Gameweek 23 is almost upon us after another quick turnaround, which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Leicester City, Burnley and Newcastle United, who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 0.2%
- Price: £5.9m
- GW23-27 fixtures: wol | LIV | avl | ARS | bha
Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) is showing signs that he is almost back to full-fitness, as he completed his first 90 minutes of the season against Fulham on Wednesday night.
Benefitting from Timothy Castagne’s (£5.7m) injury, which is set to keep him out for a ‘short period of time’, the 27-year-old started at Craven Cottage and even had a goal ruled out in the second half for offside.
The numbers caught the eye, too.
Pereira finished the match with 23 final-third touches. Amongst team-mates, only James Maddison (£7.3m) had more, and for context, his colleague on the opposite flank, James Justin (£5.1m), had nine. He also racked up more penalty area-touches, take-ons and crosses than the English full-back during the match, which is encouraging.
The return of several injured players, including Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.3m) and of course Pereira, has given the Foxes a boost ahead of a testing run of fixtures, which sees them take on Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Arsenal before the end of the month. However, it’s worth pointing out that two of the next three are on the road, where Leicester have won 26 points so far, their second highest total in a Premier League campaign after their 2015-16 title win.
Now almost up to speed, Pereira is surely a must-start for Brendan Rodgers side, and with his ability to bomb forward like a winger, could be an effective differential in the coming weeks.
“He’s one of the top full-backs in the Premier League. We lost him in a game in which he was outstanding. We’ve gained in two ways because it allowed James Justin to come in and grow. Now, to have Ricky back with all of his qualities. He’s not there yet but he’s getting up to speed. We’re really strong in that area of the field.” – Brendan Rodgers
- FPL ownership: 1.9%
- Price: £4.9m
- GW23-27 fixtures: BHA | cry + FUL | WBA | tot | ARS
English centre-back Ben Mee (£4.9m) has become one of the Premier League’s most consistent defenders in recent seasons, and could be a solid differential given Burnley’s schedule which now includes a Double Gameweek.
The Clarets started the season slowly going seven games without a win, but saw their performances improve once Mee returned to the starting XI following a thigh injury. Since then, the solidity Sean Dyche’s side are renowned for has returned, and resulted in seven clean sheets in their last 17 attempts in all competitions.
Despite just two of those shut-outs arriving this year, it’s worth pointing out that their recent schedule has been tough, with each of their last six league opponents all in the top 10. However, they now have a run of winnable matches against teams in the bottom half, which includes an appealing Double Gameweek 24 against Crystal Palace and Fulham.
Encouragingly, they have already kept clean sheets against their next four opponents earlier in the season, too.
Captain Mee also carries a bit of goal threat from set-pieces, which has already seen him score against Sheffield United and Aston Villa this term. That could be important too, given that Brighton and Palace often look vulnerable defending crosses into the box, and while clean sheets remain the most likely source of points, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he were again to take advantage from a dead-ball situation in the coming weeks.
- FPL ownership: 0.2%
- Price: £5.6m
- GW23-27 fixtures: SOU | che | mun | WOL | wba
Despite a stop-start season at Newcastle United, largely due to injury, Ryan Fraser (£5.6m) has impressed in recent matches.
That upturn in form has coincided with Steve Bruce’s decision to switch to a 4-4-2 diamond formation, which has seen the Magpies take more shots than any other side since Gameweek 20.
Operating in a more advanced role alongside Callum Wilson (£6.8m), the more ambitious approach is getting the best out of Fraser, who ranks joint-top for chances created among all Premier League players over the last three matches. He’s also created three big chances, a total only Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m) can match, and whipped in a massive 36 crosses.
The 26-year-old’s appeal is further boosted by this weekend’s opponents Southampton, who following their heavy midweek defeat at Old Trafford have now conceded 15 goals in their last four league matches. It’s also worth noting that they’ve given up 21 chances from their right flank during that time, only Burnley have allowed more, which is relevant with Fraser often drifting into those areas, where he can cut inside onto his stronger right foot.
Fraser has had a testing start to his time in the North East, but can provide a genuine threat for Newcastle when fully fit, and could be a nice pick-up for those on the lookout for a real midfield differential in Gameweek 23.
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