Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis DGW34
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis DGW34. We’ve arrived at the business end of the season. Or silly season as I prefer to call it. Double game-weeks sandwiching blank game-weeks, for some chip utilisation strategies have become bigger issues than Brexit or a Trump trade war, while those FPL managers who have already burned some of their chips are looking around with envy and bewilderment as they attempt to navigate the last few weeks.
This week’s Fixtures article will focus exclusively on those teams who play twice in DGW34 – we’ll analyse their fixtures and form and give our view on whether they will make or break your DGW34.
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW34-38
Bournemouth – Liverpool (a), Man Utd (H)
It looks to be a tough double for the Cherries as they take a trip up to Anfield before then hosting Man United.
Assuming that Liverpool finish off the job vs City in midweek, the Cherries will be up against a buoyant side who will be able to focus again on the fight for 2nd place. Liverpool have already beaten the Cherries this season when they coasted to a 4-0 win at Dean Court in GW18 and given Bournemouth’s generosity at the back a few more goals for Messrs Mane, Salah and Firmino will be expected. Eddie Howe’s men have kept just one clean sheet in 20 matches – what Howe will be leaning on is their attacking prowess which has seen them score in each of their last 14 league matches. Goals seem likely, possibly at both ends.
United then arrive in town and goals are again expected. Having made a dramatic comeback to win at the Etihad last weekend, United have the bit between their teeth, but they appear to be intent on doing things the hard way and like to give their hosts a 2-goal lead before starting to try. Bournemouth have just taken just a point from the previous four meetings with United and this may be the best they can hope for given that the Cherries have won just one of their last seven matches in the league – and that was vs West Brom so doesn’t count.
DGW advice – keep your forwards, expect little from any defenders or Begovic.
Brighton – Crystal Palace (a), Tottenham (H)
The Seagulls go into their first DGW on 35pts and are still seeking a couple more wins to secure their top-flight status. Whether they can achieve that in DGW34 remains to be seen, but you can bet manager Chris Hughton will be urging them to reach the 40pt mark asap for their fixture run-in beyond it looks so nothing short of horrendous. With 6 fixtures remaining, Brighton still have to play Spurs, Liverpool and the two Mancs in addition to trips to rivals Crystal Palace and obstinate Burnley.
It’s the trip to Palace which kicks off their double and Selhurst has not been a happy hunting ground for them in recent seasons for Brighton have won on just one of their previous eight trips to South London. With Palace in an even more perilously position than Brighton, this promises to be a real relegation dogfight between two bitter rivals. For the winner, safety will be closer, for the loser the struggle will continue.
The chances of a Brighton clean sheet look remote at best. Hughton’s men have kept just one clean sheet on the road since GW11 and even allowed Huddersfield to score against them at the Amex last weekend. In addition, Palace have scored in all but one of their last twelve league matches.
If the trip to Palace looks tough enough, the visit of Spurs later in the week looks positively terrifying, for Kane and co at the time of writing remain the only top-flight team not to lose a game in 2018. Recent fixture form is impossible to gauge as the clubs have only met once in the top flight since 1983 and that was December’s meeting at Wembley which saw Spurs triumph 2-0 in a game that was more damage limitation than anything else for Brighton. The same may apply here.
DGW advice – clean sheets look unlikely. Gross and/or Murray owners keep your fingers crossed, teams fighting for survival have a habit of surprising on the upside.
Burnley – Leicester (h), Chelsea (h)
A Burnley DGW should surely mean a triple up of defenders, especially with two home fixtures. But then we saw the fixtures. Ah. Hmmmm another DGW team with an outside chance (at best) of a clean sheet. You see the problem with Burnley is that they have become (how can we put this politely?) normal. Clean sheets are a thing of the past and they have even started scoring. And they are in form having won their last four matches scoring 9 goals in the process and keeping just the one clean sheet – and that was at West Ham where the home players were too busy fighting their own fans. Strange old world.
Leicester are the week’s first visitors to Turf Moor and the Foxes are just like the new Burnley – they score and they concede. It’s just one clean sheet in eight for Leicester while they have scored in each of the games in that run.
In contrast this fixture has been low scoring in recent times – 3 of the last 4 meetings have ended 1-0 with Leicester winning 1-0 at home in December and Burnley winning 1-0 at Turf Moor last season.
Chelsea are the next visitors to Turf Moor and on current form you wouldn’t bet against the home team. The Blues’ top 4 ambitions look shot to pieces and Conte will no doubt be concentrated on the team’s FA Cup semi-final a few days later. For the Clarets, they have already beaten Chelsea this season when they pulled off a shock 3-2 win at the Bridge in August.
DGW advice – play your Burnley defender by all means but don’t be shocked if they don’t produce. The value here looks like one of the cheap striking options – Wood has four goals and an assist in his last four matches and Barnes has four goals in his last five.
Chelsea – Southampton (a), Burnley (a)
Where did it all go wrong for Chelsea and Conte? This time last season they were on their way to the title, 12 months on and the top four looks a step too far, Conte could well be on his way in the summer and Hazard may not be too far behind him.
The draw with West Ham in GW33 leaves the Blues 10 points behind Spurs and Liverpool with just half a dozen matches left. Conte admits that Champions League qualification is now unlikely and with Chelsea facing a FA Cup semi vs Southampton three days after their trip to Burnley, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if he rotates significantly over DGW34.
The FA Cup semi-finalists get a chance to check each other out in the league a week before their Wembley date and with Southampton desperately fighting for survival it’s a game we would normally expect Chelsea to cruise through. And they might well do. They should do. If they can be bothered. And there lies the problem. The fight seems to have gone from the team, there is a lack of leadership on the field, the manager’s future is uncertain, it’s not a happy place.
As you would expect, Chelsea have a decent recent record vs the Saints, winning the last four and Conte will be keen for his team to put down a marker before the semi.
And then it’s a midweek trip up to Burnley and a proper test of character for whoever Conte selects for the game. Barkley, Zappacosta and Bakayoko may even get a game!
DGW advice – tread carefully, for Conte will rotate.
Leicester – Burnley (a), Southampton (h)
The enigma that is Leicester continues – they go from relegation escapees to the unlikeliest of champions, back to relegation candidates and now they sit in middle table oblivion – no danger of getting sucked into the dogfight at the bottom and equally no chance of claiming European qualification. It is these sort of teams that we are recommended to avoid at this stage of the season, but look at those fixtures, there must be some value there!
It would appear that the experts may well be right in terms of the Foxes already having one eye on their summer holidays given they succumbed at home to Newcastle last weekend. Another poor defensive display, another 2 goals conceded. There was however another Vardy goal, Steptoe has now scored in his last three and 7 of the last 9 matches. With Burnley seemingly as generous at the back as Leicester, Vardy looks a must for the DGW. Fixtures and form and all that………
The Foxes then welcome Southampton and having just conceded three to Arsenal reserves the thought of facing an in-form Vardy will hardly excite the Saints’ defenders. The Foxes have already beaten Southampton this season when they won 4-1 at St. Mary’s in December and they’ll be hopeful of a repeat in DGW34.
DGW advice – get Vardy! Maybe Mahrez too. Probably gamble on a cheap defender also.
Man Utd – West Brom (h), Bournemouth (a)
With the title mathematically over (or so it seemed) at half-time in the derby, Pogba decided to try, Alexis woke up and then Smalling became the unlikeliest of heroes to snatch the winner and temporarily pulled the plug on City’s title celebrations.
The win has more effect on the fight for 2nd place of course and United go into DGW34 with a 4pt lead over both Liverpool and Spurs. With two relatively easy looking games in the double, Mourinho will be confident of taking further strides to guaranteed CL qualification. There is one caveat mind you…. the FA Cup semi-final vs Spurs 3 days after the trip to Bournemouth. This likely leads to some form of rotation over the double but we’re not here to second guess Mourinho’s mind.
United’s first game of DGW34 sees West Brom pay their last visit to Old Trafford for a while. This should really be a clean sheet and a hatful of goals for the Reds – realistically it’ll probably be a laboured 2-0 victory!
Wednesday night then sees the trip to Bournemouth and we have spoken above about the generosity of the Cherries’ defence together with their attacking prowess. United have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last four road trips but have at least scored 3 goals in their last two matches away from home.
Alexis’ two assists vs City sees United’s new recruit come into DGW34 with two successive double digit hauls, while Lukaku, despite not scoring vs City, will be licking his fat-track bully lips at the thought of facing the defences of West Brom and Bournemouth and it may be worth noting that he has already scored vs both clubs already this season.
DGW advice – DDG remains the most secure way into the United back line. Beware of rotation ahead of the Cup semi-final, especially in defense. Alexis or Lukaku look a must have for the double.
Southampton – Chelsea (h), Leicester (a)
Another week, another defeat for Southampton. Not that anyone in their right minds thought they would win at Arsenal, but when the team sheets were revealed, maybe the most ardent Saints fan found some hope. But it was not to be and the Saints remain in the relegation zone. However, instead of moaning, manager Mark Hughes says he was encouraged by the display at the Emirates. Both Shane Long and Charlie Austin found the net and may just tempt some to punt on them for the double.
Chelsea are Saints’ first opponents in DGW34 – a pre-cursor for their FA Cup semi-final a week later. Hughes will be desperate for a win vs one of his former clubs but he’ll need to make some changes in defence with Jack Stephens suspended for both matches in DGW34. Given that Southampton have lost their last three in the league and conceded three goals in each defeat the signs are ominous.
Hughes then takes his boys to Leicester and one assumes that he won’t rotate much in front of the semi given that Premier League survival will take priority. When one is desperate one holds onto any ray of hope and one for the Saints it is that they have won more games on the road than they have at home (3 vs 2). Yep that’s how desperate this plight is. Bon chance.
DGW advice – cheap forwards Austin and Long look the value. Cedric Soares set up both goals at the Emirates in GW33 so maybe he is your shout if you really want a defender. Then explain to everyone just why you want a Saints defender.
Tottenham – Man City (h), Brighton (a)
Spurs are on a hot streak in the league having won their last six and as we have already said they are the only team in the Premier League to remain unbeaten so far in 2018. Their last defeat came in mid-December at The Etihad. Since then, Pochettino’s men’s have won 11 and drawn the other 3, scoring 33 goals in the process and conceded just 9.
The visit of City to Wembley will of course be tough but at the time of writing City are staring elimination from the Champions League in the face while they also suffered their first home league defeat of the season last weekend. So City will either arrive with their confidence knocked or Pep will have worked his magic and have them refocused to finish off their title parade.
Spurs have a decent recent record at home to City having won their last two at White Hart Lane – whether they can reproduce that fixture form at Wembley we shall see but they’ll surely have no better time to play City.
Midweek sees Spurs take the trip to the south coast to face Brighton. On paper there is nothing to fear for them here, however Spurs will arrive on the back of their date with City and just a few days before their Cup semi-final vs Man Utd so rotation may be a feature. The likes of Rose, Alderweireld, Lamela and Moura will likely see game time over the double…. and probably vs Brighton.
DGW advice – Kane, Alli and Eriksen are all worthwhile options. Davies, Rose, Trippier and Aurier will likely play just one game each with Davies and Aurier favorites line up vs City.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis DGW34. This article was written by Cookie.
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