets from his 6 starts. You’d be mad to miss him.

My back line for GW8 will be Hart – Alonso – Walker –  Davies – Kolasinac – Ward.

Who will you choose? For those FPL managers on a wildcard, it’s worth considering this change in formation to make up ground, particularly on those casual managers who have had an excellent start.

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