Last updated on November 24th, 2023
Who should be your priority players for the next Gameweek, position by position
Written by Keiran Trotter (@fpl_del)
That’s the last International Break of the year seen off and there is now a 4 month gap until domestic football pauses again in March 2024. Whilst I enjoy my little trips down to Wembley (the journey was more fun than the game this time 🙂) I do miss the Premier League and, for all the pain and stress it causes, FPL. I’ve got as many rewards points (Caps) as I can attending England games this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what availability for tickets I’ll have access to for the Euros next Summer in Germany.
Week 12 Review
It seems a long time ago now, but let’s have a quick look back at gameweek 12. Personally, it was a good one for me with 77 points and a shift up from 2.03m to 1.63m. I’m ahead of where I was this time last year and managed a top 200k finish last year, though it was a bit of an unusual season with the World Cup and the additional Wildcard.
My picks for gameweek 12 were a mixed bag. Goalkeeper David Raya did what every goalkeeper seems to do against Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton, when I pick them, and conceded. There were 3 clean sheets elsewhere, Norberto Neto was the pick of the bunch with a 9 pointer.
An even bigger disappointment was defensive choice Kieran Trippier as Newcastle were downed 2-0 by Bournemouth. Tripper’s 1 pointer was only his second blank since gameweek 4. There were 3 double digit defensive hauls with goals for 6 defenders and 2 assists for Konstantinos Tsimikas who rewarded his owners with 15 points.
Originally my choice for Midfielder was Bukayo Saka. I did caveat this with a pivot to Salah if we got bad news about Saka in the Friday press conference. The news wasn’t great and I did decide to pivot to Salah as my pick (and decided not to bring him in for Son in my own team). Saka eventually started and notched an assist and 5 points but Salah starred for Liverpool with 2 goals and 16 points in total, so the late move definitely paid off. 7 other midfielders notched double digits but nobody got near Salah’s haul of the week.
Ollie Watkins got us a goal, but not much else as he logged a 6 pointer for us. He was bettered by only 3 other forwards, one of which we don’t consider given I still believe he’s undroppable. Dominic Solanke owners were the big winners as the £6.4m forward bagged 2 goals and 13 points in that shock 2-0 win over Newcastle.
So 25 points from 4 players isn’t too bad, but we’ll be hoping for a bit more from the keeper and defender this week. So where should we be looking in gameweek 13….
On initial inspection, a clean sheet looks tough to predict this week. It’s one of those weeks where top half teams play each other, as do bottom half teams with the exception of maybe West Ham travelling to Burnley and Man United travelling to Everton. West Ham have kept 1 clean sheet so far in gameweek 7 vs Sheffield United and Everton will have all the motivation in the world after their harsh 10 point penalty awarded in the last week.
A quick look at the bookmakers odds confirms the above with Crystal Palace favourites for the clean sheet away at Luton with a paltry 35% chance. My gut feel in this instance is to look at a couple of things, who is the least potent attacking team and which goalkeeper commands the most save / bonus points. Sheffield United rank 19th for goals, 20th for expected and 20th for big chances created. Bournemouth’s Norberto Neto (£4.5m) ranks 5th for save points and 3rd for bonus points this season and is fresh off a clean sheet against Newcastle. Their defence is statistically the 3rd worst in the league but in a week where it is hard to call any clean sheet, I’m going to give Neto his chance and hope that Bournemouth view this as a must not lose game.
As already identified the clean sheet looks like a difficult one to predict this weekend so we really need to focus our search on defenders producing the goods in the attacking half of the field. Over the last 6 gameweeks, there are 6 defenders with 30 or more points. 19 have scored at least 1 goal and 6 have 2 or more assists.
The usual suspects appear in at least one of those categories. Kieran Trippier (£7.0m) has 3 assists in that period and tops the xGI charts with 2.38. Newcastle take on an ever improving Chelsea who have scored 4 goals in each of their last 2 games against Spurs and Man City.
Vitaly Mykolenko (£4.4m) has 2 goals in that period but has a home tie against Manchester United. That might not be a bad fixture given Everton will want to make inroads into their 10 penalty immediately in front of their home fans but it’s not a game that jumps out as one for attacking returns for defenders.
Matty Cash (£5.2m) and Luca Digne (£4.7m) sit 6th and 2nd respectively for xGI over the last 6 gameweeks and face a depleted Spurs. Cash is flagged over a potential injury but there is definitely a good chance of attacking returns in that game.
I’m going to go a little off-piste with my selection this week though and I have a few interesting thoughts on this. Palace pairing Joachim Anderson (£5.1m) and Tyrick Mitchell (£4.7m) have both had recent attacking returns. Anderson has 3 for the season to Mitchell’s 2. They travel to Luton this gameweek which should lend them opportunities for points at both ends so they are definitely in my considerations.
Harry Toffolo (£4.4m) has 3 assists and 2 clean sheets in his last 6 gameweeks. Forest host Brighton this gameweek and whilst Brighton tend to score a lot they also tend to concede so there may well be further opportunities for attacking returns for him.
I was very impressed with Rayan Ait-Nouri (£4.5m) for Wolves against Spurs. He played an advanced role down the left hand side and was one of their most creative players. He’s ranked 5th for xGI over the last 6 weeks and Wolves travel to Fulham this week so I can see him being used a lot on the counter. It’s a wildly leftfield pick, as he hasn’t had a single return this season but this week feels like a punty week, especially with defenders, so Rayan Ait-Nouri gets my pick as defender of the week.
Whilst this week, in my opinion, is a good week to go ‘punty’ on defenders, I think you have to go tried and trusted with your attacking players. We’ve already seen this season that top performers do the business regardless of who they play against and good teams will score goals irrespective of which defence they are up against. Spurs, Liverpool and Brighton have all scored in every fixture so far with Arsenal and Man City blanking once. Villa and Newcastle have blanked only twice and it took 46 matches for the first 0-0 to happen this season (Bournemouth vs Chelsea).
Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) has 7 goals in his last 6 gameweeks and is way out in front of any other midfielder with 58 points (Bernado is his closest rival on 44). Whilst Liverpool play Man City this week at the Etihad Salah has 11 goals and 5 assists in 19 career appearances vs City so he is more than capable of delivering.
Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m) has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last 6 gameweeks and is 3rd or xGI and 5th for points scored in the last 6 gameweeks, I just think that Arsenal will prove too strong for Brentford and chances will be slim for them.
I do expect Bukayo Saka (£8.6m) to be amongst the points this weekend. He’s 4th for points and xGI in the last 6 gameweeks with 2 goals and 4 assists. Brentford are roughly mid-table when it comes to defending metrics so no reason why Saka shouldn’t continue to profit.
Cole Palmer (£5.2m) has been great recently with 43 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in his last 6 gameweeks, however, I’m expecting their trip to Newcastle to be a tight affair and he is quite dependent on penalties for his goals.
The above are the top recent performers and I see nothing in the above to prevent me from choosing Mohamed Salah as my midfielder pick of the week.
Forwards (minus Haaland)
Ignoring Haaland, it’s becoming quite easy to narrow down the forward selection each week. The top performing forwards are proving very consistent and 6 of the top 7 performers in the last 6 gameweeks are in the top performers for the season.
Haaland and Ollie Watkins (£8.5m) are head and shoulders above the rest overall. It would be hard to argue that Villa aren’t going to get chances against Spurs and difficult to expect anyone other than Watkins to be a big benefactor of those chances, so he is undoubtedly a good option this gameweek.
Julian Alvarez (£7.1m) and Darwin Nunez (£7.5m) face off against each other this week and whilst I’m expecting an open game I think this is the sort of game that the respective superstars, Messrs Haaland and Salah will shine brightest in.
Nicolas Jackson (£6.8m) has been improving of late and now has 5 goals in his last 6 gameweeks. I’m expecting Newcastle to be much better than last time out and with some positive news around defensive injuries clearing, I don’t see this as a great fixture for him.
Dominic Solanke (£6.4m) has quietly crept into 4th place on the forward list. He has 6 goals for the season and 3 in his last 4. Bournemouth travel to Sheffield United this week and whilst other strikers have been more consistent overall it is hard to ignore a form forward facing one of the statistically worse defences in the league, so based on that, I’m giving Solanke the nod for my forward pick of the week this week.
Picks of the Week
Norberto Neto (Bournemouth GK £4.5m)
Rayan Ait-Nouri (Wolves DF £4.5m)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool MF £13.0m)
Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth FW £6.4m)
Best of luck for the week ahead and I’ll see you next week for another review and set of Picks of the Week.