Welcome to my latest 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. 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 an easy home game up next! With the international break now over, we’re into the season’s final stretch, where both ‘blank’ and ‘double’ game weeks are most likely to crop up! Be prepared…
Current Top Five (Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Liverpool, Man United)
This is the first time since I began writing this column that Manchester United, or anyone for that matter, have encroached on the top five. However, it’s Liverpool and Tottenham with the kindest runs coming up, with both sides hopeful of securing Champions League football if they can navigate safely through the next few weeks. Of Liverpool’s next five, three are at home, beginning with the Merseyside Derby against Everton on Saturday lunchtime. The Toffees haven’t won a derby of any sort since 2010, and their record at Anfield is even worse, with their last victory there coming way back in September 1999. Though they’re improved this season, the Reds will be confident going into the game and hopeful of ensuring their rivals’ sorry record continues. Next up is Bournemouth at home, followed by away trips to Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion. They then round off April hosting Crystal Palace. Each of these fives matches fall outside of different game weeks, so no doubles or blanks here. Philippe Coutinho (8.2m) owners should rightly be concerned, with just one goal in his nine appearances since he returned from injury. The form of Adam Lallana (7m) is also a worry, with no league goal since the back end of 2016. He’s due though, and at 1.2m less than his Brazilian teammate, he could well be a viable pickup to make space elsewhere.
6th-10th (Arsenal, Everton, West Brom, Stoke City, Southampton)
It’s a tricky looking period for those in the next five coming up, with Arsenal looking like they have the best of the upcoming fixtures over April. Even so, their upcoming run begins with hosting Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. This is followed by a midweek fixture at home to West Ham United and Monday Night Football away at Crystal Palace. The Gunners then head north to play lowly Middlesbrough before another home game against Leicester City. Up until recently, this is the kind of run that Arsene Wenger would welcome, seeing as Arsenal generally dispatch the sides near the lower reaches of the division. Of course the problem of late has been that they’ve struggled against sides from both ends of the table, but this could be what they need if they’re to get their failing season back on track. Though the last game away at West Brom was a disaster, Danny Welbeck (7.3m) started up front and that’s certainly something to keep an eye on going forward. Should he retain his place and impress, that’s a good price for a starting striker in a stronger side.
11th-15th (Bournemouth, West Ham, Burnley, Watford, Leicester)
Of Watford’s next five, a daunting trip to White Hart Lane is the clear anomaly. Spurs have been absolutely excellent at home lately – the irony of them turning the Lane into a fortress just prior to knocking it down should not be lost on some! Anyway, the Hornets will expect to take nothing from that one, but the two fixtures either side of that London derby are well worth considering their players for. To kick off April, Sunderland and West Brom visit Vicarage Road. After Spurs, Swansea then visit the home of Walter Mazzarri’s men before they end the month away to Hull City. After a bright start of two assists in his first two starts, Tom Cleverly (5.1m) has dipped off a tad lately, with the rest of the midfield an ever-changing minefield mostly. Of the forwards, Troy Deeney (6.9m) is still the standout choice despite his hilarious own goal last time out against Palace. The captain is easily their biggest goal threat and comes at a decent price considering what’s coming up.
Bottom Five (Crystal Palace, Swansea, Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland)
I’ve made it clear before that I’m on Marco Silva’s side. Written off before he’d even taken charge of a game, the Portuguese boss started well with the Tigers, beating Liverpool and taking a point away at Old Trafford. The last five however, have brought four losses and a disappointing draw at home to Burnley. Time is running out for them to beat the drop and avoid going straight back down to the Championship and that starts now with this run of games. West Ham and Middlesbrough visit the KCOM Stadium before trips to Man City and Stoke. On FA Cup Semi Final weekend, Hull host Watford. If they can take 7-9 points from this five, they’ll do their chances of staying up the world of good. Clean sheets have been hard to come by, so most defenders are worth swerving unless you want a cheap option in Harry Maguire (4.4m).Up front, Oumar Niasse (5.6m) looks the best option in my eyes. With three goals since his January loan move from Everton, he’s done well considering he looked woeful in his fleeting Toffees appearances. Hull’s last game was a 4-0 defeat to the Merseysiders, and the team looked poorer without the ineligible Niasse.
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 McPhee (@JPMc99)