FPL GW23 – Gameweek Preview

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Hi everyone and welcome to the latest in my gameweek preview articles. This week we are looking ahead to Gameweek 23.

Regular readers will know that I was in one of the doomed GW22 Band of Brothers that activated a Free Hit in GW22 but I’m trying not to dwell on that and I’m looking to make a fresh start as we near the final third of the season. With a current rank of 106,263 I am 73 points off the hallowed top 10k but I’m going to give it my best shot.

In this article we will look at the following elements for Gameweek 23 and beyond:

  • Best current tactics and team structure
  • Best current defensive options
  • Best current midfield options
  • Best current forward options
  • My Gameweek team reveal

So lets wipe away those GW22 tears and get into some proper analysis to set us up for the coming weeks.

Tactics and Team Structure

11 of the top 20 FPL players by current form are Midfielders. If we look across the season as a whole 10 of the top 20 point scorers are Midfielders. This gives us a good guide as where we should be prioritising our investment. Only 4 of the top 20 current form players are forwards and only Michail Antonio and Emmanuel Dennis are in the top 20 points scorers across the season.

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Based on this and depending on the fixtures of the squad members you have I think 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 are our optimal formations at the moment. There are a couple of standout defenders who many top managers will already have (Trent Alexander Arnold and Joao Cancelo) and the key is to fill the remaining defensive spots within your squad players who rotate well fixture wise over the coming weeks.

I learned the hard way last gameweek that Free Hit chips are not massively effective at the moment, with the volume of cancelations currently. Gameweek 30 is likely to be a blank so you’ll need at least one for then. If you still have your second Wildcard then I would be tempted to hold it until there is a little more certainty over when the outstanding fixtures will be scheduled given there are 7 teams with at least 3 games pending rearrangement. This will inevitably lead to more double gameweeks and opportunities for Bench Boosting and Tripple Captains.

Best Current Defensive Options

I’m going to take Alexander-Arnold and Cancelo as a given. We need to find 3 good defensive options who rotate well over the coming gameweeks who don’t cost the earth. Liverpool also have a blank in GW27 which we’ll need cover for. Brighton (1), Leicester (1), Arsenal (2) and Chelsea (3) all have blanks in the coming gameweeks so are best avoided.

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Looking at Goals Scored, Expected Goals Scored and Big Chances Created the least potent teams over the last 6 gameweeks (factoring in amount of games played) are Norwich, Newcastle and Brentford, so we should be looking getting in defenders who play them soon.

Aston Villa face Everton, Leeds, Newcastle, Watford and Brighton in their next 5 games which looks to hold good clean sheet potential. Palace face Liverpool and Chelsea in their next 5 but also Norwich, Brentford and Burnley and West Ham play Man United, Watford, Leicester, Newcastle and Wolves.

Based on the above I think over the next 5 gameweeks Alexander-Arnold, Cancelo and Lucas Digne will provide a great basis of defence. Digne is only 5.3% owned at present so is a great differential too. Tyrick Mitchell at £4.5m will provide a great additional defender when Palace have their more attractive fixtures including GW27 when Alexander-Arnold wont have a fixture.

Best Current Midfield Options

Considering Goals Conceded, Expected Goals Conceded and Big Chances Conceded the frailest defences at the moment are Leeds, Brentford, Norwich and Leicester so it would be ideal if some of the form midfielders face these teams in the coming weeks.

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Liverpool and Manchester City play 2 of 4 teams each in their next 4 games. Many Managers will be looking to get Mohammed Salah back in their squad from GW24 onwards when they face Leicester and Diego Jota has 2 goals and an assist in his last 5 PL games and is off the back of a brace in the League Cup vs Arsenal so I expect ownership for those 2 to remain high in the coming weeks.

Raheem Sterling has 3 goals in his last 4 games for City and Phil Foden 2 goals and an assist in his last 4, however competition for places is likely to be hot as Riyad Mahrez returns from the AFCoN. He has 4 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games and providing he returns fit looks a great option. Foden acts as a good place holder for him until GW24.

Jarrod Bowen has been a model of consistency recently with 3 goals and 5 assists in his last 6 games and will remain popular with games against Watford, Leicester and Newcastle after they host Man United this weekend.

The above players are likely to feature heavily in most teams so if you are looking for a differential in the coming weeks I think Villa Midfielders could be exciting. Jacob Ramsey has 2 goals and an assist in his last 4 games and is a steel at £4.6m with only 2.2% ownership. Phillipe Coutinho bagged a goal off the bench on debut and is the sexier option but has the £7.0m price tag to match. Villa have a good run of fixtures upcoming with games versus Everton, Leeds, Watford, Newcastle and Brighton.

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Whilst Connor Gallagher had been absent in GW20 and 21 he was back with a goal against Brighton an his ownership is back down to a differential 18%. He’s probably a miss/bench for the visit of Liverpool this weekend but then has fixtures Norwich, Brentford and Burnley in his next 4 outings.

Best Current Forward Options

I’ll be honest this is not an easy call so I’m going to start with the obvious. Harry Kane is definitely in form for Spurs. He has 3 goals and an assist in his last 4 and his confidence looks to be returning. Spurs have some tough fixtures upcoming but should also have some doubles and with Son expected back soon his output should increase further. It’s going to be tough to fit him in as a premium but if you can, we know he can be good value for it.

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Odsonne Edouard is another who seems to be finding his feet again. 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games makes him a good option with Palace’s good fixtures GW24, 25 and 27. He’s only £6.4m and a differential with only 4.6% ownership.

It’s going to be really interesting to see which Villa forward benefits most from the arrival of Phillipe Coutinho. Ings and Watkins have both started 3 of their last 4 games. Neither are really in form right now with only a goal each in those 4 but with the upcoming fixtures that could change. Despite owing Watkins, I think I prefer Ings as he’s playing through the middle.

Despite Southampton having awful fixtures, I still think Armando Broja is an option if you are looking to fill out your bench with starters, without tying too much money in them. At £5.2m he’s started 6 of the last 7 and has 3 goals and 2 assists in that time.

My Gameweek 23 Team Reveal

Feels like a bit of an odd week for me. I have plenty of players I’m not happy with but none of their potential alternatives seem to offer me enough upside in comparison to banking a transfer. I will 100% need to get rid of Odegaard and Maupay next week but I’ll have Salah back by then and I’m comfortable with their fixtures this gameweek.

I will line up in a 3-4-3 as follows:

Ramsdale, Dias, Cancelo, Alexander-Arnold (C), Odegaard, Foden, Jota, Bowen, Maupay, Watkins, Antonio

Bench: De Gea, Dawson, Livramento, Salah

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the article and it’s given you some food for thought on your current tactics, selections and transfer. I wish you the best of luck for GW23 and hope to join you in the Green Arrow club!

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