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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 23

Preview
After another crazy Premier League week, big fantasy decisions face us all. Harry Kane is out for a month, Trent Alexander-Arnold the same. Marko Arnautovic is very possibly on his way out of West Ham, Abdoulaye Doucoure having his head turned away from Watford, and Son Heung-min on yet more international duty. Who knows what else will befall us as January goes on, but for now another gameweek is on the horizon.

At the top of the table, Liverpool host the unpredictable Crystal Palace while Manchester City will hope that Huddersfield don’t experience the same new manager bounce currently going on across at Old Trafford. Manchester United will expect three more points at home to Brighton, Tottenham will look to the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to drive their depleted squad to victory at Fulham, while Arsenal host Chelsea in the game of the weekend on Saturday evening.

At the other end of the table, Cardiff’s trip to Newcastle looks a must-win for both. Southampton and Burnley both picked up vital wins last weekend, and will hope to build on those in respective fixtures at home to Everton and away at Watford.

Captain’s pick

Our record in this department is a lot like Tottenham’s in the league – we never do badly, but nor do we ever really hit the big time. All that will change this week, though, with our selection of Manchester United’s man in form, Marcus Rashford. The 21-year-old has five goals and four assists in his last seven Premier League games for United, and there is plenty to suggest he can keep that run going against Brighton this weekend.

The Seagulls’ centre-back pairing of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk is undoubtedly strong and consistent, but neither is the quickest and Brighton do struggle with runners in behind – as seen with goals scored against them this season by the likes of Eden Hazard (above), Marko Arnautovic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Brighton can also be susceptible on the counter attack – an area Rashford likes to exploit, as Tottenham learned to their cost at Wembley last Sunday (below). The Seagulls have won only one of their last seven league games, and now face a United team full of confidence on their own patch. It could prove a fruitful day for both Rashford and his team.

Value selection
We didn’t think we’d be including a player who has so far accumulated only six fantasy points all season, but now could be the time for Fernando Llorente to step forward. The Spaniard hasn’t started a single Premier League game so far this term, but with Kane injured and Son away with South Korea, this could be his time to shine – at least temporarily.

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Tottenham face Fulham this weekend, so here’s an interesting stat for you – the last 14 goals Fulham have conceded in the Premier League have all either been built in or come directly from wide areas. The Cottagers’ inability to defend their box could provide the 6ft 4ins Llorente an ideal opportunity to get off the league mark on Sunday.

Medium-term prospect

At just £4.3m, Jonny is an absolute steal. The Spaniard goes under the radar at Wolves, where his fellow wing-back Matt Doherty seems to pick up more goals and assists – but the latter is almost a cool mill more expensive, which puts him in the Trent Alexander-Arnold ballpark.

Jonny has more fantasy points than plenty of more high-profile and costly defenders: John Stones, Declan Rice, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Danny Rose, Luke Shaw and even the best defender in the world, Dejan Lovren. Wolves’ next seven opponents are Leicester, West Ham, Everton, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Cardiff – Jonny could prove a worthy addition to your squad for that period.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 23

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