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Six of the Best: Game Week 23

Written by Tamhas Woods

The Premier League title race remains wide-open, with Leicester City reviving their faltering title charge after a bravely-fought 1-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Game Week 23 represents a massive opportunity for the Foxes, although Stoke City will be far from easy to break down when they visit the King Power Stadium for a midlands showdown.

1/2. Heruhelho Gomes & Odion Ighalovs Newcastle (H)

Selecting a safe pair of hands in goal is not a particularly easy task this week. The turn of the year has not been a happy occasion for Watford, with the squad even acknowledging that their recent 2-0 defeat to Southampton was the worst performance of the season to date.

Ultimately, a back-to-basics, risk-free approach should be sufficient for Watford to overcome the recent dip in form and claim another win over Newcastle.

With the visit of Newcastle comes an opportunity for Watford to complete a first ever top-flight double over their opponents. There is already something of a psychological disparity ahead of this clash, with Watford having claimed a 1-0 FA Cup win against Newcastle just a fortnight ago, producing a disciplined defensive performance.

Odion Ighalo is the obvious danger man for Watford, with Newcastle struggling for results on the road, and he is a worthy inclusion for GW 23.

3/4. Leighton Baines & Romelu Lukakuvs Swansea (H)

The class of 2016 at the ‘School of Science’ is possibly the most frustrating Premier League side ever to exist. Moments of inspired play, sometimes emulating the most decorated teams in history, are often rendered meaningless by defensive lapses and a lack of concentration.

Since returning from injury, Leighton Baines has restored balance between the two flanks, giving Everton a greater degree of security when faced with the counter attack – as evidenced by the Toffees’ 0-0 draw at Eastlands in GW 21.

Lukaku remains as potent as ever, and he will be a real danger to Francesco Guidolin’s relegation-threatened Swansea side.

5. Aaron Ramsey vs Chelsea (H)

With Mesut Ozil struggling for fitness, Arsene Wenger’s game plan will again revolve around Ramsey being the main provider in a midfield battle which should be won by Arsenal. If recent form is an indication of how Saturday’s London derby will unfold, then the Gunners will be the more composed side, and it is often this trait which counts in a derby match.

Due to a long term absence, Ramsey has become something of a forgotten man, but fantasy managers will exclude him at their peril as Arsenal chase a first Premier League title in twelve long years.

6. Christian Eriksenvs Crystal Palace (A)

A trip to Selhurst Park is an entirely different proposition to a home match with Sunderland, but Eriksen has rediscovered the goalscoring touch at a time when another bleak patch appeared to be forthcoming for the Dane.

Much of Crystal Palace’s success earlier in 2015/16 can be attributed to defensive solidarity and the pace that they possess on the flanks. However, in stark contrast to Tottenham, the Eagles are presently in a dire run of form, having conceded eight goals in their last three Premier League games.

GW23-XI

About the author

Tamhas Woods