Gameweek 23

Gameweek 23 Preview

Arsenal vs Watford:

After battering Southampton 5-0 in the FA Cup and with their recent league form. Arsenal can certainly be considered one of the most in form teams in the league. Arsenal have scored 9 goals in their last 3 games and have 3 clean sheets in their last 5 games.  Since getting off to a great start to the season, Watford have really seemed to struggle since November, picking up only 6 points in their last 10 games.

Players to watch:

  • Sanchez (£11.9m) – The league’s highest points scorer (162 points) and the league’s joint top goal scorer (15 goals) in the league. Watford have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 7 games and that was against Middlesbrough who have struggled in front of goal this season. Sanchez has managed 3 goals and an assist in his last 5 games and he’s also hit the woodwork 5 times in all competitions this season.
  • Koscielny (£6.5m) – The 5th highest scoring defender with 95 points, he’s an absolute bonus points magnet – scoring 17 bonus points (more than any other defender). He’s gained 9 of those bonus points in his last 5 games racking up the maximum of 3 bonus points each time. Watford have only scored 2 goals in their last 3 matches and they both came against a leaky Bournemouth defence in their last game. With the rest of Arsenal’s defence back to full fitness, I’d expect a clean sheet and Koscielny to pick up some bonus points.
  • Deeney (£6.6m) – A bit of a long shot but Deeney is starting to show an ounce of form scoring 2 goals in his last 5 games. His power and aerial ability could certainly cause Arsenal problems and he’s Watford’s penalty taker. Arsenal have given away 7 penalties this season which is the second highest in the league (Hull have given away 10). So there’s certainly a possibility of him getting amongst the goals this weekend.

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace:

Two teams who are low in confidence and have been conceding goals for fun as of late. Given that Bournemouth have conceded 11 goals in their last 5 games and Crystal Palace have conceded 9, I could see there being quite a few goals in this game. Bournemouth have had little issue scoring at home, scoring 21 goals in their 11 games at the Vitality Stadium this season, Palace on the other hand will look far more of an attacking threat with the returns of Zaha (AFCON) and Remy (Long-term injury) and the recent signings of Schlupp and van Aanholt.

Players to watch:

  • Stanislas (£5.3m) – When he’s fit he’s one of Bournemouth’s best attacking FPL players. He’s only played in roughly half of their games this season and he’s still managed to be their 2nd highest points scorer with 73 points. This translates into 4 goals and 6 assists for the season and 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 4 games.
  • Fraser (£4.9m) – Currently Bournemouth’s most in form player with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games. He’s yet to complete 90 minutes in the league this season but judging by his recent form, he doesn’t need a whole game to score points.
  • Daniels(£5.3m) – He’s been an FPL revelation this season, he’s the 7th highest scoring defender in the game (beating Baines, Rose and McAuley in the process). Although he’s listed as a defender he often plays further forward, with Francis returning after a 3 game ban, this should certainly be the case. With the 3 goals, 3 assists, 12 bonus points and the fact that he’s often takes penalties. He will certainly offer a lot of danger to Palace’s lacklustre defence.
  • Zaha (£5.5m) – Back after returning from AFCON, Zaha remains Palace’s highest points scorer with 88 points, he’s scored 4 goals and got 8 assists this season. This will surely give their attack a good boost and could also lead to more points for my next pick.
  • Christian Benteke (£7.3m) – Likely to be an unpopular pick given that he hasn’t scored in his last 7 games but the return of Zaha and the attacking ability of new signings Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt could certainly provide more opportunities for Benteke to get on the scoresheet.

 

Burnley vs Leicester:

Burnley have been phenomenal at home this season with Sean Dyche’s side gaining 25 of their 26 points at home. Meanwhile Leicester have only managed to secure 3 points away from home this season. Burnley have won 3 of their last 5 games and still managed to score in their recent defeats to Man City and Arsenal. Leicester have only scored 1 goal in their last 5 games and have only managed to get 1 win and 1 draw in their last 5 games. Based on the statistics, all signs point to a Burnley win… but you can never quite rule Leicester out.

Players to watch:

  • Heaton (£5.0m) – Heaton has been incredible all season, he’s the king of the save points having gained 23 points purely through saves. He’s also managed to keep 5 clean sheets and gained 16 bonus points. He’s the 2nd highest scoring goalkeeper in the game and whether Burnley keep a clean sheet or not, he’s still likely to give you a decent score.
  • Gray (£6.2m) – With 5 goals in his last 5 games and Leicester conceding 6 goals in their last 2 games, Andre Gray certainly provides a good cheap striker option for FPL managers.
  • Schmeichel (£4.9m) – He’s managed to keep a respectable 2 clean sheets in his last 5 games, although he has shipped 6 goals in his last 2 games.

 

Middlesbrough vs West Brom:

Middlesbrough seem to have stolen West Brom’s crown of the mid-table king of the clean sheet this season. Aitor Karanka’s men have kept 7 clean sheets this season with their more than reliable defence.Middlesbrough’s downfall this season has been their inability to score, they are the lowest scorers in the league with 18 goals and only have 2 goals in their last 5 league games.

Tony Pulis seems to have evolved his West Brom team from defensively stable into a free-scoring attacking side. With 3 wins in their last 5 games, West Brom find themselves in 8th position in the league table.

Players to watch:

  • Brunt (£5.0m) – Brunt is really a midfielder but he’s been classed as a defender this year, this is only a positive for the people who own him. With 3 goals and 3 assists this season alongside the fact that he takes some free kicks and corners, Brunt Is one of the most dangerous FPL defenders around. Facing a Middlesbrough side who have only scored 2 goals in their last 5 games, Brunt’s clean sheet potential is high and there’s always a chance of him getting attacking returns.
  • McAuley (£4.9m) – McAuley is the highest scoring defender in terms of goals this season with 4 goals and has played every minute of every game. With a goal, an assist and a clean sheet in his last 3 games and very favourable fixtures going forward, McAuley should certainly be someone most FPL managers should be looking at if they don’t already own him.
  • Phillips (£5.9m) – Phillips has quietly scored consistent points this season, outscoring FPL favourites such as Ozil, Sigurdsson and Walcott. With 4 goals and 9 assists to his name, he has recently become a mainstay in a lot of teams with his ownership currently at 21.8% of all teams. He’s racked up 3 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 games.
  • Gibson (£4.9m) – If Middlesbrough are to keep a clean sheet, Gibson is going to be at the heart of it all. Having played every minute of every game this season, he’s managed 7 clean sheets and gained 9 bonus points (the second highest in the team behind Negredo).

 

Sunderland vs Tottenham:

If there is one banker game this week, THIS should be it! All signs point to a Tottenham win by several goals. Sunderland have conceded 14 goals in their last 5 games, which averages out to 2.8 goals a game. In that same time, Spurs have scored 16 goals. With Pickford still not back in the line-up, Djilobodji’s recent antics leading to a 4 match ban and Moyes’ poor defence, Kane, Eriksen and Alli should certainly be licking their lips at the opportunity to get double digit scores this week.

Players to watch:

  • Alli (£8.8m) – Currently the league’s most in form player. Tottenham’s recent formation change to 3-4-3 (which seems more like a 3-4-1-2) has meant that Alli has found himself essentially playing as a striker alongside Kane. With 7 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 games, Alli should be one of the favourites to get some attacking returns.
  • Kane (£11.2m) – The league’s most in form striker with 6 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games. Kane seems to firing on all cylinders lately and this is likely to continue against Sunderland’s poor defence.
  • Walker (£6.2m) – Tottenham’s formation change also provides their full backs (now wing backs) the opportunity to get forward even more. You could flip a coin over transferring in Walker and Rose (£6.1m) and still get a decent return. With 2 assists in his last 2 games and Rose’s “slight knee injury” Walker seems like the more sensible decision.
  • Eriksen (£8.7m) – More likely to get assists than goals as shown by his 11 assists already this season, with 6 of them coming in his last 5 games. Oddly, his assists have come in pairs – 2 vs Southampton (A), 2 vs Chelsea (H) and 2 vs West Brom (H). If he gets an assist this weekend it wouldn’t be too out of the extreme to expect another one to follow it.
  • Defoe (£7.9m) – Simply put, you can never rule Jermaine Defoe out. He’s the 7th highest goalscorer in Premier League history. He’s scored 4 goals in his last 5 games, Sunderland have only scored 20 goals this season, Defoe has 12 of them and 3 assists so he’s been involved in 75% of their goals. It’s safe to say that if Sunderland are to get a goal, you know that Defoe is going to be involved somehow.

 

Swansea vs Southampton:

This game could be a lot closer than their respective league positions (17th and 11th respectively) suggest. After appointing Paul Clement as manager at the turn of the year, Swansea have quickly seen a change in fortunes with the Welsh side managing 2 wins in their last 3 games.

Meanwhile Southampton have recently been a side in decline. With Fonte leaving for West Ham, Van Dijk suffering an injury and being out for several weeks and the rumours of unrest in the dressing room, it’s certainly reflected on their results – losing 4 of their last 5 games.

Players to watch:

  • Sigurdsson (£7.2m) – Sigurdsson has been FPL gold for several seasons now, he’s Swansea’s main man and most attacks go through him. With 6 goals and 6 assists this season, he’s the 11th highest scoring midfielder in FPL.
  • Llorente (£6.2m) – Llorente is someone not to be sniffed at, scoring 8 goals so far this season for Swansea side that has struggled for the majority of the season. He’s scored 3 goals in his last 5 games and has scored 79 points for the season which is more than Giroud, Benteke and Deeney.
  • Long (£6.1m) – Shane Long has been hugely underwhelming this season but has managed 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 5 league games, he also managed to score in Southampton’s recent EFL Cup game against Liverpool. Facing a Swansea defence which has leaked goals for fun this season, there’s a good opportunity for him to get himself amongst the goals. Be wary of the fact that Southampton have signed Gabbiadini from Napoli and he’s likely to be their main striker for the near future.

Liverpool vs Chelsea:

The battle of the über passionate managers takes place this week as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool face Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. Liverpool have looked off the boil recently in Coutinho and Mane’s absence, they’ve failed to win a league game in 2017 so far. However with Coutinho now fully fit and Mane possibly returning in time to start against Chelsea, I’d expect Liverpool to start to turn their fortunes around.

Chelsea had a little wobble recently with the rumours of Costa wanting to leave and then the defeat to Tottenham but they seem to have returned to their winning ways winning their last 2 games handsomely and keeping clean sheets in the process.

I believe that in a big game like this, all form goes out of the window (especially when Liverpool are involved). Based on league position and current form, you’d expect Chelsea to get the win… but Liverpool have the his habit of turning up in the big games and getting a result. It tends to be the smaller teams that Klopp and co struggle against.

Players to watch:

  • Costa (£10.4m) – Costa has been simply awesome this season, scoring 15 goals so far he is the league’s joint highest goalscorer. He does have a habit of not scoring more than 1 goal in a game but for pure consistency, you can’t go wrong with someone like Diego.
  • Hazard (£10.2m) – Hazard has certainly improved compared to last season but he’s still been a bit unpredictable. Funnily, he’s scored 129 points which is the same amount of points as Diego Costa which makes them the joint 3rd highest scoring players in FPL. With 9 goals and 5 assists so far this season and 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 5 games he definitely provides a return.
  • Coutinho (£8.3m) – Over the last few seasons, Coutinho has been very much a streaky player in FPL. This season has been different, he’s consistently provided attacking returns when he’s been available – getting 6 goals and 5 assist in only 1046 minutes which averages out to a goal or assist every 95 minutes.

 

West Ham vs Man City:

Since being rocked by the news of Dimitri Payet wanting to leave the club, West Ham have certainly proved that they don’t need him by winning their last 2 games and scoring for fun. Beating Crystal Palace 3-0 in GW 21 and following it up with a 3-1 win away at Middlesborough in GW22, West Ham have certainly gotten their act together and now find themselves sitting at 10th place in the league table. With the recent signings of Jose Fonte from Southampton and Robert Snodgrass from Hull, West Ham are looking like the only way is up for them. With 8 favourable (2 or lower in the FDR rating) games in their next 12 fixtures, West Ham are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Man City have struggled lately, only winning 2 of their last 5 games and they were against relegation scrappers Hull and a Burnley side who are famously bad on their travels. Although they did put up a good showing against Tottenham in GW22, they managed a draw when really they perhaps should have won. With a sea of green fixtures in their next 5 games against some defensively poor (Swansea, Bournemouth, Sunderland) sides, Pep Guardiola’s men are sure to provide some points for FPL players over the coming weeks.

 

Players to watch:

  • Carroll (£6.3m) – He’s been a revelation since returning to fitness – scoring 4 goals in his last 5 games. A lot of people thought that he would struggle without Payet’s quality delivery but he’s proved all the doubters wrong so far and has made himself a very good differential pick with only 4.1% of managers owning him.
  • Antonio (£6.9m) – Michail Antonio is the 9th highest scoring midfielder in FPL with 109 points, scoring 8 goals and getting 5 assists in the process. Although his starting position has varied from on the wing to striker to right back, with Payet leaving he is sure to be playing on the wing where he is most effective. He’s managed to get 4 assists and 1 goal in his last 5 games.
  • Lanzini (£6.3m) – In Payet’s absence, Lanzini has stepped up as the creative spark in the West Ham lineup. With a goal and 2 assists in his last 2 games and a value of only £6.3m, he’s certainly worth a look for those FPL managers who have a strict budget.
  • De Bruyne (£10.5m) – Like most Man City players this season, KDB had a great start and then struggled as time went on. He put in a great performance against Tottenham managing to get a goal and an assist in that game, although they have been his only attacking returns in the last 5 games. He’s still the league’s leading assist-maker with 12 assists and he’s managed to score 3 goals but it’s also worth noting that he has hit the woodwork 6 times this season so he’s certainly getting close to scoring more.
  • Aguero (£12.8m) – In my opinion, Sergio Aguero is the best striker in the league. He’s scored 11 goals in only 1321 minutes of football which works out at a goal every 120 minutes. Even though he’s had to accommodate to Pep’s philosophy, he’s still managed to provide plenty of attacking returns.

Man Utd vs Hull:

In a repeat of the EFL Cup Semi-Final, Man Utd host a Hull side who can no longer be considered the whipping boys of the league after several strong performances since new boss Marco Silva took over. Now playing a 3-5-2 formation, Hull have certainly improved defensively but after losing Jake Livermore to West Brom and Robert Snodgrass to West Ham, they are certain to be missing some creativity in their attacks. Man Utd are undefeated in their last 10 league games although have slowed down slightly – drawing their last 2 games 1-1. After resting the majority of their players at the weekend, I’d certainly opt for Utd to win by a few goals.

Players to watch:

  • Jones (£5.0m) – Phil Jones is the cheapest way into the Man Utd defence and is close to being a nailed on starter given Smalling’s poor form and Bailly only recently returning from injury and the AFCON tournament. Although he didn’t keep a clean sheet in the last game, he still managed to pick up 2 bonus points. Given the fact that only Middlesbrough have scored less goals than Hull this season, I’d expect Jones and the rest of the Utd defence to keep a clean sheet.
  • Ibrahimovic (£11.7m) – Ibrahimovic has been a must-have in FPL teams recently gaining attacking returns in 6 of his last 7 games. Hull have only kept 1 clean sheet all season and Zlatan has 14 goals and 5 assists this season.
  • Pogba (£8.5m) – Pogba is more of a differential pick, he only has 4 goals and 3 assists to his name but its worth considering the fact that he’s hit the woodwork 5 times in the league this season. Obviously hitting the woodwork doesn’t directly translate to scoring more points but it’s certainly a sign of his attacking potential.
  • Jakupovic (£3.9m) – A cheap punt who’s capable of gaining a lot of save points, if Hull can manage to shut Man Utd out and get a clean sheet, he could get a double digit point haul.

Stoke vs Everton:

Stoke have had a mini resurgence recently with 2 wins and a draw after their defeats away to Chelsea and Liverpool. Mark Hughes finally got his man after finally signing Berahino from West Brom but it’s been Peter Crouch who has been taking all the plaudits lately with the big man scoring 3 goals and getting 2 assists in his last 5 games.

Everton are the form team in the Premier League right now – picking up 4 wins and a draw in their last 5 games, they seem unstoppable right now. 6 of their next 7 fixtures have a rating of 2 or less on FPL’s FDR game rating system and with no blank gameweeks coming up, now is a good time to invest in their players.

Players to watch:

  • Lukaku (£9.6m) –Lukaku has scored 3 goals and got 1 assist in his last 5 games. In an Everton side that has scored 8 goals in their last 3 games, Lukaku is likely to get on the scoresheet.
  • Mirallas (£6.1m) –  With Everton’s recent change to a 3 at the back formation, Mirallas has found himself playing just off of Lukaku much in a support striker role just like Dele Alli at Tottenham. 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games shows that Mirallas is certainly worth considering if you’re on a budget.
  • Coleman (£5.6m) – Coleman is the form defender right now, notching up double digit hauls in his last 2 games. Everton’s formation change has given Coleman even more scope to attack and it’s certainly paying dividends for those who own him.
  • Crouch (£4.8m) – A great cheap option who has got 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games. Given his height, he’s always a threat in the air so there’s always an opportunity for him to score. With Stoke recently signing Saido Berahino from West Brom and Bony and Diouf returning from AFCON soon, his place is looking under threat if you’re looking at him as a long-term option.
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