Festive madness is long over, and cup games are behind us, so the teams are getting back to their standard weekly routine. Some transfer-window arrivals may also make their first league appearances like freshly unwrapped holiday presents. Get ready!
I was on the verge of activating my 2nd Wildcard right away, but ended up with just buying Mo Salah back for Dele Alli. It remains a mystery why the Egyptian didn’t drop in price at all with almost 600k managers letting him go, but I can’t ignore his explosiveness this year.
We have the game week 23 games spread around three days with the main attraction scheduled on Sunday. The game of the weekend will happen in Liverpool, where two of the most attacking squads will examine each other’s defensive skills. I’m obviously talking about Liverpool v. Manchester City. There will be goals at Anfield, but who will score more? Or rather concede less? Don’t plan anything this Sunday at 5 pm CET -- it will be a beautiful game of football.
This round will be full of so called “six pointers”, as six out of ten teams from the bottom part of the Premier League table will be playing against each other. Those will all be narrow and most probably low-scoring games, but the emotions will be flying high. I personally give a slight home advantage to Newcastle and West Brom, while West Ham should have enough quality against Huddersfield.
The remaining top six contenders should comfortably collect the three points, but will have to work hard still:
- Stoke is without a manager, so it’s hard to predict, how the team will react to this (beware Manchester United). Numerous managers are jumping on Jesse Lingard’s train, but I remain ignorant for now.
- Bournemouth at home is always tricky, plus the Cherries can find themselves in the relegation zone unless they take at least a point against the visiting Arsenal. Expect a high-scoring encounter.
- Chelsea will be tested by the spirited Leicester at Stamford Bridge. Remains to be seen how the Foxes can play with the out-of-form Jamie Vardy (if he even makes it into the starting eleven) and constantly rumored to leave Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has been on fire since the Puel’s appointment and will threaten Courtois’ goal. Shall he wake up on Saturday with the fresh head and right attitude?
- Tottenham will be hosting Big Sam’s Everton at Wembley and will have 85% possession. I am captaining Harry Kane for the rest of the season, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing the Spurs dispatch Everton’s resistance. Cenk Tosun (Everton’s new marquee forward, signed from Besiktas for €27 million) is pushing for his first start. It will be interesting to see him on the Premier League’s stage.
There are two more games to mention, as Crystal Palace at home will examine Burnley’s defense, and Watford also at home will try to put even more pressure at the Mauricio Pellegrino’s struggling Southampton side. The Saints will drop into the relegation zone if they capitulate to Marco Silva’s boys. Both games should be fun and full of nasty tackles and goals with the likes of Zaha, Christian Benteke and Richarlison on the pitch.
As mentioned above, I resisted the temptation to activate my Wildcard, so am fielding most of my GW-22 double-gamers. Here are my troops for GW 23:
David De Gea
Phil Jones / Paul Dummett / Nicolas Otamendi / Andreas Christensen
Raheem Sterling / Mo Salah / Marko Arnautovic / Heung-Min Son
Wayne Rooney / Harry Kane (C)
I have a gut feeling that Romelu Lukaku and Kun Aguero will both rip opposition defenses this week, but can’t afford them without taking hits or wildcarding.
Are you carrying those numerous Spurs’ and Hammers’ players over? What are the announced rosters and the match events doing to your fantasy hopes? Tell us in the chat, and good luck!