Gameweek 23 Captain and Player Picks
Holly Shand from Fantasy Football Community returns with captaincy corner and her three player picks in three positions for Gameweek 23.
The pendulum swung in the favour of Kevin De Bruyne last weekend, reflected in his ownership, with those brave enough to give him the armband gaining 4 points on the popular Vardy captaincy. Elsewhere, it was a quiet game for our favoured Liverpool attackers, with Manchester City stars Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero grabbing the headlines. It was 100% record for my tips last weekend and I’m backing Liverpool this weekend, despite a tricky fixture on paper at home to Manchester United.
Gameweek 23 arrives off the back of a free midweek for many: only Newcastle, Spurs, Manchester United and Wolves were involved in midweek FA Cup Third Round replays. Double Gameweek 24 comes around quickly though, so keep an eye on your team for that midweek deadline! With more FA Cup action, a Double Gameweek and League Cup semi-final second legs also coming up in the short-term, rotation could become an issue once again. As always, pay attention to your vice captain.
The shield pick is likely to be the most captained player of the week, allowing you to play safe and keep pace with the pack. The sword pick will be a less popular selection: if they perform it can shoot you up the overall rankings, but the risk from failure is higher.
Shield Pick: Kevin De Bruyne vs Crystal Palace (H)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 4/7
Kevin De Bruyne has the highest ownership in the game and one of only two players with over 50% ownership, with Jamie Vardy being the other. He has one goal and four assists in his last four games, having taken seven shots and produced seven chances for his team-mates. His record against Crystal Palace is incredible: three goals and seven assists from ten appearances. Pep Guardiola’s squads are notoriously difficult to predict, but De Bruyne is the main man in this side and cannot afford to be dropped. Crystal Palace have conceded seven big chances over the course of their last four games, conceding four goals in the process. Will you play safe with the Shield Pick?
Sword Pick: Jamie Vardy vs Burnley (A)
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 7/5
Jamie Vardy may have slipped down the pecking order slightly, but he’s still leading the Golden Boot race with 17 goals and lies just one FPL point behind KDB. He’s failed to score since before Christmas, with just one shot and two assists in the period since, having missed two Premier League games. Vardy is on penalties though and arguably has the easier fixture, facing a dodgy Burnley defence. The Clarets have conceded eight goals in their last four games, conceding ten big chances over that period. Vardy got himself on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture, which the Foxes won 2-1. Are you going to take a risk in selecting the Sword Pick?
I share my top three players for each Gameweek, selecting one defender, one midfielder and one striker. These are players that I’m tipping for the FPL Dream Team and they could also make intriguing differential captain decisions for you to consider too.
DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Manchester United (H)
The Liverpool defence are providing the ultimate in consistency right now, with six clean sheets on the bounce. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been party to five of those, picking up one goal, three assists and five bonus points along the way. It’s been a quiet few games for him in terms of attacking output, since his 24 point haul back on Boxing Day, but he’s had four shots and created five chances in that period too. Could he provide the holy grail of attacking return, clean sheet and bonus points?
MID: Sadio Mane vs Manchester United (H)
It was an uncharacteristic blank for Sadio Mane in Gameweek 22, having delivered attacking returns in his five starts prior to that, but you’d expect him to be back firing this weekend. He scored a goal in this fixture when Manchester United last visited Anfield, a 3-1 win for Liverpool which resulted in Jose Mourinho’s sacking. Mane has had five big chances in his last four games, only Gabriel Jesus has more. Manchester United have just one clean sheet on the road all season.
FOR: Roberto Firmino vs Manchester United (H)
Bobby Firmino is firmly back on the radar and rapidly becoming the happy compromise for our Double Gameweek 24 squads, as a cut price route into Double Liverpool attack. Three goals in his last four games has been a huge factor towards that, with those returns coming away from home. In fact just one quarter of his attacking returns have come at Anfield, three assists. He grabbed an assist in this fixture last season.
Until next time…
Good luck and Happy New Year!
Find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on Holly’s website: Fantasy Football Community