A couple of weeks back I wrote an article about the emerging presence of the FPL double gameweeks and blank gaps that may appear in the fixture list due to the cup commitments of some Premier League teams. Now that the FA Cup fifth round has been negotiated, it now feels like a good time to review the upcoming fantasy Premier League schedule again, as a number of changes have been implemented already.
Looking back at the weekend, five out of eight top flight sides were successful in their last 16 ties, with another, Manchester City, facing a replay at home to Huddersfield Town. This fixture is to be played next Wednesday, March 1st.
Those who progressed are; Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea & Middlesbrough.
Both Burnley and Leicester City failed in their tasks against lower league outfits, with both Millwall and non-league Lincoln City rewarded with quarter final matches in North London.
Assuming Pep Guardiola’s City come through their replay unscathed, that will be six Premier League clubs playing quarter final matches, with two of those clubs guaranteed a semi final place thanks to the drawing pitting Chelsea together with United and Boro hosting Guardiola’s side.
You’ll remember already that the upcoming weekend is affected by the EFL Cup final, with no fixture in the league this weekend for either Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Southampton, but this is nothing compared to the gaps in the fixture list come a couple of weeks time!
Gameweek 28 is an absolute minefield in all honesty, and planning for it is nearly impossible, particularly as we’re already so close to it. These fixtures are to be played on the weekend of 11/12th March. Just 10 Premier League sides are due to be in action here, though that will reduce to eight if City successfully pass Huddersfield.
Currently, the fixtures listed are:
Manchester City v Stoke City (TBC)
Bournemouth v West Ham
Everton v West Brom
Hull City v Swansea City
Liverpool v Burnley
Like I said, the City one is fairly likely to be moved to outside this gameweek too, therefore making it probable that a lot of FPL lineups will be down on numbers this week. For gameweek 28, the sensible thing to do is make sure you have either Philippe Coutinho (8.2m) or Romelu Lukaku (9.9m) or both in your team, and make them captain and vice captain. If it means bringing in one of these, or Sadio Mane (9.3m) perhaps, then it’s probably worth doing because of the relatively nice fixture coverage both Everton and Liverpool have here.
What it does mean is that a number of clubs have fixtures up in the air at present, and these will of course be rearranged to create ‘double gameweeks’ for a lot of FPL players.
Currently, the fixtures yet to be rearranged are:
Arsenal v Leicester City
Chelsea v Watford
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Manchester City v Manchester United
Middlesbrough v Sunderland
Southampton v Manchester United
Southampton v Arsenal
Should City win their cup replay, that will be four sides with two extra games to fit in – the four who are affected by the EFL Cup final (by no coincidence you’ll most likely mutter to yourself!). It’s unlikely that many of these games will be rearranged until after the cup quarter finals take place, as the possibility of more replays is a very real one.
We do have an early indication of when Manchester City will play their first double gameweek. According to their official Twitter feed, if they progress in the FA Cup, then they will face Stoke on March 8th, meaning that gameweek 27 will be a double gameweek for City:
Manchester City v Stoke City
Sunderland vs Manchester City
In all honesty, it’s a tough period to negotiate, so in a nutshell, my advice would be:
- Have as many Liverpool and Everton players in your team as you can for gameweek 28.
- HOWEVER, do not waste a wildcard here or take unnecessary point hits just to bring these players in.
- Also consider Andy Carroll (6.3m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (7.5m), Harry Maguire (4.4m) and Alfie Mawson (4.5m) for gameweek 28.
- Don’t drop big players from the likes of Man United or Arsenal just because they have a couple of blanks weeks coming up – you will reap the rewards of them playing twice in a matter of days later on.
- Instead, set the best line-up you can whilst keeping these players on your bench.
- Know which teams are likely to have at least two double gameweeks and plan accordingly.
Once the FA Cup quarter finals have been played, we’ll have an even clearer picture of when certain teams are going to participate in their fixture backlog. I will return then with a follow up article to this one, providing as much assistance as I can, with information on who is playing when, along with which players I consider ‘must haves’ for double gameweeks.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below, but until then, all the best both this weekend and in gameweek 28. The crucial thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat!
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)