Following the intense Christmas fixture period we now find ourselves with a period of time to evaluate and re-assess our Fantasy Premier League teams ahead of game week 23 which kicks off at the later time of 3pm (2pm deadline) on Saturday 13th January.
With the opening of the transfer window already seeing Philippe Coutinho jet off to Barcelona and in the process be jettisoned from our teams, we will be looking for some calm and stability now that squad rotation shouldn’t be such a factor in our team’s performances.
Harry Kane disappointed beyond belief in GW22 but we have to move onwards and upwards from that disappointing return – but with another two goals in the cup at the weekend he reminded us just why you can’t drop him from your team – this is not a time to be making emotional decisions – is there ever a good time?
Bear in mind that there is still some midweek Carabao Cup action to come for Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal with the Gunners most likely to take the game more seriously following their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest who claimed a major scalp in the FA Cup third round.
We will be taking a look at the top fixtures ahead of GW23 as we look to build in the final half of the season.
Chelsea Vs. Leicester
Leciester have been difficult to predict over the last few weeks but generally their performances have been of a good standard and they look a lot more of a threat going forward than they have for a while now. A 3-0 win over Huddersfield last time out was helped by being able to bring some fresh legs in to the lineup and they should be fresher than Chelsea for this game – but it will be a huge test for them nonetheless.
Chelsea face Arsenal in the League Cup this week as the two clash for the second time in a week and it will be interesting to see how both teams line up for this one. Eden Hazard got himself back on the scoresheet last week and Marcos Alonso showed us once again why he is one of the best attacking defenders in the league – both warrant respect and a possible position in your side.
Embed from Getty Images
This game looks to have goals in it and Riyad Mahrez is the main man for the visitors. He has been linked to Liverpool but we don’t expect that move to materialise and we instead predict that he will continue in his rich vein of for. Two goals and three assists in his last four games point towards a player who loves to shine around transfer window time and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up again at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Alvaro Morata could profit against a Leicester side that does leak goals but we wouldn’t be sticking him in for this game as his aerial threat could be thwarted – instead we will be opting for the guile of Hazard to and Mahrez to unlock both defences.
Huddersfield Vs. West Ham
West Ham were significantly improved defensively against Spurs last week and almost snatched all three points thanks to a stunning Obiang goal. Huddersfield are another team who you never know what you are going to get but we think West Ham will be too good for them here. In fact, the Hammers go on a run of five really good looking fixtures and we think you should be grabbing a player or two at least for that run of games.
Marko Arnautovic had a knock for the game against Spurs and should he recover he will be a top pick for this game – possibly even a captain shout. Aside from him, Andy Carrol could be another to feature in the next few weeks and he is always a threat when playing. Masuaku remains our preferred defensive pick.
Spurs Vs. Everton
Spurs could be in for another frustrating game here unless they are able to do what they couldn’t against West Ham and score an early goal. Sam Allardyce will have watched what David Moyes did with intent and will surely employ a very similar set of tactics in this evening kick-off game.
Discount Spurs at your peril but we probably won’t be lumping on the captain picks with them this week. Dele Alli, Eriksen and Son (as well as Kane of course) are the danger men with Son being the pick in terms of differential.
Bournemouth Vs. Arsenal
It is going to be fascinating to see what Arsenal do in this transfer window with Sanchez and Ozil both on the verge of leaving the club for free in the summer. Arsene Wenger’s side is in turmoil right now and although they will probably win this game comfortably, nothing is a given.
For now, it is a watching brief with Arsenal and we won’t be jumping to put their players in our teams.
Liverpool Vs. Man City
Possibly the most fascinating game of the week comes from Anfield and with so many narratives to this game it is a pundits dream. It should also be highly entertaining and has the potential for goals galore with both teams having defensive frailties, despite Liverpool’s record breaking new defender Van Dijk set to start for the reds.
Sergio Aguero is a key player again now that Jesus is injured and he is a top pick for game week 23. Raheem Sterling is another who continues to shine, whilst David Silva remains a budget pick for City. With Coutinho now shipped off to Spain it reduces the rotation issues for Liverpool from an FPL perspective with Salah and Mane being our favoured picks.
This game was spoiled by a red card for Mane last time when City went on to bulldozer Liverpool but this game could be very different and City will have their work cut out – a 4-4 is not off the cards here!
Man Utd Vs. Stoke City
Man United probably play Stoke at the worst possible time – just after sacking manager Mark Hughes. That being said, there should be only one outcome in this game and although Jose Mourinho’s side have hardly been emphatic of late, they should be able to scrape a couple of goals here.
Jesse Lingard continues to impress (and now has 4 goals in his last 5 games) and is the budget pick for the Reds whilst we also expect a clean sheet for the home side here with Phil Jones and possibly Luke Shaw being the selections.