FPL Gameweek 23 preview

Here we’ll preview gameweek 23 game-by-game, mulling over recent stats to consider which team is likely to have the advantage.

 

We’ll also provide a player pick for each fixture – someone we think could haul in the upcoming gameweek.

 

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

Saturday 6th February 12:30

 

Aston Villa were put to the sword in GW22, with some uncharacteristic mistakes from goalkeeper Emi Martinez costing the Villains dearly in a 3-1 defeat to West Ham. A heavy defeat has been coming however – Villa’s xGC over the last six gameweeks is the second highest in the league, at 12.31. Only West Brom rank lower.

 

It will encourage Dean Smith then that his side remain potent going forward. Villa have failed to score just three times this season as they prepare to face an Arsenal side missing both Bernd Leno and David Luiz through suspension. Matt Ryan (4.2m) looks set to deputise in between the sticks, something that the likes of Jack Grealish (7.8m) and Ollie Watkins (6.3m) will look to take advantage of.

 

Watkins found the back of the net again in GW22, which was his third goal in just four games. The ex-Brentford man seems to have found his feet in the Premier League – now appearing to be one of the best budget forward options alongside Patrick Bamford. Back him to get some joy against a depleted Arsenal backline in the early kick-off on Saturday.

 

Player pick – Ollie Watkins

 

Burnley vs Brighton

Saturday 6th February 15:00

 

It was announced this week that Burnley will have a double gameweek in GW24, with favourable fixtures against Crystal Palace and Fulham. The Clarets first come up against Brighton in GW23, a game in which Sean Dyche will be targeting all three points despite the Seagulls’ impressive form.

 

The double gameweek makes Burnley assets increasingly desirable, with Nick Pope (5.5m) and Ben Mee (4.9m) among the two most-talked about options. Pope is the second highest-scoring goalkeeper in the league and a bonus points magnet. If you have the flexibility to upgrade to the England international, Pope seems like a great choice for both this week and next.

 

For Brighton, they will be high in confidence after successive wins against Tottenham and Liverpool. The Seagulls have kept four straight clean sheets, so don’t expect this to be a high-scoring affair. Brighton’s new-found resilience makes the likes of Lewis Dunk (4.8m) and Adam Webster (4.4m) appealing options, with both nailed options at the heart of the defence.

 

Player pick – Adam Webster

 

Newcastle vs Southampton

Saturday 6th February 15:00

 

Southampton fans relived their worst nightmares in GW22, as an implosive early red card for debutant Alex Jankewitz paved the way for an embarrassing 9-0 defeat to Manchester United.  It speaks volumes that the Saints travel to St James’ Park as the likely underdogs in GW23, despite the Magpies failing to win any of their last five on home turf.

 

Jan Bednarek (4.9m) is available after having his red card overturned, but the Southampton defence appear vulnerable after conceding nine last time out. Callum Wilson (6.8m) will be licking his lips at the prospect of coming up against a wounded Saints side, after returning in each of the last three gameweeks.

 

The ex-Bournemouth forward is by far Newcastle’s most dangerous player and it’s him who is likely to cause the most problems on Saturday. Wilson’s value has increased by 0.2 since GW21 – and his new owners will be hoping for a haul ahead of difficult fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United.

 

Player pick – Callum Wilson

 

Fulham vs West Ham

Saturday 6th February 17:30

 

It is now 11 games without a win for Scott Parker’s Fulham side, with the Cottagers still rooted in the relegation zone. With just one home win all season, Fulham enter this one as the heavy underdogs against an in-form West Ham team.

 

Fulham have conceded the most headed goals in the league this season – which will particularly encourage Tomas Soucek (5.4m) and Michail Antonio (6.7m) owners in GW23. With yet another goal in GW22, it now seems impossible to leave for FPL managers the former on the bench. Indeed, the Czech midfielder now has more points than both Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane!

 

As for Antonio, the pacey forward has been a revelation since his return from injury. Over the past six gameweeks, no forward in the league has scored more points. Only Ollie Watkins has taken more shots in that time. Priced at just 6.7m, Antonio seems almost essential ahead of the short trip to Fulham and then a home match against Sheffield United in GW24.

 

Player pick – Michail Antonio

 

 

Manchester United vs Everton

Saturday 6th February 20:00

 

Manchester United have a job on their hands to improve from their last match, in which they thrashed a hapless Southampton side 9-0. Having won this reverse fixture 3-1 earlier in the season, United should be very confident ahead of kick-off on Saturday evening.

 

Bruno Fernandes (11.4m) rewarded those managers who trusted him with the captaincy in GW22, as he hauled an impressive 17 points. It’s difficult to look past the Portuguese midfielder here, but Luke Shaw (4.9m) is another standout pick for the Red Devils.

 

Since GW17, Shaw has almost double the xA of any other defender in the league at 2.67 across the six gameweeks. Everton will be tough opposition, but expect the home side to get the job done fairly comfortably this weekend.

 

Player pick – Luke Shaw

 

Tottenham vs West Brom

Sunday 7th February 12:00

 

Tottenham host West Brom in the early kick-off on Sunday, but it might be better to opt for a lie-in instead. Jose Mourinho’s particular brand of anti-football has led to just one goal in Spurs’ last three, as their fans begin to grow restless.

 

A defeat to a hapless West Brom side seems like an impossibility at least, with the Baggies winless against any side currently occupying the top 13 places in the table. It must be said however that West Brom conceded only one goal in each of their trips to the Etihad, Old Trafford and Anfield earlier this season – so this might not be a walkover for the home side, particularly without key man Harry Kane.

 

The goalscoring responsibility falls on Heung-Min Son's (9.7m) shoulders in this one, although the South Korean has scored just once in the last eight gameweeks. Son stands out as an obvious captaincy choice this week, but don’t be too afraid to go without him, with Spurs really lacking attacking verve in recent weeks.

 

Player pick – Heung-Min Son

 

Wolves vs Leicester

Sunday 7th February 14:00

 

Wolves were rather fortunate that a first-half red card for David Luiz allowed them to take the initiative in GW23 against Arsenal. Bernd Leno’s sending off later in the game made a Wolves win a mere formality. It may not be so simple for Nuno’s men against title-chasing Leicester this weekend.

 

Jamie Vardy (10.0m) returns to contention after a hernia operation, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Foxes’ key man will be risked from kick-off. With an ownership of just 13.3% now, the wily forward is now a fantastic differential pick heading into the next few gameweeks.

 

Having conceded three times to West Brom at home in just GW19, Wolves are still far from convincing at the back. With doubts over Vardy’s gametime heading into this one, James Maddison (7.3m) is probably the pick of the bunch. The playmaker has been afforded a more advanced position of late in Vardy’s absence and he has responded with three assists in two gameweeks. With or without Vardy, Maddison is a great pick at present.

 

Player pick – James Maddison

 

Liverpool vs Manchester City

Sunday 7th February 16:30

 

Liverpool were woeful again in a 1-0 home defeat to Brighton in GW22, and it now looks like a must-win against a resurgent Manchester City if they are to have any chance of retaining the title. The home side should be boosted by the return of Sadio Mane (11.9m), who will provide a timely boost for the Reds.

 

It won’t be easy for the home side to break down Manchester City – Ederson (6.1m) has conceded just once in City’s last 12 Premier League games. For those considering benching their Manchester City defenders, the numbers would suggest that they are still perfectly capable of achieving another shutout here. Liverpool have now failed to score in each of their last three home games, a record that would have seemed unthinkable this time last year.

 

The best pick for this one is probably Joao Cancelo (6.0m). The right-back is pushed inside when City are in possession, frequently finding himself in dangerous central positions. Against a Liverpool side missing Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, Cancelo could find more joy at Anfield.

 

Player pick – Joao Cancelo

 

Sheffield United vs Chelsea

Sunday 7th February 19:15

 

Sheffield United have finally begun to find their feet this season, as a 2-1 win against West Brom in GW22 made it three wins in their last five. It may be more difficult this weekend however as they come up against a Chelsea side who are experiencing a new manager bounce currently. Thomas Tuchel has yet to see his side concede a goal since taking over.


United have scored just eight goals at Bramall Lane all season, so Chelsea’s clean sheet streak should continue in GW23, despite the absence of Thiago Silva due to a hamstring injury. Marcos Alonso (5.6m) seems to be Tuchel’s favoured option at left wing-back and the Spaniard seems like a great pick again.

 

The FPL favourite is always a goal threat and he is even trusted with some set piece duties. Since coming back into the fold, no defender in the league has a higher xG, although admittedly only over a small sample size of two games. With both the potential for attacking returns and a likely clean sheet in GW23, Alonso could even be a captaincy option for particularly brave FPL managers!

 

Player pick – Marcos Alonso

 

Leeds vs Crystal Palace

Monday 8th February 20:00

 

Leeds aim to get back to winning ways in GW23, having narrowly lost 2-1 to Everton last time out. To do so, they must get the better of a Crystal Palace side who have won back-to-back games for just the second time this season after their 2-1 victory at Newcastle in GW22.

 

Leeds’ job has been made easier by the enforced absence of Wilfred Zaha. The Ivorian winger has picked up a hamstring injury which has ruled him out of this one. Palace often suffer without their main man, so the onus will be on Leeds to take full advantage.

 

Raphinha (5.3m) has really stood out over recent games for Leeds. The mazy Brazilian winger is comparable to a prime Riyad Mahrez at times, and he should find plenty of joy up against a defensively suspect Patrick Van Aanholt. Patrick Bamford (6.6m) and an OOP Stuart Dallas (4.8m) are also fine picks this week. But back the ridiculously well-priced Raphinha, who will be looking to make it four straight returns in GW23.

 

Player pick – Raphinha

 

 

Best of luck gameweek 23 FPL managers!

 

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