FPL Season 2022-23: Gameweek 21 preview

At the time of writing this gameweek 21 preview, there is still one game of double gameweek 20 to be played. Later tonight, Manchester City are hosting Spurs for a banger of a closer to the double. The reigning champions will be looking to bounce back in style in front of their own crowd after going down 2-1 at Old Trafford a few days ago, while the visitors have the massive task of regaining some confidence against Pep Guardiola’s men at the Emirates after losing the North London derby versus archrivals Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Some of the Fantasy Premier League’s most popular assets will feature tonight (or not, if they’re rested, for example), so keep all of this in mind when reading through our recommended fantasy picks for gameweek 21.

Having said that, GW21 will be kicking off with a bang early at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday as struggling Liverpool are hosting equally out-of-form Chelsea at Anfield at 12:30pm. As things stand at the time of writing, that’s 9th against 10th! On Sunday, Arsenal welcome Manchester United for the other clash of the weekend, this one being a contest between two teams in excellent form. On paper, it looks like a good opportunity for Man City to creep closer to the top spot as they face Wolves on Sunday. From an FPL point of view, the game between Leeds and Brentford at Elland Road looks interesting as well, just like the visit of Brighton to Leicester and Newcastle’s trip to Selhurst Park.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 21 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 21st, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 19th, 2023)

GKAlisson (LIV), Ward (LEI), Henderson (NFO)Pope (NEW), Raya (BRE), Ramsdale (ARS) 
DEFCancelo (MCI), Van Dijk (LIV), Cucurella (CHE)Shaw (MUN), Schär (NEW), Mee (BRE)Cancelo benchings, Van Dijk injury, United and Newcastle form
MIDTrossard (BRI), Salah (LIV), Martinelli (ARS)Odegaard (ARS), March (BRI), Rashford (MUN)Trossard absence, March form in January, Odegaard returns
FORMitrovic (FUL), Darwin (LIV), Martial (MUN)Toney (BRE), Kane (TOT), Mitrovic (FUL)Darwin and Martial injury doubts, Toney form

Premium pick

As we mentioned in the intro of this piece, Manchester City could become the big winners of the weekend, on two conditions. One, that Arsenal and United draw, and two, that the Cityzens themselves manage to dispatch Wolves at home. The Wanderers are having a disappointing first half of the season, especially in front of goal. No team has scored less than their 12 goals in 19 games, while only five teams conceded more than their 27 conceded goals. As a result of this and the calendar for the weekend, there can really be no other premium fantasy pick than Erling Haaland (£12.2m) for gameweek 21. He blanked against United last Saturday and still has a home game against Spurs to go, so we suggest keeping an eye on the Norwegian’s exploits tonight. Should he come out of the Spurs game unscathed and perhaps even rested, than he looks like the absolute top premium fantasy pick for GW21. He hasn’t returned since gameweek 19, but If you’re in any doubt: 21 goals, 3 assists and 23 bonus points in 17 Premier League appearances speaks volumes (of points).

Non-premium pick

The reality of being involved in a potential gambling scandal, which is being investigated as we speak, does not seem to have any effect on the form of Ivan Toney (£7.5m). The ultra-reliable Brentford forward is having his best Premier League season ever, having scored 13 goals and provided 3 assists already, which helped him to record 20 bonus points as well. That’s right, just three less than Haaland up until now. Toney missed out on the Liverpool game back in gameweek 19, when the Bees overwhelmed the Reds at home, but ignoring that game, the England forward has managed 5 goals and 1 assist in his last four league appearances. That’s a return of 39 FPL points over that same run, or just under 10 points per game, which is incredible value for his price. Up next are Leeds at Elland Road, where they have conceded 14 goals in nine games, followed by Southampton at home. In the short and medium term, Toney looks like a set-and-forget option with a high ceiling, and even on the longer term his budget probably makes him a very shrewd pick for the 75.3% of managers who don’t own him yet.

The budget enabler

When Vladimir Coufal (£4.1m) just looked to have fought himself back into West Ham’s starting eleven, around gameweek 17, we included him in our budget enabler category. Since then, the Czech Republic international has started every league game for the Hammers, which is obviously the basis for a true budget enabler. At the same time though, it should be noted that over those four games, Coufal recorded just 4 FPL points in total, which brings us to the downside of this pick. West Ham are probably the most disappointing side of the 2022-23 Premier League season so far. David Moyes’ men currently find themselves in eighteenth place with just 15 points and 3 clean sheets to their name. Not exactly promising stats for a defensive fantasy pick, we know. Picking Coufal is therefore mainly based on two arguments, one more stats-based and one more-hope based. He is starting for a side that is totally out of form, but that finished seventh last season, and that has not lost any of its key players. Up next are Everton at home, which could well mean the fourth clean sheet of the season. Our hope is that the Hammers manage to find some of last season’s good form in the second half of the season, which could turn Coufal into a budget fantasy pick of exceptional value.

The differential

Since the return of the Premier League after the World Cup break, no team in the entire league has been more prolific in front of goal than Brighton. Southampton were beaten 1-3 at Saint Mary’s in GW17, Arsenal came to the AmEx Stadium for a 2-4 victory in GW18, Everton lost 1-4 to the Seagulls in GW19 and last weekend, Liverpool were sent back to Anfield with a 3-0 scoreline in Brighton’s favour. As a result, several of Brighton’s attacking fantasy assets have attracted increased attention over the past few weeks and one of them is Solly March (£5.1m). The winger, who is registered as a midfielder in the official game, never scored more than 2 goals in a season (2020-21) or provided more than 6 assists in one season (2018-19). At the moment of writing, he is sitting on a very healthy 4 goals and 6 assists from 18 league appearances, and a total of 88 FPL points. We could say that the 28-year-old is in the form of his life and his last games only confirm that. He has been directly involved in 6 goals over the last four games (4 goals and 2 assists) and he brought the roughly 3.5% of managers who own him an impressive 44 FPL points over that same run. The Seagulls now have Leicester (away), Bournemouth (home), Crystal Palace (away) and Fulham (home) up next, so if you’re looking for an in-form offensive asset with good fixtures on the medium and long term, March can definitely be your man (for January and February at least!).

This forum topic from FISO’s Fantasy Premier League forum may help with alternative picks for GW21.

The (vice-)captaincy

The armband this week, like basically every week, is on Erling Haaland. Let’s move on to the alternatives, for those who like to play with fire.

While Spurs are mostly unreliable in terms of FPL returns, Harry Kane really isn’t. Besides Haaland, he is probably the only player we’d place the armband on this weekend without hesitation. Spurs are visiting Fulham, who are doing more than well this season, but Kane can (and does) score anywhere, any time. Outside of those two heavy hitters, we can see captaincy value in Ivan Toney (away at Leeds) and Kieran Trippier (away at Palace) as well. For the ice-cold ones, putting the armband on in-form James Ward-Prowse for the home game against Aston Villa could pay back handsomely.