Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 32
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 32. Hold onto your hats folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Wildcards, double gameweeks, blank gameweeks and more chips than Vegas baby! It’s time to gamble, do you go all in or play it safe? However you play, there is no denying this is the most exciting part of the season. It’s payback time for that annoying bloke from work, you know the one, we all have one in our mini league; their chips were spent long ago, their meagre returns celebrated (in your face) like three lines and the bonus ball and they think theyr’e Rockefeller, with proclamations of ‘this year is my year, loser’, bless them. They’re heading into the final furlong, blissfully ignorant of double and blank gameweeks, no idea what’s coming. Then it’ll be too late, (like a freight train when you’re ten sheets to the wind) you’ll wrap up another mini-league title, once more proclaimed an FPL master. They’ll say “next year I’ll be ready for these double game weeks thingies”; they won’t be, they never are, it’s all too easy.
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW32-38
Last week saw this season’s first ‘proper’ double game-week fixtures confirmed. Over in Twitter-land all hell broke loose (they’re a lot more dramatic over there). The fixtures were not as assumed; well we all know what assuming does and there were asses-a-plenty on Twitter.
Cries of ‘I’ve wasted my wildcard’ and the ‘sky is falling down’ etc. Like I said, they’re so dramatic. For the record I also played my WC ahead of the fixtures confirmation, but you won’t hear any whining from me (shock, I know). Some good twitter chap has also offered to do personalised spreadsheets too! For £5 you get a spreadsheet with your team copied in it. For £20 you get to edit it, as well as getting ‘some advice’. You couldn’t make this sh*t up. It’s kept us all very entertained at FF247 HQ anyway!
This week I’ve considered teams with and without a DGW. If experience has taught me anything, it’s that a good SGW player can often outscore a bad (and sometimes good) DGW asset. My main man Cookie’s excellent article last week made reference to the cup games that surround the doubles, don’t ignore these, there’s every chance rotation will factor heavily in the DGW’s. You may be better served by a few SGW players with a good fixture, than a whole team of DGW players with bad fixtures or the risk of rotation. The cup games are detailed on the Fixture Tracker above too.
Considering the above, I’ve picked out the best two SGW and DGW teams as we head into Gameweeks 32 through to 34.
FAVOURABLE FIXTURES – S(ingle)GW TEAMS
#1) Arsenal – Stoke (H), Southampton (H), Newcastle (A)
They may not have a double (yet), but what Arsenal do have is a run of fixtures that surely even they can take advantage of. A lot will depend on which Arsenal turn up, 4 defeats in their last 6, and no DGW34 could see many FPL managers give the Gunners a wide-berth, but their 3-0 win over Watford in GW30 has shown that they are still capable at the Emirates. With 2 of their next 3 on home turf it may be wise to factor Arsenal into your current plans.
First up it’s Stoke; 1 win and 33 conceded on their travels. They sit second bottom of the league and look odds on for the drop. If you still have a Stoke defender, word to the wise, don’t play them in this one. Or any other one, for that matter.
Next up its Southampton, just a point above Stoke in the Premier League drop-zone. They do have a double in GW34 but I’d do as Banjo does and avoid them at all costs. They played my lot (Newcastle) in their last away game, we put 3 past them without reply, they sacked manager Pellegrino two days later replacing him with Mark Hughes, who himself was sacked by Stoke back in January. Money for nothing, I can only assume he also gets his chicks for free.
Finally it’s a trip to the Toon for a match where yours truly will be in attendance. It may just be wishful thinking, but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that Arsenal will win this one. We haven’t been beaten at home since our 0-1 defeat to Manchester City in GW20, we even whopped (well, 1-0) Man Utd in GW27, if we can beat Man Utd, I have high hopes we can at least grab a draw against the Gunners. Pray for Rosco.
#2) Liverpool – Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H)
Next up it’s the obvious one. Liverpool (Mo Salah in particular) have been serving up FPL points for their delighted owners all season, but without a double game-week is it time to ditch your Liverpool assets?
Let’s firstly assume you’ll be keeping Salah; a record 29 points in GW31 must surely have convinced even the most maverick of FPL players that Salah is a season keeper.
Many of you likely have at least two if not three Liverpool players, so consider this; yes, they may not have a DGW, but in reality, even teams with a ‘double-double’ still only play 1 more game than Liverpool over the course of the following seven game-weeks. So before you wave goodbye to your Roberto’s and your Robertson’s, let’s look at their next three and see if it may actually do more harm than good to get rid.
First up it’s a trip to Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace brought dismay to those who invested in Huddersfield players in GW31, but it would be a big surprise if it was anything other than a resounding defeat for the Eagles in a fixture that Liverpool have won in their last two trips to the capital. Keep.
Then it’s the derby. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 16 against the Toffees, a run that stretches all the way back to 2010. As a disgruntled Pickford owner for the last 7 gameweeks, I can attest to the fact that Everton do not keep many clean sheets, I’m pleased to say he has not made the cut in my wildcard and, at the time of writing, my Liverpool trio remain. Keep again.
Finally we head into DGW34. Yes, Liverpool only have one game in the DGW, but it’s against Bournemouth. At Anfield. They put 4 past the Cherries in the reverse fixture back in December, I fully expect those who retain their Liverpool asset’s will be glad they did when GW34 is done and dusted. Keep, you’ll only regret it if you don’t.
Watford – Bournemouth (H), Burnley (H), Huddersfield (A)
On paper, aside from perhaps Arsenal, Watford have the best set of fixtures in the next three. So why didn’t they make the top two? Well, they don’t have a DGW so its unlikely they’ll make their way into anyone’s WC, also if you were taking a one week punt, would it really be for a Watford player? Their fixtures however can’t be ignored, so if you are after a punt, and short on cash, then you could do a lot worse than the Hornets.
FAVOURABLE FIXTURES – DGW TEAMS
#1) Man Utd – Swansea (H), Man City (A), West Brom (H), Bournemouth (A)
In truth none of the DGW teams have perfect fixtures in the next 3, but despite a trip to rivals City in GW32, Man Utd are the team you should be looking to with one eye firmly on DGW34.
If you believe the daily rag then all is not well at Old Trafford. Manager Jose Mourinho is said to be alienating himself from members of his squad and coaching staff, I mean it’s hardly a surprise is it, and on the pitch their style of play has been frequently criticised.
Despite troubles that ‘allegedly’ may be taking place behind the scenes at Old Trafford, there is nothing troubling about their home performances on the pitch this season. They’ve only blanked once, and have 12 wins in 14. Next up at Old Trafford it’s Swansea. At home the Swans seem capable of beating anyone, but they don’t travel well. Their 1-4 defeat away to Brighton in GW28 is a good example of when it goes wrong, it goes terribly wrong.
Next up it’s the Manchester derby. United sit second in the league table behind City, although they are a whopping 16 points behind their illustrious neighbours. There’s every chance City could win the league in this one, this is the last thing Jose will want, he’ll bring his ‘very special’ bus, he may need two.
Finally it’s the double gameweek. If you face West Brom in a DGW you know you’re onto a winner. Currently bottom of the form table after eight defeats on the bounce, they’re bottom of the league, bottom of the home table, bottom of the away table; you get the picture. Then it’s a trip to Dean Court to face a Bournemouth side who haven’t kept a clean sheet since GW13, even West Brom managed to score past them. I expect a score similar to their 1-4 defeat to Spurs in GW30 in this one – Big Rom may just get my TC.
#2) Leicester – Brighton (A), Newcastle (H), Burnley (A), Southampton (H)
As I’ve said, none of the DGW34 teams have a perfect set of fixtures, Leicester are no different. I’ve seen a lot of RMT’s with 3 Leicester players; even my own current draft has 2, with Vardy very likely to join Messrs Morgan and Mahrez. A word of caution though, their defence is not very good (they haven’t kept a clean sheet in 6 matches), and other than the 4 they put past West Brom in GW30, their attack has not been that great in recent weeks either. I feel I’m starting to go a little ‘Mito’ here, let’s look at their fixtures.
It’s Brighton first and this will likely be the most difficult match of the 4 listed fixtures. The Seagulls are unbeaten in the their last three at the Amex, with wins over West Ham, Swansea and most notably Arsenal. However, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in all of those matches, and with Mahrez now out of his temper tantrum and back in form, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he nets another double-digit haul.
Newcastle are up next. We’ve been a lot better at home in recent weeks, but our away form is still a cause for concern. Without a win or clean sheet on the road since GW22 I’m not feeling too good about our trip to the King Power despite Leicester only managing 1-1 draws in their last three at home.
Then we’re into the double. First up it’s a trip to Turf Moor. Prior to writing this article, I’d assumed Burnley’s home form was far superior to their away, in reality there isn’t much in it. We all had a Burnley defender or keeper earlier in the season, but the clean sheets have dried up, you would have to go all the way back to GW17 to find the last time they managed a shutout at home.
Then it’s back to the King Power for the visit of Southampton. Just jump back to the Arsenal fixtures if you need a reminder of my opinion of the Saints. I’ll summarise, they are crap, and as a by the by if you’re thinking of bringing in their players for the doubles, have a word with yourself, you’re better than that. Leicester should win this one, easily.
Stoke – Arsenal (A), Tottenham (H), West Ham (A)
As I’ve already written, Stoke currently sit second bottom of the league and look odds on for the drop. If they’re to avoid what is increasingly looking inevitable, they’ll need to get something out of their next 3 fixtures, but look at them, it’s just not happening.
Everton – Man City (A), Liverpool (H), Swansea (A)
After two successive wins the Toffee’s have pulled themselves to 40 points and with it Premier league safety, job done for big Sam. Just as well, as their next three fixtures could very well yield nil poi. If you don’t have a WC you’ll likely still be lumbered with a Toffee or two, get rid.
I’ve created 2 charts laying out the confirmed and expected double game-weeks. These by no means take the place of the excellent FF247 tracker, but will hopefully help as a quick visual reference when it comes to planning out your moves in the coming weeks.
Good luck this game-week to each and everyone.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 32. This article was written by Rosco.
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