The Fantasy Premier League gods were smiling again on the game’s big guns and their owners as most of the highly tipped players ahead of Gameweek 22 delivered handsomely leading to an average score of 57.

Barring Mohamed Salah, the most popular captaincy choice, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bruno Fernandes, Patrick Bamford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and James Maddison all came away with good hauls.

But GW23 is going to test the wits of FPL managers as Liverpool and Manchester City, two teams where FPL managers are most invested in, lock horns at Anfield with a lot at stake. While the match itself is decisive for the league’s title race and the teams are in contrasting form, few FPL managers would like to rely too heavily on the assets of either team.

Manchester United, the other favourite team of FPL managers this season, face an equally tricky assignment against Everton at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, Aston Villa take on Arsenal further giving headaches to owners of assets from these sides who have been quite popular of late.

Tottenham face whipping boys West Brom at home but their recent form has made FPL bosses wary of jumping on to the team’s assets. Otherwise, this is a game that usually would have been a banker.

However, it might be an opportunity for FPL managers to look elsewhere and bank on players from teams like West Ham and Chelsea who have been in good form and have relatively favourable fixtures in GW23.

Fixture Difficulty

The double gameweeks are back again and that means proper planning has to be undertaken to get the most out of it.

Here are the teams that will play twice in GW 24 and 25

GW24: Burnley, Everton, Fulham and Manchester City

GW25: Leeds United and Southampton

So even if the fixtures indicate a tough run for City, it would make sense to hold on to your City assets if not have three players in your first XI. Everton are the other big team with a DGW in GW24 but their fixtures could put off some FPL managers. However, with one fixture against Fulham, it may not be a bad idea to invest in at least one Everton player.

Burnley have a good run of games and also a double fixture in GW24, so racking up their players, especially defensive ones could be a smart ploy. Nick Pope, who is the top-scoring goalkeeper, is pretty much a must-have for now.

Leeds also have a decent run of games and it would be great to go in with three Leeds players in GW25. Southampton are not in the best form at the moment but it would be useful to have at least one Southampton player in your squad for GW25.

Team *Combined Difficulty rating for GW 23-25 GW23 opponent (Feb 06) GW24 opponent GW25 opponent
Arsenal 9 (3, 2, 4) AVL(A) LEE(H) MCI(H)
Aston Villa 9 (3, 2, 4) ARS(H) BHA(A) LEI(H)
Brighton 8 (2, 3, 3) BUR(A) AVL(H) CRY(H)
Burnley 7 (2, 3,2, 2) BHA(H) CRY(A), FUL(H) WBA(H)
Chelsea 7 (2, 2, 3) SHU(A) NEW(H) SOU(A)
Crystal Palace 7 (3, 2, 2) LEE(A) BUR(H) BHA(A)
Everton 11 (4, 2,4, 5) MUN(A) FUL(H), MCI(A) LIV(A)
Fulham 8 (3, 3,2, 2) WHU(H) EVE(A), BUR(A) SHU(H)
Leeds 9 (3, 3, 3,3) CRY(H) ARS(A) WOL(A), SOU(H)
Leicester 10 (3, 4, 3) WOL(A) LIV(H) AVL(A)
Liverpool 11 (4, 4, 3) MCI(H) LEI(A) EVE(H)
Man City 11 (5, 4,3, 3) LIV(A) TOT(H), EVE(A) ARS(A)    
Man Utd 7 (3, 2, 2) EVE(H) WBA(A) NEW(H)
Newcastle 11 (3, 4, 4) SOU(H) CHE(A) MUN(A)
Sheffield Utd 9 (4, 3, 2) CHE(H) WHU(A) FUL(A)
Southampton 10 (3, 3, 4,3) NEW(A) WOL(H) CHE(H), LEE(A)
Spurs 10 (2, 5, 3) WBA(H) MCI(A) WHU(A)
West Brom 10 (4, 4, 2) TOT(A) MUN(H) BUR(A)
West Ham 8 (2, 2, 4) FUL(A) SHU(H) TOT(H)
Wolves 9 (4, 3, 2) LEI(H) SOU(A) LEE(H)
via Fantasy Premier League website

The big ins and outs

Last week’s top scorer Arron Wan-Bissaka is the most purchased player this week and it comes as little surprise given Manchester United’s fixtures. In-form West Ham striker Antonio is close second followed by teammate Jesse Lingard who scored on debut for the Hammers. Tomas Soucek who keeps on surprising FPL managers with his goals from set-plays is also in demand along with Leicester City full-back James Justin.

Most transferred (in) players ahead of GW 23

Position Player Club
DEF Wan-Bissaka MUN
FWD Antonio WHU
MID Soucek WHU
MID Lingard WHU
DEF Justin LEI
As of Saturday morning

Few surprises on this list as injured and out-of-favour players constitute the list. But there’s a surprise at the very end as Son Heung-min who faces West Brom at the weekend finds himself exiting teams.

Most transferred (out) players ahead of GW 23

Position Player Club
DEF Chilwell CHE
DEF Bednarek SOU

Top picks for Gameweek 23

Whether you bring them in through transfers or (luckily enough) have them in your squad already, these are the five hottest selections for GW 23:

Michail Antonio (West Ham): The Hammers talisman has hit the ground running since returning from injury and it reflects in their upturn in form in that period. With two goals and three assists in his last five appearances, Antonio could return big in the next three games that are quite promising for the Londoners. In the last five gameweeks, Antonio tops the xG (Expected Goals) tally in the league.

Son Heung-min (Tottenham): The South Korean has been at the centre of a big dilemma facing FPL managers this week. Whether to go with form or fixture difficulty. Spurs have been in poor form in front of goal since the injury to Harry Kane and showed few signs of promise against Chelsea in midweek. However, against West Brom, the league’s second-most generous team who have been leaking goals for fun in the last few games, Son could fire his team back into some form. Son has been in great form if you look at the entire season and despite his team’s lack of goals, he could be a vital player in GW23.

James Justin (Leicester City): The Foxes full-back has hugely impressed this season and has been a consistent source of points for his FPL owners. Apart from clean sheets, Justin has provided two goals and as many assists this season. More importantly, he also has 10 bonus points to his name meaning that he would most likely return a bit more than just a clean sheet. In the last five games, Leicester are only second to Manchester City for xGA (Expected Goals Allowed) count on the road and against a Wolves side that have struggled for goals all season, Justin could once again come very handy.

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United): The United midfielder’s mini-drought was brought to an emphatic end as he returned 17 points in GW22. United face a much tougher opponent in Everton, but the Portuguese is often the man to make the difference in these tight games. With United’s home form improving, Fernandes is a nailed on player for your FPL team.

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa): The Villa forward has been around the top in the xG charts all season but has only started to translate that into consistent returns. Watkins has three goals in his last four matches and has the fourth-best xG in the last five matches. Up against a depleted Arsenal team at home, where Villa have been very strong in recent games, Watkins is a player to own for GW23.

Top differential picks for GW 23:

Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea): The Chelsea centre-back has cemented his place in the starting XI since Thomas Tuchel took charge of the Blues. Chelsea are yet to concede under the new German coach and have conceded very few chances to their opponents. With a trip to Sheffield United, the division’s second-lowest scorers, Rudiger is among the top candidates this week for clean sheet points. With 2.2% ownership and with a price of £4.5 million, Rudiger is a great buy for GW23.

Raphinha (Leeds): Talk of going under the radar, Leeds’ Brazilian midfielder has certainly done that. With two goals and two assists in his last three matches, Raphinha has returned like a premium asset. Owned by less than 2% of FPL managers, Raphinha has great differential value especially with a DGW on the horizon for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

Lewis Dunk (Brighton): Graham Potter’s men are in a rich vein of form having beaten Spurs and Chelsea in successive matches and that is based on solid defensive displays. With four clean sheets in their last four games, that includes ones against Liverpool and Tottenham, Brighton’s defensive assets are looking quite attractive especially with a trip to the league’s lowest scorers Burnley. Dunk carries a substantial threat on set-pieces too and thus could potentially give a big return. With less than 3% ownership, Dunk can make a real difference especially with a nice set of fixtures coming up for Brighton.

Captaincy Conundrum

It’s a tough week to make a captaincy choice as there are no obvious candidates. But as has been the case this season, the obvious pick has failed more often than not. So it’s a good time to rethink the strategy and opt for a bold choice.

The usual suspects like Son and Fernandes will once again be leading candidates this week, but poor form for the former and a tricky fixture for the latter could deter FPL managers from handing them the armband.

The left-field pick for the armband this week is West Ham’s Antonio. He has shown enough consistency over a long period of time and has picked up his form despite a bad injury. With the Hammers travelling to Fulham who are under tremendous pressure to get a result, expect Antonio to cause a lot of damage. His underlying numbers have been great and the same can be said about West Ham who have the third-best xG in the league away from home in the last five matches.

FPL Deadline for GW23: 4.30 pm IST, Saturday, February 06, 2021.