Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 23 Part One
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 article is split into two, today we look at Keepers and Defenders.
Joel Robles Form: 6.8 Fixtures: 8/10
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[/three_fifth]Up first with the best form is a player who has only played 90 minutes six times this season, yet already has an overall score of 42, of which 34 points have been in the past five weeks, giving an average of 6.8 points per match. It really seems the case that Everton have sorted themselves out at the back with no goals scored against them in the three most recent matches, putting the team joint fourth on the amount of clean sheets, equal with Arsenal, Manchester United and, interestingly, Middlesbrough. Fans of goalkeepers scoring assists will be interested to know Robles is the only goalkeeper who has managed it so far this season too!
Looking ahead, The Toffees go to Stoke this gameweek, before then facing Bournemouth back at Goodison Park. They then travel away to Middlesbrough, who are ranked 20th out of 20 teams when it comes to shots and goals as well (just 18 in 22 matches). At £4.7m, you could do a lot worse than bring this fella into your team.
Petr Cech Form: 5.2 Fixtures: 7/10
If Francis Coquelin had a time machine, I’m sure he would go back to just before the 90th minute of the Burnley match and ensure he didn’t stick out his leg, giving away a penalty that could easily have given the visitors a vital away point. Alas, Arsenal fan Andre Gray’s goal denied Arsenal a fourth cleansheet in their five most recent games. Cech did, however, put in a good number of saves (you could say he wasn’t that far off saving the penalty either) and so didn’t come out of the match with too much of a disappointing score.
The Gunners’ next three fixtures are rather mixed with two great home fixtures and a rather scary away one as they go to Stamford Bridge, though with a good second goalkeeper, you can always rotate. At £5.4m, Cech is the cheapest way to get Arsenal defensive coverage whilst being a guaranteed starter.
Tom Heaton Form: 5.0 Fixtures: 7/10
Tom Heaton – what a goalkeeper. Even away at Arsenal, he managed three points thanks to the amount of saves he made, pushing up his total to 93 shot stops – the highest of any goalkeeper in the Premier League. Prior to that, he amassed 10 points at Fortress Turf Moor, one of two clean sheets managed in the past five game weeks. Come the end of the season, Heaton has to be one of the main guys credited with keeping the team in the Premier League, if it ends up that way. As a result, of course, people have rightly bought him, with his value increasing £0.5m so far this season to the £5.0m it is now.
Burnley have three interesting fixtures coming up. First they welcome Leicester to town, who have scored only one goal in the last five matches. The boys in claret and blue have outstanding home form and so you could fancy a good result for them there. Next, they’re away to Watford but then be aware – they do face clinical Chelsea at home.
Ben Foster Form: 3.8 Fixtures: 8/10
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[/three_fifth]Over the past five matches, West Brom have kept one clean sheet and leaked in seven goals, so you may be wondering why I’ve included him. Well, second on the table of saves made so far this season is this £4.7m guy, with 81 – where clean sheets haven’t been kept, he’s been the one regularly stopping a lot of other shots. Believe it or not, Foster scored two points in the 4-0 loss to Spurs, thanks to the eight shots he saved and five points in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal after 10 saves.
West Brom are now enjoying some much more favourable fixtures, with travels to Middlesbrough and West Ham on the cards and a home tie against Stoke in-between. As previously mentioned, to say Boro aren’t particularly great up front is a massive understatement, whilst Stoke lie 12th on the shots and goals scored table.
Hugo Lloris Form: 3.6 Fixtures: 7/10
He may not have had the best of games in the 2-2 away draw at Man City, however that is the first time Lloris has had to pick the ball up from the back of the net more than once in one game since 26th November when they played Chelsea. Indeed, four clean sheets have been amassed by Spurs since then, part of the club’s total of nine – the second best in the league. Fixtures wise, Spurs have got Sunderland away, Middlesbrough at home and Liverpool away, so two good games out of three certainly isn’t bad for the £5.5m goalkeeper.
David De Gea Form: 3.2 Fixtures: 9/10
I have to admit that this pick is very much swayed on the fixtures Manchester United have got coming up as their defensive record isn’t particularly great. One clean sheet in the last five matches (the 2-0 win away at West Ham) must have been a frustration to those who own him as the other four matches in that period have seen just the one annoying goal put past him.
As I’ve already highlighted, however, United are a respectable fourth when it comes to the amount of clean sheets amassed this season and so, with the next three games being Hull and Watford at home and Leicester away, you can’t help but think that de Gea should get in among the points. Like Cech, he is £5.4m and a sure fire starter if you want to invest in the United defence.
I’ll say, firstly, that I’ve not included any Chelsea defenders here as their next few games are going to be rather tricky. If you’re on a wildcard, yes, bring one in – Alonso is my pick – but I would hold off transferring in otherwise.
Seamus Coleman Form: 8.0 Fixtures: 8/10
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[/three_fifth]In my write up of Robles, you’ll remember I said Everton’s defence has got its act together. Well, Coleman has …and some. While Schlupp was rolling around off and then on the pitch like he had been shot, Coleman went up the other end of the pitch and scored, rewarded with a score of 15 points, once bonus points had been added. Previous to that, he registered an assist in the 4-0 win over Man City and the game before that was a clean sheet against Southampton. The total score over those three games? 33 points. He’s definitely ‘Goalman’ once again with four scored already this season, equalling the past two seasons combined.
Stoke, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough lie in wait the next three gameweeks, which are all winnable games as far as The Toffees are concerned. Gameweek 26 also happens to see Sunderland come to town too. He’s the most transferred in defender so far this gameweek and so could easily rise higher than the £5.6m he currently is.
Laurent Koscielny Form: 6.6 Fixtures: 7/10
Koscielny is, after quite a while, enjoying some excellent form once again. His last five games have seen nine, six, one (that 3-3 draw away at Bournemouth), nine and eight points scored, totalling 33. The most recent game also saw him awarded the assist to Sanchez’s match winning penalty, showing his capability to get forward as well as his defensive role.
Home fixtures wise at least, Koscielny has some great games and will, most likely, start to benefit from the return of Hector Bellerin. Whilst he is £6.3m and therefore a premium pick when it comes to defenders, the Frenchman is a good way into an Arsenal defence that is definitely improved on how it was between gameweeks 11 and 17.
Chris Brunt Form: 5.0 Fixtures: 8/10
Chris Brunt has scored three times this season already (more than the last two seasons combined), however the one against Sunderland on Saturday has to rate as one of my favourites of the month. What an absolute screamer! 13 points were put to his name in that game, more than Zlatan, Aguero, Lukaku, Defoe, Eriksen and Coutinho combined. This also followed on from 12 points in the previous four (that does include zero in their 4-0 drubbing by Spurs). The highest points totals for this £5.0m player have all been at home, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see a clean sheet in the away fixture at Boro.
Kyle Walker Form: 4.8 Fixtures: 7/10
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[/three_fifth]It was an interesting gameweek for Kyle Walker, from my perspective. I put him on the bench thinking that, even being in a great Spurs defence, Man City will want to come out all guns blazing in an attempt to redeem themselves after their result against Everton. Sure, Spurs let in two goals, but Walker also managed to get an assist and two bonus points along the way – whether the bonus was added for that shove on Sterling’s back is yet to be confirmed. So, there he was with six points doing nothing on my bench as Holebas went out and scored nothing for me in the starting eleven. Lesson learned to not drop the player who has risen £0.7m to £6.2m over the course of the season.
So, two assists and 23 points from three games, having missed the away day in Watford, are further adding to his credentials as a must-have player. It’s fair to say he’s having a good season. He has the highest amount of points for a defender outside of Chelsea with 103, equalling what he managed in the entire 2013/14 season and only 18 short of what he accrued in 2015-16. As previously mentioned, Sunderland away, Middlesbrough at home and Liverpool away are next in Walker’s firing line, each presenting good opportunities for points, both defensively and attacking.
Antonio Valencia Form: 3.2 Fixtures: 9/10
Just like David de Gea, Antonio Valencia gets the nod from me thanks to the excellent fixtures he has coming up. The Ecuadorian, who recently renewed his contract with United, has been given the recognition by his boss that there isn’t a better right back in world football – praise indeed. Whilst he may be £5.5m, he is a sure fire starter, having only missed games by suspension or injury so far this season.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 23. This article was written by The Swirly