Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 28
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 28. And so it all becomes a bit clearer… Blank GW31 that is. We’d best spend a moment talking about that particular GW as it appears it may be the only one left which actually matters. Apparently. We are being facetious of course….
It is worth a mention though, don’t get us wrong. It’s significant in so much as it is on the horizon and will only feature 4 or 5 games and therefore 8 or 10 teams –
Bournemouth vs West Brom
Stoke vs Everton
Liverpool vs Watford
Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace
Spurs v Newcastle is the 5th game and is dependant on Rochdale going to Wembley and winning. Which probably won’t happen.
But don’t forget that we have 3 GW’s before it also, it’s not necessarily the epicentre of the FPL world that it is being made out to be in some quarters. You’ll have 8 / 10 teams playing in that, with limited scope to get points from. You have 3 full weeks and 30 games prior to it.
Our advice :
Plan for it, but don’t ruin your current team in doing so.
Is it worthy of a Free Hit Chip?
Probably not, given the teams and fixtures involved.
Is it worth planning so as to have 11 players in GW31?
Almost certainly not, given that other GW’s do exist!
The tracker has been updated to reflect the new landscape…
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW28-37
Liverpool – West Ham (h), Newcastle (h), Man Utd (a), Watford (h)
Anyone who doesn’t have three Liverpool players in their side over the next couple of weeks is either a casual, a NIN or someone who despises Liverpool Football Club more than me and lets these feelings of derision affect their FPL decisions. From an FPL point of view there is not much not to like about Liverpool right now – they are in form (just one league defeat since mid-October), they are confident having just put five past Porto, in Porto, they are scoring goals (in just one league match out of the last ten have they failed to score two or more goals) and the arrival of van Dijk coupled with Klopp’s decision to play Karius in goal has seen Liverpool keep three clean sheets in the last four.
One look at the fixture list suggests the good times should continue to roll and ensures maximising your Liverpool exposure should be high up on your list of FPL prioirities. We’ll start with GW31 which will see many teams blank – but not Liverpool. Somehow West Brom knocked the Reds out of the FA Cup ensuring the home fixture with Watford goes ahead that week. If that’s not enough then two of the three fixtures prior to GW31 look particularly appetising. First up is West Ham’s visit to Anfield in GW28 – sure the Hammers beat Watford last time out but c’mon now, Watford are not the greatest of travelllers – the Hornets have lost six of their last seven on the road and in the other they nicked a point at Stoke. AT STOKE!!!!
GW29 sees Newcastle visit Liverpool and a return for fans favourite and the fat Spanish waiter, Rafa. Fact. Now let’s be fair, Newcastle’s form is not bad – they have lost just one of their last seven (and that loss was to Man City) and interestingly have lost just one of their last four vs Liverpool. But this is a Liverpool in form and flying and while Rafa will set the Toon up to frustrate, Liverpool should have enough to secure the victory – just don’t expect a 4-3. Fact!
Now, talking of setting teams up to frustrate, it seems that Rafa’s old rival Jose has learnt a thing or two from the old master. Expect the bus to be well and truly parked when Liverpool go to Old Trafford in GW30 and given that Man Utd, just like Newcastle, don’t concede many, maybe we should be considering Van Dijk or even Karius as our 3rd Liverpool representative.
After the trip to Man Utd comes GW31 and Watford at home…and while the casual will be taken by surprise at the sudden list of blanks in their team, be confident and sit back for Salah, Firmino and dare I say it Van Dijk and co to carry on their great work for your team.
Spurs – Crystal Palace (a), Huddersfield (h), Bournemouth (a), BLANK
Spurs are turning into a team as enigmatic as Liverpool. At the start of the season they were struggling at ‘home’ (Wembley) and beating everyone on the road. Now it seems the tide has turned to an extent for Tottenham have won their last five at ‘home’ and drawn their last four on the road. However, anyone who saw Spurs dominate Juventus in Turin last week would not only have been mightily impressed but may now also be considering more Spurs cover than Kane, despite them not having a fixture in GW31.
Ironically, two of Spurs next three fixtures are on the road but given their display in Turin it seems almost certain that their next away win will come sooner rather than later. GW28 sees the short trip south of the river to Crystal Palace and with the Eagles firmly entrenched in a relegation fight, Spurs can expect a battle, but not one they cannot overcome. Having come back from 2-0 down vs Juve, Spurs have the fight, the determination and the ability to produce the goods even in adversity and their record vs Palace isn’t bad either – they have won all of the last five, conceding just a single goal in that handful of victories.
Pochettino’s men then enjoy a return to Wembley when they have won nine and drawn the other of their last ten matches at their temporary home. Spurs strolled to a 4-0 victory in the reverse fixture in September, Kane scored twice, expect something similar here. The Terriers have won just twice on the road this season, at Palace and Watford and lost their last three away from home and given that Huddersfield have matches vs relegation buddies West Brom, Swansea, Palace, Newcastle and Brighton in the next five game-weeks, it’s quite likely that they may see those matches as more important and prioritise accordingly in terms of rest and rotation.
For Spurs, this trio of matches finishes with a trip to Bournemouth and it’s a fixture that Spurs have taken a particular fancy to since the Cherries entered the top-flight – in five meetings so far Spurs have recorded four victories and a draw, scoring 13 goals and conceding just one – Kane has notched a hat-trick and a brace in those wins and it would be no shock to see Spurs continue their dominance of this fixture. In fairness, Bournemouth were showing some good form until they lost at Huddersfield last time out and haven’t lost at home in the league since mid-December – however Spurs have more to play for, have fixture form, confidence and possess greater quality. And of course have Kane sniffing out another Golden Boot.
Everton – Watford (a), Burnley (a), Brighton (h), Stoke (a)
I include Everton here while trying to convince myself that they deserve that honour. The shambolic show at the Emirates in GW26 was very ‘un’Allardyce’ and this season does strike me as one that could easily tail off for the Toffees as soon as they have guaranteed survival. I could be wrong and Big Sam and his team may surprise me and in fairness to them they bounced back to beat Palace 3-1 at home in GW27.
Their short term fixtures suggest that they should bypass the 40 point mark sooner rather than later and their guaranteed GW31 at home to Stoke coupled with those short term fixtures has probably convinced me to include them here. However, worringly for Everton is that three of their next four are on the road and they can only boast one league victory away from Goodison so far this season. I am really wavering here!! Think GW31 Cookie!
This week sees the Toffees travel south to Watford, who let’s face it, are about as easy to predict as Everton. The Hornets have won just one league game in their last seven – however that victory was the 4-1 hammering of Chelsea. Around that they have lost at West Ham and at Swansea and even let Southampton score twice in a 2-2 draw. So anything could happen here, but Everton have a chance clearly – the reverse fixture at Goodison in November saw Everton win a 3-2 thriller courtesy of a last minute Baines penalty – those were the days when Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin were scoring. Just one constant here… Niasse scored!
GW29 sees a tough trip to Burnley where goals may well be at a premium so let’s gloss over that one pretty quickly and ignore the fact that Burnley won 1-0 at Everton earlier in the season.
Brighton visit in GW30 and the Toffees clearly feel happier and more confident at home and have won their last two there. The Seagulls have shown some resilience of late and are unbeaten in four, drawing their last two on the road. However a 2-0 loss at West Brom in GW23 shows that Brighton are far from unbeatable and the Gladys Street roar, the guile of Siggy, the pace of Walcott and the finishing prowess of Niasse should be enough for the Toffees.
And then comes GW31 and the visit to Stoke – any of the aforementioned quartet may well be a reasonable punt over the next few weeks leading up to the big blank of 31 – we’ll let you decide how much Everton coverage you want. For me, Theo may well be (more than) enough!
Leicester – Stoke (h), Bournemouth (h), West Brom (a), BLANK
If I am unsure about including Everton in the Favourable Fixtures segment then I cannot honestly say I am any more confident about allowing Leicester to join this chosen throng. However, this is a Fixtures article, not a Tips one and their short term fixtures probably dictate that they should be brought to your attention. To give some background to my reticence, the Foxes have taken just a point from their last three league matches – and that point was gained at home to Swansea. They were hammered last time out at the Etihad – well they’re not alone in that, by they did gift Aguero at least two gimmes as they turned round and lowered their trousers in the second half. Previously to those three matches they were unbeaten in three and kept three clean sheets. Young Vardy has scored in each of his last four league matches, showing there is value there if one can identify the right Foxes to own. Maybe Mahrez will even feel mentally ok to turn up. Am sure he will as soon as he remembers there is another transfer coming up in a few months. Bless.
The Foxes host Stoke this weekend which looks like the perfect tonic to revive their season for Leicester are unbeaten in their last five meetings with the Potters, winning the last two at home with Vardy scoring in both. New boss Paul Lambert has steadied the Stoke ship to some extent, but let’s not forget this is Paul Lambert and the honeymoon period will be over sooner rather than later.
GW29 sees another home fixture for Leicester as Bournemouth come to town – I have spoken about Bournemouth above under the Spurs section. Surprisingly given Bournemouth’s style of play, this is a fixture which has produced little in terms of goals since Bournemouth reached the top flight – in five meetings there has just been five goals scored and four draws with Bournemouth winning the other. Vardy has scored both Leicester goals. Naturally. Bournemouth were trounced 4-1 at Huddersfield however, showing that they can be ‘got at’, but it may well be that the Foxes need Mahrez back to unlock the defence.
A fixture vs West Brom is a massive tick in the box when considering who has favourable fixtures right now. Especially if one is looking for a good night with a guaranteed cab home at the end of it. Relegation seems almost certain unless Lord Pardew can work some sort of magic but three league defeats on the spin and just three wins all season suggests that this a job for Pulis not Pardew. Leicester have won all three Premier League meetings at the Hawthorns and yeah you’ve guessed it, Vardy has scored in all three.
The Foxes are of course mercurial to say the least, but the fixtures are certainly there if Puel can get them fired up and bothered. Much may depend on Mahrez’s emotional state but he did at least return to the starting line-up for Friday’s FA Cup win over Sheffield United and he set up the winning goal for….yep you’ve guessed it, Vardy! That win ensured Leicester don’t feature in GW31 – therefore we are not recommending mass coverage but Vardy for one stands out as a great option while a defender may also pay dividends over the short term.
Man City, Chelsea and Man United! (And Crystal Palace…)
Forgive us, we are going all ‘Daily Mail’ on you here – massively suggestive headline, little substance behind it. Allow us to explain…
The one thing that all 3 (Palace aside) have in common is that 2 of their next 3 games are against fellow top 6 teams. And also that all 3 have a Blank GW31. Meaning that, in theory, they have just one favourable fixture each in the next 4 weeks. Now we aren’t suggesting you go on a fire sale here, we are merely pointing out the obvious.
Man City – Arsenal (a), Chelsea (h), Stoke (a), Blank
We’ve started with City as they are probably the most extreme example of all the subjects. Wigan’s unexpected FA Cup victory means that City’s game against Arsenal in GW28 is now confirmed as being ON (it was off if they needed a replay). Arsenal and Chelsea look tough on paper but then again they’ve both been extinguished by City already this season (3-1 and 0-1 respectively). The 3rd game sees a repeat of City’s biggest victory so far as they hammered Stoke 7-2 in their first encounter. Jesus grabbed a couple of goals in that one and ironically Kun didn’t feature. History may be about to repeat itself perhaps.
Chelsea – Man United (a), Man City (a), Crystal Palace (h), Blank
It’s an unenviable two trips to Manchester back to back for Chelsea prior to finding home comforts again vs Palace in GW30. But then again even Palace managed to beat them back in October. And then it’s a blank GW. You can probably start to sense why we structured this section as we have. It’s just not a great stretch of fixtures for any of these teams.
Man United – Chelsea (h), Crystal Palace (a), Liverpool (h), Blank
United have played both Chelsea and Liverpool and failed to score against either. They parked the buses in both, hoping to nick one somehow, it didn’t materialise though. If you can see a different approach forthcoming in the return fixtures then fire away and get some attacking coverage, but we really can’t. The good news is that they did knock 4 past Palace earlier the season.
Crystal Palace – Spurs (h), Man United (h), Chelsea (a), Huddersfield (a)
Palace are the outlier here as they aren’t a top 6 side and do genuinely belong in this section given their next 3 games. They’ll do well if they somehow get a point out of that lot. They’re also an outlier in so much as they do however have a game in GW31. Not that you’ll want to consider that until… GW31.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 28. This article was written by Cookie and Init.
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