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Fantasy Premier League Primer: Actionable items for Gameweek 23

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FPL gameweek 23, Elijah Adebayo

The final Premier League matches of January brought upset wins, nervy finishes and plenty of goals.

Here’s what you need to be across, as we build up to FPL Gameweek 23.

When does FPL Gameweek 23 start?

Saturday 3 February, 10:30 pm AEDT

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We’ll find out at Goodison Park where Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs clash with Everton to kick FPL Gameweek 23 off.

Everton’s defence is the most resilient in the Premier League, while Spurs’ free-flowing attack is, when on song, simply frightening. While the Postecoglou won’t be able to call on Heung-Min Son (£9.7 I 17.0%), whose Asian Cup adventure is yet to end, the return of talismanic playmaker James Maddison (£7.8 I 8.9%) is a massive boost.

The former Leicester City man is Spurs’ creative fulcrum and, prior to an ankle injury sustained against Chelsea, was involved in nine goals in 11 matches, a return so strong he was labelled by many as the league’s standout player in its opening quarter.

Everton will need a big performance to keep Spurs out. Their relegation situation is dire, largely due to points deductions received for financial breaches, and need to extract as many points as possible to ensure safety.

Sean Dyche’s side certainly have the tactical effectiveness and discipline to hold Tottenham to nil. Although, everyone has a plan until they’re punched in the face.

FPL Gameweek 23 notes

Has Arsenal’s mojo returned?

A 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest, no matter how nervy the final few minutes were, should be viewed as regulation for this Arsenal side. That much is true. Yet, in this Premier League, where every side feels capable of stealing points from even the best sides, nothing should be taken for granted.

Bukayo Saka (£9.1 I 61.2%) scored the goal which eventually collected Arsenal’s three points but it was the performance of one of his frontline compatriots that was most noticeable. Gabriel Jesus (£8.0 I 6.1%) was everywhere, scoring once via a sublime sneaky finish from the by-line and assisting the other, in a game that ratified his importance to Mikel Arteta.

At a time when Arsenal’s goalscoring has come under fire, resulting in claims the Gunners’ title credentials are weakened by their lack of out-and-out potent goalscorer, Jesus’ fluid, free-flowing performance proves he’s more than capable of leading the line of a title-challenging side.

gabriel jesus
Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus had a hand in both Arsenal goals against Forest I FPL Gameweek 23

Newcastle find themselves again

It had been over a decade since Newcastle last scored a top-flight goal at Villa Park. That 10-year hiatus broke after half an hour when Fabian Schar (£5.2 I 5.5%) broke the deadlock here. Four minutes later he had his second. Both came from set-pieces, with the second unfortunate for Villa but no less concerning.

Quite simply, Newcastle deserved this win. Eddie Howe’s side played to their potential, boosted by a near-full-strength side. Pleasingly for owners of Kieran Trippier (£6.7 I 36.6%), the right-back grabbed an assist and looked defensively resolute. After a lean month or so, this bodes well for Trippier, and Newcastle, heading into FPL gameweek 23 and beyond.

For Aston Villa, this result isn’t panic stations. Unai Emery’s side was simply met by a fantastic Newcastle side whose press returned to its suffocating best. Substitute Leon Bailey (£5.7 I 3.6%) was electric, bringing swift directness and penetration to Villa’s attack that set up Ollie Watkins’ (£8.9 I 54.1%) late consolation goal – his 10th of the season.

Newcastle United, Kieran Trippier, All or Nothing
Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier was instrumental in their victory over Aston Villa I FPL Gameweek 23

Conor Bradley stars as Liverpool suffocate Chelsea

Chelsea never looked a sniff as they travelled to first place Liverpool, the first Premier League game since manager Jurgen Klopp announced his end of season departure from the club. From the off, Liverpool’s press was relentless, their ball movement punishing with Chelsea helpless bystanders unable to stifle this footballing masterclass.

Again deputising for Mohamed Salah (£13.1 I 22.1%), Diogo Jota (£7.9 I 10.1%) found the scoresheet once more. Darwin Nunez (£7.5 I 16.1%) was lively and likely should’ve scored; the Uruguayan hit the post a Premier League record four times, including once from the penalty spot.

However, Liverpool’s right back stole the show. No, not Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.5 I 21.1%); Conor Bradley (£4.0 I 0.2%). The youngster put on an exhibition of great fullback play against Chelsea, causing headaches with his touchline-hugging width and expertly delivered final product, scoring once and providing another for Dominik Szoboszlai (£7.1 I 4.4%)

While shouldn’t be a selection consideration from FPL gameweek 23 onward, Bradley’s performance could inspire Jurgen Klopp to permanently shift Alexander-Arnold into the midfield role everyone expects him to eventually fill.

Alvarez brace gives Pep selection headache

How do you fit Julian Alvarez (£7.0 I 34.2%), Erling Haaland (£14.0 I 55.3%), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7 I 26.1%), Phil Foden (£8.0 I 28.1%) and Bernardo Silva (£6.5 I 5.6%) into four positions? That is a problem a certain Pep Guardiola must figure out.

Pep splits his players into two categories; those who win games and those who control them. Bernardo falls into the latter, while the rest fall into the former. It appears likely the Argentine, Alvarez, will drop to the bench once Haaland returns while one of Foden or Silva will shuffle out wide.

It’s not a bad problem to have; being able to bring a World Cup-winning striker who’s been involved in 16 goals this season off the bench. Against Burnley, Alvarez twice scored, assisted once by De Bruyne, whose return to Premier League life has been ominous for fellow title challengers.

Julian Alvarez image
Julian Alvarez is likely to become the odd attacker out in a fully fit Manchester City

Two in two for Toney, but Tottenham stand strong

Luck was on his side when a fortuitous back pass found Ivan Toney (£8.0 I 4.9%) 67 minutes into Brentford’s loss to Spurs. It’s likely the English striker won’t ever finish an easier chance for his second goal in his second Premier League game back from a gambling ban.

An early goal to Neal Maupay (£4.9 I 0.9%) put the Bees in the driving seat. An eight-minute second half flurry ripped control back in Spurs’ favour. First, Destiny Udogie (£4.8 I 9.5%) found the back of the net, assisted by the luck of the bounce, then, a minute later, Brennan Johnson (£5.8 I 0.7%) turned bad to worse for Brentford before Richarlison (£7.0 I 12.9%) hammered the final nail into their coffin.

Even without Heung-Min Son (£9.7 I 17.0%), his partner in crime, James Maddison (£7.8 I 8.9%) was extremely lively on his return to Premier League action, popping up everywhere in an attempt to inspire Spurs over the line. In his second outing for Spurs, Timo Werner (£6.5 I 0.9%) grabbed another assist. Not the most fluidly moving wide player in world footballer, something about the German just seems to work, particularly when goalscoring isn’t concerned.

Lights out Luton run riot against Brighton

It felt like Luton Town had been building to a result like this, a 4-0 victory over Brighton, for months. To this point they’d run Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City close without so much as a point for their efforts. Against Brighton, everything clicked.

Lofty striker Elijah Adebayo (£4.8 I 1.1%) scored his first senior hat-trick, taking his season tally to eight goals. In his first start in over a month, captain Carlton Morris (£5.0 I 1.9%) provided an assist for Adebayo’s first goal, scored inside the game’s first minute. It was Morris’ third assist in four games, a spell which includes a goal.

Ross Barkley (£4.9 I 0.3%) continued his exceptional season in a deeper midfield role, sneakily stealing possession inside Brighton’s half before linking expertly with Adebayo for the striker’s second, and Luton’s third, on the stroke of half-time.

All three of these men, as well as wing-back Alfie Doughty (£4.5 I 4.4%), are excellent ‘cheapies’ who should be considered for FPL gameweek 23 and beyond.

FPL gameweek 23, Carlton Morris
Luton Town striker Carlton Morris is in subtly good form I FPL Gameweek 23

Eze and Olise show out

For any low-to-mid-table Premier League side, there is no more important player than a game-breaking attacking talent capable of shouldering the creative burden of lesser-resourced sides. Fortunately for Crystal Palace, they have two.

Both Eberechi Eze (£6.0 I 3.5%) and Michael Olise (£5.9 I 1.4%) combined to ensure Roy Hodgson’s men collected the three points against Sheffield United. On 17 minutes an acrobatic Eze met an Olise cross, cancelling out Ben Brereton-Diaz’s (£5.0 I 0.1%) opener for Sheffield United. 10 minutes later, Eze again equalised, this time brilliantly bending one into the back of the net, Olise again the provider.

Just shy of 70 minutes, Olise found the back of the net himself. A bobbling ball sat perfectly for the Frenchman just outside Sheffield United’s area, his left foot meeting it with subtle power and bending precision as it curled around Wes Foderingham (£4.5 I 0.3%) like a cast fishing line.

Even with a mountain of extraordinary FPL midfield choices, five goals and three assists in his last five outings positions Olise as a perfectly viable trade option moving into FPL gameweek 23 and beyond.

Phillips’ nightmare is Solanke’s delight

It took just three minutes for Kalvin Phillips (£4.7 I 0.1%) to create a goal on his West Ham debut. Rather problematically for the midfielder, and his new employers, it was for the other team. Dominic Solanke (£7.1 I 26.4%) cooly slotted the weak backpass home for his 13th Premier League goal this season.

It comes as a slight surprise that Solanke’s FPL ownership isn’t higher. He is, after all, the focal point of an exciting, and ever-improving, Bournemouth attack. If you don’t have him maybe it’s because you have Haaland and Watkins partnered up top, or Alvarez and Watkins, or Alvarez and Haaland. Yet, the former Liverpool striker’s consistent performances are hard to argue against.

Maybe Rashford should party more often?

Marcus Rashford (£8.4 I 7.3%) was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during the week. Having missed training after a night out in Belfast, many questioned whether the winger would even be at the club come deadline day, let alone in the starting lineup away at Wolves.

It took no time at all for Rashford to silence his critics and find the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season. Not long after, Rasmus Hojlund (£6.8 I 3.8%) grabbed his third of the season and United looked to be in the driver’s seat.

Goals from Pablo Sarabia (£4.7 I 0.3%), Pedro Neto (£5.6 I 1.9%) and Max Kilman (£4.5 I 0.9%) on either side of a Scott McTominay (£4.6 I 1.2%) strike meant this match almost ended in embarrassment for Erik Ten Hag, only for a wonderful Kobbie Mainoo (£4.4 I 0.2%) goal at the death to save United.

From an FPL perspective, the return of Neto is delightful news. Prior to his injury, the Portuguese winger was one of the Premier League’s form players of the season and his return to form offers a cheap midfield alternative, freeing budget up for strengthening elsewhere.

Transfer targets under 15% ownership

DEFENDER: Fabian Schar (£5.2 I 5.5%)

MIDFIELDER: Michael Olise (£5.9 I 1.4%)

FORWARD: Elijah Adebayo (£4.8 I 1.1%)

Kyle Robbins
Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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