Thanks for joining me again for my FPL Fixture Analysis here on FPL Updates. This is a look at the potential best matches, from a fantasy perspective, of a team from each quarter of the Premier League table. It’s a view of each club’s next five, because remember that it is important to look at games from a longer term perspective rather than just transferring players in because they’ve got Burnley at home next!
Top Five (Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham)
Having passed potentially tough tests against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City with flying colours, Chelsea now sit three points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Their next five are extremely favourable too, with 15 more points before New Year not an unrealistic aim. After a couple of hard fought contests – both in which they came from behind – Antonio Conte will now be looking to go on a new run of successive clean sheets. First up are West Bromwich Albion at home, followed by a midweek clash away to Sunderland. They then travel to Crystal Palace, before hosting Bournemouth and ending the year at home to Stoke City. At the time of writing, they won’t be facing any team inside the top six and nobody that is within 14 points of them. The only warning that this run should come with is that Conte may choose to rotate as he manages his way through his first festive period in England. Obvious names like Diego Costa and Eden Hazard should obviously stay in your lineups but the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Willian, John Terry and Oscar could all feature before the turn of the year.
6th-10th (Man United, West Brom, Everton, Stoke City, Bournemouth)
What a win Bournemouth recorded on Sunday lunchtime! At 2-0 and then 3-1 down, nobody in the Vitality Stadium would surely have predicted the Cherries to come away with three points, but that’s exactly what happened against a feared Liverpool side. With confidence now surely sky high, a next five that includes Burnley (A), Leicester City (H), Southampton (H) and Swansea City (A) will surely be viewed as all winnable games for Eddie Howe’s men. Only the Boxing Day trip to Stamford Bridge looks like one that would be impossible for them to win, but then look at the Liverpool game again – never say never! Plus of course, Howe led his side to victory at Chelsea last season, although it’s probably fair to say things have improved for the Blues since then. Impact midfielder Ryan Fraser (4.9m at the time of writing) could be a cracking option over this stretch, though there’s a case for Jack Wilshere as well if you’re looking for a sub-6.0m player in the middle. Somehow the Arsenal loanee hasn’t scored (four shots off the woodwork) or assisted yet, though he appears involved in a lot of Bournemouth’s best stuff. Surely he’ll break his duck whilst we’re all lazing around eating turkey?
11th-15th (Watford, Southampton, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Burnley)
It’s no secret: Burnley’s record away from home is dreadful. With just one point gained on the road, it’s the joint worst haul in the division so far. Fortunately, their next five games feature three winnable games at Turf Moor and a trip to a team whose fans hate their own new stadium! So after Bournemouth visit this weekend, a trip to West Ham should not be feared. Another visit to London to play Spurs isn’t a great one, but games after Christmas at home to Middlesbrough and then Sunderland represent good chances to pick up points. Striker Andre Gray started at Stoke last weekend and although he didn’t score, he played well enough up top to get another chance from his manager. After an early goal this season against Liverpool, Gray has struggled after a suspension for comments made on social media. But if he can get back into the side regularly, the games he plays at home could kickstart his campaign – he notched 14 times on his own turf in Burnley’s promotion season last year.
Bottom Five (Leicester City, West Ham, Sunderland, Hull City, Swansea City)
If you think I’m stupid enough to pick the side that’s bottom of the league, is the only team with single figure points, that have just lost 5-0 at Spurs and have an unfancied American manager that has no previous Premier League experience, you’d be dead right; I am indeed that stupid. But I am not scared. Surely, if Bob Bradley is to lead this Swansea City side to survival, these next five games will be looked back on as vital fixtures as their season played out. Sunderland are next to visit the Liberty Stadium before trips to West Brom and Middlesbrough. They see out 2016 hosting West Ham on Boxing Day and Bournemouth on New Years Eve. It’s a time of year for drink and merriment, but Swans fans will be hoping their alcohol intake is in times of celebration rather than commiseration over the next five games. Personally I’d steer clear of a leaky defence that has shipped 16 goals in their last five, but Leroy Fer is an extremely capable option if you can’t afford Gylfi Sigurdsson. Interestingly, Fer trails the Icelandic star by just five FPL points, and with six goals this season the Dutchman can offer a genuine threat. As well as Fer, Borja Baston will surely start getting a run of consistent minutes over this stretch and having cost the club a record transfer fee in the summer, he needs to start proving his worth by scoring some goals.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)