Injuries, COVID, and of course, the double game week gives my Best XI a slightly different feel, with several high-profile players considered doubts or expected to miss out altogether.
I’m sticking with a solid 4-4-2, and in terms of budget, we’re well below the squad average at bang on £100m. So if you fancy a little tinkering, you do have the cash to spare.
FPL GW23 XI:
Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) - Predicted Points: 2.9
Although his fixtures are not the greatest on the surface, the Frenchman is still my favourite option for GW22. He has six returns from Antonio Conte’s eight games in charge, averaging 5.1 points per match.
Lloris has been racking up the save points, and although the form book will go out of the window against Arsenal in the north London derby, I do like their chances against a heavily depleted Leicester side three days later.
- Daniel Bachmann (£4.3m) – Maybe his last guaranteed start with Ben Foster approaching full fitness.
Cucurella (£5.1m) - Predicted Points: 2.0
The Brighton wing-back has the sixth-highest xPoints for this game week amongst defenders. His importance to the team at both ends of the pitch cannot be overlooked, although it is his attacking potential that I’m drawn towards.
The Spaniard has the highest xA amongst his defensive teammates. Add this to a 40 per cent chance of a clean sheet against Palace, and you begin to see the appeal, although granted, the Seagulls then face Chelsea.
However, the Blues have been faltering lately, and they are conceding more than their early season overperformance.
James Tarkowski (£4.9m) - Predicted Points: 1.7
The Clarets have an attractive double game week with a good chance of at least one clean sheet, particularly against a severely hampered Leicester City side riddled with injuries.
In addition, there is also the bonus that Tarkowski has the seventh most shots inside the box amongst all defenders and the fourth-highest xG.
This points towards possible defensive and offensive outputs elevating Tarkowski to second amongst defenders for xPoints with a 65 per cent chance of a return.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m) - Predicted Points: 3.5
No backline would be complete without this season’s highest-scoring defender. And if the data rings true, then Trent is sure to add to his tally as he’s been given a massive 74 per cent likelihood of a return.
The home tie against Brentford looks to be a really attractive fixture.
Sergio Reguilon (£5.4m) - Predicted Points: 2.1
Now the Spurs defender has missed the last two due to an ongoing muscle issue that needs to be managed; however, I’m sure that if those games were in the Premier League, then he would have played.
That said, keep an eye on the Tottenham press conference, just in case. Reguilon doubles up nicely with Hugo Lloris, and with Heung-Min sidelined, emphasis could be on the Spaniard to supply Harry Kane.
Matt Lowton (£4.4m) – A starting placeholder involved in a double game week.
Diogo Jota (£8.3m) - Predicted Points: 4.4
The Portuguese attacker will be without his two talismanic teammates, but we have seen his brilliance shine through since his arrival at Anfield. Jota comes into this game week with a 61 per cent chance of any return combined with high xPoints.
The Bees are smarting after a heavy defeat to Southampton, shipping four, and unless they improve significantly, they could be on the end of another drubbing.
Liverpool’s attack is lightyears ahead of the Saints, and the home side are deservedly rated as having the best chance of scoring over 2.5 goals this weekend.
Jarrod Bowen (£6.7m) - Predicted Points: 4.0
The Hammers midfielder has had three double-digit returns in his last seven (two in three) and is a man in form. After a slow start, Bowen has consistently delivered and rewarded backers in recent weeks, and he looks primed for more points.
However, it is only a single game which may be a little off-putting for some, although his data and point projections make a strong case.
Bowen has a 53 per cent chance of returning against a Leeds defence with the fourth-highest xG conceded over the previous six (and third highest this season), and I do like these odds.
Dwight McNeil (£5.7m) - Predicted Points: 2.4
Burnley have been far from their best this season, and without Maxwel Cornet (Africa Cup of Nations) and Chris Wood (moved to Newcastle), these upcoming fixtures look a lot more difficult.
But in Watford and Leicester, the Clarets face opposition that have defended terribly over the last six, and McNeil might be the man to step up.
The winger should be at the heart of everything, scoring or assisting, and his 62 per cent chance of a return appeals.
Leandro Trossard (£6.1m) - Predicted Points: 1.6
Brighton face Crystal Palace and Chelsea, both of whom haven’t been great defensively of late. And in Trossard, we have an out of position midfielder deployed potentially in a front two.
The Belgian is a great creator, loves a speculative effort from range, and is amongst the highest for xPoints in this double game week for midfielders.
- Raphinha (£6.5m) - The player with the second-highest xPoints this game week.
Harry Kane (£12.2m) - Predicted Points: 3.5
In the absence of Heung-Min Son, expect Sir Harry to step up and deliver. The England captain is beginning to find some form under new boss Antonio Conte, scoring in three of his last four games.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) - Predicted Points: 4.1
After missing out in the FA Cup, the player himself said he was “confident” of recovering ahead of this weekend, and with the highest odds of any return (84%), he deserves some serious consideration.
And, although I have my reservations about Manchester United, it is hard to look past Ronaldo, who has the third-highest projected points.
- Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m) – The striker has been in excellent form this term, but a minor knock, plus his club’s refusal to release him for the Africa Cup of Nations, is just enough to put me off starting him.
Best FPL Tips For Gameweek 23:
FIRST PUBLISHED: 12th August 2021