Premier League: GW23 Starting XI

After a rough patch of three reds in the last four weeks, SOMETHING have to give, right? How long can a bad luck streak run? Wait, don’t answer that, as I have seen fantasy managers worse off than myself, who’ve had some red runs. I recall a few years ago I had a 10-12 game red streak, so it can and does happen. Conversely, it can swing the other way with a bit of that “Irish” luck from Paddy and Johnny of The King Podcast. Green arrows are all the desire and after two transfers this week I feel my starting XI is the best it’s looked in a number of weeks.

Ahead of Wednesday and my GW23: Transfers article, I had already made my two transfer. Now I usually hold my transfer(s) until Friday, in order to make well informed decisions. This week, like the few previous, there has been a rush to go red, as in Red Devils. No surprise to see Marcus Rashford and Paul Pobga as the most transferred in players. Not too far behind those players, Mo Salah.

The Harry Kane injury left me with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as my lone premium forward option, which helped make the decision as to which forward I was going to drop. Kane freed up the necessary budget to reintroduce Salah to the starting XI. The midfield decision came down to Felipe Anderson or Richarlison. Based on a comparison of stats, Anderson has the statistics, but both have been passing the eye test to some degree.

Many Richarlison owners will point to a streak of bad luck for the Brazilian with 16 shots inside the box in the last six games with two balls cleared off the line in the last two. For me, it’s the second time he’s failed to produce in my starting XI, which makes him expendable. That and the fact I have been on his shit all season long and he’s not letting me down, with a single return in four games. Gonna be a long second half of the season for him.

Along with Salah coming back after an 8-week absence that’s seen the Egyptian score 75 points over that period! Rashford was my other selection, as he will partner with Aubameyang and Callum Wilson up top.  The starting XI looks more in line with the top 1000k managers, as seen on Fantasy Football Fix.

Neil Etheridge will get his second start in goal for my XI this week, coming off an amazing 10 pointer in game week 22, he and Cardiff City travel to St. James’ and a date with Newcastle. Go back to game week 2 and Etheridge picked a season high, 16 points in a 0-0 draw.

The defensive back three continues to remain unchanged, with the Liverpool double of Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. I continue to believe in Marcos Alonso and the Chelsea defense, however the Spaniard has lost over 552k managers in the last eight weeks. Just 8 shots, 4 attempts assists and three clean sheets since game week 15.

The midfield four looks much improved, as Salah regains his place and the captain’s armband, partnered with Paul Pogba, Felipe Anderson and Ryan Fraser. All have favorable fixtures this weekend, as I keep a close watch on Anderson against a porous Bournemouth defense. He hasn’t returned in three games and is due to hit. Fraser returned 12 points, two weeks ago and then nothing at Everton last week, but that’s been his mantra all season, a big return and a series of no returns.

Big expectations for Salah, as he’s back in the team. He’s ticked on very well since I dropped him to go a different direction, but pleased I have been able to get him back into my team. Pogba not high on the United assets, but I feel I need to go where the masses are going and that’s to United players.

The front line could change, but will start with Aubameyang, Wilson and the new transfer, Rashford. Like Pogba, Rashford has big shoes to fill and might be on a very short leash going forward. I want to remain flexible, having the option to play three forwards or else I would have moved Wilson weeks ago. Still no word on his transfer status, but he should be fit for the weekend.

On the season I’ve scored 1296 points, ranked at 145k, just 16 points outside the top 100k. Realistically I would love to see a 20 point jump to put me closer to 50k, but those drastic changes have been difficult to come by recently.

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