Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 23 Part Two
Welcome to Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 23. Ah, Back to the Future – what a series of films. We may not have hover boards (well, not real ones anyway – any with wheels don’t count), but other aspects have come to fruition like video calling and voice control and then there’s the question asked in disbelief: “Then tell me, future boy, who’s the President of the United States?”. I won’t go further there.
Of course, if we had our own time machine (I’m still happy with a DeLorean!), we could go back to 11:00am UK time on 21st January and change around our teams to get the best possible scores, not to mention the betting possibilities with an accumulator including Swansea winning 3-2 at Liverpool! Andy Carroll could even have been my captain! Great Scott, it’s a weird state of affairs when you wish for that.
So, why am I rambling on about time travel? Well, this article will see me pick players among those with the best form over the past five games, whilst also looking ahead to their next three all-important upcoming fixtures, with a rating out of 10. The observant folk out there will have noticed that part one (Goalkeepers and Defenders) was published a couple of days ago. Today we focus on Midfielders and Forwards.
Bamidele Alli Form: 11.2 Fixtures: 7/10
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[/three_fifth]On the subject of time travel, I appear to have repeated exactly what I did last year and been late to the Alli party after six incredible gameweeks. He’s in my team now, anyway. Better late than never, I suppose.
This guy’s form at the moment is unreal, having earned himself an incredible 56 points over the past five games, scoring seven goals and an assist in that time. Will this form last? Well, he’s the most transferred in midfielder so far this gameweek which is usually a good omen and then you look at who is unfortunate to play against him next – Sunderland. The Black Cats have only kept two clean sheets so far this season and, languishing at the bottom of the table, they also have the third highest amount of goals scored against them. After that, Middlesbrough visit White Hart Lane and you have to fancy the home team to do well in that one as well. Liverpool, who have conceded seven in the last five, are then on Alli’s radar.
Alexis Sanchez Form: 7.0 Fixtures: 7/10
Talking of better late than never, I’m sure a lot of fantasy managers were relieved to see Sanchez score his late, late penalty and get some good captain points in the process. The Chilean has 35 points to his name from the last five gameweeks, including three goals and one tantrum under his coat. Oh, and don’t forget the banners paying homage to Sanchez and his two dogs, Atom and Humber. Met with howls of derision (sorry) on Twitter, no doubt. He’s now joint top of the goal scoring charts with Diego Costa, fifth on the amount of assists, first on the amount of through balls and boasts the third highest amount of shots. Who’s a good boy?!
On the back of such impressive stats (and dog-related banners, of course), I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of managers keep the captain’s armband on Sanchez when Watford make the short trip to visit. There is the solid defence of Chelsea he’ll need to break through after that, but then Hull – who have the dubious honour of the worst goal difference in the league – come to the Emirates in what could be a very one-sided game. He is well worth the £11.9m price tag.
Matt Philips Form: 5.8 Fixtures: 8/10
Whilst Brunt and Fletcher managed to find the back of the net in West Brom’s match against Sunderland, many fantasy managers who have invested in the super cheap Matt Philips were left frustrated as he couldn’t find the back of the net in that match, as much as he tried. So far, the best part of 20,000 people have brought him into their teams this gameweek, buoyed on by the hope the £5.9m player can put in the kind of points scoring he did against Hull and Southampton. Middlesbrough, Stoke and West Ham present good goal scoring opportunities, with the Hammers the leakiest of the three at the back, having conceded 36 goals in 22 matches.
Paul Pogba Form: 4.8 Fixtures: 9/10
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[/three_fifth]When I was researching who to include in this article – a very painstaking process, I hasten to add – the form of Pogba was quite a surprise to me. I’ll be honest, I thought it would be lower than the 4.8 but, scratch under the surface and you’ll see he scored seven points at home to Sunderland and 10 against Middlesbrough when he scored his most recent goal.
Since then, he’s of course had his own emoji and given away a penalty to Liverpool with a mid-air dab. Oh and he is joint top with Victor Wanyama on the fouls committed chart. So why am I picking him? Well, he’s actually completed the second highest amount of passes, is ranked fifth on the amount of shots, second on the amount of through balls and, interestingly, has hit the woodwork five times this season. So, you could say there is a degree of unluckiness in a few of his games! With Hull – a team who have conceded 47 in 22 games, an average of 2.13 per game – coming to Old Trafford this gameweek, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the £8.5m midfielder get in and amongst the points.
Junior Stanislas Form: 4.2 Fixtures: 6/10
Climbing back into the DeLorean and entering 20th January 2009 would take you to Barack Obama’s inauguration. On that date, Bournemouth were 23rd in League 2. Now look at them, 12th in the Premier League. Junior Stanislas is currently on some good form after returning from his ankle injury, having scored once and assisted twice in the last five games.
Looking ahead, The Cherries welcome Crystal Palace to the Vitality Stadium. The Eagles have slipped into the relegation zone after four straight defeats and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the home team benefit in this fixture. At £5.3m, he’s a great fourth or even fifth midfielder in your team.
Dusan Tadic Form: 4.2 Fixtures: 9/10
Is Tadic about to rediscover the kind of form he’s had in sections of other seasons? Well, with 21 points in the last five gameweeks, of which nine were in the game against Leicester when he scored, it may be a bit too early to tell. That said, the £7.0m player is away to Swansea this gameweek which will most probably be The Saints’ fourth win in a row as they play a team that has conceded a whopping 51 goals so far this season. West Ham and then Sunderland are next in the firing line for Tadic, also presenting great points potential. Owned by just 1.3 per cent of managers, he presents great differential too.
Harry Kane Form: 8.8 Fixtures: 7/10
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[/three_fifth]Like his teammate Alli, Kane is enjoying a fantastic run of form at the moment, with 44 points collected in the last five matches. Highlights include his hat trick against West Brom and the two goals and an assist in their 4-1 win over Watford. He’s now the third highest goalscorer, incredible considering he’s missed five matches, though I distinctly remember he couldn’t find the back of the net in the matches at home to Burnley and Hull. Not that I’m still bitter about that, or anything.
It’s fair to say he’s indispensable to Spurs, though. In the five games he was out, they only scored an average of 1.2 goals per game. Since he came back, Spurs have found the back of the net 31 times, giving an average of 2.58 goals per game.
Kane is the third most transferred-in player this gameweek and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his price rise even higher than the £11.1m it is at the time of writing. And, of course, there’s those three fixtures coming up that present some good goalscoring opportunities.
Olivier Giroud Form: 7.4 Fixtures: 7/10
A good few managers would have screamed “Sacre Bleu!” (or something more blue, of course) when they had a look at their fantasy team on Saturday night to see Arsenal had scored twice and yet Giroud only came away with two points. The four games prior to the Burnley match saw the Frenchman get 35 points, having scored in each fixture.
Never mind, I’ve still included him in my picks as I believe the form of four of the past five games will continue to shine through in at least two of the three fixtures coming up. Indeed, he certainly had potential to get on the scoresheet against Burnley, with Ramsey’s rabona cross that got rudely interrupted by a defender particularly springing to mind. At £8.7m, you could do a lot worse than have Giroud as your third forward.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Form: 7.4 Fixtures: 9/10
Like with Giroud, a great run also came to an end for Zlatan. Having scored five or more points in six consecutive games, there was disappointment as he didn’t find the back of the net in the 1-1 draw away at Stoke. I feel, though, that the match at the bet365 Stadium was just a blip – he apparently couldn’t do it on a cold Sunday afternoon at Stoke. Now the third highest goalscorer, Zlatan is additionally the most selected forward in fantasy football (43.3 per cent of managers own him now). He could also boast – naturally, it is Zlatan after all – that he has the highest amount of shots (90 in 21 games), a very impressive statistic. Interestingly, he’s been caught offside the most of any player in the Premier League, too, having wondered 28 times.
And then there’s the Hull match coming up. You’ll have read the statistics about them when I’ve written about Pogba and others who have them coming up (The Tigers really do have some horrific fixtures) and so I won’t bore you with them again. One thing, however, that I will say is that Zlatan – who costs £11.7m – is essential for this coming gameweek.
Andre Gray Form: 7.0 Fixtures: 7/10
Andre Gray has hit a great bit of form recently, rewarding the 5.1 per cent of fantasy managers who own him. As previously mentioned, he scored the penalty against Arsenal and, of course, there was the hat trick at home to Sunderland, along with the winning goal when Middlesbrough came to Turf Moor.
Those stuck between Gray and Carroll for a £6.2m forward would probably be best picking the Burnley forward, thanks to more favourable fixtures. First up is a visit by Leicester, who have conceded six goals in the last two games, followed by Watford away which could also present a goalscoring opportunity. Admittedly their game after that is against Chelsea, however playing at home does make the match slightly less predictable than if it was to be played at Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku Form: 5.6 Fixtures: 8/10
Lukaku has had a bit of a mixed bag the last five matches. Unfortunately, it was a Blankaku result in gameweeks 19 and 22, however he managed to score against Leicester, Southampton and Man City. Pretty unpredictable, you’d think. Well, believe it or not, there is a bit of a pattern to Lukaku’s scoring. Since his hat trick away at Sunderland in September, gameweeks five, 10, 15 and 20 have been the only gameweeks he has scored 10 or more points. So, looking at that pattern, who is he facing for gameweek 25? Middlesbrough away. Of course, it is pure coincidence and it would be great if he could break with this pattern and score loads in his games against Stoke and Bournemouth in gameweeks 23 and 24 respectively!
The £9.6m player is fourth on the goalscorer charts, now, having overtaken the likes of Hazard and Aguero.
Diego Costa Form 2.8 Fixtures: 5/10
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[/three_fifth]Here’s a query for you. If you were to hop into the DeLorean and go forward or backwards 10 years, would Diego Costa still look 57? Either way, it looks like he’s not leaving Chelsea. The goal celebration in his 100th match for the club very much suggested the media should shut up (whatever that means). He also made sure to acknowledge Conte and each member of staff as he was substituted off in the 86th minute.
Now the most transferred-in forward this gameweek, Costa has some tricky fixtures coming up. Liverpool are, quite frankly, rubbish in defence at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Costa score one or two. The lads in blue do, however, then face Arsenal (which may be a test on his discipline, if history is anything to go by). Following that, it’s an away day in Burnley which probably won’t be as straightforward as you may think.
Sergio Aguero Form: 2.6 Fixtures: 9/10
“Why on earth are you including this clown as your final pick?!”, I’m sure a few of you are muttering, especially as more people have sold him this gameweek than have bought him. That and the fact he’s £12.8m and has accrued just 13 points in the four games he has played since his suspension, very sloppy for his standards.
Well, through playing fantasy football for a good few years, I’ve learned to follow the odd gut feeling. I don’t know why, but I have a sneaky feeling that Aguero is going to have a brilliant game at West Ham. A repeat of Man City’s 5-0 rout in the FA Cup on 6th January? Probably not, but a game nonetheless that could well springboard Aguero’s attention from a ‘keep an eye on’ to ‘essential’. After the trip to London, he’s up against the hopeless defence of Swansea at the Etihad, followed by Bournemouth away. Not bad fixtures at all.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 23 (Part 2). This article was written by The Swirly
And just for reference over the weekend here is how GW28 is shaping up with the games on so far, the games at risk and who each team is playing in the cup so you can judge the likelihood of each game going ahead…