Hello and welcome to my latest 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. Remember that this is a view of each club’s next five, because 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!
Current Top Five:
Over the course of the next five games, Arsenal are the only side who don’t have two fixtures against other sides battling for the title and Champions League spots. After their mini breakdown in December, the Gunners have responded with 10 points from a possible 12, and host three of the worst away sides in the division over the next few weeks. First up this Sunday is Burnley, a team who have lost eight of their nine away matches so far. Watford and Hull City are the next teams to visit Emirates Stadium, though a tough trip to Chelsea is sandwiched in between those games. Lastly they face Southampton, and although their recent record at St Mary’s is poor, the Saints have been in bad form lately and Arsene Wenger will expect to take three points there this season. Potentially, Claude Puel’s men will also have an EFL Cup final to think about following that fixture. Players wise, Hector Bellerin’s injury is worth tracking. With Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy looking set to leave the club, Gabriel (£4.8m) is a cracking option for your defence if the Spaniard remains sidelined. In the midfield and attacking positions, Alex Iwobi (£5.8m) continues to look more valuable than Aaron Ramsey (£7.6m), and Danny Welbeck’s (£7.3m) return from injury is notable. The England forward is far lower in price than Christian Benteke, Jamie Vardy, Islam Slimani, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney to name a few, and his selection in the team is well worth keeping tabs on.
Oh how very bandwagon of me to jump on Everton two days after their dismantling of Manchester City! In truth, I was always likely to pick the Toffees for this section due to their next few games, but they’re even more appealing now off the back of Sunday’s incredible result. Trips to Crystal Palace and Stoke City should not be feared, before a home game with Bournemouth on February 4th. Ronald Koeman’s side then travel to Middlesbrough before hosting ex-manager David Moyes and his Sunderland team battling the drop. This is a nice stretch for Everton to try and push themselves closer to the runaway top six, and these look favourable games for Romelu Lukaku (£9.5m) and friends to be owned in. Away from the Belgian, youngster Tom Davies (£4.8m) ran the show against City and looks a bargain as your fifth midfielder if you want to clear funds for elsewhere. At the back, for defenders priced under £6m, only Bournemouth defender Charlie Daniels scores higher so far than stalwarts Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman (£5.5m). In goal, Joel Robles (£4.7m) is the same price as West Brom’s Ben Foster, but has kept the same amount of clean sheets – three – in his last four as the Baggies stopper has all season. If he continues to keep Martin Stekelenburg out of the lineup, he’s worth owning, as only 0.3% of teams have him at present. In contrast, over 15% have England backup Foster between the sticks.
It’s not been a happy start to life at the London Stadium for West Ham. After six months of poor form, the Dimitri Payet bombshell last week threatened to derail their entire season, but instead they responded with a 3-0 beating of Crystal Palace – their best result in their new home to date. I get the feeling that Slavan Bilic is keen to instill a real togetherness within the squad now; a siege mentality almost off the back of Payet’s desire to leave them for Marseille. They now sit above Southampton despite this season being one of ‘crisis’ and Bilic will have ambitions of breaking into the top half – they’re just a point off of Burnley and four off West Brom, who sit in eighth. Clean sheets are a mixed bag so Darren Randolph (£4.4m) continues to be a maybe if you’re in the market for a cheap goalkeeper. You can now almost completely discard Payet (£9m), in my opinion, meaning the goalscoring burden will likely rest of the shoulders of Michail Antonio (£6.8m) and Andy Carroll (£6.2m) going forward. Neither of those names will come as much of a shock, but both are worth considering ahead of games with Middlesbrough (A), Man City (H), Southampton (A), West Brom (H) and Watford (A).
For my sins, I’m going for Crystal Palace here. I know last week I said they’re half the side without Wilfried Zaha playing and I know I said Sam Allardyce hadn’t really done much to turn their fortunes around. They then promptly followed that up with heavy defeat at West Ham but surely they cannot continue to be this bad… can they?! Christian Benteke (£7.4m) is without a goal in six games and they have no clean sheets since December 3rd in the league. But if they’re going to stay up, I think they have to take something (anything!) from their next five games. Arguably their hardest fixture comes this weekend, when they host Everton – who will be in buoyant mood after the weekend. Then they travel to Bournemouth before a huge clash at Selhurst Park with Sunderland. That is followed by a trip to Stoke before another home game against Middlesbrough. Benteke’s poor form makes Loic Remy (£6.3m) worth watching now he’s returned to fitness, whilst new singing Jeff Schlupp (£4.8m) will surely feature regularly following his move from Leicester City. All in all, I think Palace definitely have good enough players to avoid the drop, they’ve just got to start producing results and the time has to be now.
Of course, you may completely disagree with my suggestions here, which of course is fine! If you want to tell me quite how bad my shouts are, feel free to do so in the comments below. Good luck this week!
Written by Joe (@JPMc99)