With the DGW finally behind us, we have some time to look at other areas, so to keep us in the mood I’ve decided to look back at the fixture forecast again.
So just for clarification, I’ll outline the key points again:
- I’ve only gone as far as the next FOUR (4) fixtures
- The form table is based on the past SIX (6) fixtures
- Each teams upcoming four fixtures will be classed as either HARD, MEDIUM or EASY.
- In the upcoming fixtures, teams will appear as follows: HOME or Away
- I’ve ignored the potential impacts on GW29 for example, where several sides might have fixtures postponed due to FA/Europa Cup results (advice: try keeping 2 Free Transfers for this GW).
Season Table: 1st
Form Table: 1st
Last 6: W-W-D-W-W-W
Next four: Queens Park Rangers, NORWICH, West Ham, READING
The last time I did this United also had a relatively comfortable run – that has proven true with them not having dropped a single point and only conceded one goal. That rings true again, however it’s possibly even better this time around – all of their opponents are in the bottom half! This may sound great, but I see that as big danger signs for anyone who owns the key united assets (RVP and Rooney in particular). Given they are already 12 points in front of City and they’re still in the Champions League, I can see some potential restings here – particularly if City drop any points at all. The home form of QPR and West Ham isn’t bad, but surely they’ll struggle against the league leaders, whilst United have won their past six at home (scoring 15 goals too if you don’t mind) – so I hold grave fears for the likes of Norwich and Reading here.
Verdict: EASY. I think you have to expect wins in all of these really, however as I mentioned the biggest risk will be restings. In saying all this, the EPL is a funny thing sometimes – you only have to look back on last season’s shenanigans for proof. Surely though, this time around United won’t make the same mistakes.. but I’m just warning you that anything is possible, even when you’re least expecting it!
Season Table: 2nd
Form Table: 4th
Last six: W-W-W-D-D-L
Next four: CHELSEA, Aston Villa, WIGAN, Everton
If United do run away with the title from here as expected, City will really look back at those last three fixtures and rue missed opportunities. With draws to QPR and Liverpool, whilst also losing to Southampton certainly didn’t line up with Mancini’s best laid plans – dropping seven points to United in that same period. Still these next set of games are really all must win games if they’re any hope of mounting some sort of miracle comeback like last season. The bookend fixtures above prove to be clearly the most difficult, but almost certainly this weekend’s game against Chelsea will be the sealer (in regards to the title) if they fail to take all three points there. The key will be to turn around their fortunes in attack, they’ve only scored three goals in their past three games – two of those in the draw to Liverpool.
Verdict: MEDIUM. I highlighted the risk in their fixtures last time I did this article, which certainly seemed to be true. Not the ideal fixtures that City would have hoped for here, but wins in all these games certainly shouldn’t be out of the reach of a side that wants to challenge for the title. As I mentioned, scoring goals will be the key – they desperately need the likes of Aguero and Dzeko/Tevez to fire (maybe Mancini will actually field Tevez, just maybe). Personally I’m thinking about a little dabble into the stocks of Aguero, especially after this weekend.
Season Table: 3rd
Form Table: 3rd
Last six: W-D-W-D-L-W
Next four: Man City, WEST BROM, Fulham, WEST HAM
The next four fixtures certainly shouldn’t result in too many nightmares for Rafa, that is of course aside from the City game – fortunately however that’s away from home so the pressure valve is not as tight as it otherwise would be. West Brom and West Ham are both in the bottom four of the form table at the moment, so they should have two home wins there. Fulham away could prove a test, especially given their nil all draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, but again Fulham aren’t in the greatest form (they’ve conceded at least one goal at home in all of their past six matches there) and really this is a game the blues should win.
Verdict: EASY. I thought hard about rating this as medium but in reality, they should get three wins here which most other teams would certainly take. Rafa certainly needs three wins anyway if he wants to even dream about being employed in three month’s time. I will be expecting goals galore here, even against City, with the possibility of a clean sheets probably most likely in their home fixtures (I’d almost lock it in against the Hammers). The usual suspects of Mata, Lampard, Hazard.. and maybe even (dare I say it) Torres and Ba should be scoring well during this period.
Season Table: 4th
Form Table: 2nd
Last six: W-D-D-D-W-W
Next four: West Ham, ARSENAL, Liverpool, FULHAM
Along with United they are undefeated in their past six matches, largely thanks to Gareth Bale really. The next four fixtures for the spurs though look to be a little tougher than those of late, the Hammers have won three of their past six at home, whilst Arsenal and Liverpool will be no easy beats that’s for sure. The Fulham game is really the only certain three points here, which certainly makes things interesting in the race for the top four! Anyway, one thing is for certain here, when times get tough Bale generally gets going. I’ll be holding onto the Welshman regardless – if anyone is going to score for Spurs at the moment it is him!
Verdict: MEDIUM. As I mentioned a couple of these games could really shape the top four running, if Spurs can put some wins away here, it might just close the door on the likes of Everton and Liverpool especially. If you’re invested in the Spurs defense, the bookends are definitely the best chances here, but personally I see the Hammers scoring this weekend. On the goals front, Spurs certainly haven’t been prolific at all, scoring two goals or more only twice in their past six matches (eight goals in total across these games). In saying all this, with Defoe injured there is only really Bale and to an extent Dempsey (perhaps Holtby) who I’d consider as fantasy relevant for Spurs. Tread carefully here.
Season Table: 5th
Form Table: 5th
Last six: L-L-W-D-W-W
Next four: ASTON VILLA, Tottenham, EVERTON, Swansea
Again another set of fixtures here which really will go a long way to shaping the top four, with the Gunners playing at least two of their direct competitors over the next four fixtures. Arsenal’s form has been quite solid in reality, the two losses at the start of their ‘last six’ were against City (10 men debacle) and Chelsea away. The draw was against Liverpool as well, so they’ve had quite difficult fixtures really when you consider that. The next four here looks like more of the same really, which will really test the Gunners resolve. The Aston Villa game really becomes a must win in this case, however I really can’t see how they could lose that to be honest! Then again, it is Arsenal.. sometimes you just never know what they’re going to deliver.
Verdict: MED..HARD. I’m very undecided here, I think the sheer importance of winning particularly the last three games does add a fair bit of pressure to the Gunners here. The Villa game should be a win, nothing else. The following three fixtures will be testing, don’t expect any clean sheets amongst that bunch that is for sure. In regards to attacking returns I can definitely see the likes of Walcott earning some good points over this period. Arsenal certainly have been able to turn it on when they’ve wanted to recently – and Theo certainly seems to be a key component to that when it happens.
Season Table: 6th
Form Table: 8th
Last six: W-D-D-W-D-L
Next four: Norwich, READING, Arsenal, MAN CITY
This is really a set of fixtures of two halves, the start and finish couldn’t really contrast much further. Norwich hasn’t won at home from its last five games and Reading has lost five out of six away from home – compared with tough fixtures against Arsenal away and Man City at home. In any case, the focus will be primarily on taking maximum points in the first two whilst hoping to take a point at least from the last two games. I can see a relatively dour game against the Canaries to be honest, whilst the Reading game could be one of the more open games you’re likely to see this season outside of the top four. I cannot see any clean sheets (for anyone) out of those last two fixtures – which makes for entertaining viewing unless you’re a Baines owner.
Verdict: MEDIUM/HARD. Again I couldn’t make my mind up here, but as I mentioned their fixtures really have a stark contrast amongst them. Medium is probably a fairer assessment but I’ll sit on the fence for now. In any case I think aside from the Norwich game, there could really be some points in these fixtures for the likes of Fellaini, Anichebe, Jelavic and Mirallas (just to name a few..). I don’t think many of us have even Baines at the moment, which seeing this set of fixtures is probably a good thing.
Season Table: 7th
Form Table: 11th
Last six: L-W-D-D-L-W
Next three*: Wigan, TOTTENHAM, Southampton
*Liverpool have a blank this coming game week due to the Swansea match played last weekend
Well after a very mixed DGW the Reds start with a blank this coming weekend, as I’m sure most of you are aware of. That will really test a lot of our resolves in regards to holding these players, I know I have already disposed of Gerrard whilst I will be holding onto Sturridge and Michu. The next three games will be interesting to see if they can continue the sort of form they showed against the Swansea reserve side, or more of what we saw in the shocking loss to the Baggies at home. The bookend fixtures here definitely provide an opportunity for at least six points to be had here, with the likelihood being there will be some attacking returns as well in all three fixtures here!
Verdict: EASY-MEDIUM. Again fence sitting here, but it’s a little hard to make a call based on only three games here. One thing I will make a call on here, I don’t see any clean sheets for your Liverpool defenders here. Wigan and Southampton have a happy knack for scoring even in losses (in their last six games each they’ve each not scored only once – with only two wins between them in that period), whilst I do not expect them to hold Spurs either. If any of you saw the game against Swansea, you’ll hopefully be looking very closely at Sturridge in particular. He is a bargain at just 7.8, having an impressive seven shots and quite frankly was unlucky not to have multiple goals against his name. I will probably be bringing Gerrard back in at some point, but he was an obvious choice for me (ahead of Michu due to the fact I’ve had him since GW1) to make way for Sissoko this week whilst he blanks.
Season Table: 8th
Form Table: 9th
Last six: D-W-D-L-W-L
Next three*: NEWCASTLE, West Brom, ARSENAL
*As with Liverpool above, Swansea have a blank this game week.
Again another interesting set of fixtures here, particularly with the Swans possibly coming off the back of a cup final win? I will certainly be paying close attention to see whether complacency sets in, or whether any potential win pushes them on to delivering results in the league as well. Newcastle are a different side since their January spending spree, I actually think they could potentially upset the Swans even at home. West Brom just beat the same side which annihilated them last night as well, so there are certainly no guarantees in these next three games for the Swans. Arsenal will be a difficult proposition as well, that fixture is certainly likely to be one for the purists amongst us.
Verdict: MEDIUM. I’ve gone medium here as I do think there will be a little hangover from the cup result (either way), plus the simple fact is their opponents have all shown signs of recent form. I think the key here though is they are home fixtures, it’s been pretty well documented how dour Swansea are away from home (normally – ignore the Liverpool game as that was a reserve side essentially). This surely means plenty of attacking returns, hopefully for Michu in particular – mainly because I changed my mind to keep him (probably like many others)!
Season Table: 9th
Form Table: 17th
Last six: L-L-D-L-L-W
Next four: SUNDERLAND, Chelsea, SWANSEA, Stoke
Well the Baggies finally showed they have a heartbeat with a surprise win over Liverpool at Anfield. That certainly wasn’t in line with their form line as you can see above, but maybe it’s just the result that Steve Clarke’s men needed. A tough run of fixtures along with some bad luck really was incomparable to the early season form they had shown. The next four here provide some further challenges, however mostly against similarly placed sides – which really requires them to step up to ensure the slide doesn’t resume.
The fixture against Chelsea is most likely their most difficult game on paper, but the fixture at the Britannia against Stoke is certainly not worth ignoring either. Personally I can see the rocky road continuing here, if the Baggies land two wins from this run I’ll certainly be surprised.
Verdict: MEDIUM. So as I’ve probably eluded to already, I think the Baggies may struggle here. I think the best result they could probably hope for is a win or maybe two, with a draw and a loss to Chelsea. If last weekend’s result against Liverpool was just a flash in the pan, it’s almost difficult to imagine them claiming maximum points in any of these fixtures. I don’t believe there will be many clean sheets here either, if any, besides the Liverpool game last weekend their last clean sheet was in a nil all draw against the Hammers in GW17. In terms of attacking returns you really can only be on Lukaku at the moment, Long and Morrison were promising earlier in the year but haven’t been on top of their games of late for various reasons.
Season Table: 10th
Form Table: 16th
Last six: L-L-D-L-L-W
Next four: Fulham, WEST HAM, Newcastle, WEST BROM
It has been well documented about the Potters poor run of form, particularly defensively for our FPL teams. However as I’ve said before, their four losses above were Man City (A), Chelsea (H), Swansea (A) and Arsenal (A) – not exactly what anyone would call smooth sailing. The above fixtures are a little bit more gentle than that, which should hopefully see the return of clean sheets – for our fantasy sides of course. The home fixtures both have good chances of landing a clean sheet for us, which will be welcomed for many of us that have held out – particularly with the likes of Begovic!
Verdict: EASY-MEDIUM. If I sit on the fence anymore I’ll probably not be able to have children, but these fixtures are a little difficult to judge with Stoke’s recent form not quite being what we’re all used to. The away fixtures I certainly see as difficult games, however I have little doubt they’ll end up being quite dour if Stoke get their say in it at all. The home fixtures are no different either, I definitely see both of those games trying to be ‘shut out’ type wins – score one and hold out at the other end. This set of fixtures could see the return of our cheap defensive assets clean sheets, personally I am hopeful that Wilson will return against Fulham this weekend (a great replacement for Dud.. I mean Demel).
Season Table: 11th
Form Table: 19th
Last six: L-D-L-L-W-L
Next four: TOTTENHAM, Stoke, MAN UNITED, Chelsea
Wow. That is a terrible set of fixtures for the Hammers, absolutely shocking in fact. They play three of the top four sides, along with probably one of the toughest away trips in the EPL to the Britannia to face Stoke. In fairness, the Hammers are probably as well suited as anyone to compete with Stoke at the Brit, but that doesn’t make their next four games look any better at all. To be honest with their recent form, I’m surprised that the Hammers are even still holding onto 11th. However with their fixtures you really have to think that won’t last much longer, as it’s very difficult to see how they can turn around their poor form in any of the above matches.
Verdict: HARD. As I mentioned above, it’s hard to imagine a much worse run for the Hammers to have right now. I cannot see them winning any of these, at best they could maybe hold out for dour draws in the first two games – but I just cannot see them doing the same against either of United of Chelsea. So staring down the barrel of the next four games hoping for two points at best? Harsh. If you own any of the Hammers, it’s time to go – they won’t be any good to you for a little while yet.
Season Table: 12th
Form Table: 10th
Last six: W-D-L-W-L-D
Next four: STOKE, Sunderland, CHELSEA, Tottenham
“A real topsy-turvy run of form for the cottagers at the moment, it’s a little difficult to predict what performance you’re going to get from them each week at the moment.” – that’s a direct quote from my last fixture analysis article when discussing Fulham. Gee, things sure have changed haven’t they? They’re about as random as bingo numbers at the moment, a different result/display each time you see them. However that is still good enough to sit them at 12th on the form ladder, I guess that’s just proof at how bad some sides are going at the moment. These fixtures certainly don’t look likely to help, the first two matches against similarly placed sides will be tougher to pick than a broken nose. The following two games against Chelsea and Tottenham are probably unlikely to deliver any wins, but certainly there is a possibility for a draw.. or a blowout.
Verdict: MEDIUM-HARD. It’s hard to go into this run with any confidence on what you’re likely to get from the Cottagers, but no doubt we’ll get a good variety. I have to say I am not keen on any of these guys as fantasy assets at the moment, not until they can prove to me they can score points more often than one in every five (I’m looking at you Berba and Ruiz). Defensively Fulham have been shockingly bad – in particular at home with no clean sheets from their past six! So much for them being better at home (predictably they have 2W, 2D, 2L from their past six at home), whilst away they have two clean sheets from their past six – both nil all draws in total borefests. I don’t know what else to say here really, but expect the unexpected when it comes to Fulham. They might knock off Chelsea and Tottenham whilst losing to Stoke and Sunderland for all I know!
Season Table: 13th
Form Table: 14th
Last six: L-W-W-D-L-L
Next four: West Brom, FULHAM, Queens Park Rangers, NORWICH
The last time I completed this article the black cats were 4th on the form table, what a bad turn around it has been for them of late. The pinnacle of that was probably the loss to Reading, which really just typifies the mid table at the moment, one minute you’ll see them knock off a top side then they’ll lose to a relegation battler. Below the top four, it’s really a case of anyone can beat anyone else a lot of the time – I guess that’s what makes it so good to watch. Anyway, enough of that and back to the topic at hand! The above fixtures really do present somewhat of a chance to resurrect their form, aside from West Brom (who are in shocking form really), all of their opponents are in the bottom half. In reality they’re probably likely to only win two of these games at best, but these fixtures certainly present the potential to improve their ladder position slightly and push for a top half finish.
Verdict: EASY. I think the black cats can win two of these games without too much trouble – which two is a little bit up in the air though. Out of each of their above opponents past six games, they have only won four games whilst losing nine (out of 24) – I think that’s as good an indication as you’re likely to get. There could be some clean sheets here for Mignolet owners for sure, whilst any Fletcher or Sessegnon owners (are there any of you left?) would certainly be hoping they could net maybe a couple of times at least over these next few games.
Season Table: 14th
Form Table: 18th
Last six: L-D-L-D-D-D
Next four: EVERTON, Man United, SOUTHAMPTON, Sunderland
Well the Canaries form has recovered ever so slightly, they’ve at least drawn their past three matches. But that only stretches their winless run back to GW17 when they defeated a hapless Wigan 2-1. To be perfectly honest, I don’t see them breaking their duck until at least the last two of the above fixtures – even then it’s looking unlikely at the moment. In the game against Everton, I can’t see them holding out the likes of Fellaini – which really ruins their best chance of a win there in my opinion. There is no way known that Norwich of all teams will beat United at Old Trafford (they have won their past 10 straight at home!), whilst Southampton have only lost once in their past six – which was coincidentally a 2-1 loss to United at Old Trafford. Travelling to play the Black Cats doesn’t hold a whole lot of promise in it either, but I’d say they are at least a decent chance of landing a low scoring draw.
Verdict: MEDIUM. Whilst I am finding it difficult to place wins here for the Canaries, it’s really just based on their recent form. Their fixtures certainly aren’t the most difficult on this list by any measure, but I still expect to see them continue their winless run well and truly into double digit games (currently 9). If you own anyone from the Canaries it’s probably likely to be a Snodgrass or a Russell Martin type (I own Martin myself), it’s definitely hard to see where points will come from in these next few games – particularly of any attacking variety anyway. It may be worth considering your options if you’re holding anyone who dons yellow and green.
Season Table: 15th
Form Table: 7th
Last six: W-D-D-L-D-W
Next four: Newcastle, QUEENS PARK RANGERS, Norwich, LIVERPOOL
The impressive form has continued from the Saints, culminating in their shock win over City last weekend. With their recent form they’ve managed to get away from the stragglers at the foot of the table for the time being, which I honestly couldn’t see happening after their first couple of games this season. The above set of fixtures really provides them a chance to continue that run as well, with the bookends definitely proving the most difficult of the games. A resurgent Newcastle might not be a game they win, but given their form you definitely see them taking a point – regardless of the Toon’s improved form. The middle games are certainly both winning opportunities, in fact it’s hard to see them dropping any points in these games at the moment, whilst Liverpool are certainly in for a test against the Saints.
Verdict: EASY. The last time I analysed their fixtures I deemed them to be hard – but they still managed to take 4 out of a possible 9 points from those games. This time around they’re much more friendly and there is definitely a possibility that they could move well clear of the relegation zone with at least a couple of wins here. I have to say to be perfectly honest, I hope they do too – they don’t deserve to go down when they’ve played some of the more entertaining football in the EPL this season from a side in the second half of the table. I am incredibly tempted to move my bench cheapie in Anichebe to Lambert – I can definitely see him continuing his impressive run. The only chances of clean sheets in my opinion will be the two middle games, so if you hold onto Shaw/Clyne or the likes then you may want to consider benching them against Newcastle and Liverpool, unless you’re confident in them delivering attacking returns.
Season Table: 16th
Form Table: 12th
Last six: L-D-L-W-W-L
Next four: SOUTHAMPTON, Swansea, STOKE, Wigan
It’s somewhat of a French revolution that has led to the improved fortunes of the toon of late! By that, I specifically mean from FPL revelation Sissoko, who has transformed this team from toothless to threatening within just a couple of weeks. It took some Bale heroics to defeat them last week, otherwise wins against Villa (yes I know they’re awful) and Chelsea (again, I’m aware of Rafatation) were a welcome return to the winners circle for Alan Pardew nonetheless. It’s difficult not to see that form continuing with the above fixtures, there’s certainly a lack of difficult opponents – with only Swansea being inside the top ten (who will be coming off a league cup win or.. shock loss?). You’d have to think if there’s a good time to catch them it would be immediately before/after that game – we’ve seen what Liverpool have done to them before so who’s to say Newcastle couldn’t find three points against them as well?
Verdict: EASY. I definitely see some wins her for the toon, in fact I don’t think they’ll lose any of these matches, perhaps draws yes, but no losses. I don’t think many of us have any Newcastle assets besides the new man in Sissoko, so defensively clean sheets don’t hold too much importance for us (just one measly point after all), but in terms of attacking returns the man has been a beast thus far. Based on these set of fixtures, it’s hard to ignore him at least over the next four weeks – he could definitely have somewhat of a ‘Michu’ impact in this second half of the season.
Season Table: 17th
Form Table: 15th
Last six: D-L-D-L-D-W
Next four: Arsenal, MAN CITY, Reading, QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Well, Villa actually won a game.. blow me down. Against the Hammers? Oh.. well, at least it’s something I guess. I’m not sure that Paul Lambert will actually care though, they’d been woeful for a long time leading into that game last weekend. I also think he’ll be praying for a miracle in these next two weeks as well, as that winning run is likely to stop at well.. one. I cannot see any points for Villa against Arsenal or City, at best they may deliver some goals (likely all to be Benteke as usual), but it may be cricket scores unless their form has well and truly turned around. The game against Reading is incredibly important in terms of relegation, to be honest Reading at home is not the easiest proposition at the moment (they’ve won three of their past four at home), so even that looks tricky at the moment. The light at the end of the tunnel is maybe they can bully QPR and take some points, but at the same token I think ‘Arry will be eyeing off that game and thinking the same himself.
Verdict: MEDIUM-HARD. There’s an immense amount of pressure here on Villa, playing two top five sides followed by successive games against fellow relegation fighters. If they drop either of those games it’s going to be increasingly difficult for them to survive the drop, so the games in between now and then could go either way (will they conserve themselves for those other two games or will they just try and even pinch a point off the big boys?). Either way I hope that the only guy anyone has is Benteke, who can score against anyone really – the guy is a freak and probably the biggest one man band in the league.
Season Table: 18th
Form Table: 6th
Last six: L-W-W-D-W-L
Next four: WIGAN, Everton, ASTON VILLA, Man United
Well, well. What a contrasting set of fixtures between home and away. At home the Royals have been super impressive as I mentioned early and won three of their past four at home, conveniently they play two fellow relegation battlers at home – a huge advantage for them. The away games however provide little prospects for points, I certainly cannot see them taking anything more than perhaps a single point against Everton at best. The focus will definitely be on winning those home games, if they do then Villa could be in a lot of trouble as I mentioned earlier – it might be a three horse race sooner rather than later.
Verdict: MEDIUM. I have to rank this medium as they do play Wigan and Villa who sit either side of them near the foot of the table. The away games are extremely tough and will probably reap no points for them, but they could perhaps maybe score the odd goal – the likes of Le Fondre definitely springs to mind as a possible scorer against these guys. I think the one thing I can guarantee is there isn’t likely to be any clean sheets for the Royals, even in the home games (they have been relatively leaky at the back recently). I guess that good news for Benteke owners or potentially.. no, no one has Wigan forwards at the moment.. ah, where was I? Oh. Harte owners? Yeah, not good unless you’re hoping for attacking returns – clean sheets are highly unlikely.
Season Table: 19th
Form Table: 20th
Last six: L-D-L-D-D-L
Next four: Reading, LIVERPOOL, Man City, NEWCASTLE
So the other team aside from Norwich who are winless in their past six, in fact their last win was away from home against Aston Villa in GW20, then prior to that it goes right back to GW13 (which was their last win at home!). I honestly don’t believe that miracles can be performed this year, this rabble cannot possibly escape relegation again! Anyway, their next four fixtures certainly don’t help their cause – Reading and Newcastle are in somewhat reasonable form whilst Liverpool and Man City should well and truly have their measure.
Verdict: HARD. I’m going with hard here more so based on the form of Reading and Newcastle, with of course the other two fixtures being against top teams. I cannot see Wigan winning any of these games, but prior season history at least will indicate that’s when the ‘Latics perform at their best. If they don’t produce such a rabbit from the hat in these fixtures, then I don’t think we’ll be discussing them next season. If their form continues as it has the past six games, where they’ve conceded a whopping 16 goals, then that’s almost certainly got to be the case. I hope no one has any fantasy assets tied up down here, it’s really not worth discussing!
Queens Park Rangers
Season Table: 20th
Form Table: 13th
Last six: W-D-D-D-D-L
Next four: MAN UNITED, Southampton, SUNDERLAND, Aston Villa
Just when we all thought Rangers might be turning the corner and ‘Arry was about to pull off a miracle, along comes a result like last weekend’s belting at the hands of Michu and the Swans. The fixture against United comes at an inopportune time but, perhaps they could sneak a draw if things go their way. The remaining fixtures will then continue to increase in importance for every fixture that goes by without three points. I could see the game against Villa being the sealer if they don’t manage any wins in this batch of fixtures.
Verdict: MEDIUM. They just have the one incredibly hard fixture here, which is obviously against United. I think the best thing they could hope for is some restings by SAF which might mean they could pull off a 0-0 type result – which is great if you own Cesar for example. They’d be over the moon with that. The other fixtures could well deliver similar results, but they really need to start winning games, which as time wears on will surely mean they become defensively weaker. It’s hard to see anyone else scoring up front at the moment aside from Taarabt or Zamora when the sticky tape can hold his body together for longer than ten minutes. I wouldn’t suggest investing here unless you’re desperate, and even then I’d suggest you should maybe consider taking up croquet as a hobby instead. Has to be a no-go zone.
Best upcoming fixtures: Man United, Sunderland, Newcastle/Soton.
Perhaps look at these teams first when bringing in players – except in the case of United where rotation/resting may be prevalent (follow us here and other news reports to get updates on this). The likes of Fletcher, Johnson, Sissoko and Lambert are certainly options worthwhile looking at.
Worst upcoming fixtures: West Ham, Fulham, Arsenal
Be very careful about bringing any of these guys in – steer clear of Hammers player’s altogether, Berbatov, Ruiz or any Arsenal defenders.
So there you have it, a pretty detailed run-down of each sides upcoming fixtures. I hope that helps you when you’re looking at your trades over the next week or so. If you’ve got any comments then fire away below or hit me up on the twittersphere (see below). Cheers!