Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 27
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 27. Sometimes we do things in life because we feel obliged to. Christenings are a good example. I’ve never attended a Christening and thought ‘wow that was a great christening’. You know how it is though, your mate Dave from work invited you and Dave is a sound bloke, you don’t want to offend anyone, so you go. Once you’re there you never find yourself thinking ‘you know what, this is actually pretty good’, that never happens. So you sit there, play the part. Dave’s happy you went, the Mrs thinks Dave’s wife is canny so she’s alright, but you just want it to be over. That’s how I currently feel about FPL. Last game-week was brutal, the Marcos Alonso injury tipped me over the edge, just as I was about to start writing this, so I can only apologise for the negativity which follows!
I was actually feeling pretty good prior to the game-week. The January transfer window had captured my imagination, mainly from an FPL perspective, as let’s face it Mike Ashley ensures it will never be an exciting time from a Newcastle fans point of view.
Apparently we nearly signed Daniel Sturridge, instead he went ‘home’ to West Brom. One can only assume that Mike Ashley’s offer of a zero hour contract, a lifetime supply of Slazenger socks and one of those massive Sports Direct mugs was not what he was after. We did sign Islam Slimani, he was photographed on deadline day posing in-front of the private jet (living the dream) that flew him to Newcastle; he wasn’t actually wearing any socks, so maybe that did tip him the right way when sitting down with our esteemed Chairman.
Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal in the red of Utd (yay), when a month ago it seemed it would be in the blue of City. Man City declared that they would not pay more than £20 million for Sanchez, had City finally discovered financial restraint? Well no, a week later they spent £57 million on yet another defender. Aymeric Laporte took City’s annual defence spending to £212.7 million. I read an article that pointed out that this is higher than the annual military defence budget of over 52 countries. I have no words.
Meanwhile over in North London, Arsenal showed us just what was possible when you have players who actually want to play for you. Sanchez’s replacement Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notched a debut goal, but it was stalwart Ramsey and makeweight Mkhitaryan who grabbed the headlines with a hatrick of goals and assists respectively. Mkhitaryan looks like the player we all backed at the start of the season, I brought him into my draft squad last week… and left him on the bench. FML.
Chelsea’s capture of Oliver Giroud reminded me of a lad I used to go drinking with in my youth. He (lets call him Anthony) would spend all night chatting up anything that moved, and just as he was becoming a bit of a laughing stock, he’d head home with the best looking girl in the club. Sickening. Lets hope Giroud gets more minutes at Chelsea than he did at Arsenal, but knowing how fickle Italian Tony can be, he’s probably just swapped a padded red seat for a padded blue one, but boy does he make that seat look good.
With so many new signings, the landscape of FPL could see a shift of seismic proportions (I’m trying to make this sound exciting – I feel anything but) as we head into the final quarter of the season. A word of caution though, with blanks and doubles just around the corner, you need to start planning. I’m sure most of you are aware of when the likely blanks and doubles will occur, but for those of you still in blissful ignorance, GW31 & 35 are likely to be the blanks, GW34 and 37 the doubles. So with just 4 game-weeks before the fun and games start, I’m here to let you know which teams you should embrace, and which you should avoid in the following three of four intervening game-weeks. Let’s get into it.
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW27-32
#1) Liverpool – Southampton (A), West Ham (H), Newcastle (H)
The fixture tracker shows three ‘greens’ up next for Liverpool. Are these fixtures as full of promise as they seem? Well yes actually, they probably are.
First up it’s a trip to St Mary’s, home to the unofficial Liverpool FC feeder club. Liverpool have signed no less than six Southampton players since 2014. The latest; Virgil Van Diijk, cost £75 million, I’m sure the financial folk at St Mary’s must rub their hands together when Liverpool come calling.
Southampton’s home form has been woeful this season; Played 14, won 3, a clean sheet, 19 conceded and only scored more than 1 on two occasions. Liverpool in contrast have been lethal on the road this season; played 13 scored 32. Prior to their unexpected defeat at the Liberty Stadium in GW24 they hadn’t lost away from home since GW9. If somehow you don’t have at least one Liverpool attacking asset in your team, I suggest you address this as a priority.
Next up it’s the first of two tasty looking home games. West Ham’s away record makes for grim reading; 2 wins in 14, with just 2 clean sheets and 29 conceded. Many invested in the Hammers backline ahead of DGW22, the reward? A series of 2-point returns and a defender with saliva issues: unpleasant to say the least.
At the other end of the pitch, they were beginning to show promise, but injuries to Arnautovic and Lanzini have robbed the Hammers of any hope they can break down a Liverpool defence that’s surprisingly good at home. Anyone for a Liverpool treble up?
Then come Newcastle. My god, we’re rubbish. Rubbish away, rubbish at home. We let in loads of goals and we don’t score very many (feels like any). This one is on the TV too, so everyone can see just how rubbish we are. Hopefully they show reruns of the famous 4-3 games from 96’ and 97’ again – just to remind everyone we were rubbish then too. If you didn’t go for the Liverpool treble up in GW28, then why not jump on it this week? Did I mention we’re rubbish?
#2) Tottenham – Arsenal (H), Crystal Palace (A), Huddersfield (H)
AT, the ‘new boy’, had Spurs in his unfavourable fixtures article ahead of GW25, but with Man Utd and Liverpool out of the way, I’d suggest their fixtures are looking rather good now. Well they were, until Arsenal did a number on Everton last week, but as Spurs showed against Man Utd in GW25, at home they can beat anyone.
On Saturday, Arsenals 5-1 win over Everton will not have gone unnoticed by FPL managers, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang clearly the standout performers. First up though it’s a difficult trip to Wembley. Arsenal haven’t won the North London derby in the last 3, Harry Kane has scored 4 goals in those matches, so if like me you foolishly ditched him in favour of Aguero’s ‘better fixtures’, you may want to consider reversing that decision.
Next up it’s a trip to South London to face the not so mighty Eagles. Their home form has been a mixed bag this season; an almost even spread of wins, draws and losses in their 13 games at Selhurst Park. Their recent home form has actually been not too shabby, clean sheets against Burnley (1-0) and Man City (0-0) preceded their 1-1 draw against my lot last game-week, but prior to that they let in 3 against Arsenal in GW20 and had failed to keep a clean sheet all season.
It’s second from bottom Huddersfield who complete the trio, early season hope has given way to mid-season mediocrity. The Terriers have only won twice in their 13 games away from the Kirklees Stadium. Without a clean sheet on the road since GW1 (Palace), they’ve scored just 8 times and let 27 in at the other end, this match has a Kane captaincy written all over it, unless you’re Matt, who will probably go for Mooy again. If indeed he ever did.
#3) Leicester– Manchester City (A), Stoke (H), Bournemouth (H)
Another transfer window has closed and Riyad Mahrez is somehow still a Leicester City player. Mahrez is currently AWOL having been denied his £65 million plus deadline day move to Manchester City. FPL managers will be hoping that Mahrez returns to the fold ASAP. If Leicester can negotiate a difficult trip to the Etihad this game-week then they have two home games that could prove fruitful.
First up, as mentioned it’s a trip to the Etihad, they’ll probably get a spanking in this one, so let’s quickly move on!
Stoke are up next to face the Foxes at the King Power. They sit bottom of the ‘away’ table with just 1 win in 13, in those 13 they’ve conceded 32 goals; more than any other team. The last time Stoke kept a clean sheet away from home was way back in GW10, the way they’re playing at the minute it could be GW10 next season before they keep another, which will probably be in the Championship.
Bournemouth are the visitors in GW29. Eddie Howe’s boys have seen something of a renaissance in recent weeks. They currently sit 3rd in the form table behind Liverpool and Spurs, having stunned Chelsea and FPL managers alike with their 0-3 win in GW25, but prior to that they had only won two matches away from Dean Court.
If ‘paper talk’ is to be believed, then Arsene Wenger will also look once more to bring in Riyad Mahrez this summer. Wenger apparently makes regularly checks on the Leicester star, inquiring about his character and how he trains. For the sake of Leicester City and the on-looking Wenger, let’s hope huffy knickers reads that and gets his @rse into gear.
Crystal Palace – Everton (A), Tottenham (H), Man Utd (H)
As mentioned, Palace have actually been alright as of late. The form table shows a couple of wins, a couple of losses and a couple of draws in their last six. Let’s face it though; Palace players are enablers and nothing more. Their defence is cheap, but unreliable, you never know which of their keepers will be this weeks flavour of the… week, and despite 25 points in his last 5 games, would you ever consider Benteke again? Don’t do it, no really don’t. In fairness Milivojevic has been ok, but be honest, if he cost £6 million would anyone own him? Anyway I digress, as great enablers as they are, their next 3 fixtures are best avoided, if you have their players stick them on the bench and hope you don’t need them.
Newcastle – Man Utd (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (A)
If my previous diatribe on my hometown club was not reason enough to avoid, then just take a look at those fixtures. I’d be surprised if we even manage a point over all 3. Kenedy looks like a player with potential, but other than that who in their right mind actually has, or is considering Newcastle players? Not me. The highlight of my visits to St James’ Park is the Greggs pasty on the way in.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 27. This article was written by Rosco.
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