Every year around this time – once the League Cup semi finals have been played – we see the FPL fixture list change somewhat. The latter stages of the FA Cup (QF and SF) also have an impact, with a few of the top sides having games rescheduled outside of the gameweek they are currently listed in. For anyone playing Vanarama National League fantasy football, you might want to track your Lincoln City or Sutton United players too!!
If you scroll through the fixtures for the next few weeks, you’ll already spot changes have been made to Gameweek 26, with the following games postponed:
Southampton vs Arsenal
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Southampton’s clash with Arsenal, as well as the Manchester Derby have both been removed from the lineup, meaning there are just eight matches across the course of this weekend. It’s likely therefore, that all four sides will produce blank weeks in GW26, with the games moved to a later date. This isn’t a huge amount of players of course, but if you own two or all of Ibrahimovic, Aguero and Sanchez, then it’s well worth keeping tabs on.
Gameweek 28 has the potential to be far worse in terms of ‘blank’ fixtures. The FA Cup Fifth Round draw was strange in that it separated all of the eight Premier League sides from each other – almost like it was seeded! That of course means that as many as eight top flight sides could fill the eight quarter final spots in the competition, which will again impact your FPL lineup as it means up to seven Premier League fixtures could be cancelled, being:
Manchester City vs Stoke
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Middlesbrough vs Sunderland
Arsenal vs Leicester
Southampton vs Manchester United
Liverpool vs Burnley
Chelsea vs Watford
What we do know for certain is that Bournemouth, Everton, Hull City, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham will all play Premier League games in gameweek 28, against each other, as they’re all already out both domestic cup competitions.
As the FA Cup moves into the last four stage, any Premier League sides who feature will see postponements to their league commitments in Gameweek 34. That said, it’s actually this week and week 37 that could see games rescheduled and thus creating the coveted ‘Double Game Weeks’ for some clubs. This creates a situation where a team (for example United in GW26) miss one of their fixtures but play twice in a matter of days, meaning potential for a player such as Ibrahimovic to score a glut of points for you within just a matter of a 72 or 96 hours.
Another scenario in gameweek 34 is easier to explain by way of example. Say Arsenal reach the FA Cup semi finals, their date at Wembley would be set for either April 22nd or 23rd. That Saturday, they’re currently due to face Sunderland at home, but should they progress to the last four, this fixture will obviously be moved. However, that’s not to say the game won’t feature as part of that gameweek, with the league fixture potentially being set for the Wednesday prior to semi final weekend.
The final thing to consider when it comes to alterations to the fixtures is the possibility of FA Cup ties going to replays. These then have to be slotted into the calendar somewhere too, meaning that the more league fixtures are going to be impacted.
All in all, it can be a confusing time, and it’s vital you keep on top of your team and what is going on with the fixture list. If you don’t, you’re bound to make mistakes, post some poor scores and watch on helplessly as the red arrows crop up with semi-regular occurrence. And let’s face it, nobody likes to see that!
My advice would be to try and hold off, preserving your Wildcard until this stage in the season. That is of course, if you haven’t gone hell for leather and used it already!! At the very least, you’re probably going to need to save up a couple of transfers for Gameweeks 26, 28 and 34, just to ensure you’re team has as much chance as possible of navigating its way through the run. Personally, my plan is to kick back once the fixtures are confirmed, grab a trusty old pen and paper, and do my worst to try to put together the best lineup possible.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail remember!
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)