Don’t be alarmed if you experience an intense feeling of déjà vu in the next minute.
A few weeks ago we highlighted Jannick Vestergaard’s (£3.0m) impressive efforts in 2020/21.
The gigantic Dane was among the top ten defenders in Dream Team when he was sidelined with a reoccurrence of an old knee injury.
He was owned by just 0.7% of bosses when he started mixing it with the big boys but his popularity nearly tripled when it became apparent there was value to be had at St Mary’s.
In Vestergaard’s absence, Jan Bednarek (£2.7m) has stepped up to replicate his centre-back partner’s success almost exactly.
Southampton’s impressive rearguard against Liverpool was their third consecutive clean sheet, making the Poland international one of the most in-form defenders available.
Bednarek now has 69 points, a tally bettered by only six defenders.
But whereas those above him all feature in at least 10% of teams, Ralph Hassenhuttl’s stalwart is currently producing points for just 0.7% of gaffers — probably made up of the same hardcore Saints who owned Vestergaard from the off.
Bednarek is now outperforming the likes of Thiago Silva (£4.4m), Ruben Dias (£3.9m) and James Justin (£3.1m).
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So how likely is it that he will continue to rise up the ranks in the coming weeks?
Southampton play Shrewsbury in the FA Cup (where Bednarek may well be rested) before Premier League fixtures against Leicester, Leeds, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
That looks like a tricky spell for Saints’ defence as the Foxes and Marcelo Bielsa’s side are two of only five teams to have scored 30+ goals in the league this season.
Villa are just one goal away from joining that club and they’ve played two games fewer than the majority of their rivals.
And the Gunners are enjoying an upturn in form having won three games in a row for the first time in months.
However, if Bednarek and co can keep a clean sheet against Liverpool then there’s no reason they can’t frustrate other opposition.
Only three teams have conceded fewer goals than Southampton at this stage.
But it’s possible most bosses have missed the boat given Southampton’s fixtures and the fact European football will recommence next month.
Still, with an ownership of 0.7%, he’s an option for those seeking a differential player.
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