Fixture Fixation

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Huge thanks to Jonathan Craze for his second post this season, this is awesome work!

With 3 eventful (and mostly rather pathetic) Gameweeks down, the fixture list has been whittled away, and we are left with a slightly different prospects list than on the opening day. What’s more, we have 3 weeks of analysis to give us some (rather patchy) ideas of how teams intend to play, and a little bit of a form guide. With that in mind, here is a fixture guide, giving a brief breakdown of each team’s Short (3 Game) Mid (5 Game) and Long (8 Game) fixtures.

Events to Consider

Short Term GW 3-6:

GW 4-5: Two week gap in which most players play 2 international games. Many Wildcards will be played here.

GW 5-6: Group Stage Match Day 1 for Champions and Europa Leagues.

Mid Term GW 3-8:

GW 7-8: Group Stage Match Day 2 for Champions and Europa Leagues.

Long Term GW 3-11:

GW 8-9: Two week gap in which most players play 2 international games. Some Wildcards will be played here.

GW 9-10: Group Stage Match Day 3 for Champions and Europa Leagues.

Arsenal (Champions League)

Notes – 6/10: There are almost too many options in Arsenal’s midfield. Nobody has a clue where the next points will come from. Nobody has a massive % involvement in goals, and Giroud and Walcott are rotating. Sanchez(11.0) could explode at any time, however.

Short – 6/10: new / STK / che

Despite Newcastle’s valiant cleanie at Old Trafford, Arsenal have more penetration. Stoke game could be fairly open, don’t fancy a clean sheet though. Who knows what will happen at Stamford Bridge.

Mid – 6/10: new / STK / che / lei / MUN

Add on a vibrant Leicester and a resilient Manchester United and mid term fixtures look even less tasty. It’s probable that Leicester’s form will finally crumble, but I’d certainly prefer to play them much later in the season.

Long – 7/10: new / STK / che / lei / MUN / wat / EVE / swa

Not amazing fixtures tacked on (Watford being surprisingly defensive, Everton in much better form, and Swansea always an issue). However, the overall feel of this list just shades into the green. Sanchez will be fully fit by the tail end, and Arsenal have enough quality to score decently over this stretch.

Aston Villa

Notes – 6/10: Yet to explode, but they certainly look a far superior team under Sherwood, not least because he has them looking like they actually want to be footballers. Richards (4.6) a cheap defensive prospect, and keep an eye on Gill (4.9) when back from injury.

Short – 8/10: SUN / lei / WBA

Sunderland (pathetic) and West Brom (toothless) sandwich a potentially tricky Leicester fixture. I’ll take those all day long.

Mid – 6/10: SUN / lei / WBA / liv / STK

Liverpool away takes the shine off, I think Richards could be found out by Benteke, who’ll want to score against Villa. Stoke could also be a problem.

Long – 3/10: SUN / lei / WBA / liv / STK / che / SWA / tot

If ever a fixture list was to take a nose-dive. Although if you are rotating a Villa defender for home games, the Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs games will be skipped, so things look far rosier!

Bournemouth

Notes – 7/10: Signs of improvement despite conceding 3 against West Ham, they look like they could cause problems going forward. I predict that when Wilson(5.5) plays well, so will they. When he plays badly they’ll suffer. Worth noting that they will be almost UNAFFECTED by internationals and European fixtures.

Short – 9/10: LEI / nor / SUN

If Wilson kicks off from his hat-trick against the Hammers this list is golden. Side-note: That game vs Leicester could be ridiculously high scoring.

Mid – 9/10: LEI / nor / SUN / stk / WAT

Wow. Stoke game could actually be fairly high scoring if Stoke think they can just blow Bournemouth away, so I’ll still call this tasty.

Long – 6/10: LEI / nor / SUN / stk / WAT / mci / TOT / sou

Suddenly pain. Just about stays in the yellow for the whole list, but ideally you’ll sell or bench by GW9.

Chelsea (Champion’s League)

Notes – 6/10: Pedro’s (9.5, protected price till Friday 28th) arrival might take the shine off Hazard(11.4) due to 2m savings, but the Belgian could find he has more space with Pedro stretching teams. I’d still take Pedro though. Their defence just doesn’t look Mourinho though, and the whole team might play conservatively until they sort themselves out.

Short – 5/10: CRY / eve / ARS

Should eventually overpower Palace, but Everton away might actually cause an upset IF Stones hasn’t swapped sides.. Anything could happen against Arsenal as I have already said.

Mid – 6/10: CRY / eve / ARS / new / SOU

Still just about stays yellow, but pushes green. Champion’s League fixtures and Mourinho’s hatred of rotation could contribute to fatigue however.

Long – 7/10: CRY / eve / ARS / new / SOU / AVL / whu / LIV

Gets there in the end. Certainly not amazing, however. Personally I’ll only be investing in one Chelsea player through this stretch.

Crystal Palace

Notes – 8/10: Smart investment, excellent management, excited fans and a positive attacking attitude are great. Potential rotation of attacking talent not so much, but I’d still keep a Watchlist on Zaha(5.5), Puncheon(6.0) and Cabaye(6.6).

Short – 1/10: che / MCI / tot

No No No No No No.

Mid – 4/10: che / MCI / tot / wat / WBA

I suppose if you had Zaha and didn’t mind benching him for the first 2-3, Watford and West Brom give a glint of hope. Those first 3 are just awful though.

Long – 5/10: che / MCI / tot / wat / WBA / WHA / lei / MUN

Not enough positives to push it up a bracket. Buying from GW7 could give modest returns however. If you have a 4th or 5th mid spot to fill at that time, Palace could be worth glancing at.

Everton

Notes – 6/10: Really positive start from Martinez’s team who suffered endlessly for Europa involvement last year. Barkley(6.6) and Lukaku(8.2) could be worth looking at later in the season. Not now though. Because…

Short – 2/10: tot / CHE / swa

Not enough here to merit a yellow, but it’s on the high end of red. With decent form they could scrape a few points.

Mid – 3/10: tot / CHE / swa / wba / LIV

Similar story. Frustratingly no amount of good form will convince me to invest in Everton, but I can see the people who do getting lucky here and there.

Long – 2/10: tot / CHE / swa / wba / LIV / MUN / ars / SUN

Just continuous, unabridged NO. Just one thing. See that Sunderland fixture? THAT is the light at the end of the tunnel. While not a part of this guide, I can tell you that from Gameweek 11 Everton have one of the best fixture runs I have ever seen. Seriously the worst they have until GW20 is Stoke at home.

Leicester

Notes – 9/10: Can they keep this incredible form up the whole season? No, but it’s fun as hell to watch right now. The world and his mother are jumping on Mahrez(6.0 and climbing) for a 4th Mid, but Albrighton(5.1) represents almost as good long term value for a 4th or 5th mid.

Short – 8/10: bou / AVL / stk

Good fixture run continues, and they could keep scoring against these teams.

Mid – 7/10: bou / AVL / stk / ARS / nor

Not quite so good, but benching (or, screw it, playing) against Arsenal still leaves this a decent run. I think I will suffer for not having Mahrez, but I picked Albrighton and I’m sticking with my decision!

Long – 6/10: bou / AVL / stk / ARS / nor / sou / CRY / wba

Still high end yellow, but by this time their form may begin to dry up, where Southampton and West Bromwich will have had more time to gel and warm up into the season.

Liverpool (Europa League)

Notes – 7/10: Looking solid (Gomez(4.7) and fairly creative (Coutinho(8.1), they just need the right opponent to get scoring (Benteke(8.5).

Short – 7/10: WHU / mun / NOR

Not sparkling but it will do. Man United fixture is always utterly unpredictable so we’ll ignore that.

Mid – 7/10: WHU / mun / NOR / AVL / eve

Stays similarly good, with the Merseyside derby equally erratic, but nothing to hugely concern managers.

Long – 3/10: WHU / mun / NOR / AVL / eve / tot / SOU / che

When we take the long view, those unpredictably positive Mun/Eve fixtures start to feel more unpredictably pessimistic. The only really easy fixture in these 8 is Norwich at home, the rest could all prove tricky one way or another. I’d start benching or selling around GW 6-8.

Manchester City (Champion’s League)

Notes – 10/10: I’m not even going to bother telling you all the positives across the squad. 3 games, 8 goals scored with 7 different goalscorers, zero goals conceded, and an unchanged (finally!) back line. Take your pick. Or picks.

Short – 8/10: WAT / cry / WHU

Looks good. And while I will be Captaining Aguero against Watford, it’s worth nothing that Watford actually look pretty tight defensively. They’ll still get crushed though.

Mid – 7/10: WAT / cry / WHU / tot / NEW

Stays good, Spurs will need to really be on their game to trouble City here.

Long – 7/10: WAT / cry / WHU / tot / NEW / BOU / mun / NOR

It’s just glorious. Sure, Spurs and United away could be better, but they could easily be worse, and one of them is a derby in which City have scored a lot in recent years. Buy Buy Buy.

Manchester United (Champion’s League(?) and League Cup Fixture)

Notes – 6/10: Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Positives at the back (Shaw(5.6) Darmian (5.7)) but blunt as Rooney’s(10.4) balding face going forward. Unfortunately they have an extra League Cup fixture as of yet TBC because of their Champion’s League playoff commitments. It’s possible Ed Woodward will go absolutely nuts and start throwing fistfuls of cash at passing strangers at Manchester Airport though. It’s worth watching Januzaj(5.5) and Fellaini(6.5, returning from suspension) fight it out for a starting spot, the winner could prove a fruity differential.

Short – 5/10: swa / LIV / sou

Scrape into yellow by the skin of their teeth, and only because Liverpool and Saints are still gelling. I don’t see the lack of goals improving.

Mid – 5/10: swa / LIV / sou / SUN / ars

Mirroring their progression, their fixtures are up and down too. Sunderland at home saves them from dropping into the red.

Long – 3/10: swa / LIV / sou / SUN / ars / eve / MCI / cry

I could have kept it yellow. But I just don’t want to. Hang on to a player if you feel like they have good form or you really trust their newfound defensive form, but this list doesn’t scream points to me.

Newcastle

Notes – 5/10: It’s too early to tell how this lot are going to turn out this year. They looked good defending against Man United at the weekend, but that was literally 11 behind the ball. Wajnaldum(7.0) is a bit expensive for a punt, but if Steven Taylor(4.0) keeps his place then he’s a great 5th Defender option.

Short – 5/10: ARS / whu / WAT

Even Watford could be tough for the Magpies to break down, and I can see Arsenal finally ready to explode after being frustrated recently. Very close to Red.

Mid – 2/10: ARS / whu / WAT / CHE / mci

How to turn Yellow into Red in two easy steps.

Long – 4/10: ARS / whu / WAT / CHE / mci / NOR / sun / STK

If you buy after City away in GW8, you’ll enjoy a fairly decent run of fixtures. By then they may have been crushed so much that their prices could have fallen a few notches. If you do own Toon assets, if you can afford benching against Arsenal, Chelsea and City then it’s not a nightmare 8 weeks. Totally avoid 1st team players though.

Norwich

Notes – 6/10: They really look a force to be reckoned with, if a little bit of a glass canon. Their defence is cheap but I’d avoid unless heavily rotating. Where I would be interested is their cheap and cheerful midfield, especially as a nice differential from Leicester. Watchlist Redmond(5.6), Brady(5.5) and Hoolahan(5.0).

Short – 6/10: sou / BOU / liv

Meh. Average at best, though the Home fixture with Bournemouth could be explosive.

Mid – 8/10: sou / BOU / liv / whu / LEI

Benching against Liverpool, I’ll take that.

Long – 7/10: sou / BOU / liv / whu / LEI / new / WBA / mci

Again, you won’t be paying much for Norwich assets, so you’ll feel ok benching them against Liverpool and City away.

Southampton (Europa League)

Notes – 5/10: Koeman managed a great start with a new squad last year, but selling your best players 3 years in a row, the squad finally needs time to gel. There is still a fair amount of promise dotted around, with Pelle(8.0) and once back from injury Mane(7.9) potentially tasty. I also have Rodriguez(6.9) FIRMLY on my watchlist if he gets his form and place back.

Short – 7/10: NOR / wba / MUN

Despite patchy form I still like this fixture list. United are struggling for form too, so why not gamble on it?

Mid – 5/10: NOR / wba / MUN / SWA / che

Going south fast. Unless they get their act together fairly soon this could be turning into a less satisfying run.

Long – 6/10: NOR / wba / MUN / SWA / che / LEI / liv / BOU

Tempted to say it’s a green run all things considered, but as Southampton’s players are all on the expensive side you don’t really want to be benching, so all things considered it’s a Mixed bag.

Stoke

Notes – 7/10: Barca Lite. Seriously impressive transfers and team form leave Shakiri(7.0) and Diouf(6.5) interesting differentials before fixtures are even considered. And not much changes…

Short – 7/10: WBA / ars / LEI

Arsenal away might find Stoke out, but I still sniff a goal for the visitors.

Mid – 8/10: WBA / ars / LEI / BOU / avl

Good before, better now.

Long – 9/10: WBA / ars / LEI / BOU / avl / swa / WAT / new

We have a fixture winner! Nobody in an attacking stoke shirt has more than 5% ownership. Get someone, anyone, like right now.

Sunderland

Notes – 2/10: When you manager is basically raving about a draw at home you know you have problems. The upside of their shockingly awful defence is that it forces them to attack a bit more. Lens(6.5) looks reasonably creative, and Defoe(5.5) could be a decent 3rd striker option if he stays fit.

Short – 6/10: avl / TOT / bou

Not awful, but if they had to play any of these teams tomorrow I wouldn’t see them winning.

Mid – 5/10: avl / TOT / bou / mun / WHU

Slightly worse, pretty close to the red zone simply because their form sucks too.

Long – 6/10: avl / TOT / bou / mun / WHU / wba / NEW / eve

When you look at this string of fixtures, they really are not too bad. But I just find the idea of jumping on Sunderland abhorrent at the moment. I might re-evaluate after the Spurs game when we know more. For now, too few spots, too many options.

Swansea

Notes – 8/10: You could probably have a Swansea spine to your team at this stage and be fairly happy. With solid semi differential options throughout the squad, a great team spirit an a possessive, balanced philosophy, strongly consider anything along the lines of Williams(5.0), Ayew(7.1) or Gomis(7.2).

Short – 5/10: MUN / wat / EVE

Well, I could have said Red, but I’m feeling kind, and United will be coming off a Wednesday CL qualifier.

Mid – 3/10: MUN / wat / EVE / sou / TOT

  1. I tried to be nice, but there’s not much to say about this run. Perhaps start dismantling your Swan spine.

Long – 3/10: MUN / wat / EVE / sou / TOT / STK / avl / ARS

The run isn’t exactly redeemed, but if you had just one Swansea asset to your team and had more pressing things to deal with with your Free Transfers, you could still pick up some points.

Tottenham Hotspur (Europa League)

Notes – 4/10: Yet to be firing on all cylinders, Kane(9.4) looks tired with too much responsibility at a premium price, and their midfield just doesn’t excite the way it should. Having said that, Chadli(7.0) and Alderwireld(5.0) are decent value for money and worth a look if you have a slot to fill.

Short – 7/10: EVE / sun / CRY

Everton and Palace could cause some problems, but I can see Spurs scoring decently in attacking areas.

Mid – 5/10: EVE / sun / CRY / MCI / swa

City and Swansea away take the edge off and give things a bleaker picture overall.

Long – 5/10: EVE / sun / CRY / MCI / swa / LIV / bou / AVL

If Spurs can sort out their form and maybe grab someone in the last few days of the window then why not throw one in your squad. Keep an eye on their games though and if you think they just can’t score big consistently don’t be afraid to go Spursless, especially with European commitments.

Watford

Notes – 4/10: After three games they are still unbeaten! Yet have also failed to win. Basically, Watford look decidedly solid, and depressingly unambitious. However, any of their 4.5 defenders could make decent benchwarmers, or if you really want to take a punt, Ighalo(5.0) or Deeney(5.5) could get lucky up front for decent value

Short – 3/10: mci / SWA / new

Somehow I don’t think that unbeaten streak will last much longer. Though with both teams searching for wins, the Newcastle game could be a target.

Mid – 5/10: mci / SWA / new / CRY / bou

Just about gets into the yellow zone if you avoided the City and Swansea games.

Long – 3/10: mci / SWA / new / CRY / bou / ARS / stk / WHU

Nah, I’m not buying it. If you are heavily rotating, perhaps you might get lucky, but I’m not jumping on.

West Bromwich Albion

Notes – 2/10: There are two sides to the Pulis Effect. A) Defensive stability and a never say die attitude. B) Sucking all of the individual talent out of players in favour of robotic rigidity. That might be a little harsh, as there is 100% a place for his style of management, but it doesn’t make for happy reading in fantasy terms when there isn’t a viable 4.5m route into their defence.

Short – 5/10: stk / SOU / avl

A perfect yellow. All fixtures could go either way. Nothing to make me excited.

Mid – 4/10: stk / SOU / avl / EVE / cry

More yellow. Edges closer to red due to relative form.

Long – 7/10: stk / SOU / avl / EVE / cry / SUN / nor / LEI

Actually the kind last 3 fixtures put a gentler spin on things. I still won’t be considering West Brom due to their rotating defense, but if Pulis settles on a back 4, it might be worth considering one, especially if Olsson(4.5) retains his place.

West Ham United

Notes – 6/10: There’s something a little Spursy about West Ham this season. Clean sheet victor against Arsenal, 4 conceded defeat against Bournemouth. Whichever West Ham turns up, they aren’t struggling to score (despite now having Maiga(4.5) as pretty much the only fit striker). It’s worth mentioning that Oxford(4.1) is a very cheap 5th defender option when fit, and Kouyate(5.5) or the more expensive Payet(7.6) seem creative and expansive.

Short – 3/10: liv / NEW / mci

A tasty Newcastle at home doesn’t quite pull this into yellow.

Mid – 6/10: liv / NEW / mci / NOR / sun

I can see points among these fixtures in fits and starts. The home games in particular.

Long – 5/10: liv / NEW / mci / NOR / sun / cry / CHE / wat

Similar story in the long game, overall it’s an average run of fixtures. If your squad feels more rounded with a West Ham player, either a 5th defender in Oxford or a midrange Midfielder in Payet, then why not take a gamble? Just don’t get too attached, I think there’ll be a lot of value swings with West Ham this year, and jumping on and off could be a sensible plan.

8 comments on “Fixture Fixation

  1. Hawaiian Robots

    I’ve actually been looking ahead a little this week prior to reading this and wondering whether to swap Lukaku for Diouf or Defoe.

    Defoe doesn’t really inspire me with confidence based on last year’s numbers and the fact that he plays for Sunderland but the cash saved could turn Chadli into Pedro or Wanyama into Shakiri.

    Diouf is a better option but I would have fewer upgrade options with the extra cash.

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