Normal service has resumed, and the Premier League schedule is back on track following the FA Cup.
This round of matches also provides some excellent double game week opportunities, but make sure you go in with your eyes wide open and plan for this weekend and beyond.
FPL GW23 Transfer Tips:
Tottenham have Turned the Corner
Spurs have some tough fixtures ahead, but their underlying data since Antonio Conte arrived suggests the Lilywhites have a lot to offer in GW22 and beyond.
Looking at their previous six matches, Tottenham are second only to Manchester City for expected goals and expected goals conceded.
The data set is obviously very small, and Spurs have yet to be tested in the league under their new manager, but so far, it looks promising.
Most telling, to me, are Spurs’ running stats that suggest the players have bought into the Italian’s footballing philosophy and that they are committed to the Conte ideology.
Tottenham have gone from one of the lowest sprinting sides in the league to one of the highest. Heading into this weekend, Heung-Min Son had the highest xPoints, although injury has scuppered the South Korean until after the break.
A shame given his recent form. Interestingly, the predicted data does not favour Tottenham in the double game week, giving them only a 40 per cent chance of beating Arsenal and a 38 per cent likelihood of getting three points away at Leicester.
The north London derby should be tight, but I’d expect three points against the Foxes given their problems with injury and COVID.
Tottenham assets also look strong in the long term. Although they sit 14th overall for fixture difficulty, the schedule offers goals and clean sheet opportunities.
Manchester City aside, Spurs can be confident of points at both ends of the pitch, and with Son sidelined, Harry Kane is a super pick!
Sergio Reguilon is another player with great potential in defence and attack, but a niggling muscle issue means I am wary of the Spaniard, particularly as Ryan Sessegnon is back in contention.
The Devil is in the Detail
United are a favourite amongst fantasy managers for this Double Gameweek, confidence supported by the projected data with some good assets in the side.
Cristiano Ronaldo has the second-highest xPoints - with a great projection for the Brentford game - while their defensive options are also attracting interest.
However, I still have reservations. The team lacks fluidity and consistency and has failed to live up to the pre-Ralph Rangnick hype.
Very little appears to have changed, certainly in terms of performances. United still play as individuals, and the players have not fully embraced his pressing style.
Occasionally, teams in transition can have good, improved data, although it is not yet reflected in their results, but United are still struggling to create chances while conceding goals.
The team sit ninth for xG in their last six matches and sixth for xG conceded. The team also fails the eye test.
They managed to make an appalling Wolves attack look fairly decent and analysing their opponents in GW22, Aston Villa, who are much improved under Steven Gerrard, will pose a greater threat despite the 1-0 loss in the FA Cup.
The game against Brentford is no gimme either. They are a good, solid unit, well-drilled under Thomas Frank, evidenced by their performance against Manchester City.
Therefore, going forward, the question is whether you want Manchester United assets over the long term? For me, their premium price means it is too much of a risk…
Fantasy managers seem to be focusing too heavily on the fixtures and not on the current form.
The Red Devils have, statistically, the easiest fixtures in terms of difficulty over the coming game weeks, but their style and underlying numbers do not warrant heavy investment.
Ronaldo is the only player I would consider, although his minutes may be managed with games in such close proximity and a niggling hip flexor problem. So, tread carefully!
Wait And See
Mastering your Double Gameweek
When we see a flurry of double game week fixtures, the temptation is to pile into teams with two games. But it would be best to consider your fantasy strategy before diving feet first into your transfers.
First and foremost: is it pertinent to consider playing your Free Hit? If so, you can start compiling the best players for a single round of fixtures.
However, if you’re thinking more medium to long-term, your focus will be on players that will benefit your side during the upcoming weeks. So, be careful, and try not to be blindsided just because teams have two immediate matches.
Brentford, Brighton, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester and Watford all have two fixtures in GW22, COVID pending, of course, but how many of these sides’ assets would you be happy to keep past this round?
Adding to this, the quality of the fixtures does not merit the use of your Free Hit chip. There is a likelihood of more exciting double-ups later in the campaign.
However, each fantasy manager’s situation is fraught with potential problems, and the Free Hit may be required to field an XI. So, keep your transfers for as long as possible, and have a contingency, as you know what they say about those best-laid plans…
Best FPL Tips This Week:
FIRST PUBLISHED: 16th August 2021