FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 23 Preview

“Is Alexandre Lacazette going to fill Arsenal’s temporary Aubayemang-sized hole with goals and assists?” (CC by 2.0). Image by Ronnie Macdonald.

Well, one thing we learned from gameweek 23 for sure is that Sergio Aguero is definitely back in the mix after his 20-point haul against Villa, courtesy of a hattrick, an assist and 3 bonus points. In combination with Kane’s injury and Aubameyang’s suspension, this could result in some interesting transfer activity over the coming days. The second-highest points scorer in the Fantasy Premier League official game plays for the sky-blue team from Manchester as well, as Riyad Mahrez bagged 2 goals and 1 assist for a sweet 17 FPL points. Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucouré completed the podium for GW23 with 14 FPL points, thanks to a goal and an assist against Bournemouth. Behind the Frenchman, three familiar FPL forum names followed with 12 points (Rashford, Digne and Azpilicueta).

Where gameweek 23 offered a plethora of good candidates for the captaincy and premium players with favourable fixtures, the pickings are slimmer this weekend. Liverpool and Manchester United are meeting at Anfield on Sunday, while earlier that day, Leicester are paying Turf Moor a visit. Chelsea are visiting Saint James’ Park on Saturday to try and break down a resilient Newcastle defence, and Arsenal and Sheffield United are kicking off at the Emirates that same day. The only top-6 team with a favourable fixture, on paper that is, are Manchester City, who are hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Instead of premium options from the traditional top teams, this gameweek there could be some good alternatives to be found at the likes of Norwich (at home versus Bournemouth), Brighton (at home to Aston Villa) and even West Ham or Everton (who are playing each other in London on Saturday).

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 23 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, January 18th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Jamie Vardy Southampton (H) 5
Premium Kevin de Bruyne Aston Villa (a) 9
Non-premium Anthony Martial Norwich (H) 8
Non-premium Richarlison Brighton (H) 10
Differential Jonny Castro Newcastle (H) 2
Differential Troy Deeney Bournemouth (a) 7
Captain Jamie Vardy Southampton (H) 10

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 15th, 2020)

GK Ramsdale (Bou), Pope (Bur), Fabianski (Whu) Ryan (Bri), Henderson (She), McCarthy (Sou) A combination of injuries (Ramsdale, Fabianksi), bad fixtures (Pope), and good upcoming fixtures.
DEF Kelly (Cry), Pereira (Lei), Rico (Bou) Williams (Utd), Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Robertson (Liv) FPL managers starting their preparations for Liverpool’s double GW24.
MID Alli (Tot), Traoré (Wol), Maddison (Lei) Mahrez (MC), Richarlison (Eve), Grealish (Ast) New form players announcing themselves.
FOR Aubameyang (Ars), Jimenez (Wol), Rashford (Utd) Ings (Sou), Aguero (MC), Vardy (Lei) Injury doubts (Rashford) and suspensions (Auba) in combination with Ings’ ongoing goalscoring, Aguero grabbing the headlines, and Vardy returning.

Premium fantasy picks

The clash of the week is taking place at Anfield in gameweek 23, where leaders Liverpool are welcoming their arch rivals Manchester United, and our first premium fantasy pick will be featuring in this match. When it comes to home games, Mo Salah (£12.3m) definitely knows where the goal is judging by the fact that 9 out of his 10 Premier League goals this season have been scored in front of his own fans. Man United have been mediocre when it comes to results away from home, taking just 12 points from 11 away games so far this season, scoring 12 goals and conceding a worrying 15 goals over that run. With the young Brandon Williams most likely filling in for the injured Luke Shaw at left-back for United, more than a few managers will be eyeing the possibility of Salah taking advantage of the situation, despite the United youngster’s good performance in gameweek 22. We’re expecting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to put up a decent fight at Anfield, but it’s hard to imagine Liverpool’s front three not causing them some serious trouble over 90 minutes.

Our second premium fantasy pick for gameweek 23 is Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (£11.8m), who rocketed himself back to the top of the scouting lists of millions of FPL managers after bringing home 20 FPL points last weekend. In many cases, this pick could be seen as a typical “chasing the points” kind of pick, but not in the case of Aguero. After his recital against Villa, the Argentinian striker is now the most prolific foreign player in the history of the Premier League, as well as the player with the most hattricks in the PL to his name. This means that, when it comes to Aguero, you’re never chasing the points as much as you are anticipating the next haul. Despite missing six games entirely and playing less than half an hour in five other games, Kun still has 13 goals and 5 assists to his name as it stands. As a matter of fact, of the 11 games that he started this season, he has only failed to return in three of them. Up next is Crystal Palace, who are expected to dig in deep and hope for a collective off day for City’s offensive line. With Aguero is red hot record-breaking form, that’s probably wishful thinking from the Eagles, though.

Non-premium fantasy picks

In gameweek 7, with Spurs away, Chelsea at home and Wolves away up next, barely anyone even considered Danny Ings (£6.8m). Three goals in three games saw him pick up some exposure, but his consecutive blanks against Leicester and Man City then caused managers to largely ignore the Saints striker again. Between gameweek 12 and gameweek 17, he then scored 5 goals in 5 games again, which made many FPL managers notice him and think “No way he’s going to keep that up”. Well, in the six games since then, Ings scored another 5 goals, bringing him to a more than respectable total of 14 goals and a single assist for the season so far. The Englishman is finding himself in the form of his life now that he has been able to leave his injury troubles behind him for a prolonged period of time and the best thing, both from manager’s Ralph Hasenhüttl’s perspective and an FPL manager’s point of view, is that he seems to be completely fixture-proof. Six of his goals have come against opposition currently placed in the top-8, 2 goals were scored against Everton and Arsenal, and the remaining 6 goals were scored against teams currently placed ninth or lower in the table. Wolves are up next as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men roll up to Molineux and even though this is going to be everything but easy for the Saints, Ings has shown that he can turn up anywhere, at any time this season.

The 2019-2020 Fantasy Premier League campaign brought us a few genuine bargains at the start of the season, with several players having enjoyed considerable price rises already. Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell (£4.9m) definitely belongs to this category, though his change in price has not been as comet-like as it has been for some other bargain gems like John Lundstram and Caglar Söyüncü. The young English offensive midfielder seems to have made the number-14 jersey his at Norwich, which is not surprising when looking at his tallies this season: 6 goals, 2 assists, 10 bonus points and 86 FPL points from 17 starts. That’s a direct involvement in 36% of all of the Canaries’ goals this season. Add his price tag to the equation and you get value that few other players in the official game can offer. This weekend, Norwich are hosting a Bournemouth side in free-fall who are now just one place above them in the table. A victory could reduce the gap from six to three points and more than a few eyes will be on Cantwell to help orchestrate that victory.

A differential fantasy pick or two

On paper, we feel the Brighton versus Aston Villa game on Saturday could offer some serious differential value on both sides. Considering Brighton’s OK home form (10th in the home games table with 16 points, 15 goals scored and 15 goals conceded from 11 games) and Aston Villa’s problems away from home (19th in the away games table with 7 points, 14 goals scored and 23 goals conceded from 11 games), we have decided to highlight Seagulls striker Neal Maupay (£5.9m) for this one. The French striker has not been overwhelming this season, but 7 goals and 1 assist from 17 starts is not terrible either for a budget asset from a mid-table team. Manager Graham Potter likes to rotate and shuffle his starting lineups around quite a bit, especially in attack, but Maupay has proven to be a constant in Brighton’s starting lineup, as is illustrated by the 16 games in which he played at least 78 minutes. That includes the first four games of the season, which were his first games in the Premier League. We feel that Brighton are the favourites on Saturday and that Maupay could be the one to consolidate that feeling.

For an FPL manager, there is something strangely discomforting about a big name player with a big price tag and a very low ownership. That’s because usually this indicates a premium player who, for whatever reason, is underperforming enormously. In some cases though, it simply means that you have come across a very good player who has simply been overshadowed by a teammate and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) is one of these cases. With just 12 starts from 22 games, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Frenchman so far, but Mikel Arteta seems to have big plans for him, considering he let him play at least 81 minutes in each of the four Premier League games since his appointment. Lacazette’s return of just a single assist over that run is disappointing to say the least, but don’t forget that Aubameyang is normally the star man up front for the Gunners. With the Gabonese striker now out suspended and expected to return for the GW25 game versus Burnley, we can see the French forward taking over the role of focal point in attack and building on his current tallies of 5 goals and 3 assists, at least temporarily. His price tag of £9.3m makes him quite an expensive punt, but with an ownership of just 2.0% and a relatively favourable set of fixtures coming up, he could be a big differential as well.

For further GW23 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

We immediately had our eye on the Manchester City versus Crystal Palace game for this week’s captaincy, especially after Pep’s men handed out a 1-6 whooping at Villa Park last weekend, but the problem is, as usual, the danger of rotation. City started with two strikers and Mahrez in a number-10 role in GW22, resulting in a second consecutive benching for Sterling, and it’s unclear whether this will once again be the starting lineup at home to Palace this Saturday or if Guardiola will revert back to the usual 4-3-3. Aguero is obviously a potentially explosive choice for the armband and we find it hard to imagine that Sterling will be benched for a third time in a row, but if you want to play it safe with your captain, Kevin de Bruyne is probably (once again) your best pick. He’s our pick for the armband in any case.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW23 shows KDB with the most votes.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 50,000 euro Weekly Monster. FISO members could win free ‘Weekly Monster’ entries (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee. FanTeam have also just launched a 500,000 euro Fantasy Premier League game.