Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 25
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 25. Gameweek 24 divided friendship groups (or mine at least!) and the 247 community alike. For those who captained Aguero, Aguero scored a hat-trick. For those who did not, Aguero scored the worst hat-trick ever televised. It was worse than the goal the rubbish kid on your junior football team scores when you are 10-0 up and everyone’s task shifts to getting him to score. His first never touched him, his second was a penalty and almost saved, and his third was literally like the rubbish kid scoring his goal having stood on the penalty spot for the whole half after your best player who had trials for Chesterfield goes around their whole team to set him up. It is probably pretty clear by now that I do not have Aguero.
So, onto Gameweek 25. I will probably just leave my sofa pulled away from the wall so I can assume the same position I watched last week’s Manchester City game for the West Brom tie next Wednesday.
This will be my first article for the site, which is exciting. I think the formality now is to give a compliment to Init so that he reciprocates in the thread. A wizened uncle or something. Anyway, I digress, onto the Gameweek 25 fixtures.
We obviously need to factor in the GW28 blanks possibilities but Mito has provided an excellent analysis of blank/double GWs here, so I will not add any additional length to this already unnecessarily long piece. Suffice it to say that City and United have some nice fixtures coming up, but it would be foolish to load up on them without a plan for GW28. We shall have a (slightly) clearer picture of who blanks and who doesn’t after this weeks semi-finals.
Whilst you read this it will become apparent that I do not actually think there are that many teams with genuinely ‘favourable fixtures’ over the coming weeks. This is because, whilst there are several mid-table sides with favourable fixtures, they are also mid-table sides. There is no point sugar-coating it. If you actually just want to see which sides play the bottom teams, there is a pretty chart for that! My aim here is to warn you of the warning signs that lie underneath the green ‘1s and 2s’ on the FPL site, and also to offer comfort to those whose teams are riddled with Spurs players.
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW25-31
West Ham – Crystal Palace (H), Brighton (A), Watford (H)
Deceptively, Palace have not actually conceded many away from home all season. If you remove the nine goals the Manchester duo managed to put past them, they have conceded just six in ten and kept three clean sheets in their last five. They face a West Ham side that are arguably (also) ‘on the turn’, having scored two in back-to-back home matches (against Newcastle and West Brom). Before that, the Olympic Stadium was only graced with four Hammers goals from the Hammers in six, although that did include Liverpool, Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal.
The Hammers have four clean sheets at home and Palace have only scored in three away games all season. Before you triple up though, those three games are also their most recent three which saw them rack up six goals. Watford have also only blanked twice on the road all season (although they both came in their last four). The Hammers have kept just two away clean sheets in 13 (WBA, STO).
Having scored 11 in an unbeaten last four away (including a 1-1 draw with Spurs), their attackers might be worth holding onto for just a little bit longer. Brighton have been strong at the back of late though with three clean sheets in five at home and have only lost to City and Liverpool all season there. The latter did manage to put five past them, but West Ham ain’t Liverpool *claps of applause echo around the amphitheatre for such an insightful comment*.
Stoke – Watford (H), Bournemouth (a), Brighton (H)
Stoke bring a cracking set of fixtures to the table. Their new right-back, Moritz Bauer, might be able to grab you an assist from his Rory Delap-esque throw-ins, but sadly that will probably be all you get from a Potters defender in their next two games. At home, Stoke have managed to keep just two clean sheets all season after beating Huddersfield Town 2-0 this weekend, the first coming against Arsenal back in August. Interestingly though, Watford have blanked in their last three away matches (Burnley, Brighton and Leicester) which probably fuelled their decision to sack Marcos Silva. With new man Javi Gracia now at the helm, it is time to bring out a classic piece of what I like to call ‘pub analysis’. ‘What is that?!’ I hear you cry. I am glad you asked. It is manipulation of information in order to support a point of view which could equally be used to support conflicting opinions. A new manager brings out the best of pub analysis, being able to both represent ‘chaos and disorganisation’ and players ‘trying harder’ to impress. Today I will opt for the former. Tomorrow, who knows?
Things don’t look much better for GW26 either, with Bournemouth having scored seven in their last three at home and Stoke only managing one clean sheet away, which was back in October (against Watford).
So why on earth are Stoke in my ‘favourable fixtures’ section? Well, to be perfectly candid, I threw them in based purely on the fixtures and started blindly writing. Fear not though, Brighton have saved the day. At least if I change this section to ‘favourable fixture’. Brighton have not scored in their last six away, only scoring five in all 12.
For those of you with Stoke attackers, firstly, why? Secondly, they have actually managed to score 2+ in a respectable six out of 12 at home. Promisingly, Brighton have conceded 2+ in seven away and Watford are on a five game losing streak on the road, conceding nine (although this does include the three Pep’s boys put past them). It might be time to dust the Welsh Pirlo off and thrust him into your starting line-up. Then again, the bench is probably fine.
Manchester City – West Brom (H), Burnley (a), Leicester (H)
Two home games in their next three sees Manchester City automatically get a place in my list, whoever their opponents. The ‘Cityzens’ (nope, still not doing it for me) have scored a whopping 42 in 12 at home, scoring 2+ in every tie since their 1-1 draw against Everton back in August. The Etihad has most recently seen four against Tottenham, four against Bournemouth, three against Watford and three against Newcastle.
West Brom have only conceded 2+ on four occasions away though, outperforming Leicester who come in with six. Burnley’s home form is fairly impressive once again this season with six clean sheets already under their belts. Forgive me for not putting City on a par with Palace, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Swansea, Watford or Stoke though, given they have scored 2+ on nine away days.
City are actually keeping more clean sheets away from home: seven compared to four, and Burnley have failed to score five times at home.
Manchester Unted – Spurs (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A) – – Sanchez
Their 3-0 drubbing of Stoke may signal a resurgence for Manchester United after a rather dismal five in five at home. Once Tottenham is out of the way, Huddersfield make the trip over the Pennines. Jones could be in for another helping of bonus points, the Terriers failing to score in nine of their 12 away matches. It looks like ‘Wagner’s magic’ might have run out, his side having conceded six in their last three on the road.
It is then Newcastle’s turn to receive the Red Devils. Despite United scoring 14 in their last six away matches, Newcastle have only conceded three in their last four, despite visits from Everton (1) and City (1) in that time.
Oh yeah, and that Arsenal reject should be playing for them by next week. That might help.
Tottenham – Manchester United (H), Liverpool (A), Arsenal (H) & then (cry, HUD, bou, NEW)
Whilst Tottenham’s fixtures are clearly awful on paper, I do not think there is cause for total pessimism. It is true that they have only scored 2+ goals in 5/12 home games this season, although in true Harry Kane style that includes putting four past Liverpool and Everton and five past Stoke and Southampton. It is also true that they have not managed to score more than a solitary goal in seven home ties. However, their form suggests they are getting used to the too wide, too narrow, too long, too short Wembley turf, with 17 in their last five home games.
Further, Manchester United have only kept one clean sheet (Everton) in seven away from home. They have not conceded three in one sitting yet on their travels though, so Kane probably is probably not armband material. Arsenal are next to make the visit to England’s stomping ground and have only managed to keep three clean sheets away from home all season (Chelsea, Burnley and West Ham), conceding 2+ on six occasions. The Lilywhites did fail to score against both sides earlier in the season though.
As for Spurs defenders, their home ties do not bring much promise. United have only blanked twice on the road (Liverpool and Chelsea) and have scored 2+ in 7/12. After blanks in their first three away games, Arsenal have only failed to score against West Ham on their travels (scoring a frustrating single goal six times).
Sandwiched in between is a trip up north to Liverpool. As noted above, Spurs have only failed to score on the road in two matches (United and Arsenal), scoring 2+ on six occasions. Liverpool’s notorious defensive home record cannot be ignored though, having conceded just seven in 12, and three of those came against City last week!
Huddersfield – Liverpool (H), Manchester United (A), Bournemouth (H)
If anyone still has their defenders, it is probably time to ship them. After conceding nine in their last three matches (against Leicester (3), West Ham (4) and Stoke (2)), a visit from Wagner’s old ally is the last thing they need. No one has any of their attackers, do they?
West Brom – Manchester City (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A) & then (HUD, wat, LEI, bou, BUR)
If you are clinging on to WBA defenders because you remember ‘the good ol’ times’ (I guess you are also a Liverpool fan), now might be the time, for once, to take a leaf out of Arsene Wenger’s book and hand them some plastic bin bags to get packing with. The Baggies have kept just one clean sheet away from home since beating Burnley 1-0 back in August, although it was notably against Liverpool in GW17. Away trips to Manchester City and Chelsea in their next three do not read too kindly for Pardew’s boys, with City having scored 3+ in 9/12 home matches (with 18 in four against those occupying the 12-20 spots) and Chelsea netting 2+ in 6/12. Then again, if Morata is playing for them again by that point, Evans and co. will probably get a clean sheet! If you have three defenders with promising fixtures for GW25 though, it might be worth benching your West Brom assets for the City tie as Southampton visit the Hawthorns for GW26 with just nine goals in 11 away matches this season, blanking on four occasions. West Brom have five clean sheets at home in 12.
If you can weather this storm (or just bring them in for GW28), Pardew has a bit of respite in the form of four ‘easy’ fixtures in their following five games.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 25. This article was written by AT.
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