Nik Argiropoulos

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AM's Week 23 Player Picks

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Firstly, the 2014 Rotoworld PL Cup 1st round results from Week 22 are up, so click here to check out whether you made it through to Round 2.


My Yahoo team, AM FC, lives to fight another day in that competition - but only just. Liverpool's failure to beat Villa combined with a poor performance from Alvaro Negredo left me on a quite rubbish 65 points for the week and I've fallen down to 950th in the overall standings. After an excellent holiday period I'm in a mini-slump and need to snap out of it quickly. I wouldn't mind starting this week, so let's get in to it ...

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Week 23 Fixtures
Aston Villa v West Brom
Chelsea v West Ham
Crystal Palace v Hull City
Liverpool v Everton
Man Utd v Cardiff City
Norwich v Newcastle
Southampton v Arsenal
Sunderland v Stoke
Swansea v Fulham
Tottenham v Man City


Plenty of competitive match-ups, but there are some we can work with. Before we begin it's worth reiterating that the deadline is 12:00GMT on Tuesday 28th January as this weekend is The FA Cup Fourth Round.


Chelsea at home to struggling West Ham is the clear stand-out fixture of Week 23 so I expect to select at least three Chelsea players for my Yahoo team. Jose Mourinho's men beat Manchester United without ever moving out of third gear and I expect them to put the Hammers to the sword and win by a few goals to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table.


On the subject of Manchester United, they have a very winnable game on paper at home to a Cardiff side who have failed to win any of their last eight away games. However, the champions look toothless without Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney and there is an air of nervousness around Old Trafford - the fear factor has gone. If one of United's star strikers are set to return then I'd be interested but otherwise it's perhaps better to steer clear, especially from their defenders as the backline has looked shaky recently.


I'm extremely concerned regarding Manchester City's visit to White Hart Lane and it's not just because I still have nightmares about the 6-0 thrashing just two months ago. Spurs boss Tim Sherwood has done very well so far but he plays a wide-open system with no obvious defensive-midfielder and this allowed both Crystal Palace and Swansea to dominate for long periods in Week 21 and Week 22. Spurs actually have a good home record against City, but if Manuel Pellegrini's side play close to their best then they will win comfortably so I'll regrettably be fielding a couple of City representatives.


Newcastle travel to Norwich and this looks like an away win for me, with the in-form Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy likely to prove too hot to handle. Swansea are having a rotten time of it at the moment as injuries have taken their toll, but Michael Laudrup could have a few players back this week which gives his side a real chance of picking up three points at home to Fulham. I'm also feeling a slight edge for improving Sunderland who host Stoke, so Phil Bardsley could finally make it off my bench.


Liverpool v Everton and Aston Villa v West Brom are both heated derbies between closely matched teams with lots riding on the game at different ends of the table. I'm expecting both games to be hugely entertaining (especially the Merseyside derby), but we're sure to see hard tackling and cards galore, so don't get too invested fantasy-wise. Arsenal face a tricky trip to Southampton so it's not worth bringing in any new Arsenal players, just keep those you hold at discount. Crystal Palace vs Hull looks like a draw on paper but the Eagles are playing well and could sneak it at home.


With all that in mind (and remembering the FA Cup ties today and tomorrow could have a big impact on my analysis), click over to the next page to view the Week 23 player recommendations.

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Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos

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